Dr. Sheilah Hogg-Johnson

Senior Scientist and Biostatistician
PhD, Biostatistics, University of Toronto

Dr. Sheilah Hogg-Johnson admits she’s a numbers person. It became obvious to her early in her academic life. After two unfulfilling years at nursing school, she switched to mathematics. When I entered the math program at the University of Waterloo, I felt like I had come home, she says. I was very happy.

That enthusiasm for numbers never waned and is evident today in the work she does at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH). As a senior scientist at the Institute, Hogg-Johnson applies her statistical expertise to “big data” to help decision-makers in Ontario’s workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety (OHS) systems evaluate and improve a wide range of programs.

She enjoys the challenge of pulling data gathered from different organizations – such as the Ministry of Labour and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board – to help to answer important work and health questions. I like the ‘how do you do it?’ part of research, she says.

For example, she is helping system partners find out where to target scarce OHS inspection resources, what leading indicators might help prevent future work injuries, and how to prevent prolonged disability following work injury, among other things. What she brings to the table is a knack for looking at data in novel ways.

I keep my eye out for measures that may not have been thought of before, she says. In the end, the aim is to create programs that better protect and improve the health of the province’s workers.

Hogg-Johnson also leads the Institute’s data management and analysis team. This team provides the statistical backbone to other IWH researchers, helping them design, carry out and interpret their workplace health studies.

Hogg-Johnson has a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a PhD in biostatistics from the University of Toronto, where she is also an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Current projects: 

Return to work after work injury and illness: An international comparative effectiveness study of Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Determinants of health and safety in Ontario's construction sector

Quantifying and understanding a "good" outcome following total knee replacement

Predicting return to work in workers on disability due to low-back pain

Early opioid prescriptions for work-related low-back musculoskeletal disorders: Understanding patterns of use and impact on work disability

Selected Publications: 

Sears JM, Bowman SM, Blanar L, Hogg-Johnson S. Industrial injury hospitalizations billed to payers other than workers' compensation: Characteristics and trends by state. Health Services Research, 2017; 52(2):763-785; doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12500

Milani D, Alexandre NM, Campos JA, Hogg-Johnson S. Psychometric properties of the obstacles to Return-to-Work Questionnaire in a Brazilian context. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2016; doi: 10.1007/s10926-016-9684-8 [Epub 2016 Nov 16]

Carnide N, Hogg-Johnson S, Côté P, Irvin E, Van Eerd D, Koehoorn M, Furlan A. Early prescription opioid use for musculoskeletal disorders and work outcomes: A systematic review of the literature. Clinical Journal of Pain, 2016; 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000452 [Epub 2017 Nov 10]

Schieir O, Hogg-Johnson S, Glazier RH, Badley EM. Sex variations in the effects of arthritis and activity limitation on first heart disease event occurrence in the Canadian general population: Results from the Longitudinal National Population Health Survey. Arthritis Care & Research, 2016; 68(6):811-8; doi: 10.1002/acr.22764

Steenstra IA, Franche RL, Furlan AD, Amick B 3rd, Hogg-Johnson S.The added value of collecting information on pain experience when predicting time on benefits for injured workers with back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2016; 26(2):117-24; doi: 10.1007/s10926-015-9592-3

Elbers NA, Collie A, Hogg-Johnson S, Lippel K, Lockwood K, Cameron ID. Differences in perceived fairness and health outcomes in two injury compensation systems: a comparative study. BMC Public Health, 2016; 16:658; doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3331-3

Blanchette MA, Rivard M, Dionne CE, Hogg-Johnson S, Steenstra I. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2016; doi: 10.1007/s10926-016-9667-9 [Epub 2016 Sep 17]

Amick BC 3rd, Hogg-Johnson S, Latour-Villamil D, Saunders R. Construction worker health and safety in Ontario, Canada: Identifying a union safety effect. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2015; 57(12):1337-42; doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000562