Speaker Biographies


Speaker Biographies
“Paradigms to Pragmatism: Epidemiology and Biostatistics
for the Changing World”
June 1-4, 2015
Hilton Meadowvale (Mississauga, ON)
Speaker Biographies
Peter Donnelly is a Public Health Physician with over 25 years’ experience in senior leadership and academic
positions. He is the co-editor of the Oxford University Press textbook of Violence Prevention and has worked
extensively on the issues of Violence Reduction. He is the President and CEO of Public Health Ontario and Professor at
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Alfredo Morabia is an M. D., board certified in internal and occupational medicine, with a PhD in Epidemiology and a
Master of Science in Biostatistics from The Johns Hopkins University. Currently, professor of epidemiology at the Barry
Commoner Center, Queens College, City University of New York, and at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia
University, he is the author of "Enigmas of Health and Disease: How Epidemiology Helps Unravel Scientific Mysteries,"
(Columbia University Press, 2014) and is preparing a textbook on the history of epidemiology supported by a grant from
the National Library of Medicine. He is the principal investigator of a CDC-supported, long-term cohort study of
cardiovascular diseases among 2001 World Trade Center responders, and has been building up the foundations of
research on the health effects of using public transportation
Madhu Pai did his medical training and community medicine residency in Vellore, India. He completed his PhD in
epidemiology at UC Berkeley, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the UCSF. He is currently a professor of epidemiology
at McGill University in Montreal. He serves as the Director of Global Health Programs, and as an Associate Director of
the McGill International TB Centre. In addition, he serves as a Consultant for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He
also serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, Geneva. Madhu
has previously served as co-chair of the Stop TB Partnership's Working Group on New Diagnostics. He is on the
editorial boards of Lancet Infectious Diseases, PLoS Medicine, International Journal of TB and Lung Disease, among
others. Madhu’s research is mainly focused on improving the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, especially in
high-burden countries like India and South Africa. His research is supported by grant funding from the Gates
Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He has more than 200 peerreviewed publications. He is recipient of the Union Scientific Prize, Chanchlani Global Health Research Award, and
Stars in Global Health award from Grand Challenges Canada. In 2014, he was selected as a member of the Royal
Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.
Robert Platt received his PhD in Biostatistics in 1996, and since then has been on faculty at McGill University. He is
currently Professor in the departments of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health and of Pediatrics. His
primary research interest is in statistical methods for epidemiology, with applications in pharmacoepidemiology and drug
safety and in perinatal epidemiology. His methodologic interests are in causal inference and prediction tools. He has made
important contributions to the study and use of marginal structural models in pharmacoepidemiology, and to statistical
methods for meta-analysis and network meta-analysis. He is a Chercheur-national of the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec
– Sante, and is principal investigator on a CIHR-funded study of the use of propensity scores and marginal structural
models in drug safety research and a Discovery Grant from NSERC, and co-investigator/subcontractor on multiple CIHR
and NIH grants. Dr. Platt is leader of the methods team on the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies.
Dr. Platt has published over 220 articles, one book, and several book chapters on methods and substantive issues in
Dr. Upshur is the Canada Research Chair in Primary Care Research. He is currently the Scientific
Director, Bridgepoint Collaboratory for Research and Innovation and Head of the Division of Clinical
Public Health at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health. At the University of
Toronto he is a Professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Dalla Lana School
of Public Health, Adjunct Scientist at the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences, an affiliate of the
Institute of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and a member of the Centre for
Environment. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences and
Associate Member of the Institute of Environment and Health at McMaster University. He is a member
of the Institute Advisory Board for the CIHR Institute of Aging and Chair, Ethics Committee, Royal
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is the former Director of the University of Toronto
Joint Centre for Bioethics (2006-2011). He is a member of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons
of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. His research focuses on the intersection of
primary care and public health particularly with respect to the interrelationship between ethics and
evidence. His current interests include managing complex chronic disease in aging adults, clinical
measurement, the concept of evidence in health care, philosophy of medicine including medical
epistemology and the integration of ethics and clinical reasoning, public health ethics, global health
ethics, empirical approaches in bioethics, primary care research methods, time series applications in
health services research, communicable disease and environmental epidemiology. He has over 300
publications including more than 180 peer reviewed publications spanning these domains. He has
consulted for numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations. Most recently, he has
been the Chair of the WHO Ebola and Ethics Working Group and Special Advisor to the ethics
committee of Doctors Without Borders.
Sholom Wacholder is an applied biostatistician and epidemiologist. After earning a PhD at the University of
Washington, he joined the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University; subsequently, he
has worked at what is now called the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics in the Intramural Research
Program of the National Cancer Institute, United States Department of Health and Human Services, in Rockville,
Maryland. Most of Dr. Wacholder’s work has been in collaborations on substantive epidemiologic projects and in
methods related to those projects. He retains a strong interest in unbiased, efficient study design, highlighted by
a series of papers about control selection in case-control studies. In genetics, he spearheaded the development
of the kin-cohort method to estimate penetrance and participated in the planning of early genome-wide
association studies of cancer. Dr. Wacholder’s long-term interest in human papillomavirus (HPV), the basis of the
best biomarkers we have in cancer, has led him to devote increasingly more time to challenging molecular
epidemiology studies. Studies of natural history of HPV infection and cervical infection helped inform screening
and vaccination studies and programs to prevent cervical cancer. These experiences have led, in part, to Dr.
Wacholder’s current focus is on translational methods for public health and clinical epidemiology. He is
particularly proud of several mentorees who now have thriving, independent research programs.
Stephen Walter is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster
University. Dr Walter has worked in a variety of areas of epidemiology and associated biostatistical methods, and
has published widely (over 450 refereed papers) in the biomedical and statistical literature. He is a past Editor of
the American Journal of Epidemiology, Section Editor for the Wiley Encyclopedia of Biostatistics, and Chair of
Biostatistics in the International Clinical Epidemiology Network. He has worked with about 100 Masters and Ph.D.
students. Among other professional awards, he was recently honored by being elected as a Fellow of the Royal
Society (Canada).