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Faculty Member

Karim Kurji

Email Address(es)
Office Phone
905-830-4444, ext 4012
Office Address
17250 Yonge St; Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 6Z1
Medical Officer of Health, Regional Municipality of York.
Centre for Global Health
Clinical Public Health Division
Adjunct Lecturer

Research Interests

Applied Public Health.

Education & Training History

University College Hospital, London : M.B.;B.S. 1978

Internships : Royal Northern Hospital, London and Leicester General Hospital, Leicester.

Northwick Park Hospital and Clinical Research Centre, Harrow – Psychiatry training 1980

Barnet Vocational Training Scheme in General Practice, Hertfordshire – upto 1982, with M.R.C.G.P. by examination.

North-West Thames Regional Health Authority, London 1982-84 Community Medicine Training.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, M.Sc. (Community Medicine) 1983

Membership of the Faculty of Community Medicine, 1985 by examination.

University of Calgary Community Medicine Residency 1985

Dalhousie University, Halifax : FRCPC Community Medicine, by examination.

Other Affiliations

Other voluntary interests: leadership positions in broader community, having to preside over the religious congregational gatherings of the Unionville congregation of the Ismailia Community, with a similar office with the Halifax, Nova Scotia congregation. Past Honorary Secretary of the Aga Khan National Health Board, Led the voluntary medical first aid planning coverage for large religious visits in London, England, initiated innovative outreach health education campaigns on a voluntary basis. Past Chairman of the Ontario Ismaili Religious Educational Board and present Chairman of the Ontario Ismaili Conciliation and Arbitration Board.

Clinical interests: Ophthalmology practice at Public Optical (1990-1997); Ophthalmology practice (1997-2010); have been involved the follow-up of patients with chronic ophthalmologic conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes mellitus, macular degeneration, cataracts, in a team environment with access to an ophthalmologist.

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

(Past- 1985-86) Initially Honorary Assistant Professor, then Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta, (Past- 1986-89) Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University, and Director, Community Health Division. In this capacity, was in charge of the overall administration of the delivery of the undergraduate courses, including lecturing, exam setting, curriculum development, development of innovative teaching methods, evaluations, designing remedial programs and student counseling. Chaired the Graduate Program Proposal Committee for M.Sc. Course development, leading to four streams – Community Health and Epidemiology, Occupational Health, Health Services Research, and Biostatistics. The successful implementation of this program was to lead to an extension into a residency program in Community Medicine.

Assistant Professor, Queen’s University ( 2007- 2013), Adjunct Lecturer, University of Toronto (1989-present), Training Community Medicine Residents, training medical students, (Past- 2001-03) Federal Field Epidemiology training supervisor.

Professional Summary & Appointments

Initially as Associate, then Acting Medical Officer of Health, and Director, Public Health Programs, Regional Municipality of York , then Medical Officer of Health (September 2005- present), responsible for directing over 450 staff in the delivery of public health programs for York Region, a diverse mix of rural and urban high growth communities, with a total population of over 1 million residents. Public Health Mandatory Programs are delivered through the Infectious Diseases Control Division, Healthy Living Division, Health Protection and Child and Family Health Division, with services undergoing re-modeling to ensure cost-effectiveness and appropriateness, and high degree of public accountability. Implemented a Balanced Scorecard approach to accountability and facilitating new linkages with academic centers for research and teaching.

Initially as Physician Manager, Population Health Service, Public Health Branch (1999-2003), then as Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Province of Ontario (2003-5), spearheaded the revisions to mandatory programs, critiqued several cabinet submissions, presented at key cabinet committees and provided the public health defense at the Standing Committee of the Legislature on Estimates. Spearheaded the development of key Chief Medical Officer of Health Reports, and subsequent Public Health investments in chronic diseases. Participated in the provincial response to multiple public health crises, ranging from the issue of mould in schools, the Walkerton crisis, West Nile Virus, laboratory-testing crisis, the Toronto Garbage crisis, to the SARS crisis in Ontario. Conceptualized the Rapid Response Teams and other resources for the SARS crisis. Obtained $67 M from the Federal Government for Ontario’s Early Childhood Development Initiatives, key participant in the introduction of the Universal Influenza Immunization Program, and other vaccine initiatives, and safeguarding the Public Health Research and Education Development Program. Presentations on the Universal Influenza Immunization Program to the CDC, Atlanta and AMA in USA. Spearheaded efforts for the national evaluation of universal influenza immunization programs; steered the formation of the Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee; championed the acquisition of antiviral stockpiles for pandemic preparedness; and attempted to address the licensure of physicians trained abroad to practice as medical officers of health. At various times, oversaw all the services- Corporate Liaison and Resources, Disease Control Service, Surveillance and Outbreak Management Service, Environmental Health Service, the Population Health Service and Ontario’s role in the Canadian Blood Service. Represented the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Assistant Deputy Minister at numerous Ministry Management Committees, meetings of the Chief Medical Officers of Health across Canada, Pan Canadian Public Health Network and made several presentations to International delegations.

As Chief Medical Officer of Health and Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Province of Ontario (interim period of one month in 2004) demonstrated public health leadership (acknowledged publicly by the Minister) by initiating ministry-wide pandemic planning, and government-wide pandemic preparedness in the face of avian influenza outbreaks in Asia. Numerous daily briefings for the Minister on all public health priorities.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister for short periods of time (2003-4) with management responsibilities for the Public Health Division and its almost $1B budget.

As Associate Medical Officer of Health, Regional Municipality of York (1989-99), provided leadership in the management of various public health, home care and environmental programs with an inter-disciplinary management team. Made numerous presentations to Regional Council and Health and Social Services Standing Committee of Council on a wide range of topics, from electromagnetic fields, advocacy for better federal tuberculosis screening to effective organizational change and resource requests for the growth in programs. Major administrative duties, such as conducting negotiations with agencies for the purchase of home care services, negotiations of contracts with the unions, settlement of issues through Labor-management meetings and professional committees, the settling of grievances, negotiations pertaining to deficits with the Ministry of Environment, resolution of operational issues with the Central East Health Intelligence Unit and the Heart Health Program. Participation in the Region’s Senior Management (Commissioners of Planning, Finance, Transportation and Works, Community Services, Legal and Corporate Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer) meetings to resolve Corporate administrative and policy issues and critique departmental reports to Regional Council.

Other tasks included being the main author of a strategic plan for Public Health in the 90’s that was developed for the Association of Local Official health Agencies, chairing the 8th Annual Association of Local Public Health Agencies (ALPHA) Conference held in Markham in 1994, serving as Secretary for the GTA Medical Officers of Health, being on the Board of Directors of ALPHA, and participation in the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching program of the University of Toronto by providing the field experience for Community Medicine Residents and supervising MHSc student projects in York Region.

For a one-year period, while the Medical Officer of Health was on a secondment, all the public health divisions, including home care, reported directly to me.

As Director, Community Health and Epidemiology Division, and Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (1986-89), led the initial conception and development of a multidisciplinary Masters program, introduced newer modes of imparting knowledge to medical students as the first year course coordinator, heavily engaged in the teaching of epidemiology to medical and other health sciences students. Participated in the investigation of occupational health effects in the Air Arrow Crash of US soldiers in Gander, Newfoundland.

As Assistant, then Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Edmonton Board of Health, Alberta (1984-86), spearheaded the production in 1985, Edmonton’s first ever health status report; this had a major influence on the introduction of seatbelt legislation in Alberta. Conducted and published research studies in home care.

Final Year Resident in Community Medicine with the University of Calgary Residency Program from July 1985- June 1986.

Registrar, then Senior Registrar, North -West Thames Regional Health Authority, London, England (1982-84): key accomplishments include bed utilization studies at Charing Cross Hospital (a 1700 bed London teaching hospital), evaluation of the maternal serum alphafetoprotein screening program that influenced regional decision making for 50,000 births annually, efficiency studies for family planning clinics, working in a Regional Health Authority model of health care delivery.

General practice: One year as a trainee General Practitioner, in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, UK with extensive training in home-visits, immunizations, screening, and all aspects of primary care in multi-disciplinary primary care practice with 16,000 patients. Relief general practitioner in London, England (1982-84) and in Nova Scotia (1986-89)

Vocational Trainee in General (Family) Practice (1979-82): 6 month rotations as Senior House Officer in pediatrics, chest medicine and dermatology, accident and emergency and orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and one year in general practice. This was preceded with internships in general and Ear Nose and Throat Surgery and pediatrics, and locums in radiotherapy and orthopedics and electives in neurosurgery

Honours & Awards

Fellowship (by distinction) of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of the UK, 1998.

Current Research Projects

Applied collaborative Public Health Research.

Representative Publications

  1. Kurji KH, Haines AP. Detection and management of hypertension in general practices in north-west London. British Medical Journal 1984; 288:903-5.
  2. Kurji KH. Measuring the performance of family planning clinics: an index of efficiency. The British Journal of Family Planning 1984: 10: 75-7.
  3. Kurji KH, Edouard L. Ethnic differences in pregnancy outcome. Public Health London 1984; 98: 205-8.
  4. Contributed with Holton JM et al. Diptheria: North London. Comunicable Disease Report (CDR) 1984: 84/05.
  5. Kurji KH, MacDonald P. Health Practices of Edmontonians. Canadian Journal of Public Health 1986: 77:320.
  6. Kurji KH. Home care: Characteristics of clients using home-making services. Canadian Journal of Public Health 1987; 78: 411-2.
  7. White F, Kurji K. “Positioning for Prevention”: A landmark for chronic disease strategies. Chronic Diseases in Canada 1987; 8: 2-4.
  8. Kurji KH, Ostbye T, Bhatti T. Initiating Community Self-help: A model for Public Health Workers. Canadian Journal of Public Health 1988; 79: 458-9.
  9. Marantette M, Kurji KH. Community Development: Use of a multi-service system in Nova scotia. Canadian Journal of Public Health 1988; 79: 458-9.
  10. Kurji KH. A thesis as a component of the Certification Examination? Annals of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada 1989; 22: 2: 99.
  11. Kurji KH. Developing an interdisciplinary Master of Science Program: Issues encountered. Annals of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada 1988; 21: 503-4.
  12. Hepatitis B Outbreak Investigation Team ( incl Kurji K). An outbreak of hepatitis B associated with reusable subdermal electroencephalogram electrodes. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2000; 162 (8): 1127-31.
  13. Kurji K, Payne M, Doyle H, La Marca J. The lesser evils of battling round goby infiltration. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2006; 174 (11): 1557.
  14. Weir, E., d’Entremont, N., Stalker, S., Kurji, K., Robinson, V. (2009). Applying the balanced scorecard to local public health performance measurement: deliberations and decisions. BMC Public Health, 9:127

Had been responsible for the “Current Topics in Community Health” section of The Nova Scotia Medical Journal from 1988-9. Examples of topics published were “ A focus on mental health”, “Canada’s health promotion survey: A Nova Scotian Perspective”, and “The Health care System under scrutiny”.

MFPHM Dissertation for the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom, on: 1. Evaluation of the serum alphafetoprotein screening program at a district general hospital. 2. Detection and management of hypertension in general practices in north-west London.