Women's College Research Institute

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Lisa McCarthy, PharmD, MSc

Scientist, Women's College Research Institute
Assistant Professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto

Lisa McCarthy is a clinician-scientist whose research focuses on the safe and effective use of medications and innovations in models of ambulatory health care delivery.

She has founded her research program on her clinical experience as a pharmacist in specialty ambulatory and primary care settings. Since the majority of prescriptions originate in ambulatory care settings, creating and evaluating models of safe and effective medication use in this setting are essential for the safety and sustainability of our health system.

McCarthy’s research aims to improve medication safety in ambulatory care, develop innovative ambulatory care models that include pharmacists and optimize care for older adults. Her research has found gaps in knowledge about medication reconciliation in ambulatory care, a process in which health providers, patients and families work together to ensure good communication about medication information across different healthcare providers and settings. She is also co-leading a study to train pharmacists as pharmacogenetics experts in community settings. The program is helping pharmacists learn personalized medicine and identify patients for genetic testing to optimize drug therapy based on their genetic profile. She also studies pharmacist prescribing.

McCarthy also leads a project on identifying frailty in older adults and collaborates on a team studying problematic polypharmacy, which happens when a patient takes more medications than clinically indicated. She is involved in a study to develop deprescribing guidelines for older adults and pilot them in long-term care and on family health teams. The team’s decision support tool for deprescribing antipsychotics is used by the Ontario Appropriate Prescribing Group as part of an initiative to reduce polypharmacy in long-term care facilities.

Select Awards

  • Excellence in Ambulatory Collaborative Care Award, Women’s College Hospital, (2015)
  • New Practitioner Award, Canadian Pharmacists Association (2007)


See my peer-reviewed publications

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MSc, McMaster University, 2010

PharmD, University of Toronto, 2002

Areas of Interest

Health System Solutions



  • Fully affiliated with:
  • University of Toronto

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