Dr. John A. Staples

Dr. John Staples


Clinical Associate Professor


Vancouver General Hospital


Dr Staples graduated from medical school at the University of Alberta and completed a residency and fellowship in General Internal Medicine at UBC. His subsequent research training included a Masters of Public Health (Harvard University), a New England Journal of Medicine Editorial Fellowship, and a Health Services Research Fellowship (Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto).


  • Injury prevention
  • Hospital readmissions
  • Hospital discharge before medical approval
  • Michael Smith Health Research BC Health Professional-Investigator
  • CIHR and Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada operating grant funding

Dr. Staples’ research interests include traffic safety, medical risk factors for injury and unplanned readmissions to hospital. He seeks to use the techniques of clinical epidemiology and British Columbia’s powerful population-based data resources to generate novel insights and improve population health.

One of his early studies examined 10 years of Ontario’s linked administrative data and identified a cohort of about 200,000 patients to examine mortality after hospital readmission (CMAJ Open 2014). Readmission to a hospital other than the original facility resulted in a 4% absolute increase in 30- day mortality that was not entirely explained by patient characteristics. This work was covered by over 100 media outlets. including Newsday and US News & World Report.

Dr. Staples’ most influential study modeled the effects of a nationally-implemented motorcycle helmet law in Vietnam, finding that such a policy is dominantly cost effective and averts medical impoverishment (Inj Prev 2016). As part of this work, he co-authored two book chapters in the 2017 Disease Control Priorities (Third Edition), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and published by the World Bank Group. The book targets injury prevention practitioners in lower- and middle-income countries and has been downloaded over 4,000 times.

Dr. Staples’ highest impact studies have resulted in widely disseminated injury prevention messaging. One study found that Halloween evening is associated with a 10-fold increase in fatalities among pedestrians aged 4 to 8 years (JAMA Pediatrics; Impact Factor 12). Another study found that fatal traffic crashes were 12% higher during the annual “4/20” cannabis celebrations (JAMA Int Med 2018; Impact Factor 21). A related study found that Vancouver’s 4/20 cannabis celebration was associated with a 17% increase in emergency department visits at St Paul’s Hospital (Emerg Med J 2020). These works were highlighted in over 125 media publications including TIME, Newsweek, The Globe and Mail, BBC, Freakonomics, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Ongoing research projects include a study that examines the influence of physician financial incentives on the risk of unplanned hospital readmission; a study that examines resource use after hospitalization for serious infection; a study examining crash risks after syncope and after cardioverter-defibrillator implantation; and a study that examines antipsychotic adherence and crash risk among individuals with schizophrenia.

View publications on NCBI or Google Scholar


Prospective Graduate Students: Dr. Staples will consider co-supervision of graduate students in Experimental Medicine for the upcoming academic year. Please refer to graduate admissions for details.


Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Health Professional Investigator Award (2020)
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Grant-in-Aid (2019)
CIHR Project Scheme Grant (2019; declined in favour of the more generous HSFC GIA award)
BC Infectious Diseases Society research contract (2018)
BC Specialist Services Committee research contract (2017)
PHCRI/VCHRI Innovation and Translation Award (2017)
CIHR Project Scheme Grant (2016)


VCHRI Mentored Clinician Scientist Award (2017)