Looking back on our biggest stories of 2015

From digging into the science behind sunscreens to asking federal parties about their health platforms to launching a new photo-documentary platform exploring the human side of health care, 2015 has been a busy year for Healthy Debate.

As always, our readers contributed to the debates with insightful comments, social media discussions, and opinion submissions. Our readers also indicated what stories mattered the most to them – in terms of which articles were most read and shared. Here are our ten top stories of the year:

1) Confused about the mixed messages on sunscreen safety?

Whether you have a beach vacation coming up or you’re planning on enjoying the snow, dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen. After noticing an abundance of contradictory messages about the safety of sunscreen, we delved into the science behind the claims.

2) Election 2015: The Health Care Debate

Leading up to this year’s election, we asked the four federal parties the same five questions about the top health care issues we face as a country. As Canadians hold their government accountable for election-time promises, this article remains as timely as ever.

3) Faces of Health Care: Lucas

In 2015, we launched a brand-new feature: Faces of Health Care, which was made possible thanks to the help of our generous supporters. Faces of Health Care, which highlights the powerful and personal stories told by patients and providers, was featured in The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail and has been met with incredibly positive feedback from our readers. In the most-read Faces of Health Care interview, Lucas, a transgender man, talked about his most uplifting and most devastating experiences in accessing health care.

4) Opinion: “Patient-centred” – what does it mean and how achievable is it?

“‘Patient-centred care’ is on everyone’s lips these days. But, do we all agree what it is and when it has been achieved?” asked Jennifer Gibson, director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, and Andreas Laupacis, editor-in-chief of Healthy Debate.

5) Prescription drug coverage: how does Canada compare?

Calls for a national pharmacare program grew louder in 2015. What would such a program look like? We looked at three other countries’ pharmacare programs to investigate what’s working and what isn’t.

6) Faces of Health Care: Suzanne

After being diagnosed with what was believed to be an imminently terminal cancer, Suzanne shared how her love for music and cuddles from her husband helped to buoy her spirit.

7) The Rounds Table Podcast: The SPRINT to lower blood pressure

The Rounds Table is a free weekly podcast supported by Healthy Debate, the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine, and the University of Toronto Office of Continuing Professional Development. In this popular episode, Amol Verma and Mike Fralick discussed two recent blood pressure studies.

8) Faces of Health Care: Francine

Baby Cristiano spent 1.5 years in the ICU after his birth. His mother, Francine, talked about what it meant to bring her son home.

9)  Opinion: What’s really driving high-cost use of health care?

“In a word, poverty,” explain Laura Rosella, an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto; Andrew Pinto, a family doctor and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital; and Jeremy Petch, the managing editor of Healthy Debate.

10) Personal Health Navigator: How many dental X-rays are too many?

A reader asks, “Every couple of times that I visit my dentist’s office, she asks me to submit to more dental X-rays. I seem to be getting an awful lot of them. I don’t want to increase my chances of getting cancer. How often should I be getting dental X-rays?” Paul Taylor, Sunnybrook Hospital’s Patient Navigation Advisor, responds.


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Wendy Glauser


Wendy is a freelance health and science journalist and a former staff reporter with Healthy Debate.

Vanessa Milne


Vanessa is a freelance health journalist and a form staff writer with Healthy Debate

Andreas Laupacis

Editor-in-chief Emeritus

Andreas founded Healthy Debate in 2011. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)

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