Zahid A. Butt

Assistant Professor
Zahid Butt.

Contact information

Office: LHN 3733

Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 45107


Lab: Public Health Research and Analytics Lab

Website: Digital Intelligence for Public Health

Remote video URL

Research interests 

Current research, traditional methods and interventions for infectious disease prevention and control are not sufficient, especially in the context of marginalization, interactions between infections, bio-behavioral factors and social disparities. These methods and research could benefit from new insights derived from the study of syndemics*. My research interests focus on syndemics* of infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections. My research aims to evaluate the determinants of syndemics, extend the syndemic framework to non-communicable diseases and cancers, and design and evaluate prevention strategies to address syndemics.

My other areas of interest include the development and application of methods for analysis of big data, global health, and spatial epidemiologic methods and their application to public health practice. In addition to the above, I have worked internationally in academia and the development sector (World Health Organization and UNICEF).

*Syndemics is a term used to describe a framework to understand disease and health conditions that cluster within specific populations, and are exacerbated by underlying socio-economic, environmental and political conditions.

Graduate supervision and student opportunities

I am currently accepting applications from graduate students with research interests related to:

  • Infectious disease epidemiology
  • Chronic disease epidemiology
  • Spatial epidemiology
  • Global health
  • Big data analytics

Graduate studies application details 

Teaching interests

  • Epidemiology
  • Public health
  • Public health informatics
  • Global health
  • Research methods


MBBS, Dhaka University, Bangladesh

MSc Epidemiology & Biostatistics, The Aga Khan University, Pakistan

PhD Epidemiology, Michigan State University

PDF, University of British Columbia - BC Centre for Disease Control

Selected publications

See Google Scholar for a list of publications.

Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration. Global, Regional, and National Cancer Incidence, Mortality, Years of Life Lost, Years Lived With Disability, and Disability-Adjusted Life-Years for 29 Cancer Groups, 1990 to 2017: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. JAMA Oncol. 2019 Sep 27.

Local Burden of Disease Collaborators. Mapping 123 million neonatal, infant and child deaths between 2000 and 2017. Nature. 2019 Oct;574(7778):353-358.

Butt ZA, Mak S, Gesink D, Gilbert M, Wong J, Yu A, Wong S, Alvarez M, Chong M, Buxton J, Tyndall M, Krajden M, Janjua NZ. Applying core theory and spatial analysis to identify Hepatitis C Virus infection 'core areas' in British Columbia, Canada. J Viral Hepat. 2018 Nov 17.

GBD 2016 Alcohol Collaborators. Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet. 2018 Sep 22;392(10152):1015-1035.

Butt ZA, Shrestha N, Gesink D, Murti M, Buxton JA, Gilbert M, Balshaw RF, Wong S, Kuo M, Wong J, Yu A, Alvarez M, Samji H, Roth D, Consolacion T, Hull MW, Ogilvie G, Tyndall MW, Krajden M, Janjua NZ. Effect of opioid-substitution therapy and mental health counseling on HIV risk among hepatitis C-infected individuals. Clin Epidemiol. 2018 Aug 31;10:1127-1145.

Butt ZA, Shrestha N, Wong S, Kuo M, Gesink D, Gilbert M, Wong J, Yu A, Alvarez M, Samji H, Buxton JA, Johnston JC, Cook VJ, Roth D, Consolacion T, Murti M, Hottes TS, Ogilvie G, Balshaw R, Tyndall MW, Krajden M, Janjua NZ; BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort. A syndemic approach to assess the effect of substance use and social disparities on the evolution of HIV/HCV infections in British Columbia. PLOS One. 2017 Aug 22;12(8):e0183609.

Selected professional activities and networks

  • Associate Editor, BMC Public Health 
  • Member, Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER)
  • Member, International Society for Infectious Disease (ISID)
  • Member, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
  • Member, Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver (CASL)
  • Member, International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN)
  • Associate Member, Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), University of British Columbia