James Dickinson


Family Medicine, Community Health Sciences


Contact information


Office: 403-210-9213

Preferred method of communication


Christine Gray

Email: ugfm@ucalgary.ca

Office: 403-210-6318

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Screening for cancer: cervical, breast, lung, and overdiagnosis, of these and thyroid cancer

Summary of Research

Dr Dickinson undertakes research relevant to Family Medicine and Community Practice. From 2009 to 2016 he was a member of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, which analyses evidence about screening, and makes national recommendations. He was a member of several working groups, mainly related to cancer screening. In related work, he undertook analyses of national epidemiology to guide screening policy for cervical screening, Aortic aneurysm, and overdiagnosis of Thyroid cancer. He is a member of the Albera Lung Screening pilot project. He continues to work on understanding patient and physician behaviour relating to cervical screening, especialy immigrant and other under-screened groups. He works to measure both benefits and harm caused by screening. He is currently trying to change cervical screening policies across the country, to start at later ages and repeat less frequently. 


Dr Dickinson is a Family Physician, with training in Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Medicine. After medical training from Queensland University, he did Family Medicine training at McMaster University, then a Kellogg Fellowship at McGill. He returned to Australia and wrote his PhD on Preventive Activities in General Practice, while working as a fellow at Newcastle University. Subsequently he was the first advisor in General Practice to the Australian Department of Health in Canberra, then held chairs in the University of Western Australia and Chinese University of Hong Kong. He returned to Canada in 2002, and has worked in the teaching practice of the Department of Family Medicine since then. He has had a long-term interest in prevention and screening, and has published research on screening effectiveness for: cervical, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer. He participates on provincial and national screening program committees, and was appointed to the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care from 2009 to 2016.