Ontario Immunization Advisory Committee (OIAC)
Established in August 2021 at the request of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario Immunization Advisory Committee (OIAC) provides evidence-based advice to Public Health Ontario on vaccines and immunization matters including vaccine program implementation in Ontario, priority populations, clinical guidance and vaccine safety and effectiveness.
The focus of the Committee’s work is on publicly-funded vaccines and immunization programs in Ontario, including COVID-19, and those under consideration for new programming .
OIAC Call For Members
OIAC is currently recruiting for the following position:
Dr. Jessica Hopkins, Co-chair
Dr. Jessica Hopkins leads the scientific and operational activities for the Health Protection portfolio at Public Health Ontario. She oversees the Medical and System Support and Operations and Response departments, which are responsible for communicable disease surveillance and control, outbreak response, infection prevention and control, and emergency preparedness and response.
Dr. Hopkins has 10 years of experience in local public health and previously worked as the Medical Officer of Health for Peel Region, and as Associate Medical Officer of Health in Hamilton and Niagara Region. She also currently works as a family doctor and is an Assistant Professor (part-time) with the Department of Health Research Methods, Epidemiology, and Impact at McMaster University as well as an Adjunct Lecturer with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Hopkins holds a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Health Science from the University of Toronto in the field of Community Health and Epidemiology. She completed residencies in Family Medicine and Public Health and Preventive Medicine at McMaster University.
Dr. Jeffrey Pernica, Co-chair
Dr. Jeffrey Pernica, MSc MD FRCPC DTMH, is the Head of the Division of Infectious Disease and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. His clinical interests include infectious diseases, immunization, tropical medicine and congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV). He currently runs the Special Immunization Clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital, is a member of the Canadian Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel and is the Regional Lead for the Ontario CMV newborn screening program. His research interests relate to the optimization of the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory infections, enteric infections, and sepsis, both in Canada and in resource-limited settings.
Fairleigh Seaton is the Director, Infectious Disease Prevention and Environmental Health at Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health (KFL&A Public Health). After graduating as a Registered Nurse, she joined KFL&A Public Health in 2004. She has held a variety of positions in the areas of communicable disease prevention, sexual health, vaccine preventable disease and environmental health. Seaton holds a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration from Queen’s University.
Dr. Juthaporn Cowan
Juthaporn Cowan is an Associate Scientist at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Assistant Professor at The University of Ottawa (cross-appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology) and a Physician for the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Ottawa Hospital.
Dr. Cowan holds a Doctor of Medicine from Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand and a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan. She also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, with a research focus on tuberculosis and immunopathogenesis. Dr. Cowan has completed her internal medicine training, with subspecialty in infectious diseases, at the University of Ottawa. Her current research interest is in infection prevention in non-HIV immunodeficiency patients. She is also a Medical Lead of the Ontario Immunoglobulin Treatment program and serves as an editorial board member of Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease.
Richard San Cartier
Richard San Cartier is a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Team Lead for the N’Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Centre. He provides primary care to the First Nation Communities of Serpent River and Sagamok situated on the north shore of Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. He has been a lead for COVID-19 screening/testing programs for N’Mninoeyaa using rapid molecular testing and PCR testing. He has presented for Algoma Public Health as a community/provider champion for COVID-19 vaccination helping to increase vaccine uptake in the Algoma area. He instituted an HPV program for First Nation boys and girls in Serpent River two years before the provincial programs. He is a graduate of Laurentian University’s combined post Registered Nurse/ Nurse Practitioner program in 2003. He received his original nursing diploma from Algonquin College in 1994. He lives with his wife in Elliot Lake Ontario.
Dr. Vinita Dubey
Dr. Vinita Dubey is an Associate Medical Officer of Health for Toronto Public Health specializing in vaccine preventable diseases and currently the public health response to COVID-19. She has also worked as an Emergency Medicine Physician outside the Greater Toronto Area. She is a volunteer member of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and currently holds an Adjunct Professor appointment with the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
Dr. Julie Emili
Dr. Julie Emili is an Associate Medical Officer of Health (AMOH) for the Region of Waterloo, practices part-time family medicine in Hamilton, and is the Program Director for the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Program at McMaster University. In her role as AMOH, she has provides medical oversight to the Vaccine Preventable Disease Program, which includes publicly funded vaccines, the school-based vaccine program and adverse events following immunization. In addition, she previously served as the College of Family Physicians of Canada Liaison Representative on the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
Dr. Emili graduated from medical school in 2000 and then went on to complete further training in Family Medicine, Public Health and Preventive Medicine and a Master’s degree in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University.
Dr. Allison McGeer
Dr. Allison McGeer is a Professor in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She is also an Infectious Disease Specialist and Senior Clinician Scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of the Sinai Health System in Toronto. She has a research interest in adult immunization and emerging issues. Since February 2020, she has been working on research related to the prevention and management of COVID-19. Dr. Greer has been a member of Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
Dr. Justin Presseau
Dr. Justin Presseau is a Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Associate Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health and School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. He chairs the Behavioural Science Working Group within Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and chairs the Canadian Psychological Association’s Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine section. His research program focuses on understanding and promoting health behaviour change. Dr Presseau holds a PhD in Psychology.
Dr. Maurianne Reade
Dr. Maurianne Reade is a Rural Family Physician in Mindemoya on Manitoulin Island and an Associate Professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). Dr. Reade completed medical school and residency at the University of Alberta and worked in several rural locations across Canada prior to moving to Ontario in 2001. As the past President of the Physician Clinical Teachers’ Association at NOSM, Dr. Reade brings perspectives from her northern and rural faculty colleagues. Reade has been involved in pandemic planning and the COVID vaccine rollout through the Emergency Preparedness committee and as the President of the Professional Staff at the Manitoulin Health Centre. The hard work and collaboration between local Family Health Teams, NoojmowinTeg and First Nations clinics; First Nations and municipal leadership, Sudbury District Public Health and volunteers have contributed to the Manitoulin Island vaccine success story.
Dr. Mariam Hanna
Dr. Mariam Hanna is a Pediatric Allergist and Clinical Immunologist with five years of private clinical practice experience in Burlington, Ontario. She completed her medical school and pediatrics residency at the University of Alberta before moving to Ontario where she completed her Allergy & Clinical Immunology fellowship at McMaster University. She is the Section Chair for Allergy & Clinical Immunology with the Ontario Medical Association and has served on the executive for the past three years. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. She is the co-founder of a private practice clinic in the Region of Halton.
Dr. Wendy Whittle
Dr. Whittle is a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) Specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital, Sinai Health System (SHS) in Toronto. Her clinical and research focus is in perinatal loss and preterm birth. Dr. Whittle holds a variety of positions at SHS. She is a MFM Hospitalist, managing the in-patient high risk obstetrical service for patients with complex fetal, maternal and obstetrical diagnoses. She is the Medical Director of the Labor and Delivery Unit, which provides care for approximately 7,500 patients and their families (60% considered high risk deliveries). She is also the Medical Director of the Antenatal High Risk Pregnancy Inpatient Care Unit where she led the COVID-19 Care in Pregnancy SHS for the Greater Toronto Area Obstetrical Network (GTA-OBS).
Dr. Whittle is active at the provincial- and national-levels through public and institutional education forums, shared clinical practice guidelines and experience, dedicated COVID-19 patient care and support, collaboration with Ministry of Health and Provincial Council of Maternal and Child Health as well as various research programs including CanCOV-Preg Network. Dr. Whittle holds a medical degree from Queens University, fellowship training at University of Toronto and a PhD in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Beate Sander
Dr. Beate Sander is the Acting Director of the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) Collaborative; Director of Population Health Economics Research (PHER), University Health Network; and Associate Professor and Faculty Co-Lead for the Health Technology Assessment emphasis at the University of Toronto. She is an internationally recognized leader in infectious disease economics. She holds a prestigious Canada Research Chair in Economics of Infectious Diseases and is the principal investigator of several multidisciplinary projects.
Dr. Sander holds degrees in Nursing (RN), Business Administration (MBA), Economics of Development (MEcDev), and a Doctorate in Health Services Research (PhD).
Conflict of Interest Rules
Public Health Ontario recognizes that many external advisors may not be completely free of actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest, as they may have affiliations with regulated industries, the scientific community or special interest groups, which receive funding from industry.
In an attempt to avoid or mitigate conflict of interest, we have developed conflict of interest rules that are intended to achieve a reasonable balance of those divergent considerations and the expertise we hope to gain from the external advisors, while avoiding or mitigating conflict of interest. To this end, each candidate will be asked to complete a conflict of interest disclosure form as part of the application process.