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Faculty Member

Brian Schwartz MD, MScCH

Email Address(es)
Clinical Public Health Division
Appointment Status
Status Only
Currently Accepting Doctoral Students?

Research Interests

My research activities support and integrate emergency management principles and practice into public health and health care, with the goal of improving emergency preparedness and response in these domains.

Pandemics, Epidemics and Environmental Emergencies:

  • Planning, Preparedness and Response (e.g. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Influenza including pH1N1, COVID-19, Other Communicable Diseases)
  • Performance Indicators in Public Health Emergency Preparedness
  • Syndromic surveillance and early warning systems for infectious and environmental illness

Optimization of Emergency and Disaster Management Systems, Practice, and Outcomes:

  • Mass gatherings preparedness and response
  • Responding to the opioid epidemic, a public health emergency
  • Risk Assessment and Communication (environmental and other emergencies)
  • Core competencies for and roles of health professionals in emergency management

Prehospital Care & Emergency Medical Services (EMS) – Professional Practice, Optimization of Systems, and Outcomes:

  • Critical Incident Stress in health responders
  • Core competencies for health professionals in identifying and managing patients affected by domestic violence
  • Validation of paramedic and firefighter first responder practice through evidence and outcomes based research

Professional Summary & Appointments

Brian Schwartz is Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health. From 2009 to 2022 he served in various roles at Public Health Ontario, most recently as Vice-President, Science and Population Health. He earlier served as Vice-President, Health Protection and Director, Emergency Management Support. Previously Dr. Schwartz served as Scientific Advisor to the Emergency Management Branch of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care from 2004 to 2011. He acted as Vice-Chair of the Ontario SARS Scientific Advisory Committee in 2003, was Chair of the Scientific Response Team for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and served as Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table from 2020 to 2022.

Before entering public health Dr. Schwartz practiced emergency medicine for over 30 years in community and academic settings. He held the position of Director of the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Care from 1996 to 2009, and has published extensively in emergency medicine, prehospital/paramedic care, and health emergency preparedness and response. He has been a member of the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan Working Group since its inception.

Dr. Schwartz obtained his Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Community Health from the University of Toronto. He received his certification in emergency medicine from and is a Fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Honours & Awards

2023  Distinguished Service Award, Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa).  For significant contributions to public health in Ontario.

2023  President’s Impact Award, University of Toronto, as Co-Chair, Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. For outstanding contributions and dedication to supporting evidence-informed decision making and response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario and nationally.

2011 Keith Neely Award for Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Medical Services, National Association of EMS Physicians

2010 Outstanding Achievement Award, H1N1 Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Response Team, Government of Ontario

2009 Award of Excellence for leadership in Pandemic Influenza Panning and Response, The Ontario College of Family Physicians.

2008 Department of Family and Community Medicine Teaching Award for Excellence in Development and use of Innovative Instructional Methods, for e-learning program “The Emergency Department Response to Domestic Violence”, University of Toronto

2007 Nominated for the 2006-2007 Fred Fallis Award for Excellence; University of Toronto

2007 Nominated for the 2006-2007 Anna Jarvis Award for Teaching Excellence in Emergency Medicine

2007 Emergency Medicine Career Service Award; Ontario Medical Association Section on Emergency Medicine

2006 International Federation of Emergency Medicine Humanitarian Award (Director, Canadian Centre for Excellence in Emergency Preparedness)

Selected Publications

  1. Raza, S., Schwartz, B. Constructing a disease database and using natural language processing to capture and standardize free text clinical information. Sci Rep 13, 8591 (2023).
  2. Lee JM, Jansen R, Sanderson KE, Guerra F, Keller-Olaman S, Murti M, O’Sullivan TL, Law MP, Schwartz B, Bourns LA, Khan Y. Public health emergency preparedness for infectious disease emergencies: a scoping review of recent evidence. BMC Public Health (2023) 23:420
  3. Raza S, Schwartz B. Entity and relation extraction from clinical case reports of COVID-19: a natural language processing approach. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 23, 20 (2023).
  4.  Raza S, Schwartz B. Detecting Biomedical Named Entities in COVID-19 Texts. Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Healthcare AI and COVID-19, ICML 2022, PMLR 184:117-126.
  5. Raza S, Schwartz B, Rosella LC. CoQUAD: a COVID-19 question answering dataset system, facilitating research, benchmarking, and practice. BMC bioinformatics. 2022;23(1):1-28.
  6. Murty V K, Schwartz B, Dembo R, Thakur J S, Bhasin AA, Chockalingam A. Modeling pandemics and vaccine and equity issues. Int J Non-Commun Dis [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Apr 11];6, Suppl S1:41-6.
  7. Yin, X.C., Pang, M., Law, M.P. Guerra F, O’Sullivan T, Laxer RE, Schwartz B, Khan Y. Rising through the pandemic: a scoping review of quality improvement in public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMC Public Health 22, 248 (2022).
  8. Sanford S, Schwartz B, Khan Y. The role of tacit knowledge in communication and decision-making during emerging public health incidents. Int J Disaster Risk Reduct. 2020;50:101681.
  9. Khan Y, Brown AD, Gagliardi AR, O’Sullivan T, Lacarte S, Henry B, Schwartz B. Are we prepared? The development of performance indicators for public health emergency preparedness using a modified Delphi approach. PLoS ONE. 2019;14(12):e0226489.
  10. MacIntyre E, Khanna S, Darychuk A, Copes R, Schwartz B. Evaluating risk communication during extreme weather and climate change: a scoping review. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada. 2019;39(4):24-38.
  11. Leece P, Chen C, Manson H, Orkin AM, Schwartz B, Juurlink DN, Gomes T. One-year mortality after emergency department visit for nonfatal opioid poisoning: a population-based analysis. Ann Emerg Med. 2020 Jan;75(1):20-28.
  12. Henry B, on behalf of the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (CPIP) Task Group. Canadian pandemic influenza preparedness: public health measures strategy. Can Commun Dis Rep. 2019;45(6):159-63.
  13. Khan Y, O’Sullivan T, Brown A, Tracey S, Gibson J, Genereux M, Henry B, Schwartz B. Public health emergency preparedness: a framework to promote resilience. BMC Public Health. 2018;18:1344. 
  14. Cairncross ZF, Herring J, van Ingen T, Smith BT, Leece P, Schwartz B, Hohenadel K. Relation between opioid-related harms and socioeconomic inequalities in Ontario: a population-based descriptive study. Can Med Assoc J OPEN. 2018;6(4):E478-E485.
  15. Henry B, Alfieri C, Gantt S, Gemmill I, Hatchett T, Henry E, Schwartz B (Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (CPIP) Task Group). Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Communications strategy. Can Commun Dis Rep. 2018;44(5):106-9. Impact Factor not published.
  16. Henry B, Alfieri C, Gantt S, Gemmill I, Hatchett T, Henry E, Schwartz B (Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (CPIP) Task Group). Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: surveillance strategy. Can Commun Dis Rep. 2018;44(1):14-7.
  17. Henry B, Alfieri C, Gantt S, Gemmill I, Hatchett T, Henry E, Schwartz B. (Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (CPIP) Task Group). Canadian pandemic influenza preparedness: health sector planning guidance. Can Commun Dis Rep. 2018;44(1):6-9.
  18. Moore KM, Papadomanolakis-Pakis N, Hansen-Taugher A, Guan TH, Schwartz B, Stewart P, Leece P, Bochenek R. Recommendations for action: a community meeting in preparation for a mass-casualty opioid overdose event in Southeastern Ontario. BMC Proceedings. 2017;11(Suppl 7):8.
  19. Van Meer R, Hohenadel K, Fitzgerald-Husek A, Warshawsky B, Sider D, Schwartz B, Nelder MP. Zika Virus in Ontario: evaluating a rapid risk assessment tool for emerging infectious disease threats. Health Security. 2017;15(3):230-7. DOI:
  20. Khan Y, Sanford S, Sider D, Moore K, Garber G, de Villa E, Schwartz B. Effective communication of public health guidance to emergency department clinicians in the setting of emerging incidents: a qualitative study and framework. BMC Health Serv Res. 2017;17:312. DOI:
  21. Rajaram N, Hohenadel K, Gattoni L, Khan Y, Birk-Urovitz E, Li L, Schwartz B. Assessing health impacts of the December 2013 Ice storm in Ontario, Canada. BMC Public Health. 2016;16:544. DOI: Impact Factor 1.198.
  22. Schwartz B, Nafziger S, Milsten A, Luk J, Yancey II A. Mass gathering medical care: Resource document for the National Association of EMS Physicians Position Statement. Prehospital Emerg Care. 2015;19(4):559-68. 
  23. Bochenek R, Grant M, Schwartz B. Enhancing the relevance of Incident Management Systems in public health emergency preparedness: a novel conceptual framework. Dis Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015; 9(4):415-22. DOI:10.1017/dmp.2015.62
  24. Khan Y, GS, Henry B, de Villa E, Tsamis C, Grant M. Schwartz B. The evidence base of primary research in public health emergency preparedness: a scoping review and stakeholder consultation. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:432. DOI: 
  25. Schwartz B. Transfer of care and offload delay: continued resistance or integrative thinking? Can J Emerg Med. 2015;17(6):679-84. DOI:
  26. Halpern J, Maunder RG, Schwartz B, Gurevich M. Downtime after critical incidents in emergency medical technicians/paramedics. BioMed Res Int. 2014;2014: Article ID 483140.
  27. Khan Y, Schwartz B, Johnson I. Surveillance and epidemiology in natural disasters: a novel framework and assessment of reliability. PLOS Curr Disasters. 2014;Edition 1.
  28. Peller J, Schwartz B, Kitto S. Nonclinical core competencies and effects of interprofessional teamwork in disaster and emergency response training and practice: a pilot study. Dis Med Public Health Prep. 2013;7(4):395-402. Impact Factor 0.977. 
  29. Rosella LC, Wilson K, Crowcroft NS, Chu A, Upshur R, Willison D, Deeks SL, Schwartz B, Tustin J, Sider D, Goel V. Pandemic H1N1 in Canada and the use of evidence in developing public health policies – a policy analysis. Social Science & Medicine 2013; 83:1-9.
  30. Schanzer D, Schwartz B. Impact of Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza on Emergency Department Visits, 2003-2010, Ontario, Canada. Acad Emerg Med. 2013 Apr;20(4):388–397.
  31. Gutierrez-Mendoza LM, Schwartz B, de Jesus Mendez de Lira J, Wirtz VJ. Oseltamivir storage, distribution and dispensing following the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak in Mexico. (Co-principal author) Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2012;90: 782–787.