Smita Pakhale profile picture

Contact Information

Smita Pakhale, MD, FRCPC, MsC (Epi & Biostat)
613-737-8899 ex.79469

The Ottawa Hospital
501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, Canada

Our Community-Based Research Centre:
The Bridge Engagement Centre (The Bridge)
216 Murray St., Ottawa, Canada, K1N 5N1
Phone: 613-518-7172

Research Activities

Dr. Pakhale currently holds active Operating Grants and Project Grants from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) as a Principal Investigator. Dr. Pakhale is leading a Community-Based Research office, The Bridge Engagement Centre (The Bridge) in downtown Ottawa to conduct Community-Based Participatory Action Research projects in a true partnership with the urban poor population (Homeless, at-risk for homelessness, Indigenous). Two pragmatic, community-Based RCTs are being conducted at the Bridge in Ottawa and PARC, in Toronto with the new CIHR funding. The primary outcome studied for both these RCTs is - Improvement in Quality of Life of participants.

Dr. Pakhale has established the first ‘Severe Asthma Clinic’ for the Ottawa-Gatineau region at the Ottawa Hospital. Dr. Pakhale is a Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Collaborator and works with a trans-disciplinary scientists from around the world. In addition, Dr. Pakhale is a steering committee member of the Canadian Thoracic Society- Choosing Wisely Canada, and the Tobacco Action Committee of the American Thoracic Society.  

Current Activities:
Dr. Pakhale's team is currently conducting a Community-Based Participatory Action Research focused on tobacco dependence in the urban poor population of Ottawa and Toronto Canada. We are working in close partnership with  homeless or at-risk for homelessness individuals from downtown Ottawa and Toronto where the community peer researchers with lived experience are actively involved in the research process from end-to-end: concept, design, and implementation to knowledge translation.

Tobacco use rate in Canada is 18%, though Ottawa boasts the lowest rate at 9-12%, the Bridge population has tobacco use rate of 96% according to our recently completed PROUD Study (Participatory Research in Ottawa: Understanding Drugs: The PROUD Study [Pakhale-co-I]). High profile illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis-C though generated impetus for our PROUD study; tobacco has a bigger impact on morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs in this population.
We are currently analyzing the PROUD data to explore tobacco dependence related inequity in this population.
Previous Accomplishments:
Dr. Pakhale is an active member of the Tobacco Action Committee of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) since 2011 (Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarettes-Annals of ATS 2013). Our committee recently completed working on a Harm reduction Statement on tobacco  which will be soon available online at the and it will be published in the ARJCCM. This comprehensive statement will serve as a guide to researchers, policy makers and public to promote much needed framework around 'harm reduction' especially in tobacco research. The committee published an official ATS Tobacco Research Statement in ARJCCM in 2015.

Dr. Pakhale has published several landmark research studies on bronchial asthma, cystic fibrosis (CF), lung transplantation, in addition to the community-based work at the Bridge:

• The first study to identify a novel long term complication of lung transplantation, upper lobe fibrosis, which later came to be known as ‘Restrictive Allograft Syndrome (RAS)’ published in AJR 2004 and JHLT 2005.
• A prevalence of bronchial asthma study in grade 7- and 8th students from rural India (J of Asthma 2008). This study, for the first time, found that the prevalence of asthma and wheeze in a rural region in India was similar to that found in the urban studies.Project was led and implemented with 'Patient Engagement' at its core, with participants from the same area.
• The first paper describing that stigma is associated with cystic fibrosis (BMC Pul Med 2014); stigma came to our notice simply because of the meaningful 'Patient Engagement' in the research process right from the beginning - before coining the research questions!
• Cost effectiveness analysis of the multicenter Canadian study on over-diagnosis of asthma revealing that algorithmic approach to proper diagnosis of asthma, even after many years, is still cost effective. This study demonstrated that, cost savings primarily resulted from lifetime costs of medication use averted in those who had been misdiagnosed with asthma. (BMC Pul Med 2011)
• A study describing asthma-obesity interaction, described that obese people with asthma have lower lung function and more comorbidities compared with normal-weight people with asthma. More importantly, obese individuals who make urgent visits for respiratory symptoms are more likely to receive a misdiagnosis of asthma. (Chest 2010)
• The first study to describe weigh loss leading to improvement in asthma severity demonstrated by improvement in methacholine challenge test in obese asthmatics (Chest 2015)
• The first pilot randomized study in tertiary care out-patient respirology clinic using the Ottawa Model of Smoking Cessation with subsidized nicotine replacement therapy leading to improved quit rates in patients with moderate to severe lung diseases such as COPD, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis etc. (CRJ 2015)
• Designed, developed and published well validated quality of life scales:
• McGill COPD Quality of Life Scale (COPD J 2011 and CRJ 2012)
• CF Knowledge Scale (Respirology 2014)
• CF Stigma Scale (BMC Pul Med 2014)

Related research exploring the importance of physical exercise in bronchial asthma (BMC Pul Med 2013), comprehensive review of severe asthma (CMCRPM 2011), comparison of per cent predicted and percentile methods in the interpretation of pulmonary function tests (CRJ 2009) and non-invasive diagnosis of stage-I sarcoidosis (SVDLD 2006).