Debra Butt MD,MSc
Associate Professor

Contact Info


The Scarborough Hospital
Scarborough General Medical Mall
3030 Lawrence Avenue East, Suite 414
Scarborough, ON, M1C 1V3


Graduate Students

Research Interests

Health Informatics, Health Promotion, Health Service Delivery, Alzheimer's/Dementia, Medications, Mental Health, Multimorbidity, Public Health, Quality Improvement, Women's Health, Experimental (e.g., RCTs), Observational (e.g., cohort, case-control), Electronic Medical Records, Administrative Databases, Systematic Reviews, Quantitative Data Analysis, Chronic Diseases (e.g., diabetes, HBP, CVD)

With the DFCM since 2000

DFCM Associate Professor

Affiliations: The Scarborough Hospital

Degrees: University of Toronto BSc High Distinction; University of Toronto, Division of Endocrinology and Zoology MSc; University of Toronto MD; University of Toronto MSc Clinical Epidemiology


Research Synopsis

Dr. Butt's interests include primary health care research, women's health, osteoporosis, and the care of the elderly. Dr. Butt also does research with electronic medical records and health care administrative databases as they pertain to various medical conditions in primary care. Example research projects include examining the relationship between bone mineral density, fractures and falls in the elderly, enhancing the use of electronic medical record in primary care via a data presentation tool, and examining patient care and outcomes in rheumatic diseases.


2016-2018: Drummond N, Birtwhistle R. Principal investigator for UTOPIAN, Toronto, Ontario: Butt DA. Co-PI: Greiver M. The Implementation of the “CPCSSN Data Presentation Tool” in primary care clinics to enhance the Surveillance, Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease. Public Health Agency of Canada. 1,000,000 CAD. 

2015-2016: Tu K, Bernatsky S, Hawker G, Kreder H, Bombardier C, Butt DA, Ivers N, Jaakkimainen L, Jenkinson R, Kuriya B, Morris Q, Paterson M, Pope J, Ravi B, Thorne C, Tomlinson G, Wasserstein D, Widdifield J. Leveraging EMRs and Health Administrative Data to Evaluate Patient Care and Outcomes in Rheumatic Diseases. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Bridge Grant. 100,000 CAD.

2014-2016: Tu K, Tobe, S, Ivers N, Jaakkimainen L, Butt DA. Measuring Performance in Vascular Disease Management in Primary Care Setting based on the Canadian Cardiovascular Harmonization of National Guidelines Endeavour. Canadian Vascular Network Seed Funding Grant Application. Canadian Vascular Network/CIHR and C-Change eHealth. 183,500 CAD.

2013-2016: Jaakkimainen L, Barnsley J, Bronskill S, Butt DA, Del Giudice L, Durbin J, Glazier RH, Ivers N, Tu K, Upshur R. Measuring wait times along the pathways of care in primary care. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). CIHR Operating Grant Competition. 448,802 CAD. 

2013-2016: Dante M, Tu K, Bhatia S, Butt DA, Meshkat N, Leblanc K, Thorpe K, Dorian P, Ivers N, Valentinis A, Saposnik G, Gladstone D, Jaakkimainen L.     Improving Stroke Prevention for Patients with Atrial Fibrillation in Primary Care. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC). Grant-in-Aid. 
211,261 CAD. 

2013-2015: Bombardier C, Tu K, Jaakkimainen L, Ahluwalia V, Bernatsky S, Butt DA, Hofstetter C, Ivers N, Lyddiatt A, Paterson MJ, Thorne JC, Widdifield J. Optimizing the Coordination of Care between Rheumatologists and Primary Care Physicians for patients with Inflammatory Arthritis. Canadian Initiative for Outcomes in Rheumatology Care (CIORA) Grant. CIORA. 120,000 CAD. 

2013-2014: Tu K, Barnsley J, Butt DA, Glazier RH, Hemmelgarn B, Ivers N, Jaakkimainen L, Lau F, Thorpe K. Do EMRs in Primary Care Improve Quality of Care? (EPIC). Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Bridge Funding. 100,000 CAD.

2011-2012: Tu K, Ivers N, Butt DA, Jaakkimainen L, Kapral M, Lin E. Case Definition Validation Study for Mental Illness and Stroke Surveillance in Canada. Public Health Agency of Canada. 169,999 CAD. 

2010-2013: Tu K, Butt DA, Jaakkimainen L, Ivers N, Guttman M, Herrmann N, Jette N, Tierney M, Lam R, O’Connor P. Validation of Administrative Data Algorithms to determine Population Prevalence and Incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Disease. Public Health Agency of Canada. 599,334 CAD.

2010-2011: Greiver M, Barnsley J, Aliarzadeh B, Krueger P, Moineddin R, Butt DA, Drummond D, Jaakkimainen L, Keshavjee K, White D, Kaplan D. EMR Data Quality Management methods: a Feasibility Study. Primary Health Care System Program. Seed Funding Grant. 10,000 CAD

2005-2006: Butt DA, Lock M, Harvey B. The Addition of Community-based Recruitment Strategies to a Randomized Controlled Trial in Primary Care. University of Toronto. Dean’s Fund New Investigator Staff Grant. 10,000 CAD. 

2003-2004: Elwood Martin R, Butt D, Scott S, Talbot Y. Reasons why Canadian family physicians have, or will, change practice: a qualitative analysis of responses to open-ended questions of the 2001 National Family Physician Workforce Survey, College of Family Physicians of Canada. Janus Research Grant. 5,000 CAD.

2003-2005: Butt DA, Lock M, Ross S, Lewis J, Drummond N, Moineddin R.    Gabapentin for the Treatment of Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Physicians’ Services Incorporated (PSI) Foundation Grant. 126,000 CAD.

Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications

1.    Jaakkimainen RL, Bronskill SE, Tierney M, Hermann N, Green D, Young J, Ivers N, Butt DA, Tu K. Identification of Physician-diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease and related Dementia in Population-based Administrative Data: a Validation study using Family Physicians’ Electronic Medical Records. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2016 Jun 4. In Press.
2.    Widdifield J, Tu K, Thorne JC, Bombardier C, Paterson JM, Jaakkimainen RL, Wing L, Butt DA, Ivers N, Hofstetter C, Lyddiatt A, Ahluwalia V, Bernatsky S. Patterns of Care among First-time Referrals to Rheumatologists: Characteristics and timeliness of Consultations and Treatment in Ontario, Canada. Arthritis Care & Research. 2016 Mar 15. In Press. 
3.    Widdifield J, Bernatsky S, Thorne JC, Bombardier C, Jaakkimainen RL, Wing L, Paterson JM, Ivers N, Butt DA, Lyddiatt A, Hofstetter C, Ahluwalia V, Tu K. CMA Rheumatology Wait Time Benchmarks: A Data Linkage Study of Primary Care Electronic Medical Records and Administrative Data in Ontario. CMAJ Open. 2016 Jan 15. In Press.
4.    Carroll JC, Talbot Y, Permaul JA, Tobin A, Moineddin R, Blaine S, Bloom J, Butt DA, Kay K, Telner D. Academic Family Health Teams. Part 1: Patient Perceptions of Core Primary Care Domains. Canadian Family Physician. 2016 Jan;62:e23-30. 
5.    Carroll JC, Talbot Y, Permaul JA, Tobin A, Moineddin R, Blaine S, Bloom J, Butt DA, Kay K, Telner D. Academic Family Health Teams. Part 2: Patient Perceptions of Access. Canadian Family Physician. 2016 Jan;62:e31-9.
6.    Munce S, Allin S, Carlin L, Sale J, Hawker G, Kim S, Butt DA, Polidoulis I, Tu K, Jaglal SB. Understanding Referral Patterns for Bone Mineral Density Testing among Family Physicians: A Qualitative Descriptive Study. Journal of Osteoporosis. 2015 Dec. In Press.
7.    Butt DA, Harvey PJ. Benefits and Risks of Antihypertensive Medications in the Elderly. Journal of Internal Medicine. 2015 Dec;278(6):599-626.
8.    Tu K, Widdifield J, Young J, Oud W, Ivers NM, Butt DA, Leaver CA, Jaakkimainen RL. Are family physicians comprehensively using electronic medical records such that the data can be used for secondary purposes? A Canadian Perspective. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2015 Aug 13;15:67. 
9.    Widdifield J, Ivers N, Young J, Green D, Jaakkimainen RL, Butt DA, O’Connor P, Hollands S, Tu K. Development and Validation of an Administrative Data Algorithm to estimate the Disease Burden and Epidemiology of Multiple Sclerosis in Ontario, Canada. Multiple Sclerosis. 2015 Jul 12;21(8):1045-54.
10.    Butt DA, Mamdani M, Gomes T, Lu H, Tu K. On Behalf of the Hypertension Outcome and Surveillance Team. Risk of Osteoporotic Fractures with Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers versus Angiotensin converting-enzyme inhibitors in Hypertensive Community-Dwelling Elderly. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2014 Nov;29(11):2483-8.
11.    Widdifield J, Bombardier C, Bernatsky S, Paterson JM, Green D, Young J, Ivers N, Butt DA, Jaakkimainen RL, Thorne JC, Tu K. An Administrative Data Validation Study of the Accuracy of Algorithms for identifying Rheumatoid Arthritis: the Influence of the Reference Standard on Algorithm Performance. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2014 Jun 23;15:216-225.
12.    Tu K, Anderson LN, Butt DA, Quan H, Hemmelgarn BR, Campbell N, McAlister FA on Behalf of the Hypertension Outcome and Surveillance Team. Antihypertensive drug prescribing and persistence among new elderly users: implications for persistence improvement interventions. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2014 Jun;30(6):647-52. 
13.    Tu K, Wang M, Jaakkimainen RL, Butt DA, Ivers NM, Young J, Green D, Jette N. Assessing the validity of using administrative data to identify patients with epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2014;55(2):1335-43. 
14.    Widdifield J, Paterson JM, Bernatsky S, Tu K, Ivers N, Jaakkimainen RL, Butt D, Thorne JC, Bombardier C. Access to Rheumatologists among Patients with Newly Diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis in a Canadian Universal Public Health Care System. BMJ Open. 2014;4(e0038888):doi:10.1136/bmjopen. 
15.    Butt DA, Tu K, Young J, Green D, Wang M, Ivers N, Jaakkimainen L, Lam R, Guttman M. A Validation Study of Administrative Data Algorithms to Identify Patients with Parkinsonism with Prevalence and Incidence Trends. Neuroepidemiology. 2014;43(1):28-37.
16.    Allin S, Munce S, Carlin L, Butt D, Tu K, Hawker G, Sale J, Jaglal S. Fracture Risk Assessment after BMD Examination: Whose job is it, anyway? Osteoporosis International. 2014;25(5):1445-53. 
17.    Allin S, Munce S, Jaglal S, Butt D, Young J, Tu K. Capture of Osteoporosis and Fracture Information in an Electronic Medical Record Database from Primary Care. AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings/AMIA Symposium. 2014;2014:240-8. 
18.    Butt DA, Mamdani M, Austin PC, Tu K, Gomes T, Glazier RH. The risk of falls on initiation of antihypertensive drugs in the elderly. Osteoporosis International. 2013 Apr;24(10):2649-57. 
19.    Quan H, Chen C, Tu K, Bartlett G, Butt DA, Campbell NRC, Hemmelgarn BR, Hill MD, Johansen H, Khan N, Lix LM, Smith M, Svenson L, Walker RL, Wielgosz A, McAlister FA on behalf of the Hypertension Outcome and Surveillance Team. Outcomes among 3.5 million newly diagnosed hypertensive Canadians. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2013;29(5):592-7. 
20.    Tu K, Wang M, Young J, Green D, Ivers N, Butt D, Jaakkimainen L, Kapral M. Validity of administrative data for identifying patients who have had a stroke or TIA using the primary care electronic medical record administrative data linked database (EMRALD) as a reference standard. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2013;29(11):1388-94. 
21.    Widdifield J, Paterson JM, Bernatsky S, Tu K, Thorne JC, Ahluwali V, Ivers N, Butt D, Jaakkimainen RL, Tomlinson G, Bombardier C. The Rising Burden of Rheumatoid Arthritis Surpasses Rheumatology Supply in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2013;104(7):e450-e455.
22.    Butt DA, Mamdani M, Austin PC, Tu K, Gomes T, Glazier RH. The Risk of Hip Fracture after Initiating Antihypertensive Drugs in the Elderly. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012;172:1739-1744. 
23.    Greiver M, Barnsley J, Aliarzadeh B, Krueger P, Moineddin R, Butt DA, Dolabchian E, Jaakkimainen L, Keshavjee K, White D, Kaplan D. Using a Data Entry Clerk to Improve Data Quality in Primary Care Electronic Medical Records: a Pilot Study. Informatics in Primary Care. 2011;19:241-50.
24.    Butt DA, Lock M, Harvey B. Effective and Cost-effective Clinical Trial Recruitment Strategies for Postmenopausal Women in a Community-Based, Primary Care Setting. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2010;31:447-456. 
25.    Moineddin R, Butt DA, Tomlinson G, Beyene J. Identifying subpopulations for subgroup analysis in a longitudinal clinical trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2008;29:817-822.
26.    Butt DA, Lock M, Lewis J, Ross S & Moineddin R. Gabapentin for the Treatment of Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Menopause. 2008;15(2):310-318.
27.    Butt DA, Deng L, Lewis J, Lock M. Minimal Decrease in Hot Flashes Desired by Postmenopausal Women in Family Practice. Menopause. 2007;14(2):203-207. 

Honours and Awards

2012: ASBMR Young Investigator Award, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. Awarded to best international abstract in clinical research pertaining to bone health. Only recipient from Canada.

2006: NAMS New Investigator Research Award, North American Menopause Society, Tennessee, United States.
Awarded to best international abstract in the field of menopause. Only four New Investigator awards were presented. Only recipient in the category of clinical research from Canada. 

2013: Outstanding Research Publication Award, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto.
2008: Outstanding Research Publication Award, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto.

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