Ontario Public Health Emergencies Science Advisory Committee: Chair and Scientific Director Appointed


17 Nov 2022

In September 2022, the Terms of Reference for the new Ontario Public Health Emergencies Science Advisory Committee (OPHESAC) was released  which established a mandate to enhance provincial capacity to respond to a spectrum of public health emergencies with the best available evidence. OPHESAC will provide independent scientific advice to inform the management of public health emergencies, including COVID-19.

Dr. Upton Allen has been appointed as the Chair of OPHESAC. The Chair is responsible for leading the Committee’s work plan and providing direction for the Committee’s priorities.

Dr. Allen is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto. He is also the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), as well as a Senior Associate Scientist in the Child Health and Evaluative Sciences program at SickKids. Dr. Allen was the Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, where he provided expertise and leadership on important topics like COVD-19 in children, as well as co-authored many of the Table’s Science Briefs on schools, vaccine uptake in children, and post-COVID-19 condition (long COVID). He was also a past Director of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and a Fellow of the Society. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians (UK). In 2018, he was awarded the Order of Ontario, which is the highest honor awarded by the province of Ontario, Canada.

"I am excited to be stepping into the role of Chair for the Ontario Public Health Emergencies Science Advisory Committee. I am especially excited to be collaborating with what will be a diverse group of Ontario’s senior scientists and experts, many of whom are internationally recognized for their work. The Committee members will bring expertise and leadership from across different scientific disciplines to help manage the health system-related threats ahead of us."

— Dr. Upton Allen, Chair, Ontario Public Health Emergencies Science Advisory Committee

Dr. Paul Hébert has been appointed Scientific Director. The Scientific Director is a member of the Secretariat, whose role is to provide the day-to-day scientific leadership for OPHESAC.

Dr. Hébert is a tenured professor of Medicine and cross appointed in the School of Public Health at the University of Ottawa, a Scientist at Bruyère Research Institute and Palliative Care Physician. As the Chief Medical and Science Advisor at the Canadian Red Cross, he has been instrumental in putting together a community focused pan-Canadian Strategy on Senior’s Health. Dr. Hébert was previously the Professor and Physician-in-Chief at the Centre Hospitalier de Université de Montréal (CHUM), a Critical Care Physician and a Senior Scientist at Centre de Recherche du CHUM, positions held from 2013 to 2020. Dr. Hébert has had the opportunity to assist shaping the national scientific and health agenda through various leadership roles. He was an Editor-in-Chief (2007 to 2011) of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), as well as the Executive Director and Strategic Lead (2008 to 2010) for the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, a partnered initiative led by Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). He has published in excess of 400 articles in journals such as JAMA and NEJM. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academies of Health Science and has also won a number of career awards including the prestigious Lanstreiner-Alter Award (2022) from the AABB for his lifetime of work in transfusion medicine.

OPHESAC is currently in the process of confirming the final membership and a formal announcement will be made in the coming weeks once all members are in place.

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Published 17 Nov 2022