Merrick Zwarenstein trained as a physician in South Africa before moving on to health services and policy research, completing his training at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He has been based in Canada for the last decade, initially at the University of Toronto; now at the University of Western Ontario, where he is a Professor and the Director of the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine at the Department of Family Medicine. He is a health services researcher who works on development and mixed methods evaluation of complex health care and knowledge translation interventions in real world health care settings in Canada and internationally. He holds honorary Professorships at Stellenbosch University, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
He is interested in use of mixed methods evaluation approaches including pragmatic randomized trials, and their integration into policy and program decision-making. Pragmatic trials are a particular approach to the design of randomized trials that maintains their internal validity (lack of bias) while potentially improving their external validity (applicability, sometimes called generalizability). Although first described in the 1960's, the pragmatic approach to randomized trial design has only recently started growing in popularity. Merrick and colleagues have published a CONSORT statement extension on pragmatic trials, and a guide to their conduct, the PRECIS paper. He has about 180 peer-reviewed publications and has edited or contributed to books on methodology and inter-professional teamwork. Merrick will lead this course.