July 14, 2020

Tom Stelfox appointed scientific director of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health

Appointment effective Nov. 1, 2020
Tom Stelfox
Dr. Tom Stelfox

The Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) and Alberta Health Services’ Calgary Zone are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Tom Stelfox, MD, PhD, as scientific director of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health. Effective Nov. 1, 2020, Tom will step down from his position as head, Department of Critical Care Medicine, to begin this new leadership role.

Tom is the successor to former scientific director, Dr. William (Bill) Ghali, MD, who took on the role of the University of Calgary’s vice-president (research) in March 2020, and interim director, Dr. Christine Friedenreich, PhD, who had previously served as the associate scientific director. Thank you to Bill for his exceptional leadership throughout the O’Brien Institute’s first 10 years and to Christine for a seamless transition to the role of scientific director and her highly effective interim leadership. 

Tom has been with UCalgary’s medical school and AHS since 2006. Over the past 14 years, he has cared for more than 5,000 patients, mentored clinical and research trainees, fostered the success of his colleagues, and established himself both nationally and internationally as a clinician-scientist. In addition to his role as department head, Tom is currently a professor in the departments of Critical Care Medicine, Medicine and Community Health Sciences, and is a member of the O’Brien Institute.

Tom received his medical degree from the University of Alberta. After completing his residency in internal medicine at the University of Toronto, he went on to receive his PhD in health care policy at Harvard University and critical care fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Throughout his career, Tom has held a variety of leadership roles. He was the inaugural scientific director of the AHS Critical Care Strategic Clinical Network. In this position, which Tom held from 2013-2017, he developed a province-wide strategic research plan focused on building research capacity, creating new knowledge and translating that knowledge into better care. He has also held several leadership roles within the O’Brien Institute. From 2011-2013, he was a member of the executive and co-chair of the Health Care System Performance Improvement Research Subgroup.

Tom’s research focuses on the application of health services research methods to evaluate and improve the quality of health-care delivery to critically ill patients. His research activities include developing quality indicators and strategies to improve continuity of patient care across the care continuum and improving the translation of scientific evidence into clinical practice. Tom has more than 250 peer-reviewed publications with over 10,000 citations, and the findings from his work have impacted health policy and patient care. Tom has served nationally and internationally on grant review committees, journal editorial boards and scientific advisory committees.

His work has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the Deborah J. Cook Mentorship Award, presented by the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, and the O’Brien Mid-Career Research Leader Award in 2017, the Watanabe Distinguished Achievement Award in 2018 and the AHS President’s Excellence Award, Outstanding Achievement for Quality Improvement — Provincial ICU Delirium Initiative in 2019.

Tom’s passion for strong research, quality training, mentorship and coaching makes him an excellent fit for this new role. He is committed to expanding a diverse and collaborative community within the institute that fosters research excellence and transforms the standards of health and health care, in Alberta and beyond.

Please join us in congratulating Tom on his new appointment.


Jon Meddings, MD
Dean, Cumming School of Medicine
University of Calgary

Sid Viner, MD
Medical Director, Calgary Zone
Alberta Health Services