Conference on Quality in Primary Care

On November 16, 2019, nearly 150 local and international colleagues came together for the 2nd Toronto International Conference on Quality in Primary Care. This year’s theme focused on improving equity in primary care, and speakers from around the world provided insight into the work they were doing in their local contexts to contribute to health equity.   

You can recap the event on Twitter with the hashtag #qualityTO2019, where participants shared their thoughts throughout the day. Or click here to read some of the Twitter conference highlights.

Photos of the day can be found on our Facebook page.

Conference Speakers and Panelists

Dr. Graham Watt

Keynote Speaker

Glasgow, Scotland

Dr. Sara Willems


Ghent, Belgium

Dr. Laura Gottlieb


San Francisco, USA

Dr. Andrew Pinto


Toronto, Canada




Jody Currie, Phd


Brisbane, Australia

Dr. Jonathan Leitch


Brisbane, Australia

Alexander Zsager

Patient Partner

Toronto, Canada

Dawnmarie Harriott

Patient Partner

Toronto, Canada

In partnership with:

Conference Program

This year’s conference theme is improving health equity. We are excited to bring together speakers from around the world who can share their journey and reflections on what we need to do to advance equity through primary care.

We anticipate that the conference will explore several aspects of health equity, including health disadvantages related to income, race, and social position. We will strive to be solution-oriented and highlight promising primary care approaches for addressing health equity. These include a primary care network to improve service in impoverished areas of Scotland, novel community collaborations in Belgium, integration between primary care and public health in Costa Rica, programs to address Indigenous health disparities in Canada and Australia, and examples of how practices have started to screen for and address social determinants in Canada and the U.S.


Click here to view the conference program


Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Graham Watt

Graham Watt graduated in medicine at the University of Aberdeen in 1976 and after hospital jobs in Shetland, Leicester, Aberdeen and Nottingham, worked with Dr Julian Tudor Hart at Glyncorrwg in South Wales for a challenging series of studies on community dietary salt restriction. He completed professional training in general practice and public health; acquired epidemiological experience via the WHO MONICA Project, the Ladywell Family Blood Pressure Study and MIDSPAN Studies; worked for two years as a health services research manager in the Scottish Chief Scientist Office and for four years as a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health; before spending 22 years as Norie Miller Professor of General Practice at the University of Glasgow, with interests in curriculum reform, academic GP career development, primary care research and inequalities in health care. From 2009-16 he coordinated General Practitioners at the Deep End, working with general practitioners serving the 100 most deprived communities in Scotland, an initiative which has now spread to Ireland, England and Australia, as encapsulated in his new book The Exceptional Potential of General Practice, with 55 authors from 11 countries, including 31 front line general practitioners.




Dr. Sara Willems

Sara Willems, MA Health Promotion, PhD Medical Sciences (°1977, Ghent) is affiliated to the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at Ghent University, Belgium. In October 2011 she became the first European professor in the field of equity in healthcare. She leads the Equity in Health Care research group, an interdisciplinary research group leading or partnering in numerous national and international research projects on equity in primary care. In 2018 she became the head of the department. Her work examines the relation between health care organisation and equity in access to care, treatment and outcomes of care. Her more recent work focuses on the equity dimension in quality and safety in primary care. Sara Willems is often consulted by international, federal and local organizations and authorities on equity in health care.


Dr. Laura Gottlieb

Laura Gottlieb is an Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and Director of the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network, a research network that conducts, catalyzes, and disseminates research at the intersection of social and medical care. Her research evaluates programs and policies related to identifying and addressing social risk factors in the context of care delivery.




Dr. Andrew Pinto

Andrew Pinto is the founder and director of the Upstream Lab at the University of Toronto, a space to co-design and rigorously evaluate interventions that address social determinants at the individual, organizational and community level. He is a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist and family physician at St. Michael's Hospital Academic Family Health Team. Dr. Pinto is building on local lessons and now leading a national effort to support primary care practices to screen for poverty and intervene.




Jody Currie, Phd

Jody Currie is a Mununjahli Yugambeh woman with traditional ties to the country between the Logan and Tweed Rivers. In 2015, Jody was appointed as our CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane, one of the largest Aboriginal community health and human services organisations in Queensland. Jody has a lengthy history in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, housing, early childhood education and human service delivery and is a strong advocate for improving the service accessibility to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She has experience and focus on health, children youth and vulnerable families and has held a variety of roles in both the community and government sectors.



Dr. Jonathan Leitch

Jonathan Leitch is currently the Senior Medical Officer at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane sitting on the senior management team and responsible for clinical governance and clinical quality improvement. For the last 6 years he has worked as a Primary care physician (General Practitioner) and Senior Medical Officer at an Aboriginal Medical Service in Brisbane and has a passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and to empower individuals, families and communities to be enabled to improve their health and well-being. His qualifications include an MBBS (University of Queensland), FRACGP, DRANZCOG and a Masters of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (James Cook University). He currently holds an academic title as Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland.



Alexander Zsager - Patient Partner

Alex Zsager is a strong advocate for the homeless, with his own personal journey that took him from success to homelessness and back. He has been a research team member with such organizations as the MHCC at Home/Chez Soi, Dixon Halls Out of the Cold project, CAMH, and St. Mikes Star Learning Centre and many more around Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness. Alex draws on his own lived experience in his role as a researcher, advisor / consultant and board member to several committees and organizations including the TC-LHIN, PFAC, RNAO, Inner-City Family Health Team, ICHA, CMHA, Homeless Connect Toronto and the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness just to name a few.



Dawnmarie Harriott - Patient Partner

Dawnmarie Harriott is currently the coordinator for the speakers bureau Voices from the Street and a Relief Worker training program at Working for Change a non-profit organization. She works with individuals who have fallen into poverty due to various barriers or forms of oppression to create access to specialized education and employment where lived experience is considered an asset. As a graduate of the speakers bureau herself for the past 12 years Dawnmarie has shared her lived experience of the many systemic barriers she had to overcome to educate the public to hopefully remove stigmas and misconceptions and create change to policies that are more problematic then helpful.

Conference Pricing

$250 (USD) for physicians

$200 (USD) for non-physicians

$150 (USD) for residents/students

Conference Planning Committee

Planning Committee Membership:

Quality & Innovation Program - Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM)

Dr. Tara Kiran – Vice-Chair Quality

Ms. Trish O’Brien – Program Manager

Ms. Marisa Schwartz – DFCM, Administrative Lead

Dr. Joanne Laine-Gossin – DFCM – North York General Hospital

Dr. Tia Pham – DFCM, Michael Garron Hospital

Dr. Sakina Walji – DFCM – Sinai Health Systems


Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM)

Ms. Allison Mullin – Communications Strategist

Ms. Alicia Fung - Communications Assistant


North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG)

Dr. Zsolt Nagykaldi – NAPCRG/University of Oklahoma

Ms. Jill Haught – NAPCRG


Health Quality Ontario (HQO)

Dr. David Kaplan - Chief Clinical Quality


College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)

Dr. Jose Pereira – Director of Research

Toronto Tourism

The 2nd Toronto International Conference on Quality in Primary Care will be taking place at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel situated on the waterfront in Toronto, Canada. Looking for fun things to do while you are staying in Toronto? Please visit for more information about Toronto.

Contact Us

Please contact for all conference inquiries.