Stephen Hwang


Director, Centre for Urban Health Solutions


Research Interests

Homelessness, housing as a social determinant of health, health care for homeless persons, marginalized populations, inner city health, urban health, socioeconomic status, access to care, community-based primary health care, health services research, probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile infection.

Research Activities

My research focuses on improving the health of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed and deepening our understanding of housing as a social determinant of health. My current research projects include a study of health care utilization in a sample of 1,191 homeless men, women, and families in Toronto; an observational cohort study of health and housing transitions among 1,200 homeless and vulnerably housed adults in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver; and the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s “At Home” study, a randomized controlled trial of rent subsidies and mental health supports for individuals who are homeless and have mental health issues.

Recent Publications

  1. To, MJ, Palepu, A, Matheson, FI, Ecker, J, Farrell, S, Hwang, SW et al.. The effect of incarceration on housing stability among homeless and vulnerably housed individuals in three Canadian cities: A prospective cohort study. Can J Public Health. 2017;107 (6):e550-e555. . PubMed PMID:28252374 .
  2. Kumar, N, Plenert, E, Hwang, SW, O'Campo, P, Stergiopoulos, V. Sustaining Housing First After a Successful Research Demonstration Trial: Lessons Learned in a Large Urban Center. Psychiatr Serv. 2017; :appips201600220. doi: 10.1176/ PubMed PMID:28245704 .
  3. Kouyoumdjian, FG, Pivnick, L, McIsaac, KE, Wilton, AS, Lofters, A, Hwang, SW et al.. Cancer prevalence, incidence and mortality in people who experience incarceration in Ontario, Canada: A population-based retrospective cohort study. PLoS ONE. 2017;12 (2):e0171131. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171131. PubMed PMID:28225780 PubMed Central PMC5321272.
  4. Chung, TE, Gozdzik, A, Palma Lazgare, LI, To, MJ, Aubry, T, Frankish, J et al.. Housing First for older homeless adults with mental illness: a subgroup analysis of the At Home/Chez Soi randomized controlled trial. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017; :. doi: 10.1002/gps.4682. PubMed PMID:28206715 .
  5. Vogel, M, Frank, A, Choi, F, Strehlau, V, Nikoo, N, Nikoo, M et al.. Chronic Pain Among Homeless Persons with Mental Illness. Pain Med. 2017; :. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnw324. PubMed PMID:28177481 .
  6. Leung, AK, To, MJ, Luong, L, Vahabi, ZS, Gonçalves, VL, Song, J et al.. The Effect of Advance Directive Completion on Hospital Care Among Chronically Homeless Persons: a Prospective Cohort Study. J Urban Health. 2017;94 (1):43-53. doi: 10.1007/s11524-016-0105-2. PubMed PMID:28028678 PubMed Central PMC5359166.
  7. Topolovec-Vranic, J, Schuler, A, Gozdzik, A, Somers, J, Bourque, PÉ, Frankish, CJ et al.. The high burden of traumatic brain injury and comorbidities amongst homeless adults with mental illness. J Psychiatr Res. 2017;87 :53-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.12.004. PubMed PMID:28006664 .
  8. Gadermann, AM, Sawatzky, R, Palepu, A, Hubley, AM, Zumbo, BD, Aubry, T et al.. Minimal impact of response shift for SF-12 mental and physical health status in homeless and vulnerably housed individuals: an item-level multi-group analysis. Qual Life Res. 2016; :. doi: 10.1007/s11136-016-1464-6. PubMed PMID:27933427 .
  9. To, MJ, Palepu, A, Aubry, T, Nisenbaum, R, Gogosis, E, Gadermann, A et al.. Predictors of homelessness among vulnerably housed adults in 3 Canadian cities: a prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health. 2016;16 (1):1041. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3711-8. PubMed PMID:27716129 PubMed Central PMC5048475.
  10. O'Campo, P, Stergiopoulos, V, Nir, P, Levy, M, Misir, V, Chum, A et al.. How did a Housing First intervention improve health and social outcomes among homeless adults with mental illness in Toronto? Two-year outcomes from a randomised trial. BMJ Open. 2016;6 (9):e010581. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010581. PubMed PMID:27619826 PubMed Central PMC5030577.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Staff Physician, Division of General Internal Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Director, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Professor, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto