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Research Trainees

Megan Barber

Megan Barber

MD, PhD

Cumming School of Medicine, The University of Calgary

About

Megan completed her PhD at the University of Alberta and her medical degree at the University of Calgary. She is currently completing her internal medicine residency and started her rheumatology fellowship in July 2018. Her interests include autoimmune rheumatic diseases, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus. Her research is under the supervision of Dr. Ann Clarke.

Jesse Charlton

Jesse Charlton

BPEC, MSc, MPT/PhD Student

Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Jesse Charlton completed his Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching at Douglas College where he focused on athletic development and coaching science. Thereafter, he completed his MSc in the Rehabilitations Sciences program at UBC. He is now a dual program MPT & PhD student in the same program, supervised by Dr. Michael Hunt. Over the last 4 years Jesse’s research has spanned many subject areas including exercise biomechanics, lung mechanics during cycling, and gait modification for knee osteoarthritis. Today, Jesse primarily focuses on conservative treatment strategies for knee osteoarthritis. Through clinical and biomechanical examinations of gait and gait modification, Jesse’s work aims to better understand the mechanisms underlying gait modification and how patients with knee osteoarthritis adhere to and retain these treatments. In addition to his current work, Jesse has interests in sport biomechanics, healthy aging, and masters athletics.

Kelsey Chomistek

Kelsey Chomistek

BA, MSc Candidate

Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

About

Kelsey is pursuing a Master of Science in Medical Science in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Heinrike Schmeling and Dr. Cheryl Barnabe. Kelsey received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Culture with a minor in Health and Society at the University of Calgary. Kelsey has been actively involved in pediatric rheumatology research at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for the past four years. In her thesis, she will be developing a juvenile idiopathic arthritis education model and performing an evaluation using patient-reported outcome measures.

Luiza Grazziotin

Luiza Grazziotin

MSc, PhD candidate

University of Calgary

About

Luiza Grazziotin is a pharmacist by training, and completed a MSc in Cardiovascular Sciences. Currently, Luiza is pursuing her PhD in Health Economics at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Deborah Marshall.

Luiza is passionate about different health economics modelling approaches and their applicability in describing complex health processes, evaluating new interventions, and ultimately, informing decision making. Luiza’s PhD project is focused on juvenile idiopathic arthritis personalized care using simulation modeling and cost-effectiveness analysis.

Lulu Guo

Lulu Guo

BSc, MSc, PhD Student

Simon Fraser University

About

Lulu Guo is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Science at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Hui Xie. Her co-supervisor is Dr. Joan Hu. She received a Master’s degree from Shandong University. Her research topic for her master’s was focused on stochastic processes and statistical inference. Her current project focuses on developing statistical approaches to study data from rheumatoid arthritis patients. She is committed to applying diverse statistical methods to the field of arthritis in order to evaluate the efficacy of treatment, which could in turn help rheumatoid arthritis patients get better treatment and improve health outcomes.

Nejat Hassen

Nejat Hassen

B.Kin, MSc Student

School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Nejat is pursuing a Master of Science at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Diane Lacaille. She completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. Her MSc research focuses on how different comorbidities, disease-related factors, sociodemographic factors, and lifestyle factors contribute to the quality of life of rheumatoid arthritis patients. The result of this study will assist to improve collaborative decision-making between clinicians and patients on methods to best mitigate and manage the disease in a manner most valuable for the patient.
Rashedul Hoque

Rashedul Hoque

BS, MS, MSc , PhD Student

Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

About

Rashedul Hoque started his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Xie in 2018 at Simon Fraser University. He is working as a biostatistician on the PRECISION project with Dr. Xie. He obtained his M.Sc in Statistics (biostatistics specialization) from the University of British Columbia in 2017. Before that, he obtained a BS and MS in Applied Statistics from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He worked in a Microsoft funded “Data Science for Social Goods” summer fellowship program during his M.Sc at the University of British Columbia. He worked as a faculty at the University of Dhaka and statistical officer at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b). His research focuses on development and application of the diverse statistical methodologies in the broader spectrum of medical research.
Alyssa Howren

Alyssa Howren

BS, MSc, PhD Student

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia

About

Alyssa is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC) under the supervision of Dr. Mary De Vera and Dr. Antonio Avina-Zubieta. She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Cell Biology and Genetics as well as her Master of Science Degree at UBC. Alyssa’s PhD training is supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research – Doctoral Award, the Wayne Riggs Interdisciplinary Doctoral Scholarship in Pharmaceutical Sciences, and she is a UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship Designate. For her PhD thesis, Alyssa will be studying the epidemiology and treatment of depression and anxiety in individuals with inflammatory arthritis.
Bryanne Kennedy

Bryanne Kennedy

BS, MSc Student

Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary

About

Bryanne Kennedy is a Master’s student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary with a specialization in Health Economics. She is under the supervision of Dr. Gillian Currie and Dr. Deborah Marshall. She completed her Bachelor of Science with a major in biology and a minor in management at St. Mary’s University. Bryanne has an interest in patient preference methods, specifically discrete choice experiments. Her thesis work aims to quantify patient preferences for the non-surgical management of osteoarthritis and explore the relationship between those preferences and health locus of control.
Christina Le

Christina Le

BSc, MSc, PhD Student

Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta

About

Christina Le is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Jackie Whittaker. She is also a physical therapist at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of Alberta where she is part of the multidisciplinary knee team treating people with knee injuries, particularly anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. Motivated by clinical and personal (anterior cruciate ligament tear in 2017) experiences, Christina’s research seeks to better understand health-related quality of life (HRQOL) following a youth sport-related knee injury and factors that modify HRQOL. Her research goals are to inform rehabilitation strategies that optimize HRQOL and ensure lifelong well-being of youth who suffer sport-related injuries.

Jenny Leese

Jenny Leese

MA, PhD Candidate

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Jenny Leese is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li. Jenny received her Masters of Arts degree and her Joint Honours Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Leeds, U.K.

Jenny has been involved in multiple research studies at Arthritis Research Canada, focusing on evaluating new approaches in knowledge translation that will support self-management in musculoskeletal care. Her current research interests involve ethics, patient engagement, and e-health.

Alex Legge

Alex Legge

MD, MSc, Postdoctoral Fellow

Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Alex received her medical degree from Dalhousie University in 2014. Following graduation, she remained in Halifax for her Core Internal Medicine and Adult Rheumatology subspecialty residency training, which she completed in June 2021. During her residency, Alex also completed a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Community Health & Epidemiology through the Dalhousie University Clinician Investigator Program (CIP). Her thesis project focused on the construction and validation of a frailty index as a novel health measure in systemic lupus erythematosus.

 

Alex is completing a one-year research fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Diane Lacaille. For her current project, Alex is using population-based administrative health data to construct and validate a frailty index that can be applied to estimate susceptibility to adverse health outcomes among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.

Lingyi Li

Lingyi Li

MSc, PhD Student

University of British Columbia

About

Lingyi Li is a PhD student in the Experimental Medicine program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a trainee at Arthritis Research Canada. In 2017 she completed a Master’s degree in the same program at the UBC and was employed as a full-time data analyst at Arthritis Research Canada following her thesis defense.

During the past four years, she has been involved in different projects on treatment side effects for arthritis diseases. This work inspired her to pursue her PhD to help patients make more informed decisions regarding treatments. She will be studying the risk of multiple sclerosis among users of anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha medications, using the administrative datasets from four Canadian provinces. Her PhD training is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Award. She is also the UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship Designate.

Xiaoxiao Liu

Xiaoxiao Liu

MEng, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Calgary

About

Xiaoxiao Liu completed her PhD in Geography from the University of Calgary, with an emphasis on environmental health. Her PhD work focused on the effect of air pollution on hospitalizations for myocardial infarction. She holds a Master of Engineering in Geography Information Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Environment Sciences from the Henan University in China.

As a health geographer and health services researcher, Xiaoxiao has a strong passion for examining health disparities and equity in access to care and determinants of health using spatial analysis, statistics, epidemiological analysis, and geographical information systems.

Currently, Xiaoxiao is a Health System Impact Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Calgary with health system partner Primary Health Care Integration Network within Alberta Health Services (AHS). Under the co-supervision of Dr. Deborah Marshall (University of Calgary), Dr. Alka Patel (AHS) and Dr. Judy Seidel (AHS).  Xiaoxiao’s project aims to improve access to care by identifying service gaps between primary and specialty care (rheumatologist), which will provide evidence for understanding local needs and planning customized integrated care that is responsive to local issues.

Elena Lopatina

Elena Lopatina

MD, MSc, PhD Candidate

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Community Health Sciences, Health Economics Stream
University of Calgary

About

Elena Lopatina is a physician by training, and a graduate in Business Management. Currently, Elena is undertaking her PhD in Health Economics under the supervision of Dr. Deborah Marshall at the University of Calgary.

Elena has a deep interest in evaluation of complex healthcare interventions such as models of care and clinical pathways. She is currently evaluating an alternate nurse-led model of care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and its impact on quality of care and the health care system performance. Innovative models of care, such as nurse-led clinics, have a potential to provide holistic care with assessment and management of comorbidities for established patients, while increasing capacity of rheumatologists to assess new and urgent patients in the timely fashion.

Justin Losciale

Justin Losciale

DPT, SCS, PhD Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Justin Losciale earned his Bachelor in Science degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Northridge (USA) in 2013 and earned his clinical Doctorate in Physiotherapy from Duke University (USA) in 2017. He went on to complete a post-professional residency in sports physiotherapy at The Ohio State University (USA) in 2019. Today, Justin is a PhD student in Rehabilitation Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Jackie Whittaker at UBC. Justin’s research will focus on understanding the interactions between modifiable risk factors for knee osteoarthritis after knee injuries. This research will guide clinicians to the key items to target rehabilitation efforts in individuals following a knee injury.

Laurence Mainville

Laurence Mainville

LL. B., M.D.

Résidente en dermatologie, R3
Étudiante à la maîtrise en épidémiologie clinique/ Master’s Student in epidemiology
Centre de Recherche, Université Laval

About

Laurence is a resident in dermatology and a Master’s student in clinical epidemiology at Laval University. She works under the supervision of Dr Paul R. Fortin. She obtained an undergraduate degree in law from Laval University before continuing her studies in medicine. Her current project focuses on access to biologics for patients with psoriasis according to their drug plan. Her project title is, “Public versus Private Drug Insurance and Degree of Severity of Psoriasis in Patients with Prescribed Biologics.”

Darren Mazzei

Darren Mazzei

BSc Kin, MPT, PhD Student

University of Calgary

About

Darren is a physiotherapist with five years of clinical experience. Currently, Darren is undertaking his PhD in Health Economics under the supervision of Dr. Deborah Marshall at the University of Calgary.

 

Darren wants to investigate the socioeconomic impacts of osteoarthritis management with the goal of improving patients’ access to evidence-based services. Darren’s thesis is centered around the cost-effectiveness analysis and budget impact assessment of the Good Life with Osteoarthritis Denmark (GLA:D) program that is being offered at community rehabilitation clinics in Alberta. GLA:D is an eight-week standardized education and exercise program internationally recognized as an evidence-based clinical pathway and early intervention to manage osteoarthritis.

Natalie McCormick

Natalie McCormick

BSc, MSc, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

About

Natalie is a Research Fellow in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital under the supervision of Arthritis Research Canada Research Scientist Dr. Hyon Choi. For her Ph.D., which she completed at The University of British Columbia and Arthritis Research Canada (supervisors Antonio Aviña-Zubieta and Carlo Marra), she examined the little-known economic burden of systemic lupus erythematosus and related systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDs) on Canadian patients and society. She used administrative data from the British Columbia Ministry of Health to assess the direct medical costs of SARDs and survey data she collected from a sample of BC residents with and without SARDs to assess the costs of time missed from paid and unpaid work activities.

 

In her post-doctoral fellowship, Natalie is building upon her skills in analyzing large data sets to assess the natural history, long-term effects of medications, and contributors to negative outcomes in patients with lupus and other forms of inflammatory arthritis. Natalie held a CIHR Doctoral Research Award during her Ph.D. and has been granted a three-year CIHR Fellowship Award for her post-doctoral research.

Julia Mucha

Julia Mucha

BSc, MSc Candidate

University of British Columbia

About

Julia is a Master of Science student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at the University of British Columbia. She is under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li. Julia completed her Bachelor of Science with a double major in Health and Disease and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. Her diverse academic programs built an interest in research that focuses on digital health innovation and patient-practitioner interactions. Stemming from her experience working with physical therapists as an assistant, Julia is motivated to explore counselling techniques that promote patient physical activity and self-management. Her thesis will examine the influence of digital therapeutic counselling components of Brief Action Planning on patient self-management in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.

Thalia Otamendi

Thalia Otamendi

BA, MA, PhD Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Thalia Otamendi is a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at the University of British Columbia. She is co-supervised by Dr. Linda Li and Dr. Noah Silverberg. She received her BA in Psychology from McGill University and her MA in Sport Psychology from UBC.

 

Thalia’s research focuses on the psychological aspects of concussion recovery and finding ways to improve psychological care for concussion patients. Her research motivations stem from her own recovery from the injury. Her PhD focuses on exploring patient-related barriers to the adoption of evidence-based concussion care. Specifically, she wants to understand the relationships between patients’ perceptions of their injury, their help-seeking experience and coping strategies. The results of this research will be informative across disease groups, including arthritis.

André Luiz Luquini Pereira

André Luiz Luquini Pereira

MD, PhD Student

Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

 André is a Rheumatologist who completed his medical degree and residencies in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology in State University of Campinas in Brazil. He is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Medicine degree at the University of British Columbia and working as a Research Assistant under the supervision of Dr. Diane Lacaille. André has been involved with qualitative research and expert judicial examinations in occupational medicine. He is dedicated to writing in a plain language about rheumatic diseases on his professional website, blog and social media profiles.

For his PhD thesis, André will be looking at the relationships between rheumatic diseases and occupational outcomes, such as work disability, presenteeism and absenteeism. He will evaluate data obtained from “Making it Work”, a study designed to understand the effectiveness and cost-utility of a multidisciplinary e-learning program at preventing work cessation and improving at-work productivity. The research project resources were granted by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).

Anh Pham

Anh Pham

MD, PhD

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta

About

Anh Pham is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Allyson Jones. She completed her PhD at the University of Alberta and her medical degree in Eastern Medicine at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Anh is interested in supporting community-dwelling older adults by improving quality of primary care. Her postdoctoral fellowship research focuses on using data from electronic medical records to study rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and management in primary care. 

Sharan Rai

Sharan Rai

MSc, PhD Student

Harvard University

About

Sharan Rai is a third-year PhD student in Population Health Sciences focusing on nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University (supervisors: Dr. Qi Sun and Dr. Hyon Choi). Sharan is a recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Foreign Study Award, of which only ten are awarded to Canadians pursuing doctoral studies outside of Canada, as well as a full tuition scholarship for her studies at Harvard University. Her research aims to understand the risk of complications from gout (e.g., diabetes and heart disease) and investigate the role of diet in reducing these risks.  Sharan earned her Master of Science in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia in 2016, for which her thesis provided contemporary evidence of the rising and substantial burden of gout among Canadians.  ​ 

Smruthi Ramachandran

Smruthi Ramachandran

BSc, MSc Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Smruthi is a Master of Science student in the Rehabilitation Science program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li. She previously completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Psychology at UBC.

 

She is a big proponent of the Exercise is Medicine movement and using a comprehensive approach in clinical care. As such, her thesis will explore theory-based strategies for promoting exercise adherence among patients with knee osteoarthritis. This research aims to improve our understanding of how and why patients choose to engage in exercise in order to better inform future physical activity promotion interventions. With her overarching passion for supporting healthy behaviour changes in vulnerable populations, Smruthi plans to pursue a career as a clinician scientist.

Nevena Rebić

Nevena Rebić

BSc (Pharm), MSc (Pharm) Candidate

The University of British Columbia

About

Nevena is pursuing a Master of Science at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia (UBC), under the supervision of Dr. Mary De Vera. She completed her Bachelor of Pharmacy at UBC in 2018, during which she gained an interest in reproductive health and policy implementation research as a research student with the Canadian Contraception and Abortion Research Team (CART). Her masters research involves a patient-centered approach to evaluating how women with rheumatoid arthritis take medications and make medication decisions for family planning and pregnancy.

Shahrzad Salmasi

Shahrzad Salmasi

B.Pharmacy(Hons), MSc, PhD Student

The University of British Columbia

About

Shahrzad completed her Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) in 2016 at Monash University (ranked second best pharmacy school globally, QS ranking). She then received her MSc degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Building on her unique training as a pharmacist and also a researcher, Shahrzad strives to combine her clinical expertise and understanding of the social and health systems issues around patient care, in her scholarly work. In 2018, Shahrzad started her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Peter Loewen and Dr. Mary De Vera. Her PhD training is supported by the UBC International Doctoral Fellowship, a prestigious five-year fellowship awarded to only the top 25 outstanding incoming international PhD students at UBC. She is currently spearheading an international qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews with rheumatology adherence researchers in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe with the aim of exploring and eventually developing outcome measures for interventions that aim to support medication adherence in rheumatology patients.
Alix St-Aubin

Alix St-Aubin

BSc, MSc Candidate

Faculty of Medicine, University Laval

About

Alix is pursuing a Master of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences degree in the Faculty of Medicine at University Laval (UL) under the supervision of Dr. Paul R. Fortin. Alix received a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and after specialized in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Her main research interests involve the role of exercise in the standard care of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Alix also works on the predictive value of the fitness level of patients suffering from systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  
Mohan Stewart

Mohan Stewart

MD

Internal Medicine Program, University of British Columbia

About

Mohan completed her medical degree at the University of British Columbia and is currently a resident in the UBC Internal Medicine Program. She is working on osteoarthritis research under the supervision of Dr. Jacek Kopec. Her research focuses on the efficacy of analgesics in the management of osteoarthritis pain. She hopes that her research will help inform patient decisions regarding osteoarthritis treatment.

  

Tita Szlachetka

Tita Szlachetka

BSc, MD, MSc Candidate

Department of Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Tita Szlachetka is pursuing a Master of Science in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Diane Lacaille.  Tita completed her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Life Sciences at the University of British Columbia followed by medical school at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.  Her research is focused on rheumatoid arthritis. For her MSc thesis, Tita is looking at the determinants of cognitive function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Tita is interested in the musculoskeletal system and her research here will be a great asset going into clinical practice in the future.

  

Viviane Ta

Viviane Ta

MA Student

Counselling Psychology, McGill University

About

Viviane is a MA student in the Counselling Psychology program at McGill University. Under the supervision of Dr. Susan Bartlett and Dr. Annett Körner, her current project uses data from the Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort (CATCH) to examine sociodemographic and psychological factors related to medication beliefs in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis. 

  

Megan Thomas

Megan Thomas

BSc, MSc Student

Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary

About

MMegan Thomas is a Master’s student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary with a specialization in Health Services Research. She is under the supervision of Dr. Glen Hazlewood and Dr. Deborah Marshall. She completed her Bachelor of Health Sciences honours degree with a specialization in Health and Society, also at the University of Calgary. Megan has an interest in patient preferences and patient-oriented research. Her thesis work will involve developing guidance on incorporating patient preferences to value health outcomes in clinical trials within rheumatology.

  

Flora To-Miles

Flora To-Miles

MSc, PhD Candidate

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Flora To-Miles is a practicing occupational therapist and a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Catherine Backman. Flora received her Masters of Science degree (Occupational Therapy) at Western University and her Bachelor of Arts Honors degree (Psychology) at Queen’s University.

 

Flora has been involved with various research projects and laboratories with the above universities, focusing on rehabilitation, work, and psychology. Her current research interests involve applying a classification method on daily activities based on the characteristics of those activities. The goal is to explore the association between activity patterns and well-being in adults with inflammatory arthritis, focusing on biomarkers as indications. This would ultimately inform activity guidelines for those living with arthritis, enhancing quality of life.

Linda Truong

Linda Truong

MScPT, BScKin, Certificate in Sports PT, PhD Student

About

Linda was a physical therapist for 8 years at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic in Edmonton, Canada before moving to Vancouver to complete her PhD in Rehabilitation Science under the supervision of Dr. Jackie Whittaker at the University of British Columbia.

Linda’s research will focus on integrating social support to rehabilitation programs to optimize recovery following a traumatic knee injury. The goals of her research will be centered on addressing both physical and non-physical factors during recovery. This research will provide clinicians with strategies to promote healthier lifestyle behaviours and a supportive community after a significant knee injury.

Valerie Umaefulam

Valerie Umaefulam

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Calgary

About

Valerie Umaefulam completed her PhD in Community and Population Health at the University of Saskatchewan. Her background is in optometry and public health. Over the past years, she has conducted studies on community eye health, chronic disease management, health promotion, medical education and technology, mobile health, and health service research. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Calgary with Dr. Cheryl Barnabe and will work on developing shared decision making strategies with Indigenous Peoples to aid in narrowing health equity gaps.

Monica Vaillancourt

Monica Vaillancourt

PhD Student

McGill University

About

Monica Vaillancourt is a third-year PhD student in experimental psychology at McGill University under the supervision of Dr Deborah Da Costa and Dr Blaine Ditto. The main focus of her doctorate research is on the mental health of immigrant parents during the transitional period into parenthood. In addition to her current work, she is also interested in the study of psychosocial risk factors for chronic illnesses including rheumatic arthritis.

Ellen Wang

Ellen Wang

PhD Student

University of British Columbia

About

Ellen is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li at the University of British Columbia. She received her Master and Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. During her time in Ontario, Ellen was involved in multiple implementation projects for older adults living with chronic conditions and mobility impairments. Her thesis work examined the feasibility of telephone and virtually delivered functional strength and balance training combined with nutrition education for older adults living with frailty. From her experience, she developed a keen interest in the use of technology to prescribe, monitor and maintain physical activity; especially in vulnerable and underserved populations. Her current research is at the intersection of knowledge translation, digital health innovation and physical activity promotion. In specific, she wants to understand the therapeutic interaction between mobile applications and rehabilitation/exercise training to improve participant adherence. Outside of her studies, Ellen volunteers and works as a dance choreographer, yoga instructor and personal trainer.

Heather Worthington

Heather Worthington

BSc, MSc, PhD Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Heather is a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at the University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li. She received her Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from Queen’s University, and her Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo. Heather has been involved in health services and policy research projects for many years – primarily in the area of pharmaceutical policy. After experiencing a life changing injury, she became acutely aware of the gaps in care experienced by rehabilitation patients. She plans to use her knowledge and experience to conduct research to improve access to physiotherapy services.

Kai Zhao

Kai Zhao

PhD Student

Simon Fraser University

About

Following the completion of his MSc at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Kai continues to do his PhD in statistics under the supervision of Dr. Hui Xie. Kai worked for Fraser Health Authority and Kestrel Forestry Inc as a Data Analyst. During his PhD, Kai will be developing statistical methods on population-based administrative data to improve health outcomes for arthritis patients.”

Vivienne Yuetong Zhou

Vivienne Yuetong Zhou

BSc, MSc Candidate

Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

About

Vivienne is a Master of Science student at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Hui Xie. She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in quantitative and population health sciences at SFU in 2019. Upon graduation, she started working at Arthritis Research Canada as a research trainee. Her MSc research focuses on the impact of Biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) on the risk of various outcomes for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients such as total joint arthroplasty and hip fracture. The results of the study will provide relevant insights to policy makers on their policies on regulation and management of bDMARDs as an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

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