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PIDAC Communicable Diseases

PIDAC-Communicable Diseases is responsible for advising PHO on communicable disease issues in Ontario with a focus on the those activities where the impact on the community extends beyond the hospital and long-term care facility, such as community settings outside of the health sector (e.g., schools and day nurseries), retirement homes, and others as appropriate.

Dr. Scott Weese, Chair

​Scott Weese is a veterinary internist and microbiologist, and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He is a professor at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph and a zoonotic disease/public health microbiologist at the University of Guelph's Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses. He is also chief of infection control at the Ontario Veterinary College Teaching Hospital and holds a Canada Research Chair in zoonotic diseases.

​Weese has published over 170 papers in peer-reviewed journals, edited two books and speaks extensively on infectious disease topics. His research interests are focused on zoonotic and antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, particularly methicillin-resistant staphylococci and clostridium difficile, infection control, emerging diseases and zoonotic disease risks with immune-compromised individuals.

Dr. Doug Sider, Scientific lead

Doug Sider leads Public Health Ontario's team of communicable and infectious disease specialists to develop and enhance provincial capacity in infectious and communicable disease prevention and control.

Sider joined as a public health physician for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control in September, 2009. As the lead for public health measures on our pandemic H1N1 Scientific Response Team, Sider was instrumental in developing public health guidelines to support pandemic management. He has since led our Scientific Response Team for the G8-G20 Summit. Currently, he is co-principal investigator for a research study into the challenges of implementing guidelines in school-based settings during the second wave of pandemic H1N1.

As a former medical officer of health and associate medical officer of health in Ontario and an assistant professor at McMaster University, Sider has a wealth of experience in public health practice in Ontario and abroad, extensive content knowledge, and a genuine desire to enhance the skills of infectious disease prevention and control specialists across the province.

Dr. Carrie Bernard

Carrie Bernard is a community-based family physician who has been practising in Brampton, Ontario since 1999. She obtained her master's of public health degree in epidemiology from the University of Toronto in 2012 and maintains active privileges at the William Osler Health System, Brampton campus.

Bernard is a lecturer at the University of Toronto in the Department of Community and Family Medicine and an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. She has been functioning as the Community Scholar Lead at McMaster since March 2012.

Dr. Martha Fulford 
Dr. Martha Fulford

Martha Fulford is an infectious diseases specialist and assistant clinical professor at McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton. She has a particular interest in travel related infections and in zoonoses. She is actively involved in both undergraduate and graduate education.

Effie Gournis

Effie Gournis is an associate director with Toronto Public Health’s Communicable Control Directorate. She leads the Integration, Information and Surveillance team, which includes the areas of health informatics, quality assurance, and communicable disease surveillance.

She also holds an Assistant Professor appointment with the epidemiology division at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Gournis’ research interests include developing innovations in surveillance methods, approaches for outbreak detection and hypothesis testing, and program evaluation.

Gournis has worked extensively in communicable disease surveillance at Toronto Public Health, with tuberculosis epidemiology and program planning with the San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, malaria control and prevention with the Pasteur Institute, food-borne illness surveillance with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and as an HIV/AIDS advisor for an advocacy program in Ithaca, New York.

Dr. Jessica Hopkins

Jessica Hopkins is an Associate Medical Officer of Health for Hamilton Public Health Services and an Assistant Professor (part-time) with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, McMaster University. Her current public health portfolios include communicable disease control, environmental health and family health.

Heidi Pitfield

Heidi Pitfield has been working in public health with a focus on infection prevention and control since 2004. She is a certified public health inspector and the acting manager of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Unit at Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Pitfield received her Certification in Infection Control and Epidemiology designation in 2008 and her master's of public health degree with a focus on infectious diseases in 2010. She sits on the provincial Infectious Diseases Working Group for the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors, the provincial Best Practices Working Groups on IPAC in Day Nurseries and Personal Services Settings, and the national Communication and Education Task Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Dr. George Zahariadis

Dr. George Zahariadis is a medical microbiology, infectious diseases and internal medicine specialist at Western University in London, Ontario. He completed medical school and his residency in Toronto before completing a fellowship in the USA.

He returned briefly to Toronto to support efforts against SARS in 2003 before taking on a program leadership role at the Alberta Provincial Laboratory for Public Health as a medical microbiologist, as an infectious diseases consultant at the Edmonton sexually transmitted infections clinic, and as a provincial medical officer of health responsible for the STI and bloodborne pathogen programs. He was also on faculty at the University of Alberta, and transitioned to the University of Western Ontario as an associate professor.

He sits on a number of committees including as an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, a council member for the National Molecular Microbiology Diagnostics User Group, and was a medical consultant for vaccine and infection control issues for the Canadian Winter Olympic team that competed in Sochi, Russia. He is a former residency program director and his clinical and research interests are focused around detection and identification of viral pathogens of public health significance.

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Page last updated: 2017-06-16 11:48 AM
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