Ginetta Salvalaggio, MD, MSc, CCFP(AM)

Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Family Medicine Dept

Pronouns: she / her / elle;

Personal Website:


Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Family Medicine Dept
(780) 492-2890
6-10C University Terrace
8303 - 112 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2T4


Area of Study / Keywords

community engagement social determinants of health substance use primary care


I am a Professor and Research Co-Director with the University of Alberta Department of Family Medicine, and the Associate Scientific Director of the Inner City Health and Wellness Program.  I received my degree in Medicine from the University of Alberta and completed a family practice residency in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Initially practicing as a rural locum, I eventually returned to Edmonton to establish a family practice, including obstetrics in my practice until recently. I joined the Department of Family Medicine in 2007.  I have also completed a Masters of Science in Population Health through the University of Alberta School of Public Health.   I hold a Certificate of Added Competence in Addiction Medicine from the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and have completed a Fellowship in Health System Improvement through the School of Public Health.  My academic interests are focused on social accountability, patient and community engagement, and health services for structurally vulnerable people who use drugs and other equity-seeking and justice-deserving populations. 


I co-lead an established urban health services research program focused on 1) transitions in care and 2) patient and community engagement. I have held a senior investigative role in a variety of original studies including 1) a mixed methods study on patient-provider rapport in the health care of people who inject drugs (masters thesis); 2) a knowledge translation intervention study of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for urban underserved people who use substances (PI); 3) a patient outcome evaluation and parallel process evaluation of a complex team intervention for urban underserved patients seeking acute care (PI); 4) an evidence review and development of addiction medicine recommendations for Canada’s new homeless health Clinical Practice Guidelines (addiction content lead); 5) an agent-based model of urban underserved patient health-seeking behaviour (PI); 6) an evaluation of harm reduction interventions implemented in a novel (acute care) setting, including the first acute care supervised consumption service in North America (co-PI); 7) a comparative case study of the COVID-19 response and implications for transitions in care for urban underserved populations (PI); and 8) a realist review of the impact of health system engagement on the health and well-being of people who use drugs (PI).

Recent publications

Gehring ND, Speed K, Wild TC, Pauly B, Salvalaggio G, Hyshka E. Policy actor views on structural vulnerability in harm reduction and policymaking for illegal drugs: A qualitative study. Int J Drug Policy 108, 103805. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103805

Gehring ND, Speed K, Dong KA, Pauly B, Salvalaggio G, Hyshka E. Social service providers’ perspectives on caring for structurally vulnerable hospital patients who use drugs: a qualitative study. BMC Health Services Research 22(1), 1-13. DOI: 

Salvalaggio G, Hyshka E, Brown C, Pinto A, Halas G, Green LA, et al. A Comparison of the COVID-19 Response for Urban Underserved Patients Experiencing Healthcare Transitions in Three Canadian Cities. Can J Pub Health (2022).  

Brooks HL, Salvalaggio G, Pauly B, Dong K, Bubela T, Taylor M, and Hyshka E. "I have such a hard time hitting myself, I thought it'd be easier": Perspectives of hospitalized patients on injecting drugs into vascular access devices. Harm Reduct J 2022 May;19(54). 

Salvalaggio, G., Ferguson, L., Brooks, H.L., Campbell, S., Gladue, V., Hyshka, E., Lam, L., et al. Impact of health system engagement on the health and well-being of people who use drugs: a realist review protocol. Syst Rev 11, 66 (2022). 

Salvalaggio G, Dong KA, Hyshka E, McCabe C, Nixon L, Rosychuk RJ, et al. Impact of an Addiction Medicine Consult Team Intervention in a Canadian Inner City Hospital on Acute Care Utilization: A Pragmatic Quasi-Experimental Study. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 17, 20 (2022). 

Kosteniuk B, Salvalaggio G, Wild TC, Gelberg L, Hyshka E. Perceived unmet substance use and mental health care needs of acute care patients who use drugs: A cross-sectional analysis using the Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations. Drug and Alcohol Review 2021 Dec 2. DOI: 10.1111/dar.13417

McBrien K, Nguyen V, Garcia-Jorda D, Rondeau K, Polachek A, Kamran H, et al. Connect 2 Care (C2C), a novel community outreach program for vulnerably housed patients with high acute care use: a mixed-methods study protocol. Frontiers in Public Health 2021 Oct 8. DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.605695

Kosteniuk B, Salvalaggio G, McNeil R, Brooks HL, Dong KA, Twan S, et al.  “ ‘You Don’t Have to Squirrel Away in a Staircase’: Patient Motivations for Attending a Novel Supervised Drug Consumption Service in Acute Care.” Int J Drug Policy (2021); Article 103275, 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103275

Dong KA, Lavergne KJ, Salvalaggio G, Weber SM, Xue CJ, Kestler A, et al. “Emergency Physician Perspectives on Initiating Buprenorphine/Naloxone in the Emergency Department: A Qualitative Study.” JACEP Open 2020. DOI: 10.1002/emp2.12409

Magwood O, Hanemaayer A, Saad A, Salvalaggio G, Bloch G, Moledina A, et al. “Determinants of Implementation of a Clinical Practice Guideline for Homeless Health.” Int J Environmental Research and Public Health Oct 2020;17(21). IF 2.849  DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17217938      

Andermann A, Bloch G, Goel R, Brcic V, Salvalaggio G, Twan S, et al. “Caring For Patients with Lived Experience of Homelessness.” Can Fam Phys Aug 2020;66(8):563-570.  IF 3.112   

Pottie K, Kendall CE, Aubry T, Magwood O, Andermann A, Salvalaggio G et al.  "Evidence Based Clinical Guidelines for Homeless, Vulnerably Housed and People with Lived Homelessness Experience."  CMAJ 2020 192(10):E240-254.  Impact factor :  6.93

Article URL: Podcast URL:  

McKinney M, Smith KE, Dong KA, Babenko O, Ross S, Kelly MA, Salvalaggio G.  "Development of the Inner City Attitudinal Assessment Tool (ICAAT) for Learners Across Health Care Professions."  BMC Health Services Research 2020 20:174.  DOI:

Article shortened URL:  Impact factor: 2.01

Magwood O, Salvalaggio G, Beder M, Kendall C, Kpade V, Daghmach W, Habonimana G, Marshall Z, Snyder E, O’Shea T, Lennox R, Hsu H, Tugwell P, & Pottie K. “The effectiveness of substance use interventions for homeless and vulnerably housed persons: A   systematic review of systematic reviews on supervised consumption facilities, managed alcohol  programs, and pharmacological agents for opioid use disorder.” PLoS ONE 2020 15(1):1-31.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227298  Impact factor: 2.78

Hyshka E, Morris H, Anderson-Baron J, Nixon L, Dong KA, Salvalaggio G.  Patient perspectives on a harm reduction-oriented addiction medicine consultation team implemented in a large acute care hospital.  Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2019 Nov;204(1).  DOI:  10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.06.025.

Recent Peer-reviewed funding 

July 2023: Principal Investigator, “Supporting Healthy Partnerships with People Who Use Drugs: An Educational Intervention.” $15,000 over 1 year in D.M. Robb Community-Based Research Grant funding from the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine. V Gladue, A Robinson, G Harvey, J Kirkwood, O Babenko co-Is.

March 2023: Principal Investigator, “Addressing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on People Who Use Drugs Through Health System Innovation.” $194,369 over 2 years in Patient-Oriented Research Training Grant - Health System Stream funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Boyle Street Services Society NPI; S Twan, M Taylor, L Umpherville PKUs; E Hyshka, KA Dong co-Is. 

September 2022: Co-Principal Investigator, “Understanding the Short- and Long-Term Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on People Who Use Substances in Edmonton's Inner City.” $117,424 over 1 year from Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. E. Hyshka PI.

July 2022: Co-Investigator, “Evaluating the impact of a novel acute care-based supervised injection service on patient outcomes.” $661,726 over 5 years in Project Grant funding from Canadian Institutes for Health Research. E. Hyshka PI.

June 2022: Co-Investigator, “Canadian ADAptive Platform Trial of COVID-19 Therapeutics in Community Settings (Can-ADAPT COVID).” $10,000,000 over 1 year in Operating Grant: COVID-19 Outpatient Therapeutic Studies funding from Canadian Institutes for Health Research. A. Pinto PI.

March 2022: Co-Investigator, “Developing Canadian national standards for virtual delivery of mental health services within primary care.” $92,650 over 1 year in Catalyst grant: Quadruple Aim and Equity funding from Canadian Institutes for Health Research. B. O’Neill PI.

August 2021: Principal Investigator, “Impact of Health System Engagement on the Health and WellBeing of People Who Use Drugs: A Realist Review.” $4500 over 1 year from the Northern Alberta Academic Family Medicine Fund Committee.

July 2021: Evaluation Co-Lead, “Building Community Capacity to Address the COVID Social Pandemic: Primary care and community partnerships in advocacy.” $249,888.91 over 18 months in COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Impact Grant (Co-RIG) Program – Phase II funding from the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine. G. Bloch PI.

March 2021: Collaborator, “Canadian Network for Modelling Infectious Disease.” $2,500,000 over 2 years in Emerging Infectious Disease Modelling grant funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada.

March 2020:  Principal Investigator, “Co-Designing Relational Continuity Interventions for Urban Underserved Patients Experiencing Hospital-Primary Care Transitions.”  $40,000 over 1 year in CIHR Project Bridge Funding from Northern Alberta Clinical Trials + Research Centre.  

March 2020:  Co-investigator, “A Meta-Ethnography of Methamphetamine Use: Mobilizing qualitative synthesis and the lived experiences of People Who Use Drugs to inform harm reduction and public health interventions in Alberta.”  $80,120 over 1 year in Methamphetamine and related psychostimulant use Operating Grant funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 

July 2019:  Co-investigator, “Connect 2 Care:  Evaluation of a novel community outreach program for socially vulnerable patients with complex needs.”  $325,890 over 2.5 years in Project Grant funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

February 2019:  Co-Principal investigator, “Implementing supervised consumption services in acute care:  Evaluating a novel opioid crisis intervention.”  $99,996 over 1 year from Canadian Institutes of Health Research.




I act as a bedside clinical teacher, small group facilitator, and faculty advisor to medical students, residents, and other health professional trainees, many of whom have identified special interests in addiction medicine, social determinants of health, Indigenous health, and obstetrics. My emphasis throughout has been on ensuring their acquisition of non-biomedical core competencies required to function as modern healthcare professionals—competencies such as patient engagement, relational practice, complex systems, advocacy, and practice-based scholarship. My trainees have gone on to provide clinical services and healthcare leadership in underserved settings in urban and rural/remote Canada and internationally. I am also an active contributor to continuing professional development activities in my discipline.

I am equally involved in education specific to the research environment. I supervise summer students, resident researchers, graduate practicum students, graduate research assistants, and postdoctoral fellows. I have also been a thesis committee member for masters-level graduate students in public health. My lab has produced several highly qualified professionals who have subsequently accepted employment positions with Alberta Health Services, non-profit organizations, government, and academia. Perhaps most importantly, I continue to provide mentorship and support to lived experience colleagues.

Featured Publications

Gehring N.D., Speed K.A., Dong K., Pauly B., Salvalaggio G., Hyshka E.

BMC HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH. 2022 September; 22 (1):1138 10.1186/s12913-022-08498-x

Gehring N.D., Speed K.A., Wild T.C., Pauly B., Salvalaggio G., Hyshka E.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DRUG POLICY. 2022 July; 108 10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103805

Salvalaggio G., Hyshka E., Brown C., Pinto A.D., Halas G., Green L., Kosteniuk B., Perri M., Le Chalifoux N., Halas G., Steiner L., Cavett T., Montesanti S.


Brooks H.L., Salvalaggio G., Pauly B., Dong K., Bubela T., Taylor M., Hyshka E.

Harm Reduction Journal. 2022 May; 19 (1) 10.1186/s12954-022-00637-1

International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022 May;

Salvalaggio G., Ferguson L., Brooks H.L., Campbell S., Gladue V., Hyshka E., Lam L., Morris H., Nixon L., Springett J.

Systematic Reviews. 2022 April; 11 (1) 10.1186/s13643-022-01938-z

Annals of Family Medicine. 2022 April; 10.1370/afm.20.s1.3025

Salvalaggio G., Dong K.A., Hyshka E., McCabe C., Nixon L., Rosychuk R.J., Dmitrienko K., Krajnak J., Mrklas K., Wild T.C.

Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy. 2022 March; 17 (1) 10.1186/s13011-022-00445-7

Kosteniuk B., Salvalaggio G., Wild T.C., Gelberg L., Hyshka E.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL REVIEW. 2021 December; 41 (4):830-840 10.1111/dar.13417

Kosteniuk B., Salvalaggio G., McNeil R., Brooks H.L., Dong K., Twan S., Brouwer J., Hyshka E.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DRUG POLICY. 2021 October; 96 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103275

McBrien K.A., Nguyen V., Garcia-Jorda D., Rondeau K., Polachek A., Kamran H., Lang E., Ghali W., Barnabe C., Braun T., McLane P., Milaney K., Ronksley P.E., Salvalaggio G., Spackman E., Tang K.L., Williamson T., Fabreau G.

Frontiers in Public Health. 2021 October; 9 10.3389/fpubh.2021.605695

Kosteniuk B., Salvalaggio G., McNeil R., Brooks H.L., Dong K., Twan S., Brouwer J., Hyshka E.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DRUG POLICY. 2021 May; 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103275

Dong KA, Lavergne KJ, Salvalaggio G, Weber SM, Xue CJ, Kestler A, et al

JACEP Open. 2021 April; 2 (2) 10.1002/emp2.12409

Magwood O., Hanemaayer A., Saad A., Salvalaggio G., Bloch G., Moledina A., Pinto N., Ziha L., Geurguis M., Aliferis A., Kpade V., Arya N., Aubry T., Pottie K.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020 October; 17 (21):1-18 10.3390/ijerph17217938

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