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Break the Bias

photo to supplement event

March 08, 2022



This International Women’s Day, join us for a conversation about gender bias and leave inspired by the women leading the way in Arthritis research and care. Network with business leaders in your community and close out the evening with a fireside chat focused on the theme, #BreakTheBias.

Did you know?

  • Women comprise 29% of the STEM workforce and 52% of the college-educated workforce. 1
  • The number of women in board positions in STEM-related industries in 2020 was 19.2%, an 18.3% increase over the previous year.2
  • Women only make up 3% of STEM industry CEOs.3
  • 29.3% of researchers worldwide are women. 4

The Arthritis Society funds only the best, most scientifically meritorious research proposals that offer the greatest hope for improvements in our ability to diagnose, prevent and treat arthritis...and one day, extinguish this debilitating disease. Your support helps fund the brightest young minds in arthritis research and ensures we can keep talented scientists focused on arthritis research in Canada for years to come!

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Event Program
4:00 p.m. – Opening remarks
4:30 p.m. – Research Speaker: Megan Thomson Arthritis Society Trainee, UBC discussing Assessing equity considerations in the care of patients with inflammatory arthritis (ACCESS).
4:50 p.m. – Impact Speaker: Elaine Alec
5:10 p.m. – Panel Discussion with Meghan Thomson, Elaine Alec and Trish Barbato
5:30 p.m. – Q & A
5:45 p.m. – Closing Remarks


Megan Thomas

Meghan ThomsonMegan Thomas is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, specializing in epidemiology and health outcomes. She is under the supervision of Dr. Mary De Vera and Dr. Mark Harrison. She completed both her MSc in Community Health Sciences and her Bachelor of Health Sciences honours degree at the University of Calgary. Megan has an interest in patient preferences, health equity, and patient-oriented research. Her thesis work will address equity considerations that impact access to research and care for patients with inflammatory arthritis.

Elaine Alec

Elaine AlecElaine is from the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation and Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation and is a member of the Penticton Indian Band in the Interior of British Columbia.

She has been a political advisor, Chief of Staff for the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, Community Planner for her own First Nation, employee for the Province of BC and Federal Government and Entrepreneur.

Elaine has spent over 20 years in over 100 communities across Canada to promote healing and wellness. She is a partner of an Indigenous owned and operated planning company called Alderhill Planning Inc.

Elaine is a first-time author of “Calling My Spirit Back” a memoir about growing up as an Indigenous girl in Canada and the impacts of colonization. It also provides Indigenous knowledge, teachings on how to cultivate safe spaces for diversity and inclusion.

Trish Barbato

Trish BarbatoTrish Barbato brings more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in the fields of health and senior living. She has built an impressive reputation as a leader skilled at driving organizational change, guiding organizations to innovate, harnessing technology and inspiring people to achieve clear strategic objectives.

Prior to joining the Arthritis Society in 2020, Trish served with senior living provider Revera Inc. for over a decade in a variety of roles, most recently as Senior Vice President, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships. She was previously President & CEO of COTA Health, a rehabilitation, mental health and support services organization.

Trish has held various executive positions, including Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer at Providence Healthcare, a 671-bed hospital and long-term care facility, Managing Director at Bayshore Healthcare, Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Partner with MacNeill, Edmundson. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Trish is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant.

Volunteerism has played a large role in Trish’s life and career, with more than 30 years dedicated to various causes and organizations including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, where she also served for several years as chair. In 2012, Trish received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award for her commitment to this charity.

Trish has also served as Board Director, Quality Healthcare Network; founder and Director of Community Meditation; Vice Chair, Seneca College; Chair, Academic Committee, Seneca College; United Way Investment Committee member; CIBC Spirit of Leadership committee member; Advisory Member, Closing the Gap; President, Stevenson's Children's Camp; United Way Allocation committee member and Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards due diligence committee member.

Trish is a published author and international speaker on topics such as design thinking, innovation and leadership. In her spare time, Trish is a certified fitness instructor, certified meditation instructor and holds a black belt in Kung Fu kickboxing.

How to participate?

If you are interested in joining us for this event, please contact Stephanie Mosher at or 604.202.6064.


If you are interested in sponsoring this events, please contact Stephanie Mosher at or 604.202.6064.