I am an academic family physician and clinician-researcher at North York General Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. I spend about half my time seeing patients, practicing and teaching comprehensive family medicine (including home visits, care of the elderly, and palliative care), and the other half of my time doing research with the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine in several main areas of interest. These are, broadly speaking, the care of people with mental illness, improving the use of electronic medical records, and how to better harness routinely collected health data to figure out what works and what doesn’t for patients.
A little bit about how I got here: At the start of my career, I worked in a needle exchange in inner-city Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This led to a job walking through Edmonton’s river valley in the early morning, helping people who were homeless and living in tents or in the middle of parkland to find homes and to obtain employment. After that, I attended medical school at the University of Calgary. In the middle of medical school I had an opportunity through the Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford for three years. I completed my DPhil at University College, Oxford as a member of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.
My DPhil research focused on people’s use of the Internet to acquire and share information about health and illness. Most people consult the Internet for health information, and the available resources are almost limitless. As people are encouraged more to take control of their own health and treatments, being able to effectively communicate important information as well as ensuring people have simple, accurate information on which to base their decisions is increasingly important. Resources to improve adherence to and effectiveness of existing treatments, and to support people to care for themselves, are one of the major challenges in modern healthcare, and my research sought to understand what online resources work best for people with different conditions.
Now that you’ve read that sentence, you don’t have to read the other 395 pages of my thesis, I promise. You’re welcome.
I am interested in effective methods of communicating research to the public, and applying the practical tools of evidence-based medicine to issues of public importance. I work with the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine on projects related to this.
After leaving Oxford, I returned to Calgary to complete my last year of undergraduate medical education. After that, I moved to Toronto, Ontario, to complete my family medicine (general practice) training at North York General Hospital, and liked it so much there I stayed.
Here are my conflicts of interest:
I currently receive research funding from North York General Hospital and from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through Diabetes Action Canada. My DPhil in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford was funded by the Rhodes Trust. I have received honoraria from Continuing Education at the University of Oxford for lectures, as well as from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences for giving tours of Oxford to visiting researchers. I previously on a project funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research and received expenses, but no direct income, from this work. I have received travel expenses from Google for a meeting in London. I once went to lunch with a McKinsey and Company partner at the Turf Tavern in Oxford and he paid, but I had a cheeseburger- which was on special- and I had a glass of water to drink, so I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count.