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Principal Investigators

A multidisciplinary team of university-based Principal Investigators  provides intellectual leadership in shaping strategic directions, identifying projects, and supporting project development and implementation in the areas of research, evaluation, monitoring, capacity building and knowledge exchange. Depending on expertise, interest and availability, Principal Investigators also contribute to the conceptualization, design, interpretation and communication of specific project results.

Robert Schwartz, Principal Investigator and 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 an Associate 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 CIHR Strategic Training 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. Read more…

Roberta Ferrence, Principal Investigator and Senior Scientific Advisor

Roberta Ferrence is Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and an Affiliate Scientist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. She was OTRU’s first Executive Director, holding the position from 1993 until 2011. She is currently OTRU’s Senior Scientific Advisor. Dr. Ferrence received her Master’s degree in Medical Sociology and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Western Ontario. She has been involved in tobacco and alcohol research for many years. Her research interests include the epidemiology of tobacco use, the impact of tobacco policy on health, the role of tobacco use and exposure in mortality and morbidity, and economic factors in smoking behaviour. Read more…

Susan Bondy, Principal Investigator

Susan Bondy is an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Bondy received her MSc in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Western Ontario and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto, and is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology. Her areas of research include: monitoring of alcohol and tobacco use and public opinions on tobacco control policies; psychoactive substance use and associated health problems; and health services research, particularly in the areas of mental health and addiction, as well as cancer detection and treatment. Read more…

K. Stephen Brown, Principal Investigator

K. Stephen Brown is a biostatistician, Professor and a former Chair of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, and Director of Biostatistics at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo. He also holds a cross-appointment in the School of Public Health and Health Systems. His interests include design and analysis of cluster-randomized prevention trials, correlated discrete response data, generalized linear models, statistical consulting, and statistics education. Read more…

Joanna Cohen, Principal Investigator

Joanna Cohen is the Bloomberg Professor of Disease Prevention and the Director of the Institute of Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also holds an appointment in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Cohen obtained her PhD in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and her MHSc in Community Health and Epidemiology from the University of Toronto. She has been involved in tobacco policy research for almost 20 years. Trained in epidemiology and health policy, her research interests focus on the factors that affect the adoption and implementation of public health policies and on evaluating the beneficial effects and the unintended consequences of such policies. Read more…

John Garcia, Principal Investigator

John Garcia is the MPH Program Leader and Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, Department of Health Studies and Gerontology. Dr. Garcia has held several senior positions over the years at the Ontario Ministry of Health, Cancer Care Ontario, Health Canada, OTRU and at Prospect Associates in the United States as Technical Vice President, and Project Director of the American Stop Smoking Intervention Study (ASSIST) Coordinating Center, a multi-state tobacco control program. He was instrumental in the development of the original Ontario Tobacco Strategy (OTS) at the Ministry of Health in the early 1990s. Read more…

Peter Selby, Principal Investigator

Peter Selby is the Clinical Director of the Addictions Program and Head of the Nicotine Dependence Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as well as Associate Professor in the Departments of Family and Community Medicine, Psychiatry and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Selby practices addiction medicine with a special focus on nicotine dependence. His areas of research include smoking cessation in special populations such as those with co-morbid mental health and addictive disorders, the use of pharmacotherapy, harm reduction, and web-based interventions. Read more…