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Staff

Staff in Toronto and Waterloo coordinate OTRU’s activities and carry out our research, evaluation, training and dissemination projects.

Executive Director

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…

Senior Scientific Advisor

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…

Project Leads

Dr. Alexey Babayan

Alexey Babayan is a Senior Research Associate with the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. Dr. Babayan has considerable practical and methodological experience in conducting evaluation of tobacco control interventions, particularly in the area of smoking cessation. He has conducted various evaluation studies, including needs assessment, program performance monitoring, formative and outcome evaluation. At OTRU, he leads the evaluation of cessation programming and policy. Read more…

Dr. Michael Chaiton

Dr. Michael Chaiton is a Scientist at the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit and Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. He has a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto. He has been active in tobacco control since 2000 when he started working for Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada and the International Non-Governmental Coalition against Tobacco. He is interested broadly in tobacco research and is the co-instructor of the graduate level course “Tobacco and Health: From Cells to Society”. His main areas of research include unravelling the relationship between depression and smoking in adolescents and understanding the impact of widespread retail availability of tobacco. Michael is Co-Head of the Population Research Initiative in Mental Health and Addictions (PRIMHA) at the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. Read more…

Dr. Pamela Kaufman

Dr. Pamela Kaufman is a Scientist with the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit and the Social and Epidemiological Research Department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Her program of research addresses physical and social environment factors that affect the development and implementation of public health policies, and the beneficial effects and unintended consequences of such policies. At OTRU, Pam leads studies in the area of protection, including smoking behaviour and physical and social exposure to smoking in outdoor spaces. Read more…

Dr. Catherine L. Mah

Dr. Catherine L. Mah is Scientist and Head of the Food Policy Research Initiative in CAMH’s Social and Epidemiological Research Department and with the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. She is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Public Health Policy at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and affiliated faculty at the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto. Read more…

Dr. Shawn O’Connor

Dr. Shawn O’Connor is a recognized expert in the surveillance of tobacco control outcomes. At OTRU, Shawn leads the Strategy Evaluation working group, which produces an annual report detailing progress of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy. Shawn has also led the development of the Tobacco Informatics Monitoring System (TIMS) and its sister site, the Chronic Disease Informatics Monitoring System (CDIMS), innovative web-based data portals designed to enhance the use and adoption of risk-factor indicators by public-health stakeholders. Read more…

Research and Admin Staff

Click on names below for more information about each staff member.

Jaklyn Andrews, Research Officer
Tracey Borland, Research Officer
Lori Diemert, Research Officer
Emily DiSante, Research Officer
Jolene Dubray, Research Officer
Stephanie Filsinger, Senior Manager (Waterloo)
Sonja Johnston, Communications Associate/Web Admin
Rita Luk, Research Officer
Lynn Planinac, Research Officer
Marilyn Pope, Research Officer
Emily Taylor, Research Officer
Diane van Abbe, Information Coordinator
Bo Zhang, Research Officer