Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Dr. Thombs is an investigator in the Division of Psychiatry Research and an Associate Member of the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, and the Department of Medicine at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital. He is a William Dawson Scholar and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Member of the Departments of Medicine; Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health; and Educational and Counselling Psychology; and the School of Nursing of McGill University. Dr. Thombs is internationally known for his work on behavioral health psychology, which focuses on the illness experience of patients, including the etiology, assessment, and treatment of interrelated somatic and psychological symptoms that are common in medical illness, particularly cardiovascular and rheumatic diseases. An important part of his work involves the evaluation of behavioural health services, such as detection and treatment of depression, as well as methods of research reporting.
Dr. Thombs has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed articles, many of them in top medical journals, has served as a peer-reviewer for over 50 journals, is on the editorial boards of five journals, and serves as an associate editor and statistical editor. Dr. Thombs is the principal investigator or a co-investigator on numerous grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Fonds de la recherche en santé Québec (FRSQ). He has been awarded a New Investigator Award from the CIHR (2008-2013), a Chercheurs-boursiers, Junior I award from the FRSQ (2008-2012), an American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation Health Professional Investigator Award, the Canadian Psychological Association’s President’s New Researcher Award, the Canadian Psychological Association Health Psychology Section Early Career Award, and the 2010 Jewish General Hospital Award for Excellence in Psychosocial or Clinical Research. Dr. Thombs was the lead author of an international team that published an article in JAMA about depression screening in cardiovascular care settings, which was a finalist for the 2009 BMJ Group Research Paper of the Year Award.
Major Research Activities
Dr. Thombs’ group is conducting funded systematic reviews of the evidence on depression screening in cancer, perinatal care, and cardiovascular care. This work is important because existing recommendations have been made with little or no evidence that depression screening would benefit patients. Better depression care paradigms are needed, and recommendations not based on evidence may suggest that the best way to address depression is already known, thereby impeding progress towards developing more effective and feasible depression care models in medical settings.Dr. Thombs also conducts behavioral health research in scleroderma as a member of the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group and as the Director of an international collaboration, the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN). The objectives of this research are (1) to develop and evaluate assessment tools for important, but previously understudied, patient-reported outcomes in scleroderma; (2) to evaluate models of potential causal and maintaining factors; (3) to determine trajectories and predictors of change; and (4) to develop and test behavioural interventions to reduce distress and increase overall well-being.
Thombs BD, de Jonge P, Coyne JC, Whooley MA, Frasure-Smith N, Mitchell AJ, Zuidersma M, Eze-Nliam C, Bezerra B, Smith CG, Soderlund K, Ziegelstein RC. Depression screening and patient outcomes in cardiovascular care: A systematic review. JAMA. 2008;300(18):2161-2171.
Roseman M, Milette K, Bero LA, Lexchin J, Turner E, Coyne JC, Thombs BD. Reporting of conflicts of interest in meta-analyses of pharmacological treatments. JAMA. 2011;305(10):1008-1017.
Thombs BD, Arthurs E, El-Baalbaki G, Meijer A, Ziegelstein RC, Steele RJ. Risk of bias from inclusion of already diagnosed or treated patients in diagnostic accuracy studies of depression screening tools: A systematic review. BMJ. 2011;343:d4825.
Roseman M, Turner EH, Lexchin J, Coyne JC, Bero LA, Thombs BD. Reporting of conflict of interest from drug trials in Cochrane reviews:A cross-sectional study. BMJ. 2012;345:e5155.