November 14, 1952

(Arvida (Jonquiere), Quebec)


MD, University of Toronto (1982)

Awards & Honours:

2022: DSc(Hons), McMaster University

2022: Medal of Honour, Health Research Foundation

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Allison McGeer

Improved research-led policy to combat bacterial and viral infections

Allison McGeer Sketch

A guiding force in Canadian and international public health and infectious disease

One of Canada's most trusted policy advisors in the field of infectious disease, Allison McGeer, MD has received international recognition for her leadership during Canadian and global pandemic responses. Her expertise was integral to several large-scale efforts to combat emerging infections, including those during the 2003 SARS pandemic (while contracting the disease herself), the MERS outbreak in Saudi Arabia, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the COVID-19 pandemic. As the principal investigator of the Toronto Invasive Bacterial Diseases Network for nearly 30 years, Dr. McGeer has informed policy for preventing and managing diverse infections with her research. Specifically, her studies offer new insights into the epidemiology of bacterial and viral infections, the spread of antimicrobial resistance and the causes of bacterial sepsis. Dr. McGeer’s innovative research and global reputation as an expert in pandemic response led to central roles on provincial, national and international advisory committees and to numerous honours, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada. Her contributions to our country’s public health and scientific landscape have redefined pandemic preparedness and response research.

Key Facts

An infectious disease physician, researcher and educator who became one of Canada's most trusted policy advisors in her field

Principal investigator of the Toronto Invasive Bacterial Diseases Network for nearly three decades

Led the response to the SARS outbreak in Toronto and was instrumental in successfully containing this epidemic

A key figure in Canada’s response to COVID-19, having served on multiple leadership groups and co-authored over 90 publications on the topic

Published more than 600 academic papers on the transmission, surveillance, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious disease

Professional timeline

Impact on Lives Today

Dr. McGeer’s position at the forefront of Canada’s response to both SARS coronavirus pandemics (2003 and 2020 onward) and others illustrates her significant influence in the field of infectious disease. Her tireless efforts in studying disease control and prevention, antimicrobial resistance, immunizations and zoonotic diseases have informed top decision-makers. This work, which often involved putting herself personally and directly in harm’s way, has improved how we plan for and respond to outbreaks, with real benefits for patients, health-care workers and systems.




Dr. McGeer’s contributions to policy have no doubt saved lives, fortified institutions and health-care systems against collapse and reinforced multiple levels of public health.