Chronic Disease & Multimorbidity


The occurrence of both single and multiple chronic diseases within individuals, and more broadly in populations, have become prevalent as we move into the fourth phase of the epidemiologic transition, which is characterized by a decline in mortality rates combined with an aging population. Not only do single chronic diseases represent a threat to well-being and healthy aging for societies, but the task of preventing or managing the presence of multiple chronic diseases presents an elevated challenge. Research must shift from a focus on single and distinct chronic diseases to examine the intersection and interplay that exists between common chronic diseases. The use of a multimorbidity framework has been present in traditionally single-disease oriented disciplines, most notably in the study of cardiovascular disease and the long-acknowledged complexity of the metabolic syndrome; however, the multimorbidity framework goes far beyond cardiovascular disease and our research is at the forefront of this expansion. To design effective public health strategies and health care systems that will prevent multimorbidity and respond to the needs of individuals living with multiple chronic disease, more interdisciplinary research and systems science approaches are needed to tackle this complex issue.


To promote the interdisciplinary investigation on the interplay of chronic diseases and the underlying common pathways to multiple chronic diseases (that is, multimorbidity), utilizing the full spectrum from basic science to health care delivery to tackle the increasing burden of multimorbidity in aging societies.


The specific goals will create a more complete knowledge of chronic disease and multimorbidity:

  • Fostering opportunities for transdisciplinary discussion of conceptual challenges for chronic disease and multimorbidity research, particularly in the context of non-communicable diseases and communicable diseases that now have a chronic natural history as well as the underlying factors that increase or decrease the shift from single to multiple chronic diseases, particularly within subgroups of individuals and settings.
  • Creating a platform and methodology for transdisciplinary investigation into the intersection or interplay between co-occurring chronic diseases, spanning from the pathophysiology of cells, to common clinical pathways, to the impact of health care delivery and societal structure on living with chronic disease and multimorbidity, to the role of public health strategies in primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.
  • Implementing state-of-the-art methodological approaches that will address the increasing amount of health survey, administrative and clinical data that are available for transdisciplinary research, particularly by maximizing these secondary data through approaches like machine learning or data linkage.
  • Articulating the outcomes and consequences of multimorbidity that are important and relevant for individuals and societies, in order to create more informed targets for intervention and improvement.

Researchers in the Chronic Disease & Multimorbidity Cluster