We provide scientific and technical support to prevent and control infectious diseases and respond to other public health emergencies.
We use the latest evidence to advance knowledge and guide practice. We leverage surveillance data to monitor and respond to diseases in our population and to monitor vaccine safety and coverage.
Chief Health Protection Officer
Areas of expertise:
- communicable disease control and outbreak investigations
- vaccine safety
- epidemiology and program evaluation
- public health
- human papillomavirus vaccine
Deputy Chief, Health Protection, Operations and Response
Emily Karas leads the department responsible for the management, prevention and control of communicable diseases and emergency preparedness and incident response. She provides provincial leadership in communicable diseases, infection prevention and control, as well as preparedness and response to both infectious and non-infectious disease emergencies and issues. Emily previously served as PHO’s Director, Knowledge Exchange and Communications and as PHO’s Manager of Communicable Diseases.
Emily has considerable experience at the local and provincial public health levels. She was previously a Nurse Consultant and Team Lead for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and worked as a Public Health Nurse at both the Niagara Region and Peel Region public health units. She has almost 15 years of combined public health and nursing experience. Emily holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Queen’s University, a Masters of Nursing from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Westminster.
Public Health Physician
Areas of expertise:
- communicable disease prevention and control
- outbreak management
- vaccine-preventable diseases
PHO Grand Rounds: COVID-19 and Substance Use – Highlighting New Data and the Perspectives of People with Lived Experience
In this session, Regan Murray provides an overview of opioid-related deaths in Ontario during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Claire Rykelyk-Huizen and Michael Nurse share findings from a consultation on the impacts of COVID-19 based on interviews with people who use substances, family and friends, harm reduction workers and people providing peer support services.