Assistant Professor

Heather Sampson


RN, BA (History and Economics), MHSc, CCRP PhD (c)

Michael Garron Hospital
Michael Garron Hospital B422, 825 Coxwell Avenue, Toronto, Ontario Canada M4C3E7
Research Interests
Public Health, Quality Improvement, Research Ethics, Clinical Research, Case Studies, Mixed Methods, Education Research,
CREMS Students, Other, Summer Students, Volunteers

Registered Nurse, with Bachelor’s degree in medical history and health economics, Certified Clinical Research Professional, Master of Health Science (ethics), PhD candidate (research ethics). Assistant Professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto. 

Research Synopsis

Extensive healthcare and research background in clinical practice, research administration and program development: inter-professional educator in research program development for undergraduate nursing and graduate nursing students, allied health students, undergraduate medical students and family practice residents, faculty development, healthcare research and Canadian research healthcare policy development.  

A leader in the health research field with strengths in setting organizational vision. Facilitated bench to bedside translational research and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) utilizing determinants of health paradigms; successful collaborative research program development utilizing knowledge creation and knowledge transfer models, innovative incorporation of business and health disciplines within Canada while engaging and integrating international and global research partners. 

Published research ethics expert: member of local, national and international research ethics committees and executives, including University Health Network, University of Toronto, American College of Surgeons – Oncology Group; research ethics advisor to National Research Ethics Service, UK. (Inaugural) Chair, Toronto Public Health, Research Ethics Board.

Recent Publications

Donald S Borrett, Heather Sampson, Ann Cavoukian, 'Research ethics by design: A collaborative research design proposal' Research Ethics: first published on October 5, 2016 doi:10.1177/1747016116673135

Donald J Willison, Nancy Ondrusek, Angus Dawson, Claudia Emerson, Lorraine E Ferris, Raphael Saginur, Heather Sampson, Ross Upshur; ‘What makes public health studies ethical? Dissolving the boundary between research and practice’ BMC Medical Ethics 2014, 15:61  doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-61

Jeremy Goldfarb, Vishaal Gupta, Heather Sampson, Albino Chiodo: Resource development in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery: an analysis on patient education resource development, MS ID: 9432559711106177: Journal of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, 2014

Anderson JA, Sawatzky-Girling B, McDonald M, Pullman D, Saginur R, Sampson HA, Willison D, “Research Ethics Broadly Writ: Beyond REB Review” Health Law Review: 2011, Vol 19, 3: 12-24

McDonald M, Pullman D, Anderson JA, Preto N, Sampson HA, “Research Ethics in 2020: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats”, Health Law Review: 2011, Vol 19, 3: 36-55

Willison D, Ondrusek N, Dawson A, Emerson C, Ferris L, Saginur R, Sampson H, Upshur R, Ontario Public Health Agency White Paper: “An Ethical Framework for Public Health Projects”, June 2011

Sampson H, Pullman D, Weijer C, “Lessons learned from the National Placebo Initiative”, Health Law Review: 2009 vol 17, 2-3: 26-32

Owen M, Emerson C, Kolopack P, Preto N, Sampson H, Townsend A, Willison D, Woodgate R, “Informing Governance Through Evidence-Based Research on REBs: Challenges and Opportunities” Health Law Review: 2009 vol 17, 2-3: 40-46

Saginur R, Deschamps P, Owen M, Sampson H, “Ethics Review of Multi-Centre Trials: Where Do We Stand?” Health Law Review: 2009 vol 17, 2-3: 59-65

Sampson H, Cox S, Saginur R, Owen M, “Examining and Understanding the Need for Canadian Research Ethics Board (REB) Member Standardized Education: Governance Views from the Field, Health Law Review: 2009 vol 17, 2-3: 73-79

Honours and Awards


Anderson Education Award: Innovation and Program Development - Wightman-Berris Academy, University of Toronto     2015
DOCH 2 Supervisor Award, University of Toronto     2015
University of Western Ontario: Clinical Research Program Lead Award      2009



Peer review research grant holder (principal investigator): Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Michael Garron Hospital Foundation CBPR and Education Research Grants including:

Project title: A trans-Atlantic approach to community based clinical research: ‘thinking globally, acting locally’: Heather Sampson, John Abrahamson, Joyce Nyhof-Young, Alice McGarvey, Ann Hopkins, $25,000 Toronto East General Hospital, $10,000 Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland

Project title: A Good Death Certificate: Developing and Evaluating an E-learning Intervention to Improve the Accuracy of Death Certification, John Abrahamson, Heather Sampson, Marcus Law, David Eden, Kumar Gupta, Audra Vair, $9,950.50, awarded by the TEGH 

Project title: A Good Death Certificate: Developing and Evaluating an E-learning Intervention to Improve the Accuracy of Death Certification. John Abrahamson, David Eden, Kumar Gupta, Heather Sampson, Audra Vair. $5,000 awarded by TEGH Education Research and Scholarship Grant

Hannah Grant Co-Recipient and Research Partner, Heather Sampson, Dr. Michael Owen: History of Canadian policy concerning research with human subjects, $5,000.00