Gonzalo G Alvarez profile picture

Contact Information

Gonzalo G Alvarez, MD, MPH, FRCPC
(613)737-8899 ext. 79294


Research Activities

Nunavut TB research:

Dr. Alvarez is the founding director the Taima TB research group. Taima TB (www.tunngavik.com/taimatb) is a group of research projects aimed at helping Inuit in Canada stop the transmission of tuberculosis (TB) in their communities. Since 2011, he has implemented several new technologies to screen for latent TB infection (LTBI) and active TB disease, as well as a new treatment to prevent TB disease with the goal of reducing the TB burden in Inuit communities. His mission has been to work with patients, Inuit representatives, front line health care workers, and government policy makers to determine the course of the research. Over the past 5 years, his team has implemented community wide awareness programs, a new LTBI diagnostic test (Interferon Gamma Release Assay), and a new active TB disease test (Gene Xpert). These new evidence based tools were each piloted, evaluated and published independently in Nunavut’s territorial capital of Iqaluit. He is currently rolling out a new significantly shorter treatment for LTBI, known as 3HP, in Iqaluit going from 9 months of twice weekly dosing to 3 months of once weekly dosing, thus reducing the number of doses required to complete therapy by 85% (3HP, Rifapentine and INH). His is the first group in Canada to formally roll out this regimen.

On World TB Day 2017, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Federal Minister of Health, announced funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada to expand the new 3HP treatment program to additional sites in Ottawa. Dr. Alvarez has brought together The Ottawa Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and Ottawa Public Health in order to provide this game-changing treatment for latent TB infection to the residents of Ottawa.

Clinical care

Dr. Alvarez has established a new clinic at the Ottawa Hospital for Non Tuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) patients. It is only the second such clinic in Canada. He has also established a new sputum induction program at the Ottawa Hospital. He led the initiative to develop a sputum induction program at The Ottawa Hospital complete with a new negative pressure induction room and staffed by respiratory therapists. The sputum induction program now is available to all outpatient TB suspects in the Ottawa region resulting in many less bronchoscopies being done to rule out TB with an aim to reduce associated risks to the patient and significant cost to the system. He expanded the idea to develop a sputum induction program at the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit, Nunavut for which he received a grant from the Public Agency of Canada.

Research administration

Dr. Alvarez is the Clinical Research Chair in Tuberculosis in Aboriginal Communities at the University of Ottawa, Department of Medicine. He is the lead author of the Aboriginal TB guidelines chapter of the Canadian TB Standards (7th ed) that was published in August of 2013. He is a member of a grants committee for the CIHR and sits on the Ottawa Hospital Department of Medicine Research Advisory Committee.. He has also been a grant reviewer for the Canadian Lung Association and Canadian HIV trials network.

Education (Research and clinical)

Dr. Alvarez has supervised and mentored six medical residents to a peer reviewed publication. He is also the staff supervisor for the fellows weekly clinic where he teaches one of our fellows general respirology each year. He also brings one of the senior fellows to Iqaluit each year for a week to participate in the respirology clinics he does in Iqaluit. He teaches approximately 4-5 academic half days (3 hour sessions each) for the Respirology, General Medicine and ICU Fellows per year. He also gives 3 yearly lectures at the Medical School in both French and English. He has been involved in developing exam questions for the pulmonary exam for the University, participated in internal medicine exam OSCEs and provides yearly preparatory exams to the graduating fellows. He also has a weekly medical student or resident join him in TB clinic.

Dr. Alvarez speaks English, French and Spanish fluently.