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CARC 2024 Speaker List (alphabetical by last name)

Naomi Abrahams 

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Naomi Abrahams is a Ph.D candidate and a part time professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She holds a bachelors degree in Child, Youth and Family Studies (2019) from the University of Guelph as well as a Master of Social Work (2021) from the University of Ottawa. Naomi is equally a patient-partner with the Choice Research Lab where she utilizes both her knowledge and experience as a researcher and respondent to participate in research promotion that values lived experience. 

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Dr. Madhu Baghel 

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Dr. Madhu Baghel is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dr. S. Amanda Ali's Musculoskeletal Genomics Laboratory, Bone and Joint Center, Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences, Detroit, MI, USA. Madhu's academic training includes a BSc (2013) and MSc (2015) in Biochemistry from the University of Delhi, India.  Her PhD (2021) research at the National Institute of Immunology in India focused on understanding the role of microenvironment in osteogenesis. Her current research interests are in prevention and management of musculoskeletal diseases using multi-omics approaches. In the Ali Lab, she works on identifying and characterizing the role of microRNAs in arthritis progression from early- to late-stage disease.

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Dr. Katie Birnie

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Dr. Katie Birnie, PhD RPsych, is a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary where she leads Partnering For Pain, a patient-oriented research program striving towards quality equitable pain management for children through partnerships with youth, families, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and community organizations. Dr. Birnie is the Associate Scientific Director of Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), a national knowledge mobilization network working to improve evidence-based children’s pain management through coordination and collaboration. She is a strong advocate for the partnership of patients and families in health research, health care delivery, and health systems design.

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Marcia Bruce

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Marcia Bruce is a patient advisor for Alberta Health Services and a patient research partner at the University of Calgary. As a PaCER (Patient and Community Engagement Researcher), she is focused on using patient-informed research evidence to inform and improve healthcare planning, policy and practice. Marcia is currently contributing to several patient-centered research projects and initiatives in the areas of digestive health, chronic pain and infectious disease.

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Dr. Vinod Chandran

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Dr. Vinod Chandran MBBS, MD, DM, PhD, FRCPC, a rheumatologist, is a clinician-scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, and an Associate Professor of Medicine & Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. He is an expert in psoriatic arthritis and directs the Psoriatic Disease Program at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute. His translational research program is focused on developing biomarker-based diagnostic and prognostic tools for psoriatic arthritis, with support by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Psoriasis Foundation, the Arthritis Society, and the Krembil Foundation. He has published more than 250 papers.

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Dr. Jesse Charlton 

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Dr. Jesse Charlton is a Banting Post-doctoral Fellow appointed in the School of Kinesiology and Biomedical Engineering at The University of British Columbia. He studies the neuromechanics of movement, how disease and pain drive adaptation, and possible rehabilitation targets. Much of his work has examined the biomechanical consequences of knee osteoarthritis using tools to capture movement both in and out of the laboratory, including wearable sensors and telerehabilitation.

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Dr. Noah Fine

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Dr. Noah Fine is a career biomedical research scientist at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute. Dr. Fine's work in conjunction with Dr. Raja Rampersaud, focuses on identification of epigenetic associations with recovery from pain following surgical intervention for spine osteoarthritis. Previously Dr. Fine has studied small RNA directed genome rearrangement in the single celled protozoan, Tetrahymena Thermophila; Effects of colchicine on neutrophilic inflammation in mouse models of gout; and neutrophil subsets in human and mouse models of periodontal disease.

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Dr. Anna R. Gagliardi

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Dr. Anna Gagliardi is Senior Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and Professor, University of Toronto (Department of Surgery; Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation; Institute of Medical Science). As a health services researcher with expertise in implementation science, her research focused on the implementation of guidelines, patient/family engagement in their own care and service improvement, and in the last decade, on person-centred care for diverse women across the lifespan. She was Chair of the Guidelines International Network Implementation Working Group, and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator in Knowledge Translation. 

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Saber Ghazizadeh Darband

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Saber Ghazizadeh Darband is a PhD candidate at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). His goal is to gain an
understanding of the connection between intervertebral discs, joint degeneration, axial osteoarthritis, and the chronic pain that accompanies it. With a background in physiology and inflammation,Saber is interested in exploring new therapeutic agents and targets that can improve the health of disc and cartilage tissues. His ultimate goal is to evaluate potential therapies using relevant clinical models for patients who suffer from spinal osteoarthritis. This research has the potential to identify novel disease-modifying drugs and improve the management of persistent pain, thereby enhancing the quality of life for patients with osteoarthritis.

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Alex Haagaard

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Alex Haagaard is a design strategist living in so-called Kingston, Ontario. Their work specializes in digital accessibility, community engagement, and disability and health justice. They have lived with chronic pain since early childhood and this experience informs their interest in designing and advocating for system-level changes to how healthcare services are conceptualized, planned and delivered. Alex is currently a member of Pain BC's Putting the Pieces Together conference steering committee, and co-chair of the Chronic Pain Network's Knowledge Mobilization and Implementation Science Committee.

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Dr. Glen Hazelwood 

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Glen Hazlewood is a rheumatologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary. His research focuses on medication effectiveness and safety, patient preferences, and clinical practice guidelines in rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. He is the current Chair the Guidelines Committee through the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA), leads CRA rheumatoid arthritis guidelines, and is co-chair of an OMERACT group exploring the role of patient preferences in clinical trials in rheumatology.  

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Dr. Kendall Ho

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Dr. Kendall Ho is an emergency medicine specialist, Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Medicine, and Lead the Digital Emergency Medicine Unit. He is the medical director of the BC Ministry of Health HealthLink BC virtual physician program, and collaborates with provincial partners on implementing and evaluating the BC Real Time Virtual Support provincial virtual care services.His digital health research in BC and internationally focuses on virtual care, wearables and sensors, data science, and multicultural engagement in digital health literacy to support patient transition between emergency departments and the community. His research and education in digital health has received awards and recognition of the BC Medal of Good Citizenship.

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Dr. Marie Hudson

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Dr. Marie Hudson is a physician-scientist at the Jewish General Hospital and Lady Davis Institute, and an Associate professor and Member of the Division of Experimental Medicine in the Department of Medicine at McGill. Dr. Hudson pursues research in rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and myositis. She is has also been the Co-director of the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4; since 2019.  

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Maria Hudspith

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Maria Hudspith is the Executive Director of Pain BC, a charitable organization that works to enhance the lives of all people who live with chronic pain, and she leads the Pain Canada National Action Network. Maria co-chaired the Canadian Pain Task Force and was the lead author of the Action Plan for Pain in Canada, now being implemented by a myriad of partners, including Canada's federal and provincial governments, research organizations, non-profits, and more. She has been a Principal Investigator and Knowledge User in the Chronic Pain Network, the first national pain research network funded in Canada. She has worked for 30 years in organizational development, policy advocacy and capacity building to advance health equity, including significant work facilitating lived experience engagement in systems change and policy in areas such as substance use, HIV, and LGBTQ+ health. Maria completed her Masters degree in Educational Studies at UBC with a focus on the impacts of activism and political identity on mental health and physical well-being.

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Dr. Jacob Jaremko

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Dr. Jacob Jaremko is a Professor of Radiology and Adjunct Professor of Computing Science at the University of Alberta, a Canada CIFAR AI Chair, a practicing board-certified Pediatric and Musculoskeletal radiologist and partner at Medical Imaging Consultants.  He has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and has co-founded 2 startup companies.  His work focuses on the relation between anatomy, growth and development of adult arthritis, medical imaging biomarkers and implementing AI-augmented medical imaging diagnostic tools.

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Dr. Sahil Koppikar

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Dr. Koppikar is a rheumatologist at Women's College Hospital and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Koppikar's clinical and research interests are in point-of-care musculoskeletal ultrasound in inflammatory arthritis. He is the Director of the Timmins Arthritis Program in Northern Ontario, delivering both in-person and virtual care in a unique multi-disciplinary model of care. Dr. Koppikar is the chair of the Ontario Rheumatology Association's Northern Ontario Committee, which has been instrumental in advocating for and obtaining funding from the ministry to train advanced care practitioners and create sustainable models of care in northern Ontario. 

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Lucy Kovalova-Woods

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WKG Strategy started in 2017 as a global network consulting firm, facilitating business growth and fostering the entrepreneurial spirit. Lucy's passion for nurturing potential shines through with over 300 global client success stories and various books published on Bookboon and Amazon. The WKG Strategy Foundation was born from Lucy's professional triumphs and personal challenges—caring for her husband during illness, settling in Canada while fleeing the war in Ukraine, and debilitating health setbacks. Lucy embraced the change with the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA)'s help, becoming a Patient Partner and setting her ambitions for WKG Strategy Foundation – emphasizing helping millions of people with visible and invisible disabilities.

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Jean-François Leroux

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Jean-François is the Manager of the Chronic Pain Policy Team at Health Canada. In his role, Jean-François oversees the coordination of the federal response to the Canadian Pain Task Force recommendations. Prior to joining the Team in October 2021, Jean-François held many policy positions within the federal government, including in the Department of Finance Canada, Health Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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Dr. Elena Lopatina

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Dr. Elena Lopatina, MD, PhD is a Senior Scientist with the Alberta Virtual Chronic Pain Program and the Alberta Pain Strategy, Strategic Clinical Networks at Alberta Health Services. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Her embedded research program focuses on the design, implementation, evaluation, and ongoing development of the Alberta Virtual Chronic Pain Program and shaping the learning health system for chronic pain management in Alberta.

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Anca Maglaviceanu

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Anca Maglaviceanu completed her BSc degree in Pathobiology Specialist, Physiology Major and Immunology Minor programs at the University of Toronto in 2021. She started her MSc degree in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Mohit Kapoor that same year, where she quickly fell in love with research and transferred to the PhD program in 2023 with the support of her supervisor. Now a 3rd-year PhD Candidate, her research focuses on understanding the effects and signalling mechanisms of a compound found in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, on knee osteoarthritis.

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Dr. Carolina Munoz Grajales

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Dr. Carolina Munoz Grajales obtained her MD, and specializations in internal medicine and rheumatology in Colombia. She came to Toronto in 2017 in order to undertake a PhD in immunology at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr.Joan Wither. In 2022 she started a postdoctoral clinical and research fellowship in lupus under the supervision of Dr. Zahi Touma also with the Schroeder Arthritis Institute.

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Carley Ouellette

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Carley Ouellette has participated as a patient partner for over 15 years, since being diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome as a young adult. Carley has had the opportunity to actively participate as a patient partner through the Hospital for Sick Children, where she was treated as a pediatric patient, as well as the Canadian Pain Society, Canadian Pain Network/SPOR, and McMaster University. Carley is also a registered nurse working in the Emergency Department at Hamilton Health Sciences and is currently completing her PhD Studies at McMaster University in the School of Nursing.

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Dr. Anthony Perruccio

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Dr. Anthony Perruccio is an epidemiologist and senior scientist at Schroeder Arthritis Institute, Krembil Research Institute, Associate Professor at Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and co-director of Arthritis Community Research and Epidemiology Unit (ACREU), University Health Network. His research interests center on identifying clinically and epidemiologically distinct phenotypes in OA, focusing on sex differences, single/multijoint involvement, inflammation, and comorbidities.  

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Laurie Proulx

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Laurie Proulx has lived with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis since she was 14 years old and her experiences led to her involvement in the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA), a grass-roots patient driven and managed organization. She has worked extensively as a patient partner in research and she currently works part-time for CAPA as managing director. She works as a consultant for health care organizations, researchers, and patient organizations / health charities with a focus on project management, patient and community engagement, knowledge translation, and health and social policy analysis.  

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Linda Roy

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Linda says, one word to describe her is resilience and the ability to change things for all those who cannot be their own voice. Since her diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1994, she always had hope and was very persistent in learning about what are the best things for her and how others see her. She and her husband lived in Ontario for most of their lives together and 10 years ago we relocated to New Brunswick where they could enjoy their lives there in a quiet community near the Bay of Chaleur. They both live with compromised immune systems, Linda's hsuband with Diabetes and Linda with Rheumatoid Arthritis. They found their medical community easily due to self-advocacy and managed to get the necessary and informative medical care that they needed, navigating the medical community in a new province was challenging but now it works like a charm.

Over the past couple of years, Linda found herself with a need to be able to give back and started following different groups online and on Facebook, and came across Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA), and through CAPA she re-established some communications with Arthritis Society Canada, patient partner groups, along with a provincial advocacy group NBCPD (New Brunswick Coalition for Persons with Disabilities). At the same time accessible buildings both medical and retail,  it is a big challenge for persons who use mobility aids and housing that can accommodate all ages of persons with disabilities, this is her main focus provincially at this time, not only for their families but all who need to be safe in their homes and are able to get around in the community just like the rest of the residents who live there. 

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Megan Thomas

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Megan Thomas is a PhD candidate 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 addresses equity considerations that impact access to research for patients with inflammatory arthritis.

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Dr. Karine Toupin-April 

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Dr. Karine Toupin-April is trained in occupational therapy and is an associate professor at the University of Ottawa and affiliate scientist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and the Institut du savoir Montfort. She has research expertise in chronic disease management and shared decision making. Her work has included research in pediatric and adult rheumatology, with experience in developing clinical practice guidelines, patient decision support interventions and self-management tools. 

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Tracy Wasylak

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Tracy Wasylak is the Chief Program Officer, Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) with Alberta Health Services. She has held numerous senior leadership roles within Alberta Health Services. Tracy holds an adjunct assistant professor appointment with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. She is the Co-Lead for the ABSPORU 2.0 Learning Health System Team. Tracy received the Order of Merit, Nursing Policy Award, from the Canadian Nurses Association in March 2018. She was the recipient of the 2015 AHS Presidents Excellence Award in the category of Innovation, the 2019 award for Outstanding Achievement in Quality Improvement and in 2023 awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal (Alberta).

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Dr. Jessica Widdifield

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Dr. Jessica Widdifield, PhD, is a Senior Scientist at ICES, and holds the Holland Chair in Musculoskeletal Clinical Research at Sunnybrook Research Institute; She is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto's Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation. Her research program focuses on providing real-world evidence to enhance patient care, patient outcomes, and health system efficiency and sustainability for the management of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) across the care continuum. She is a passionate advocate for improving arthritis care locally, and nationally by drawing attention to gaps in care and the current human resource crisis affecting rheumatology workforces which is struggling to meet the growing demands of the rising burden of RMDs in Canada. She is a lead a multidisciplinary implementation science team (within CIHR's Transforming Health with Integrated Care (THINC) research initiative) which is focused on developing a rheumatology learning health system within Ontario for evaluating, implementing and sustaining interdisciplinary models of rheumatology care and best practices in order to achieve better population health, improve patient and provider experience, reduce health system costs, and improve health equity (the so-called Quintuple Aim).

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Linda Wilhelm

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Linda Wilhelm is the President of The Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, a virtual, grass-roots, patient-driven, independent, national organization with members across Canada. Linda has been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for 40 years and has been an active patient advocate for treatment access and quality of care for all patients both regionally and nationally for over twenty years. She frequently participates in Health Canada expert advisory panels and conferences concerning access and drug safety issues. She is a former member of The Expert Advisory Committee for Vigilance of Health Products, the CIHR's Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network's steering committee and The Canadian Pain Taskforce.