Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Diabetes Screening and Incidence in Ontario

Dr. Ghazal Fazli

Part of the Department of Health and Society Research Seminar Series

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Canada has plateaued in recent years but is expected to increase sharply following the COVID 19 pandemic. Dr. Fazli used administrative health care databases to examine monthly changes in diabetes screening during the pandemic March 2020 February 2021) compared to the pre pandemic period March 2020 February 2021) among adults aged 20-85 without prior diabetes, in Ontario.

Based on preliminary results, a sudden decline (25-65%) was observed in diabetes screening, which varied across different age and income groups. This timely research will help us understand whether the pandemic will accelerate diabetes risk and how we can respond more effectively to prevent the adverse impacts of this and future pandemics on metabolic health through policy interventions.

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Ghazal Fazli is a Lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society and a CIHR Health Systems Impact Post-Doctoral Fellow. Ghazal completed her PhD from the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and Master of Public Health from University of Waterloo. Her research explores the impact of sociodemographic, immigration, and environmental related factors on diabetes development among immigrants to Canada.

As an epidemiologist, Ghazal has deep interests for research and policy initiatives that promote action on the social determinants of health to improve wellbeing and quality of life across the lifespan. Specifically, her commitment to these efforts has stemmed from her passion for uncovering the upstream determinants of chronic diseases and supporting the design and implementation of policies and interventions that will eliminate deeply rooted health inequities.