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Brett D. Thombs

Brett D. Thombs, Phd

Clinical Epidemiology

Depression, Mental Health, Meta-analysis, Patient engagement, Prevention, Scleroderma, Screening, Systematic review, Systemic sclerosis
  • Senior Investigator, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
  • Professor and Canada Research Chair, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

Contact details

(514) 340-8222 ex. 24244


Professor Brett D. Thombs has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed articles. He 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 Québec – santé (FRQ-S), the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and private organizations, including the Arthritis Society, Scleroderma Canada, and provincial scleroderma patient organizations.

Awards that Pr. Thombs or teams he has led have received in recognition of the team’s work include the Cochrane Collaboration’s Bill Silverman Prize, the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine’s Research Award, the Association of Rheumatology Health Professional’s Distinguished Scholar Award, Researcher Salary Awards (Junior I, Junior II, Senior) from the FRQ-S, an Arthritis Society Salary Award, the Jewish General Hospital Award for Excellence in Clinical Research, the Canadian Psychological Association Health Psychology Section Early Career Award, the Canadian Psychological Association’s President’s New Researcher Award, an American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation Health Professional Investigator Award, and a CIHR New Investigator Award.

Pr. Thombs was the lead author of an international team that published an article on depression screening in cardiovascular care settings, which was a finalist for the 2009 BMJ Group Research Paper of the Year Award. In 2014, he was one of two recipients of the inaugural version of the McGill Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Emerging Researchers, which is awarded to McGill’s top investigators within 10 years of their highest degree from any of its 13 faculties and schools. Pr. Thombs is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and a Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

Major Research Activities

Professor Brett D. Thombs is internationally known for:

  • developing, testing, and disseminating educational, self-management, rehabilitation, and psychological interventions for people living with the rare autoimmune disease scleroderma;
  • his work on depression screening and the evaluation of depression screening tools; and
  • meta-research, which involves examining how the design, conduct and reporting of medical research may lead to bias.

Pr. Thombs is Director of the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) and Director of the DEPRESsion Screening Data (DEPRESSD) Project. During COVID-19, his team has conducted the most comprehensive evidence synthesis on mental health changes during the pandemic.

Recent Publications and References