Associate Professor

Ruth Heisey



Women's College Hospital
77 Grenville St., Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 1B2
Research Interests
Health Promotion, Women's Health, Systematic Reviews, Qualitative Data Analysis, Cancer Care

Dr. Ruth Heisey is Chief of the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Primary Care and the Medical Director of the Peter Gilgan Centre for Women’s Cancers at Women’s College Hospital. She is an Associate Professor and Clinician Investigator in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.


Research Synopsis

Her research interests include breast cancer prevention, screening and diagnosis. She strives to help family physicians better identify, manage and support women with breast concerns and to ensure that women across Canada have better access to quality cancer care. She also supports educational scholarship.

Recent Publications

O’Brien MA, Carroll JC, Manca DP, Miedema B, Groome PA, Makuwaza T, Easley J, Sopcak N, Jiang L, Decker K, McBride ML, Moineddin R, Permaul JA, Heisey R, Eisenhauer EA, Krzyzanowska MK, Pruthi S, Sawka C, Schneider N, Sussman J, Urquhart R, Versaevel C, and Grunfeld E on behalf of CanIMPACT. Multigene expression profile testing in breast cancer: is there a role for family physicians? Current Oncology. 2017 April 24(2). Coauthor.

Carroll JC, Makuwaza T, Manca DP, Sopcack N, Permaul J, O’Brien MA, Heisey R, Eisenhowere EA, Easley J, Krzyzanowska MK, Miedema B, Pruthi s, Sawka C, Schneider N, Sussman J, Urquhart R, Versaevel C, Grunfeld E. Primary Care Providers’ Experiences and Views of Personalized Genomic Medicine. Canadian Family Physician. 2016 October 62(10): e626-635. Coauthor or Collaborator.

Heisey R, Carroll JC. Identification and management of women with a family history of breast cancer: Practical guide for clinicians. Canadian Family Physician. 2016 October 62(10): 799-80 Principal Author.

Hum S, Wu M, Pruthi S, Heisey R. Physician and Patient Barriers to Breast Cancer Preventive Therapy. Current Breast Cancer Reports. 2016 Jun 13:1-7. Senior Responsible Author.

Pruthi S, Heisey R, Bevers T. Chemoprevention for Breast Cancer. Annals of Surgical Oncology. 2015 Jul. Impact Factor 3.3. Coauthor or Collaborator.

Pruthi S, Heisey R, Bevers T. Personalized Assessment and Management of Women at Risk for Breast Cancer in North America. Women’s Health. 2015 Mar 17; 11(2):213-224. Co-Principal Author.

O’Brien MA, Carroll JC, Heisey R, et al. Medical oncologists’ views on the role of family physicians multi-gene expression profile testing in breast cancer. European Journal of Cancer Care. 2014 Sep; 23(21). Impact Factor 1.56. Coauthor or Collaborator.

A Cheung, R Heisey, J Srighanthan. Breast Cancer and Osteoporosis. Current Opinions in Endocrinology. 2013 Dec; 20(6):532-53 Coauthor or Collaborator.

Carroll J, Heisey R, Warner E. Five Things to Know about Family History and Breast Cancer. CMAJ. 2012 Sep 4; 184:1391. Impact Factor 8.2. Co-Principal Author.

Smith P, Hum S, Versed K, Del Guidice E, Heisey R. Attitudes and Behaviours Towards Screening Mammography in Women 40 to 49 Years of Age. Canadian Family Physician. 2012 Sep; 58(9):e508-e513. Impact Factor 1.4. Senior Responsible Author.

Granek L, Fitzgerald B, Fergus K, Clemons M, Heisey R. Travelling on Parallel Tracks: Patient and Physician Perspectives on Why Women Delay seeking Care for Breast Cancer Symptoms. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal (CONJ). 2012 Sep; 22(2). Impact Factor 0.18. Coauthor or Collaborator.

Warner E, Heisey R, Carroll JC. Breast Cancer Screening: Beyond the Headlines. CMAJ. 2012; 184:1803-1807. Impact Factor 8.2. Coauthor or Collaborator.

R. Heisey, M. Clemons, L. Granek, K. Fergus, |S. Hum, B. Lord, D.R. McCready, MD and B. Fitzgerald. Health care strategies to promote earlier presentation of symptomatic breast cancer: perspectives of women and family physicians. Current Oncology. 2011 Oct; 18(5):e227-237. Impact Factor 2.473. Principal Author.

Heisey RE, McCready DR. Office Management of a Palpable Breast Lump. CMAJ. 2010 Mar. Invited by Dr. Diane Kelsall, editor. Available from: Impact Factor 8.2. Principal Author.

Molckovsky A, Fitzgerald B, Freedman O, Heisey R, Clemons M. Approach to inflammatory breast cancer. Can Fam Physician. 2009 Jan; 55(1):25-31. Coauthor or Collaborator.

Heisey RE, Lickley HLA. Breast Cancer in the Elderly- Is there a role for primary and secondary prevention strategies? Geriatrics and Aging. 2001 May; 4(4). Principal Author.

RK Han. Does Raloxifene Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women? Can Fam Phys. 2000 Jan (Trainee publication, Supervised publication for clinical clerk RK Han, Jan 2000).

Regehr G, Freeman R, Hodges B, Robb A, Missiha N, Heisey R. OSCE Performance Evaluations made by standardized patients: Comparing checklist and global rating scores. Academic Medicine. 1999 Oct; 74(10 Suppl). Coauthor or Collaborator.

Heisey RE, Mahoney L, Watson B. Management of Palpable Breast Lumps. Canadian Family Physician. 1999 Aug; 45:1926-1932. Impact Factor 1.4. Co-Principal Author.

Heisey RE, Carroll JC, Warner E, McCready DR, Goel V. Identification and Management of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutation carriers. Canadian Family Physician. 1999 Jan; 45:114-124. Impact Factor 1.4. Principal Author.

Carroll JC, Heisey RE, Warner E, McCready DR, Goel V. Hereditary Breast Cancer: Assessment Psychosocial Issues and the Role of the Family Physician. Canadian Family Physician. 1999 Jan; 45:126-132. Coauthor or Collaborator.

Warner E, Heisey RE, Goel V, McCready DR, Carroll J. Risk Assessment of the Patient with a Family History of Breast Cancer. Canadian Family Physician. 1999 Jan; 45:104-112. Coauthor or Collaborator.

Heisey RE, Pimlott N, Evans MF. Should family physicians be teaching and encouraging women to perform regular breast self-examination? Canadian Family Physician. 1999 Jan; 45:69-70. Impact Factor 1.4. Co-Principal Author.

Mahoney L, Heisey RE, Watson B. Practice Tip - Breast Cyst Aspiration. Canadian Family Physician. 1998 Oct; 44:2093. Co-Principal Author.

Honours and Awards


She received the distinction of Academic Family Physician of the Year in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto in 2009 and she has received numerous teaching, course development and research awards.


2017 Sep – 2019 Aug Co-Knowledge User. Automated screening, triage, and follow-up to facilitate proactive, personalized postpartum mental health treatment for new parents. CIHR Personalized Health Catalyst Grants: PI: Ivers Noah. Collaborator(s): Agarwal P, Dennis CL, Vigod S. 20,000 CAD. [Grants]

2017 Jun – 2018 Jul Collaborator. Building education scholarship capacity concepts to application in a hospital-based family medicine teaching unity. Department of Family and Community Medicine. Art of Possible Grant. PI: Chen Betty. Collaborator(s): Fernando O, Freeman R. 5,000 CAD. [Grants]

2017 Jun – 2018 Jul Collaborator. Understanding clinician teacher's self-perception of their academic roles: A pilot study. UTOPIAN Idea to Proposal Small Grant. PI: Chen Betty. Collaborator(s) Nyhof-Young J, Freeman R. 7,900 CAD. [Grants]

2013 Sep - 2018 Sep Co-Investigator. Canadian Team to Improve Community-Based Cancer Care along the Continuum (Can IMPACT). CIHR Community-based Primary Health Care Team Grant. PI: Grunfeld, Eva. Collaborator(s): M Aubin, J Carroll, M Elwood, L Fillion, M Fitch, P Groome, R Heisey, A Hussain, A Katz, P Kreuger, A Lofters, D Manca, J Maxted, B Miedema, R Moinedded, M O’Brien, J Sisler, J Sussman, F Webster, M Winget. 2,476,364. [Grants]

2013 Jan - 2014 Apr Co-Investigator. Identification of Women with a Family History of Breast Cancer in electronic Medical Records: a Feasibility Study. University of Toronto Dept. of Family and Community Medicine. Utopian Feasibility Grant. Collaborator(s): M. Murara, M. Griever, K. Wintemute, M. Moeinedin, J.C. Carroll, D. Telner, R. Heisey, W. Meschino, J. 25,000 CAD. [Grants]

2009 Mar - 2014 Oct Principal Investigator. Improving Breast Cancer care with a Rapid Diagnostic Clinic. Canada’s Academic Health Sciences Centres (AHSC). Alternate Funding Plan (AFP). Collaborator(s): C Lo, B Lord, T Cil, J Semple, J Escallon, D McCready. 30,000 CAD. [Grants]

2008 Apr - 2010 Sep Co-Principal Investigator. Identifying Strategies to Promote Earlier Presentation of Breast Cancer: Perspectives From Patients and Family Physicians. Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF). Collaborator(s): R Heisey, B Fitzgerald, K Fergus, B Lord, D McCready, M Clemons. 48,096 CAD. [Grants]

2004 Apr Co-Applicant. Disclosure of BRCA1/2 Mutations to Offspring: Impact on Wellbeing of Adolescent and Adult Daughters. Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance. Collaborator(s): MJ Esplen, I Ambus, S Messner, A Eisen, W Meschino, J Furnival, R Heisey, and C Adams. 48,945 CAD. [Grants]

2003 Apr - 2005 Apr Principal Investigator. Women’s Views of Chemoprevention: A Qualitative Study. Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF). Ontario Chapter. Collaborator(s): N Pimlott, M Clemons, S Cummings, N Drummond. 31,000 CAD. [Grants]

1998 Nov - 1999 Nov Co-Investigator. Community Pilot Study of an Informational Aid for Women with a Family History of Breast Cancer. Medical Research Council of Canada (MRC). Collaborator(s): E Warner, J Carroll, R Heisey, V Goel, W Meschino, L Lickley, B Doan, P Chart, V Orr, S Lothian. 38,293 CAD. [Grants]

1998 Oct - 2006 Collaborator. A randomized double blind trial comparing tamoxifen to raloxifene in postmenopausal women at increased risk for breast cancer. Collaborator in STAR Trial. National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC). Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project. 797,000 CAD. [Grants]

1998 Sep - 1999 Sep Co-Investigator. Evaluating Standardized Patient Generated OSCE Measures. Medical Council of Canada. Collaborator(s): Regehr G, Freeman R, Hodges B, Robb A, Missiha N, Heisey R. 10,908 CAD. [Grants]