Key Databases in Public Health: An Epi's Guide to the Galaxy

Location: London, Delta London Armouries Hotel

Date: October 15–17, 2006



To provide practical information and expertise on the use of key databases for public health planning, evaluation, and research. 


  • To increase awareness of, and expertise in available data sources relevant to public health in Ontario. 
  • To share, discuss, and learn about innovative ways to use key databases. 
  • To provide a forum for public health professionals to present unique ways in which they have managed or used health information for program planning, evaluation and research. 
  • To provide an opportunity to find out about new and emerging health-related data sources.
  • To exchange ideas, and make recommendations for action, about the issues, concerns, challenges and future of health-related secondary data in public health. 
  • To provide networking opportunities for epidemiologists and other public health professionals.

Featured Speakers

Dr. John Frank
Dr. John Frank was Director of Canada’s largest Master’s of Public Health training program from 1983 to 1989, at the University of Toronto, where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences.  He was the founding Director of Research at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto from 1991 until 1997, and is currently a Senior Scientist there.


Dr. Frank was a Scholar, and then a Fellow, with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Population Health Program, from 1987 to 2004.  As a physician-epidemiologist, with special expertise in prevention, his main areas of interest are the biopsychosocial determinants of health status at the population level, and health in developing countries.

John Frank’s varied research interests are reflected in over 190 publications over the last 20 years. In December 2000, he was appointed Inaugural Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Population and Public Health.

Jan Hux MSc, MD, SM, FRCPC
Dr. Jan Hux is a senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and a general internist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, both in Toronto.  She is an associate professor in the departments of Medicine and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She holds degrees in medicine from Toronto and epidemiology from Harvard.


Her research interests include: health services research in diabetes mellitus and interventions to improve drug use in primary care. Dr Hus has recently been appointed as the Interim President and CEO of ICES.

Alison Macpherson
Dr. Alison Macpherson is a new investigator and an Assistant Professor at York University and an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. She received her Master’s degree from McGill University and a PhD from the University of Toronto. She has a long-standing interest in childhood injury research. Her research interests include bicycle-related injuries, pedestrian injuries, and health service utilization related to childhood injuries.


Dr. Richard Davies
Dr. Davies obtained his PhD in Physiological Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1976 and his MD from McGill in 1980. He trained in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto, Cardiology at the Ottawa Heart Institute, and Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University.


Dr. Davies is a Cardiologist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He led the Heart Institute's participation in several landmark clinical trials, including the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial, the Digitalis Investigators Group (DIG) Study, and the Asymptomatic Cardiac Ischemia Pilot (ACIP) study.

His research interests include the effects of exercise training on thrombosis and myocardial ischemia in patients with coronary artery disease, and the use of information technology to develop high quality clinical databases to improve the delivery of health care. Dr. Davies’ clinical interests include secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, and the care of patients with congestive heart failure.


Michael Whelan
Michael Whelan began working for the Ontario Ministry of Health after completing his Master’s degree in Epidemiology at Queen’s University. After joining the Ministry he has was involved in influenza and respiratory infection outbreak surveillance and the PHERO publication. Most recently Michael has been actively engaged in the development of the reporting model for retrieving iPHIS data using Cognos ReportNet. 


Marie Muir


Sarah Knox
Sarah Knox is the Senior Information Management Consultant for the Ontario Midwifery Program, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.  In her work for the ministry, Sarah has a focus on maternal-newborn data collection and reporting. Sarah also has special interests in privacy issues and legislation and the development of a universal health record. Sarah is the author of The Midwifery Option: A Canadian Guide to the Birth Experience (Harper Collins, 2003). 

Wendy Katherine
Since 2000, Wendy has been the Coordinator of the Ontario Midwifery Program, the ministry unit responsible for funding, policy and integration of midwifery into Ontario's health system.  She has also been seconded this past year to manage the Ontario Maternity Care Expert Panel for the Ontario Women's Health Council.  Wendy was a practicing midwife in Ontario from 1988 to 2000 and maintains an active interest in maternity care and women's health policy and research.

Ian Brunskill
Ian leads the Health Practice for PSTG Consulting out of their Toronto office. He has over sixteen years of health care leadership experience that includes working for a provincial cancer agency and academic health science centers in Canada as well as consulting to governments, banks and health services organizations in Canada, South America and Africa. Ian's recent work has been focused on the development and implementation of e-Health strategies within public health, community care and acute care sectors across Canada and within several emerging countries. Ian is currently in the role of Executive Lead for Public Health Information and Information Technology within the Public Health Division of Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.


Dr. Eric Holowaty


Michael Spinks


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Planning Committee



 Shelley Stalker  Chair, Speakers, Finance, Workshop
 Amira Ali  Speakers, Abstracts
 Brenda Coleman  Speakers, Facilities
 Lewinda Knowles  Finances
 Alanna Leffley  Abstracts
 Alison Locker  Facilities, Entertainment
 Min Su  Evaluation
 JoAnn Heale  Website, Sponsors, Workshop
 Mary-Anne Pietrusiak  Workshop, Speakers

Planning Services Provided by:

Chuck Schouwerwou, ConferSense Planners Inc.