Brian Schwartz

Dr. Brian Schwartz MD, MScCH, is a Canadian emergency and public health physician. He is employed as an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine under the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

He is notable in the COVID-19 pandemic due to his position on the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and his prior work in pandemic preparedness.

Education

Schwartz obtained his medical degree and Master of Science in Community Health from the University of Toronto in 2012.

Affiliations

Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Task Group

Schwartz has been a member of the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Task Group since its inception. The group also includes Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer for the Province of British Columbia.1)

College of Family Physicians of Canada

He received his certification in emergency medicine from and is a Fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Group of 8 (G8) and 20 (G20)

Schwartz served as co-Incident Manager for health consequence management for the 2010 G8 Health System Coordination Committee.2) 3)

Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table

Schwartz is Co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.4) The Science Table is paid for by Schwartz's employers at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Public Health Ontario.

He “provides executive leadership for PHO’s public health science and population health programs including environmental and occupational health, health promotion, chronic disease and injury prevention, and research and ethics services. Previous portfolios include health protection, emergency preparedness, communicable diseases and infection prevention and control.”

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care

Schwartz served as Scientific Advisor to the Emergency Management Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Heath and Long Term Care from 2004 to 2011.

Public Health Agency of Canada

Schwartz has attended meetings within Ontario related to pandemic preparedness, for which his expenses have been repaid by the Public Health Agency of Canada.5)

Public Health Ontario

Schwartz is the Vice-President of Public Health Ontario, which co-funds the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.6) He was Public Health Ontario’s inaugural Chief of Emergency Management Support.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Before entering public health Dr. Schwartz practiced emergency medicine for over 30 years in community and academic settings. He held the position of Director of the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Care from 1996 to 2009, under the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.7)

University of Toronto

Schwartz is employed as an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.8)

Previous Pandemics and COVID-19 Preparedness

Schwartz played a leadership role in Ontario during two previous pandemic crises. He served as Vice-chair of the Ontario SARS Scientific Advisory Committee in 2003 and was Chair of the Scientific Response Team for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.9) 10)

Pandemic preparedness documents, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), include “Public health emergency preparedness: a framework to promote resilience”.

He co-authored a May 2016 study finding that insufficient evidence existed to determine whether N95 masks were superior to surgical masks in protecting healthcare workers against acute respiratory infections.11)

Schwartz has further contributed to studies discussing communication strategies during public health crises.12)

As far back as 2015, Schwartz authored a study that concluded that the “evidence base for public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) is weak” alongside Bonnie Henry and Eileen de Villa.13)

Climate Change

Schwartz has also contributed to research on communications strategies around climate change and extreme weather, funded by Public Health Ontario.14)

Research

Schwartz is a supervisor for a project titled “AI-driven solutions to mitigate the social and psychological impact of COVID-19”, which includes engaging with “vaccine advancement models” to “address the COVID-19 data misinformation.”15)

1)
Henry, B on behalf of the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Task Group. (2019). Canadian pandemic influenza preparedness: Public health measures strategy. Canada Communicable Disease Report, 45(6), 159–163. https://doi.org/10.14745/ccdr.v45i06a03
2) , 8) , 10)
Schwartz, Brian. Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://archive.ph/WhdS0
3)
2010 G8 Summit SMDHU Preparedness & Response Plan. (2010, June). Simcoe Muskoka Health. https://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/docs/default-source/topic-emergencyprep/g8_summit_plan
4)
About Us. Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://covid19-sciencetable.ca/about/#schwartz-brian
5)
Schwartz, B. (2020). Declaration of Interest. Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. https://covid19-sciencetable.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Declaration-of-Interest_Science-Table_Brian-Schwartz.pdf
6)
Dr. Brian Schwartz. (2017). Public Health Ontario. https://archive.ph/RFmYf
7)
Sunnybrook Center for Prehospital Medicine. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.prehospitalmedicine.ca/
9)
Zoutman, D., & Schwartz, B. (2003). The Ontario SARS The Ontario SARS Scientific Advisory. Government of Ontario. http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/e_records/sars/hearings/03Wed.pdf/Wed_12_45_The_Ontario_SARS_Scientific_Advisory_Committee.pdf
11)
Smith, J. D., MacDougall, C. C., Johnstone, J., Copes, R. A., Schwartz, B., & Garber, G. E. (2016). Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 188(8), 567–574. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.150835
12)
Sanford, S., Schwartz, B., & Khan, Y. (2020). The role of tacit knowledge in communication and decision-making during emerging public health incidents. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 50, 101681. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101681
13)
Khan, Y., Fazli, G., Henry, B., de Villa, E., Tsamis, C., Grant, M., & Schwartz, B. (2015). The evidence base of primary research in public health emergency preparedness: a scoping review and stakeholder consultation. BMC Public Health, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1750-1
14)
MacIntyre, E., Khanna, S., Darychuk, A., Copes, R., & Schwartz, B. (2019). Evidence synthesis - Evaluating risk communication during extreme weather and climate change: a scoping review. Synthèse des données probantes - Évaluation de la communication des risques en présence de changements climatiques et de phénomènes météorologiques extrêmes : examen de la portée. Health promotion and chronic disease prevention in Canada : research, policy and practice, 39(4), 142–156. https://doi.org/10.24095/hpcdp.39.4.06
15)
AI-driven solutions to mitigate the social and psychological impact of COVID-19. (2021, September 1). Canadian Research Information System. https://archive.ph/i2vUW
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