First Exposure

Doing the Work

First Exposure Begins with a Strong Foundation

First Exposure at the University of Toronto is a digital information hub and research network providing evidence-based information to the public and health care providers on the safety of medications, plant and environmental substances and other exposures during pregnancy and lactation.  The program is based at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health through the generous support and vision of the Vohra Miller Foundation.   

The focus of the Vohra Miller Foundation is to improve the health of the planet and its people. Through the foundation, Sabina Vohra-Miller and Craig Miller committed themselves to improving access to science-based pregnancy and lactation safety knowledge, finding the right home for First Exposure at the University of Toronto and Health Nexus as a delivery partner.   

The vision of First Exposure is to be Canada’s trusted source of evidence-based reproductive and lactation health information on exposures.    

Our mission is to evaluate and communicate the safety of medication and substance exposures in ways people need, so they can make informed choices within their own, unique and culturally safe contexts.  

First Exposure Operating Principles

1. Evidence Based

First Exposure is supported by rigorous research and review processes. We connect people with knowledge that is accurate and up to date. We also stay current with newly published literature, striving to reduce the gap between research and practice.  

2. Based on Anti-oppression and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access  

First Exposure internalizes inclusive values into everything we do including leadership choices, priority-setting, population engagement and inter-disciplinary collaboration.  An ongoing community engagement process enables inclusive representation at faculty and community levels. 

3. Reliable and Trusted

First Exposure is dedicated to effective knowledge mobilization and promoting policy makers, healthcare providers and the public to make informed decisions. We demonstrate this through our inclusive governance structure, rigorous literature review process, collaborative environment, orientation to quality improvement and responsiveness to input. 

4. Co-Governance with Populations

Our commitment to co-leadership means that we actively engage with and involve communities in program design, data governance, and knowledge translation to ensure we represent the diverse perspectives and needs of the populations we serve.  This includes using progressive population-originated data governance frameworks, such as Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP) for First Nations communities.  

To guide data interpretation, First Exposure implements Ontario Health’s Equity, Inclusion, Diversity and Anti-Racism Framework together with six principles of harm reduction, including: 

  • humanism,  
  • pragmatism,  
  • individualism,  
  • autonomy,  
  • incrementation and  
  • accountability without termination.  

5. Baby Friendly

Our dedication to being “baby friendly” extends to supporting the practices and principles aimed at creating an environment that supports optimal infant feeding and care. 

6. Ethical Independence

We operate with a commitment to ethical principles, free from corporate influence and conflicts of interest. Our decisions, actions and partnerships are guided solely by our mission, free from bias generated by commercial interests or for-profit corporations.  

7. Person Centered

We recognize that focusing our services on the unique needs and preferences of community members results in better outcomes.  

8. Commitment to Reproductive Choice

We provide accurate clinical reproductive sexual health and infant care advice and are unwavering in our support of individuals to make choices that are the best for them in consultation with their healthcare providers. 


In addition to the University of Toronto, First Exposure is collaborating with the following partners:   

  • Canadian Mother-Child Cohort (CAMCCO), a Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR)-funded research network founded by Dr. Anick Berard, at the St. Justine Hospital at the University of Montreal, which provides research and learner support in the area of pregnancy toxicology.   
  • SPOR Evidence Alliance, a CIHR-funded research network led by Dr. Andrea Tricco at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.   
  • Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto is developing a clinical program to extend the services of First Exposure.   

To Support Us

To discuss supporting the First Exposure, please contact: 


Director of Advancement | Dalla Lana School of Public Health 
University of Toronto 
Room 690, 155 College Street 
Toronto, ON M5T 3M7 

email: [email protected]