Scientific Director


Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology
Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia









Dr. John Esdaile is an internationally respected rheumatologist who spearheaded the creation of the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada.

He completed his undergraduate medical training at McGill University in Montreal, P.Q., and went on to post-graduate training in Montreal, Toronto, and London, England. He returned to the Montreal General Hospital where he was responsible for setting up a clinical post-graduate program in rheumatology. He subsequently went on to study under Alvan R. Feinstein of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar’s Program at the Yale University School of Medicine and to obtain a Master’s of Public Health Degree from Yale.

Upon his return to McGill University, Dr. Esdaile was named Director of Rheumatology, initially at the Montreal General Hospital and subsequently for the University. He played a key role in the rapid expansion and success of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit at the Montreal General Hospital. Over the ensuing decade, the clinical epidemiology group grew from a tenure track faculty of four to more than a dozen faculty members with a total staff of 50.

In 1996, Dr. Esdaile accepted the positions of Head of Rheumatology at the University of British Columbia and Director of Research at The Arthritis Society, BC & Yukon Division. Dedicated to expanding Canada’s role in arthritis research, Dr. Esdaile was largely responsible for developing and establishing the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, of which he was named Scientific Director.

Dr. Esdaile has authored more than 200 publications in refereed journals, as well as more than two dozen books and book chapters.

As one of five principal investigators, Dr. Esdaile was successful in receiving funding for the Canadian Arthritis Network, a federally funded Networks of Centres of Excellence, providing more than $40 million over ten years for arthritis research. This grant involves more than 150 scientists from across Canada, including many from BC.

Dr. Esdaile’s areas of research interest include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. His publication of the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in systemic lupus erythematosus is considered a landmark paper that has altered the treatment of this disease for many patients.

Dr. Esdaile received the Distinguished Investigator Award at the 2005 Canadian Rheumatology Association meetings in Quebec.  In 2006, he was named a Kirkland Scholar by the Kirkland Foundation in New York, NY and in 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

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