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Harvey Skinner, PhD, Cpsych, FCAS is the inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Health at York University, beginning September 1, 2006.

Dr. Skinner has broad experience in behavioral change and organizational improvement. He regularly leads workshops on lowering resistance and enhancing motivation for change at individual and organizational levels. His expertise is sought by health organizations, governments, universities and practitioners. He is an avid runner, having completed 7 marathons, and enjoys sailing and skiing. His wife, Pearl, is also an avid runner, having completed 14 marathons. He has two children, Mark and Ana, two step-children, Russ and Jeff, and one grandchild, Lena.


Dr. Skinner received graduate degrees in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, completing his M.A. in 1974 and his Ph.D. in 1975. He received an Honors BA from McMaster University in 1972. He is a Registered Psychologist in Ontario and a certified trainer in Motivational Interviewing. Previously, he was Chair of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, where he played a key role in the academic transformation resulting in their new Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Dr. Skinner is the author or co-author of 7 books and over 150 articles and chapters[1]. Skinner was one of the first to focus on linking behavior change, organizational improvement and information technology (e-health), which are summarized in his book, Promoting Health Through Organizational Change.[2] Three of his instruments are widely used internationally for the assessment of alcohol dependence (Alcohol Dependence Scale), drug problems (Drug Abuse Screening Test) and family functioning (Family Assessment Measure). He has been a pioneer in the use of computer technology for health assessment and behavioral change, and was one of the first to initiate a major program of research[3], using the internet for engaging youth in health promotion. TeenNet/Global Youth Voices [4] has created innovative websites for engaging youth in smoking prevention and cessation[5], gambling education[6], and youth action[7] . In 2005, the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development (CEECD) identified his publication Promoting Arab and Israeli cooperation: Peacebuilding through health initiatives[8] as one of the top ten scientific articles on early childhood development.

Dr. Skinner has a special interest in global public health. Currently, he is Chair of the Board of the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program (CISEPO) leading peacebuilding initiatives in the Middle East. In 2004 CISEPO received the Red Cross Power of Humanity Award. Also, he serves on the Advisory Board of the Canadian Association for People-Centred Health, and is a member of the Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century (CCPH21), and the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR). From 1997-2005 he was a Member of the Board of the Canadian Public Health Association. Between 1999 and 2002 he was a charter member on the Advisory Board of Directors for the Canadian Health Network. Dr. Skinner has served as an expert advisor to the World Health Organization, U.S. Institute of Medicine, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Fogarty International Center.

Faculty of Health, York University[]

The Faculty of Health at York University is on an ambitious mission to become an integrative force for promoting health – locally and globally. Our vision is to educate future global leaders who will redefine and advance health and human science. We believe the solution to the crisis in health care is keeping more people healthier, longer. Towards this goal, our emphasis is on prevention first, then care when needed, to make health and health care sustainable. This is reflected in our course and program offerings, our research and our commitment to the local and global community.

The Faculty consists of four integrated units encompassing Health Policy & Management, Kinesiology & Health Science, Nursing and Psychology. We have over 9,000 students and 400 faculty members. Each year we graduate over 2000 ‘agents of change’. An exciting new development is our Health Leadership and Learning Network[9] for continuing education and professional development. Dr. Skinner is taking a lead role in building the York Health System, a network linking academic, clinical, community and public health partners in the Greater Toronto Area-York region and potentially beyond. Its focus is on building an integrated and sustainable health promoting and health care system that:

  • Puts people and their health first
  • Is accountable and outcomes-driven
  • Favours inter-professional education and care over professional silos
  • Features multi-purpose learning and research centres distributed among health partners.

Another key component is the York Medical School, currently at a proposal stage, that aims to produce a new kind of physician: physicians trained in the community, for the community. Their focus will be the person, not the disease, and quality of life, quality of care, quality of community.


  1. Faculty Profile
  2. Promoting Health Through Organizational Change, published by Benjamin Cummings: San Francisco, 2002
  3. Teen Net
  4. Youth Voices Research Group
  5. The Smoking Zine
  6. Youth Bet
  7. Global Youth Voices
  8. Promoting Arab and Israeli Cooperation: A Model for Peacebuilding through Health Initiatives, Lancet. 2005, 365:1274-77
  9. Health Leadership and Learning Network
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