Karen Burns




Dr. Karen Burns practices critical care medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, a Clinician Scientists at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and an Associate Member of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology (McMaster University).

Dr. Burns’ research program focuses on evaluation strategies to liberate critically ill patients from mechanical ventilation and characterizing practice variation in weaning critically ill adults from ventilators. Her research program includes large scale observational studies, national and international weaning surveys, meta-analyses, and randomized trials comparing different weaning strategies. She also has developed a research program to characterize the unique aspects of the consent processes in critical care. Additional research interests include the use of artificial intelligence in weaning, helmet NIV, acute kidney injury in the intensive care unit, using noninvasive positive pressure ventilation as a weaning strategy, and methodology issues related to study design, implementation and reporting.

Dr. Burns has been the recipient of several personnel awards including a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Clinician Scientist Award, a Ministry of Research and Innovation Award, PSI – mid career research award, and two University of Toronto Merritt Committee Awards.

Dr. Burns is an Executive Member of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, a Treasurer of the Canadian Critical Care Society, and the current Chair of the Women in Critical Care Interest Group for the American Thoracic Society.

Recent Publications

  1. Ren, M, Choi, D, Chan, C, Rana, S, Najeeb, U, Norris, M et al.. Optimizing a mentorship program from the perspective of academic medicine leadership - a qualitative study. BMC Med Educ. 2024;24 (1):530. doi: 10.1186/s12909-024-05463-6. PubMed PMID:38741089 PubMed Central PMC11092246.
  2. Meyer, SB, Brown, P, Calnan, M, Ward, PR, Little, J, Betini, GS et al.. Development and validation of the Trust in Multidimensional Healthcare Systems Scale (TIMHSS). Int J Equity Health. 2024;23 (1):94. doi: 10.1186/s12939-024-02162-y. PubMed PMID:38720303 PubMed Central PMC11078716.
  3. Granton, D, Rodrigues, M, Raparelli, V, Honarmand, K, Agarwal, A, Friedrich, JO et al.. Sex and gender-based analysis and diversity metric reporting in acute care trials published in high-impact journals: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 2024;14 (5):e081118. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-081118. PubMed PMID:38719297 .
  4. Tricco, AC, Parker, A, Khan, PA, Nincic, V, Robson, R, MacDonald, H et al.. Interventions on gender equity in the workplace: a scoping review. BMC Med. 2024;22 (1):149. doi: 10.1186/s12916-024-03346-7. PubMed PMID:38581003 PubMed Central PMC10998304.
  5. Villar, J, González-Martín, JM, Fernández, C, Soler, JA, Ambrós, A, Pita-García, L et al.. Predicting the Length of Mechanical Ventilation in Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome Using Machine Learning: The PIONEER Study. J Clin Med. 2024;13 (6):. doi: 10.3390/jcm13061811. PubMed PMID:38542033 PubMed Central PMC10971349.
  6. Songsangvorn, N, Xu, Y, Lu, C, Rotstein, O, Brochard, L, Slutsky, AS et al.. Electrical impedance tomography-guided positive end-expiratory pressure titration in ARDS: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Intensive Care Med. 2024;50 (5):617-631. doi: 10.1007/s00134-024-07362-2. PubMed PMID:38512400 PubMed Central PMC11078723.
  7. Vanstone, MG, Krewulak, K, Taneja, S, Swinton, M, Fiest, K, Burns, KEA et al.. Patient-important upper gastrointestinal bleeding in the ICU: A mixed-methods study of patient and family perspectives. J Crit Care. 2024;81 :154761. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2024.154761. PubMed PMID:38447306 .
  8. Burns, KEA, Rochwerg, B, Seely, AJE. Ventilator Weaning and Extubation. Crit Care Clin. 2024;40 (2):391-408. doi: 10.1016/j.ccc.2024.01.007. PubMed PMID:38432702 .
  9. Burns, KEA, Khan, J, Phoophiboon, V, Trivedi, V, Gomez-Builes, JC, Giammarioli, B et al.. Spontaneous Breathing Trial Techniques for Extubating Adults and Children Who Are Critically Ill: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7 (2):e2356794. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.56794. PubMed PMID:38393729 PubMed Central PMC10891471.
  10. Leeies, M, Landry, C, Blouw, M, Butcher, J, Hrymak, CS, Vazquez-Grande, G et al.. Canadian Critical Care Society position statement on reconciliation, decolonization, and Indigenous engagement. Can J Anaesth. 2024;71 (3):311-321. doi: 10.1007/s12630-023-02682-1. PubMed PMID:38332414 .
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Clinician Scientist, Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, St Michael’s Hospital
  • Clinician Scientist, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Assistant Professor, Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Chair, Medical Surgical ICU Knowledge Translation Committee, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Organizing Member, Critical Care Continuing Medical Education Committee, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Member, Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Certification (critical care), University of Western Ontario
  • Member, ACCADEMY (McMaster University)
  • Member, Canadian Critical Care Trials Group
  • Reviewer for several critical care and respirology journals