Dr. James Downar
Attending physician, Toronto General Hospital
MDCM, MHSc (Bioethics), FRCPC
Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine
Division of Palliative Care, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Program Director, Subspecialty Residency Program in Palliative Medicine
Dr. James Downar is a Critical Care and Palliative Care Physician at the University Health Network and Sinai Health System in Toronto, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He graduated from McGill Medical School and completed residency training in Internal Medicine, Critical Care and Palliative Care at the University of Toronto. He has a Master’s degree in Bioethics from the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. He is the Program Director for the Subspecialty Residency Program in Palliative Care at the University of Toronto, the chair of the Postgraduate Education Committee of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, and the chair of the Ethical Affairs committee of the Canadian Critical Care Society. He has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, has been principal investigator on nine peer-reviewed grants, and is an Associated Medical Services Phoenix Fellow for 2016-7. His research interests include communication and decision-making for seriously ill patients and their families; Palliative Care for the Critically Ill; and Palliative Care for Noncancer Illnesses.
Area of academic focus
Communication and decision-making for seriously ill patients and their families
Palliative Care for the Critically Ill
Palliative Care for Noncancer Illnesses
Honours and Awards
William J. Sibbald Visiting Professorship (May 2015)
Wightman-Berris Award for Teaching Excellence (May 2015)
Link to Pubmed
Most Significant Publications:
- Downar J, Delaney JW, Hawryluck L, Kenny L. Guidelines for the withdrawal of life-sustaining measures. Intensive Care Med. 2016 Jun 1;42(6):1003-17.
- Downar J, McNaughton N, Abdelhalim T, Wong N, Lapointe-Shaw L, Seccareccia D, Miller K, Dev S, Ridley J, Lee C, Richardson L, McDonald-Blumer H, Knickle K. Standardized patient simulation versus didactic teaching alone for improving residents’ communication skills when discussing goals of care and resuscitation: A randomized controlled trial. Palliat Med. 2016 Jun 15.
- Downar J, You JJ, Bagshaw SM, Golan E, Lamontagne F, Burns K, Sridhar SK, Seely A, Meade MO, Fox-Robichaud A, Cook D, Turgeon AF, Dodek P, Xiong W, Fowler R, on behalf of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. Nonbeneficial Treatment Canada: Definitions, Causes, and Potential Solutions From the Perspective of Healthcare Practitioners. Crit Care Med. 2014 Nov 5.
- Downar J, Sibbald RW, Bailey TM, Kavanagh BP. Withholding and withdrawing treatment in Canada: implications of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the Rasouli case. CMAJ. 2014 Jun 23.
- Downar J, Goldman R, Pinto R, Englesakis M, Adhikari N. The ”surprise question” for predicting mortality in seriously ill patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. CMAJ. 2016 In Press.