Women's College Research Institute

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David Urbach, MD, MSc

Senior Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute
Surgeon-in-Chief and Medical Director, Perioperative Services, Women’s College Hospital
Senior Innovation Fellow, Women's College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV)
Professor, Surgery, and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Surgical Director, Bariatric Surgery Program, Toronto Western Hospital
Scientist, Division of Clinical Decision Making and Health Care, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute
Staff Surgeon, University Health Network
Senior Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences

Dr. David Urbach studies approaches to improving the quality of surgical care, including developing methods to evaluate surgical procedures and health technologies. He has investigated the processes of care in colorectal cancer surgery, assessing the complex factors that affect surgical outcomes, including the complex relationships between patient, surgeon and hospital factors. Dr. Urbach’s research has found that family doctors have a big influence on whether patients receive a colonoscopy to detect colorectal cancer, and subsequently found that patients whose family doctors used colonoscopies had much lower rates of colorectal cancer. He has also published the volume Cancer Surgery in Ontario, a guide to cancer-related surgical procedures across the province with maps and tables describing the distribution of surgical procedures and related healthcare by provider. Dr. Urbach’s current research focuses on access, quality, safety, and cost of surgical services in Canadian hospitals.

Select Awards

  • CIHR-IHSPR Article of the Year Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2015)
  • Best Brains Exchange Travel Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2011)
  • George Armstrong Peters Prize, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto (2006)


See my peer-reviewed publications

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MSc, Clinical Epidemiology, University of Toronto, 1999

MD, University of Toronto, 1993

Areas of Interest

Surgery-related health services research

  • Fully affiliated with:
  • University of Toronto

  • A member of:
  • Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)