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Karen Burns
Critical Care Physician; Clinician Scientist
Unity Health Toronto - St. Michael's Hospital
Research Focus:
Liberation from Mechanical Ventilation; Noninvasive Ventilation

Karen E. A. Burns

Canadian Community ICU Research Network (CCIRNet)

Dr. Burns graduated from medical school (University of Western Ontario) in London, Canada where she pursued training in Internal Medicine, and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. She completed a fellowship in lung transplantation (University of Pittsburgh, USA) and subsequently a Master’s Degree in Clinical Epidemiology (McMaster University, Canada).
Dr. Burns is a respirologist, intensivist, and epidemiologist. She practices critical care medicine at Unity Health Toronto - St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada. She is a Professor of Medicine and Clinician Scientist at the University of Toronto. She holds a Scientist appointment with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute (Toronto, Canada) and an adjunct faculty appointment with the Department of Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. Her research program focuses on characterizing practice variation in liberating critically ill adults from invasive ventilation and evaluating mechanical ventilation support strategies. As a clinician scientist and clinical researcher, she utilizes various research methodologies (national and international surveys, large-scale observational studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and randomized trials) to address important research questions within her program of research. Most studies within her research program have been conducted under the auspices of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group (CCCTG). She is the past Chair of the Women in Critical Care Interest Group of the American Thoracic Society, a member of the CCCTG Executive, and the current President of the Canadian Critical Care Society.

Recent work

Burns KEA, Rizvi L, Cook DJ, Lebovic G, Dodek P, Villar J, Slutsky AS, Jones A, Kapadia FN, Gattas DJ, Epstein SK, Pelosi P, Kefala K, Meade MO for the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. International Practices in Discontinuing Mechanical Ventilation. JAMA. 2021;325(12):1173-1184. PMID 33755077

Burns KEA, Stevenson J, Laird J, Adhikari NKJ, Li Y, Lu C, He X, Wang W, Liang Z, Chen L, Zhang H, Friedrich JO. Noninvasive Ventilation versus Invasive Weaning in Critically Ill Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Thorax 2021 Oct 29;thoraxjnl-2021-216993. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2021-216993. PMID 34825256.

Burns KEA, Agarwal A, Bosma KJ, Chaudhuri D, Girard TD. Liberation from Mechanical Ventilation: Established and New Insights. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2022 Jun;43(3):461-470. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-1747929. Epub 2022 Jun 27.PMID: 35760299

Burns KEA, McDonald E, Debigare S, Zamir N, Vasquez M, Piche-Ayotte M, Oczkowski S. Patient and Family Engagement in Patient Care and Research in Canadian ICUs: A National Survey for the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. Can J Anesth 2022;9(12):1527-1536.PMID: 36344874.

Burns KEA, Moss M, Lorens E, Jose EKA, Martin CM, Viglianti EM, Fox-Robichaud A, Mathews KS, Akgun K, Jain S, Gershengorn H, Mehta S, Han JE, Martin GS, Liebler JM, Stapleton RD, Trachuk P, Vranas KC, Chua A, Herridge MS, Tsang JLY, Biehl M, Burnham EL, Chen JT, Attia EF, Mohamed A, Harkins MS, Soriano SM, Maddux A, West JC, Badke AR, Bagshaw SM, Binnie A, Carlos WG, Çoruh B, Crothers K, D'Aragon F, Denson JL, Drover JW, Eschun G, Geagea A, Griesdale D, Hadler R, Hancock J, Hasmatali J, Kaul B, Kerlin MP, Kohn R, Kutsogiannis DJ, Matson SM, Morris PE, Paunovic B, Peltan ID, Piquette D, Pirzadeh M, Pulchan K, Schnapp LM, Sessler CN, Smith H, Sy E, Thirugnanam S, McDonald RK, McPherson KA, Kraft M, Spiegel M, Dodek PM; Diversity-Related Research Committee of the Women in Critical Care (WICC) Interest Group of the American Thoracic Society. Wellness and Coping of Physicians Who Worked in ICUs During the Pandemic: A Multicenter Cross-Sectional North American Survey. Crit Care Med. 2022;50 (12): 1689-1700.PMID: 36300945


Canadian Critical Care Trials Group Code of Conduct. Sept 2018 Policy.

Canadian Critical Care Trials Group Diversity Policy. Jan 2019.

In my own words

I am invested in improving the care of our sickest patients through high quality research.