About Quality and Innovation

Our program exists to make primary care in Canada – and the world – even better than it is.

High quality primary care means providing care that:

  • Is timely and available when you need it,
  • meets the specific needs, preferences, and values of patients,
  • is based on the best research evidence,
  • is safe and does not accidentally harm someone, 
  • is efficient and does not waste scarce healthcare resources,
  • helps everyone achieve excellent health regardless of their background or circumstances

Ultimately, we aim to improve the health outcomes and patient experience for those we serve while maintaining costs and ensuring provider wellness.

To read more about our work, download our recent annual report and explore the sections below.

Our vision and strategic plan

Our work focuses on strengthening the “building blocks” of high-performing primary care. First, engaging our leadership to support faculty to dedicate time for QI and build capacity among faculty, learners, and community clinicians to lead QI. Second, building an infrastructure to collect, report, and learn from practice data. Third, supporting our teams to function effectively to deliver front-line care. We strive to involve patients as partners in this work, disseminate our work in scholarly and lay forums, and collaborate with government and other stakeholders to have our work influence policy and practice.

Our strategic plan highlights opportunities for:

  • Leadership — Building capacity in the current and future primary care workforce to improve quality of care.
  • Evidence — Using and generating evidence on how to improve patient experience, improve health outcomes, and reduce cost in primary care.
  • Dialogue — Working in partnership with government, clinicians, and patients to influence policy and practice provincially, nationally, and internationally.

Below is a visual of our workplan:

What is primary care?

Every day, more than 150,000 Ontarians visit a family doctor. Some visit because they feel unwell. Others come for a preventive checkup. Many more come because they have a health condition like diabetes, high blood pressure or depression.

Family doctors listen, examine, diagnose, counsel, write prescriptions, order tests and, in some cases, refer to specialist colleagues for advice. They play a key role co-ordinating care between different health professionals and social services.

It’s not surprising that countries with strong primary care have better health outcomes and spend less on health care.

Who we are

Program Team

Dr. Tara Kiran, MD, MSc, CCFP, FCFP 

Tara Kiran is the Fidani Chair in Improvement and Innovation and Vice-Chair Quality and Innovation at the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto. Much of her research has focused on evaluating the impact of Ontario’s primary care reforms on quality of care. She has also developed a passion for quality improvement research including initiatives to improve cancer screening rates, measure and reduce care disparities, and support physicians to learn from data. She practices family medicine at the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team where she led the quality improvement program from 2011 to 2018. She is an Associate Scientist in the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital and an Adjunct Scientist at ICES. She is also currently an Embedded Clinician Researcher with Health Quality Ontario where she leads a program of research to improve the experience of care for patients transitioning from hospital to home.


Ms. Patricia O’Brien, RN MScCH

Trish O’Brien is the Manager, Quality and Innovation Improvement Program at the Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto. Trish has been a registered nurse for over thirty years with clinical and research experience in nephrology. Trish caught the quality improvement bug working in nephrology and brought that experience to primary care - first with the Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership (QIIP) and subsequently with Health Quality Ontario (HQO). Trish has worked in the community, hospital and private industry sectors, and completed certification in quality improvement as an Improvement Advisor (IHI) and in LEAN/Six Sigma (Black Belt), in addition to holding a Master of Science in Community Health degree.



Ms. Kirsten Eldridge, MPH

Kirsten Eldridge is the Quality and Innovation Program Administrative Assistant at the Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto.





Quality Improvement Program Directors 

Each of our 14 family medicine teaching sites has a QI Program Director who leads the practice and teaching of quality improvement. The Quality and Innovation leadership team meet together with the QI Program Directors eight times a year to discuss how to best advance Quality and Innovation in our department and beyond.


Academic Site Name
Markham Stouffville Hospital Dr. Karuna Gupta
Michael Garron Health Centre

Dr. Sam Tirkos

Dr. Tia Pham

Mount Sinai Hospital Dr. Sakina Walji
North York General Hospital

Dr. Joanne Laine-Gossin

Dr. Tiffany Florindo

Royal Victoria Hospital

Dr. Brent Elsey

Dr. Melissa Witty

Southlake Regional Health Centre Dr. Navsheer Toor
St. Joseph's Health Centre Dr. Linda Weber
St. Michael's Hospital

Dr. Noor Ramji

Sunnybrook Health Centre

Dr. Debbie Elman

The Scarborough Hospital

Dr. Susanna Fung

Toronto Western Hospital

Dr. Rory O'Sullivan

Dr. Carly Schenker

Trillium Health Partners

Dr. Frances Cousins (Summerville)

Dr. Ali Damji (Credit Valley)

Women’s College Hospital

Dr. Susie Kim

Contact us

For all general inquiries, questions, feedback, or program inquiries contact: 


name title phone number and email room #

Dr. Tara Kiran, MD, MSc, CCFP, FCFP

Fidani Chair, Improvement and Innovation &
Vice Chair, Quality Improvement


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Trish O'Brien Program Manager patricia.obrien@utoronto.ca


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 Kirsten Eldridge Program Assistant dfcm.quality@utoronto.ca


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