Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology

Dr. Anne Holbrook

Anne Holbrook MD, PharmD, MSc, FRCP(C)
Dr. Anne Holbrook is Director of the Division of Clinical
Pharmacology & Toxicology and Professor, Department of
Medicine at McMaster University . She is also an
Associate Member of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology
and Biostatistics and Senior Scientist at the Centre for
Evaluation of Medicines.

Faculty: Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Educational Activities

Although the division is one of the smallest in the department, members play a major role in education. This includes year-round supervision of medical students and residents on internal medicine clinical teaching units at St Joseph’s Hospital and Hamilton Health Sciences Centre as well as rotations through the Medication Assessment Clinic. Faculty are active supervisors in postgraduate education at the Masters and PhD level in medical sciences, pharmacology, health research methodology and pharmaceutical sciences at both McMaster University and the University of Toronto. The division draws Doctor of Pharmacy students from across the country and from the United States for clinical and research rotations as well as undergraduate pharmacology, health sciences and statistics students from McMaster. In addition, the division is in constant demand for supervising workshops, electives, tutorials, academic half days and continuing medical education sessions.

The first cohort of residents from McMaster’s internal medicine program has just completed their formal clinical pharmacology training in a combined University of Toronto – McMaster residency program. This program is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada . Our CIHR-funded New Emerging Team on individualizing therapies for seniors coordinates training for several graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Finally, division faculty are inaugural faculty in a new Canada-wide Health Informatics PhD/Postdoctoral strategic training program.

Research Programs

The Division of Clinical Pharmacology, despite its small numbers, continues to be highly successful in attracting research funding largely because of a very wide collaborative network within medicine, pharmacy, nursing, epidemiology, economics and the social sciences. Currently amongst the members of the division, more than $15 million worth of research grants are held. These come from a variety of sources, including the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Health Infoway Partnerships Program, Ontario Ministry of Health, Health Canada , Ontario Program for Optimal Therapeutics, local hospitals, professional associations and various pharmaceutical companies. Our research topics focus on the benefits, harms, economics and evidence for therapies and include projects examining the impact of electronic medical records and computer-based decision support on quality of medical care in Canada, the impact of changes in drug policies on health and health care utilization, patient preferences regarding therapies, the development, dissemination and implementation of evidence-based guidelines for therapies, medication assessment and intervention in primary care clinics, the advancement of pharmaceutical care, medication adherence support, patients’ needs for therapeutic information, electronic registries and automated data collection for outcomes research in priority diseases, mechanisms of drug interactions, and the pulmonary disposition of pharmaceuticals. As well as scholarly papers and presentations, members of the division hold multiple copyrights and patents on research products, software, reports and guidances.

Major Achievements

The division continues to flourish within its home base, the Centre for Evaluation of Medicines, where members are cross-appointed as senior scientists. The Centre is based within St Joseph ’s Hospital and is affiliated with the university. Several of the division's members hold major advisory roles with the federal and provincial governments, leadership positions in provincial and national professional societies and are frequently called upon to advise regarding evidence-based therapy assessment and decision-making.

Several faculty are recipients of peer-reviewed career awards, including Dr. Holbrook by a Career Investigator Award from CIHR, Dr. Levine by FSORC Research Scholar Awards, Dr Dolovich by a CIHR-RxD HRF Career Award and Dr Labiris by FSORC Career Award. Four of our post-graduate students hold awards.

Future Directions

Since therapies are an increasingly prevalent and costly sector of health care, clinical pharmacologists with training in medicine, pharmacology and epidemiology, are in high demand but critically short supply. Thus a major immediate goal of the division is the recruitment of new members to allow us to address the significant needs within healthcare for therapeutics and toxicology consultation, within the university for undergraduate and postgraduate clinical pharmacology education, and to expand our involvement in health policy and research where unmet opportunities abound. Overall, the division will proceed with its goal of excellence in the research, teaching and clinical application of pharmacologic principles and evidence-based therapeutics.