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. Persaud, N, Lee, T, Ahmad, H, Li, W, Taglione, MS, Rajakulasingam, Y et al.. Protocol for a randomised controlled trial evaluating the effects of providing essential medicines at no charge: the Carefully seLected and Easily Accessible at No Charge Medicines (CLEAN Meds) trial. BMJ Open. 2017;7 (5):e015686. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015686. PubMed PMID:28611089 .
  2. Smith, OM, Chant, C, Burns, KEA, Kaur, M, Ashraf, S, DosSantos, CC et al.. Characteristics, clinical course, and outcomes of homeless and non-homeless patients admitted to ICU: A retrospective cohort study. PLoS ONE. 2017;12 (6):e0179207. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179207. PubMed PMID:28604792 PubMed Central PMC5467852.
  3. O'Campo, P, Hwang, SW, Gozdzik, A, Schuler, A, Kaufman-Shriqui, V, Poremski, D et al.. Food security among individuals experiencing homelessness and mental illness in the At Home/Chez Soi Trial. Public Health Nutr. 2017; :1-11. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017000489. PubMed PMID:28560947 .
  4. Nikoo, M, Gadermann, A, To, MJ, Krausz, M, Hwang, SW, Palepu, A et al.. Incidence and Associated Risk Factors of Traumatic Brain Injury in a Cohort of Homeless and Vulnerably Housed Adults in 3 Canadian Cities. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2016; :. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000262. PubMed PMID:28489699 .
  5. 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 .
  6. 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 .
  7. 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.
  8. 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 .
  9. 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 .
  10. 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.
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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