Robert Schwartz

Executive Director

Robert Schwartz became Executive Director of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit in July 2011. Previously, he was Deputy Director and Director of Evaluation and Monitoring at OTRU. He is a Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and holds a faculty association at the university’s school of Public Policy and Governance. Rob directs the University of Toronto Collaborative Program in Public Health Policy and is Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. He currently teaches two courses in public health policy and has taught several courses in evaluation, budgeting and performance measurement and analysis. Dr. Schwartz has published widely in the areas of tobacco control, public health policy, evaluation, accountability and policy change.

Dr. Schwartz has extensive training in Public Policy and Administration, Program Evaluation, Public Oversight and State Audit. Previously, he was a tenured faculty member at the University of Haifa where he directed the Graduate Program in External and Internal Audit. He has conducted several international evaluation projects and served as a Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant for the World Bank. From 1987-97, he worked in the State Comptroller’s Office in Israel, serving as their expert in program evaluation. Earlier, he worked at the Brookdale Institute, where he conducted research on the quality of care and developed a performance monitoring system for the supervision of institutions for the elderly.

At OTRU, Dr. Schwartz oversees research, evaluation and knowledge exchange activities. He directs a comprehensive evaluation and monitoring program which includes surveillance, monitoring, evaluation, performance measurement and evaluation support and quality assurance.

Recently completed studies include:

  • RECIG: Research on e-cigarettes
  • RETRAC: Research on commercial tobacco reduction in Aboriginal communities
  • Effects of marijuana smoking on health and on cigarette smoking
  • Debunking the tax – contraband myth
  • Distribution of NRT through Pharmacies
  • Industry regulation measures for the tobacco endgame
  • Accountability for Public Health
  • Performance measurement and management for public health
  • International review of tobacco surveillance

Current externally funded projects include:

  • Evaluation of the flavoured tobacco ban
  • RETRAC2: Research on commercial tobacco reduction in Aboriginal communities
  • Applied public health policy research: strategy design and evaluation
  • E-cigarette labels and warnings
  • Health information messages for tobacco products
  • Publications and resources for tobacco control
Competing Interest Statement

Robert Schwartz, Executive Director of OTRU, is an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is also Director of the CIHR Strategic Training Program in Public Health Sciences and Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. Dr. Schwartz has had no relationship with the tobacco industry. He has been a principal investigator on contracts between OTRU and Health Canada, Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Alberta Cancer Board, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Cancer Care Ontario, Ontario Lung Association, ECHO, Registered Nursing Association of Ontario and Simon Fraser University. He has received research and training grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative (CTCRI). He has received travel and other support from the Canadian Evaluation Society, Carleton University, the Kettering Institute, Health Canada, Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He is a member of the Research and Evaluation Task Force, Program Training and Consultation Centre Advisory Committee, Performance Management Working Group (Ministry of Health and Long-term Care), and the Lung Association’s Smoke-Free Homes and Asthma Advisory Committee.

Selected Publications

Schwartz R. Legalize marijuana without the smoke. CMAJ 2017 Jan 30;189(4):E137-8.

Deber R, and Schwartz R. What’s measured is not necessarily what matters: A cautionary story from public health. Healthcare Policy 2016 Nov;12(2):52-64.

Brown J, DeAtley T, Welding K, Schwartz R, Chaiton C, Kittner D, Cohen JE. Tobacco industry response to menthol cigarette bans in Alberta and Nova Scotia, Canada. Tobacco Control 2016 Jul 19 [Epub ahead of print].

Malas M, van der Tempel J, Schwartz R, Lightfoot C, Noormohamed A, Minichiello A, Zawertailo L, Ferrence R. Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation: A systematic review. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2016 Apr 25;18(10):1926-1936

Schwartz R and Zhang B. Debunking the taxation-contraband tobacco myth, Canadian Medical Association Journal 2016 Apr 5;188(6):401-2.

Schwartz R and Deber R. The performance measurement–management divide in public health. Health Policy 2016 120:3;273-280.

van der Tempel J, Noormohamed A, Schwartz R, Norman C, Malas M and Zawertailo L. Vape, quit, tweet? Electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation on Twitter. International Journal of Public Health 2016 Mar;61(2):249-56.

Kirst M, Kolar K, Chaiton M, Schwartz R, Emerson B, Hyshka E, Jesseman R, Lucas P, Solomon R, Thomas G. A common public health oriented policy framework for cannabis, alcohol and tobacco in Canada? Canadian Journal of Public Health 2016 Mar 16;106(8):e474-6.

Minichiello A, Lefkowitz A, Firestone M, Smylie J K, Schwartz R. Effective strategies to reduce commercial tobacco use in Indigenous communities globally: A systematic review. BMC Public Health 2016 Jan 11;16:21.

Dubray J, Schwartz R, Chaiton M, O’Connor S. The Effect of MPOWER on smoking prevalence. Tobacco Control 2015 Nov;24(6):540-2.

Chaiton M, Schwartz R. Reducing the burden of tobacco: what’s the endgame? Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 2014 Oct 28;3(1):36.

Schwartz R, Price A, Deber RB, Manson H, Scott, F. Hopes and realities of public health accountability policies. Healthcare Policy 2014 Sep;10(Spec issue):79-89.

Bondy S, Victor JC, Diemert L, Mecredy G, Chaiton M, Brown KS, Cohen J, McDonald P, Ferrence R, Garcia J, Selby P, Schwartz R. Transitions in smoking status over time in a population-based panel study of smokers. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2013 Jul;15(7):1201-10.

Kirst ML, Schwartz R. Promoting a smokers’ quitline: An evaluation of an academic detailing approach. Health Promotion International 2013 Jun 13;6:20 [Epub ahead of print].