Karen Born & Irfan Dhalla

  Karen Born is a researcher-writer with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael's Hospital, focusing her work on projects related to public engagement and education around health care policy. Karen is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto. Karen has worked across Ontario facilitating citizen engagement processes for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, LHINs and hospitals. Karen has an MSc in International Health Policy from the London School of Economics, and an Honours BA in Political Science from McGill University. Follow Karen on Twitter @BornK Dr. Irfan Dhalla is a general internist and scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, as Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation at the University of Toronto and an Adjunct Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. He received a Commonwealth Scholarship, which he used to complete a master's degree in Health Policy, Planning and Financing from the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His research focuses on health care policy and  the design and evaluation of new models of care for individuals with chronic diseases. He serves on the Committee to Evaluate Drugs, an advisory committee to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and on the board of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. Follow him on Twitter @IrfanDhalla


Articles and Opinion Pieces by this author

Filling a gap: Ontario’s walk-in clinics

About one in four Ontarians visit a walk-in clinic each year. While the government has made access to family doctors a key priority, there is no policy framework for walk-in clinics. Although walk-in clinics have been part of Ontario’s health care landscape for decades, they remain controversial. Walk-in clinics have generally been excluded from government…

Improving quality and safety in Ontario’s nursing homes

Recent media reports have highlighted the problem of neglect in nursing homes. Reports from the long-term care sector, in response, have focused on how the quality of care in nursing homes could be improved. However, measuring the quality of nursing home care can be a challenge. Rob Sargeant is a general internist at St. Michael’s…

Advance care planning: a difficult conversation

Advance care planning is an important process by which people think about how they would like to be cared for if they are seriously ill.  While most Canadians agree that having conversations about advance care planning are important, fewer than half actually do. In some jurisdictions, advance care planning is done much better than it…

Ontario hospital funding: confusion for 2012/2013?

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is changing the way it funds hospitals for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts on April 1. The new funding formula is intended to improve efficiency. However, many hospitals are unprepared for the change. We spoke with hospital executives and other experts to better understand what is…

How specialty positions are allocated for medical school graduates

Each year thousands of medical students across Canada apply for, and are matched to, residency positions in a variety of medical specialties.  The allocation of residency training positions among the various specialties is largely decided by academic doctors involved with medical education. Some experts believe that health system decision makers should exert greater influence over…

Sick patients continue to face challenges in accessing primary care

Improving access to primary care has been a key priority of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for the past decade.  The number of Ontarians who have a regular family doctor has increased dramatically. However, patients who are chronically ill continue to have problems accessing primary care. More family doctors and more rostered…

Who controls how patient information is shared in Ontario?

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner recently ordered Cancer Care Ontario to stop sending paper copies of screening reports containing personal health information to physicians.   However, a massive amount of personal health information is mailed or faxed every day in Ontario.  The implications of this order to information sharing and transfer across the health care…

The mammography controversy

In medical journals, doctors and scientists continue to debate the relative benefits and harms of breast cancer screening for women who are at average risk of developing breast cancer. This debate is not always reflected in screening programs, most of which strongly recommend mammography to average risk women within a certain age bracket. Some experts…

Are bedbugs a health problem?

The past ten years have seen a surge of bedbug infestations across North America, with many cities across Canada affected.  Although they do not cause or transmit disease, bedbug infestations are often perceived to be a health problem. An effective and efficient bedbug strategy requires coordination among various sectors, including public health, housing, community and…

House calls and Ontario’s election

In the run up to the Ontario election, the Liberal party has promised $60 million to support physician house calls. The number of doctors who make house calls has declined markedly over the past fifty years, and only a small proportion of Ontario family doctors currently provide ongoing care to patients in their homes.  What…

National pharmacare: who are the winners and losers?

The Canada Health Act includes public coverage of services provided in hospitals and by doctors, but not prescription medications taken outside of hospital. Most provincial drug plans do provide some public coverage, but many Canadians lack drug coverage. In the last 25 years, prescription medications have become both more important and more expensive. Bringing prescription…

The role of nurses in Ontario’s colon cancer screening program

Colon cancer screening is more effective than breast cancer screening, but uptake in Ontario is still low. Screening more individuals each year would prevent many needless deaths. Nurses can safely and effectively screen patients for colon cancer. Despite this, efforts to increase the number of screening procedures performed by nurses in Ontario are not widespread. …

Doctors & drug reps: prescription for trouble?

New drugs are developed every month, and doctors are continuously bombarded with information. Much of this information is provided by pharmaceutical sales representatives who visit doctors’ offices, sponsor lectures and give out medication samples. Are these encounters in the best interest of patients and the health care system? We went out to the street and…

Achieving better health for the homeless

Walking through the streets of any large city, one sees many homeless people. Nearly two in three have a history of some form of mental illness. Hospitals have become the place where homeless people with serious mental illness go during a crisis, but hospitals are poorly equipped to meet their needs. How can society improve…

Why are so many Canadians going abroad to study medicine?

Over the past five years, the number of Canadians studying medicine abroad has more than doubled. Almost all of these medical students want to practice in Canada. Is it good for Canada to rely on foreign medical schools to train our future doctors? David Li, a family doctor in Oshawa, is one of Ross University’s…

Why has Ontario introduced a new narcotics strategy?

Deaths from prescription opioids have increased in Ontario over the past two decades as opioids have become more commonly used to treat pain. The Ontario government has introduced legislation to better monitor opioid prescriptions and to educate doctors and the public about the danger of opioids. The only unusual thing about the death of Heath Ledger,…