Ross Upshur

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Ross Upshur, FRCPC, is a Canadian physician and researcher. He is the Director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, Director of the Primary Care Research Unit at Sunnybrook Research Institute and a staff physician at the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.


He received his BA degree (Hons.) in philosophy from the University of Winnipeg in 1982, MA degree in philosophy from Queen's University in 1983, before receiving his MD degree from McMaster University in 1986. After 7 years of rural primary care practice in southern Ontario, he returned to university to complete an MSc in epidemiology and fellowship training in Community Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto in 1997.

He was appointed by the University of Toronto as Assistant Professor in 1998 and Associate Professor in 2004 in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, with Cross-Appointment to the Department of Public Health Sciences. Since 2000, he has been the Director of the Primary Care Research Unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. In 2006, he was appointed Director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics.

He holds other academic positions, including the Canada Research Chair in Primary Care Research, Director of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Bioethics, Adjunct Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, affiliate of the Institute of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. He is an Associate Member of the Institute of Environment and Health and Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University.

At the University of Toronto, he has designed and taught courses in the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate curriculum in ethics and epidemiology, as well as supervising doctoral and master’s candidates, in addition to serving as a clinical supervisor for the post-graduate Family Medicine Residency program.

He has served on advisory boards for the International Joint Commission, Doctors Without Borders, and and consulted with the World Health Organization.


He has published over 100 articles in scientific journals such as Lancet, British Medical Journal, Canadian Medical Association Journal, among others.

His research interests include: the concept of evidence in health care, medical epistemology, clinical reasoning, public health ethics, ethics and health information, empirical approaches in bioethics, primary care research methods, time series applications in health services research, communicable disease and environmental epidemiology. He is currently the principal investigator on the internationally renowned Canadian Program of Research on Ethics in a Pandemic (CanPREP), funded by CIHR, which conducts research on infectious disease ethics.

A list of Ross Upshur's publications is available on PubMed.

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