Science. Technology. Health Care. Welcome to the Ward of the 21st Century.

About W21C | Meet the W21C Team

The W21C’s greatest strength is its people, a team of committed individuals driven by extraordinary passion for the initiative. Our multidisciplinary team represents a large number of disciplines: medicine, nursing, engineering, computer science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, communications, environmental design, education, business and library science.


Jill de Grood, Director

Jill de Grood completed her Masters degree in Sociology at the University of Calgary. Her thesis project examined factors impacting lawyer’s physical and mental health. She completed a Certificate in Professional Management in 2015 and recently completed the University of Calgary's ULead Experiential Leadership Program. She has been in an evolving leadership role with W21C for seven years, with involvement in numerous industry partner projects in areas such as technology assessment, infection prevention and control, as well as examining the effectiveness of health care innovations and their impact on patient care. Jill is a published author with eight journal publications along with two knowledge translation pieces. She is currently the Director of W21C, bringing a strategic perspective to the W21C on the challenges and opportunities the program faces. She works with the W21C team, external stakeholders and partners to build on the success of the W21C program over the past 12 years.

Phone: 403.210.7487
Email: jill.degrood@ucalgary.ca

Rose Geransar, PhD, Research Manager

Rose Geransar is a health research, policy and management professional with 10+ years of diverse experience working across government and academic sectors to facilitate research and innovation in Alberta. Rose has a PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Calgary, with a focus on bioethics, informed consent and governance pertaining to the use of human tissue samples. Rose brings unique training and experience in policy development, having completed a policy internship with the Government of Alberta and worked in policy shops at Alberta Health, Agriculture & Forestry, as well as Economic Development and Trade ministries. Rose was directly involved in helping to develop two major strategic policy initiatives at the provincial level, including Alberta’s Cancer Plan to 2030, and the Small Business Strategy for Alberta ("Building Our Entrepreneurial Spirit").  Rose brings a multidisciplinary perspectives to her work and to relationships with clients across government, industry, the health system, and academia to drive successful collaborations that produce evidence to inform health policy and improve health system quality and patient safety.

Phone: 403.210.9831
Email: rose.geransar@ucalgary.ca

Greg Hallihan, Human Factors Program Manager

Greg Hallihan completed his MASc in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto in 2012 and his BA in Psychology at the University of Calgary in 2010. His previous research interests include design cognition and decision-making, sustainable product development, and transportation human factors. He has been involved with the W21C Human Factors team (led by Dr. Jeff Caird) since 2012 and his current research focus is on the application of Human Factors methodologies in the design and evaluation of healthcare technologies, environments and systems. Greg is currently the Human Factors Program Manager, responsible for identifying and developing new opportunities for the Human Factors team to enhance patient safety and quality of care, through cross-faculty engagement, educational initiatives and industry collaboration.

Phone: 403.210.7424
Email: gmhallih@ucalgary.ca

Jaime Kaufman, PhD, Manager, Strategic Programs

Jaime Kaufman has a background in microbiology; she completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan and her PhD at the University of Calgary in the Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Jaime’s graduate work focused on bacterial genetics and high-throughput studies of regulation of gene expression in Salmonella, and was followed by a post-doctoral position in the Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences. Here she looked at changes in the complex microbial communities of the GI tract as they related to treatments associated with various disease conditions. Following her time as a post-doctoral fellow, she became the Program Manager for the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (now Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions) Interdisciplinary Vaccine Design, Evaluation, and Implementation Cohort 1 Team. Here she was involved with many facets of managing a diverse research team, spanning strategic development of the team, oversight of research milestone, intellectual property development, and general team building and management.

Phone: 403.210.7449
Email: jaime.kaufman@ucalgary.ca

Léora Rabatach, Communications Manager

Léora Rabatach is Manager of Communications for the O'Brien Institute for Public Health and the W21C. She has worked in communications and fund development for over eleven years in both public and private sectors, and specializes in: strategic communications planning, media relations, knowledge management/knowledge translation, web development, copywriting, and editing. In addition to her new role with us, she is also pursuing her Master in Medical Science through the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, with a specific focus in knowledge translation.

Phone: 403.210.7488
Email: rabatach@ucalgary.ca

Julia MacGregor, Communications Advisor

Julia MacGregor graduated from Mount Royal University in the fall of 2010 with a Bachelor of Communications (Applied) - Public Relations. During her degree, Julia honed her communication skills while working for Arts Commons (formally EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts) then Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures. After graduation, Julia ventured into primary health care as the Communication and Events Coordinator for the Calgary West Central Primary Care Network where she worked with a physician membership of 300. Julia has been in a Communications Coordinator role within W21C for the last 4 years where she focused on internal communication, external outreach, event planning, and web and social media management. Now in her current role as Communications Advisor, Julia continues to provide support in her previous role's tasks with the addition of Knowledge Translation, strategic communications planning, digital media development and staff recognition.

Phone: 403.210.7002
Email: jmacgreg@ucalgary.ca

Shea Coburn, Project Coordinator

Shea Coburn has a degree in Communications and Psychology from the University of Calgary and has been working in progressive administrative and managerial positions for the past seven years, accumulating experience in academic editing, project and personnel management, as well as developing her skills in accounting. In addition to this skillset, Shea spent a year living abroad to increase her knowledge of the Spanish language. In her role at W21C, Shea provides a wide range of advice and assistance in financial processes, human resources, facilities management as well as supporting the communications team in everything from coordination and execution of events, development of communication tools and stewardship for internal and external partnerships.

Phone: 403.210.6975
Email: secoburn@ucalgary.ca

Kris Hans, Entrepreneur in Residence

Kris is Co-Founder and Strategist of Market Grade, an interdisciplinary marketing and design consultancy. Kris teaches Business Management, Strategic Planning, and Economics for Business at the University of Calgary, and Business Communications at Mount Royal University. He has also taught Entrepreneurship and Marketing in the past, and continues to work with students and small to medium start-ups to help grow their businesses and diversify the Alberta economy.

In both his professional and personal life, Kris is truly a social entrepreneur. He continues to undertake diverse roles and responsibilities that bring his skills and experience to serve Calgary’s many communities--a testament to the value that he places on civic participation and social enterprise.

Phone: 403.680.9993
Email: krhans@ucalgary.ca


Kayla Atchison, Research Assistant

Kayla received her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with honors from the University of Calgary, with a major in Health and Society and concentration in Psychology in 2016. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the identification of case definitions for various chronic diseases specific to the pediatric population.

Kayla’s previous research was a 2016 summer studentship with the Methods Hub focused on the identification of possible methods to analyze an individual’s personal health data within the scope of precision medicine.
Kayla’s research interests are in seniors' health, in particular transitions of care out of hospital and related health outcomes. Outside of work, Kayla volunteers with the Hospital Elderly Life Program, providing cognitive interventions to seniors in hospital to prevent delirium.

Phone: 403.210.8934
Email: kmatchis@ucalgary.ca

Julie Babione, Senior Research Associate

Julie Babione has a B.Sc. in Biology and an M.Sc in Computer Science. Her Masters thesis focused on interactive visualizations of medical imaging data in virtual environments. She has also worked as a Research Associate at the Interactions Lab at the University of Calgary on touch-surface projects and at the University of Paris Sud XI where she worked on large-screen crisis management simulation training software.

Phone: 403.210.6875
Email: julie.stromer@ucalgary.ca

Kenneth Blades, Research Associate

Kenneth holds a BA in criminology and psychology, and a Master’s degree in sociology from the University of Calgary. He specializes in qualitative methods of conducting social research, particularly interviewing, and ethnography more broadly. He's worked on projects ranging from the role that home design, decor, and aesthetic experience play in the practice of family life (his thesis), to an analysis of Canada's paternity leave policies and the experiences of fathers who make use of them. At W21C Kenneth is working with Dr. Sachin Pendharkar's research team on an analysis of a new patient flow and discharge process, and the challenges of implementing flexible standards for it across a large and diverse health care system.

Phone: 403.210.7454
Email: kgblades@ucalgary.ca

David Borkenhagen, Human Factors Research Associate

David holds a BSc in cognitive/behavioural neuroscience from McGill University and a Master of urban planning and design from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design. He has completed architectural and urban design exchange semesters at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, respectively. Prior to completing his Master’s, David worked with Dr. Chip Scialfa at the University of Calgary’s Perceptual and Cognitive Aging Lab where he conducted a variety of experimental psychology projects focusing on safe driving practices for police officers, EMS technicians, and seniors. David also worked for the City of Calgary Planning Department where he developed a data-driven methodology for measuring livability in inner city communities. At W21C, David will be working with Greg Hallihan and the Human Factor's team on a number of research projects, ranging from the implementation of new technology for surgery training to the design of housing for seniors.

Phone: 403.210.6921
Email: dbborken@ucalgary.ca

Jamie Boyd, Research Associate

Jamie Boyd completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Laurentian University and also holds a certificate in Research Analysis. Jamie has worked within W21C for the past two years, primarily with projects related to critical care and evaluation of health system performance.

Phone: 403.944.0637
Email: jamboyd@ucalgary.ca

Garielle Brown, Research Associate

Garielle holds a BSc in Natural Sciences from the University of Calgary and is currently completing her Masters of Arts in Biological Anthropology through the University of Calgary. Her research interests include global health, maternal & child health, medical education both in the Canadian context and globally, physician wellness, patient safety, and knowledge translation. Garielle’s thesis work is focused on children’s health in the Jinotega region of Nicaragua where she is using a blend of anthropological and biological methodologies to assess gut function and nutritional status in children under two years of age. At W21C Garielle supports the Alberta Children’s Hospital Spine Program as they examine the impact of innovations in spinal deformity surgery to minimize health resource utilization and maximize patient safety and quality of care.

email: gebrown@ucalgary.ca

Rebecca Brundin-Mather, Research Associate

Rebecca is a Research Associate for Dr. Tom Stelfox’s PRIHS study, Reassessing Practices in the Daily Care of Critically Ill Patients: Opportunities to Identify and Close Evidence-care Gaps. She holds a BA Honors in Psychology from the University of Victoria and a MASc degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Waterloo.  Rebecca has been employed at the University of Calgary for close to 20 years. For the last 12 years, Rebecca worked in the Department of Community Health Sciences where she managed a national education initiative on the integration of complementary medicine curriculum in medical schools.

Phone: 403.220.3365.
Email: brundin@ucalgary.ca

Cassidy Codan, Research Assistant

Cassidy moved to Canada from Queensland, Australia in 2005. She studied at the University of Calgary where she obtained a BSc in Natural Sciences in 2013 with a major in Biology and a minor in Mathematics. Cassidy has since been employed in various roles within Alberta Health Services: health information and records management out of Peter Lougheed Centre; billing for the Pediatrics Department of Alberta Children’s Hospital; supporting the Director of Cancer Care Teams at Tom Baker Cancer Centre and scheduling for the Rockyview General Hospital Intensive Care Unit rotating residents. Most recently she worked from Foothills Medical Centre as a program assistant for the Department of Critical Care Medicine’s research enterprise. She is excited to now call W21C home and have the opportunity to expand her experience and knowledge in clinical trials while working as a research assistant on CRIO Project A: XSENSOR and the STRIVE study. Outside of work you can find Cassidy swimming, cycling and volunteering at a local organization that provides 24-hour support and crisis intervention to callers.

Phone: 403.210.9768
Email: cjcodan@ucalgary.ca

Murtaza Dahodwala, Research Assistant

Murtaza Dahodwala graduated with a Masters Degree in Biology at the University of Calgary in 2012. He brings knowledge from various aspects of Biology – from molecular sciences to plants to industrial biotechnology. He contributed and published a research review paper on translational control mechanisms, and also presented his research at the international American Society of Plant Biologists meeting in 2011.Murtaza is an outgoing person and has been involved in helping new students at the University as the ‘Chair of International Students’ and has been doing community service (free food distribution) over the last 3 years. Murtaza is very happy to be a part of the W21C team and is eager to contribute to the various research projects. He envisions a flourishing career in public health in Canada. In his spare time, Murtaza enjoys computer technology and gardening.

Phone: 403.210.7493
Email: m.dahodwala@ucalgary.ca

Chloe de Grood, Research Associate

Chloe has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a concentration in geography from the University of Calgary. Chloe was previously a summer student at W21C where she worked on two projects looking at transitions of care. Chloe now works with Dr. Tom Stelfox on the project Reengineering the Discharge of Elderly Patients from Intensive Care.

Phone: 403.220.4258
Email: cmdegroo@ucalgary.ca

Madalene Earp, PhD, Research Associate

Madalene earned her BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics (minor in Statistics) from the University of Guelph. She then went on to complete her PhD in Medical Genetics from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Through-out her academic career, she moonlighted as a writing consultant, first with the University of Guelph’s Writing Services team, and then with the UBC’s Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication. After completing her PhD thesis, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Mayo Clinic, integrating multiple types of -omics data using penalized regression methods, and striving to discover genetic and epigenetic mechanisms behind ovarian cancer.  As a researcher, her areas of focus have been: oncology, human genetics, genomics, pharmacogenomics, epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular biology.
At W21C, Madalene works with Dr. Ayn Sinnarajah on projects evaluating end of life hospital care for cancer and non-cancer patients.

Phone: 403.210.7494
Email: madalene.earp@ucalgary.ca

Georgina Freeman, Research Associate

Georgina Freeman has a background in bioethics, with a focus on research ethics. She received her BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary, and a MSc in Experimental Medicine specializing in Biomedical Ethics from McGill University. Her thesis focused on the clinical development of cancer therapeutics; specifically, on the ethical justification of risks associated with patient enrolment in trials involving invasive research procedures. After completing her thesis, Gina was a member of the STREAM (Studies of Translation, Ethics and Medicine) research team at McGill, where she investigated the co-development of cancer diagnostics and their associated therapies.

Currently, Georgina is helping to develop W21C's Home Health Portfolio with Greg Hallihan, David Borkenhagen and Jaime Kaufman.

Georgina’s research interests include: health technology,  patient experience, and quality of evidence.

Phone: 403.210.9823
Email: georgina.freeman@ucalgary.ca

Ashleigh Gibb, Research Assistant

Ashleigh received an Honours Bachelor in Public Health (BPH) from Brock University located St. Catharines, Ontario. In association with the Niagara Public Health Department in Ontario, her capstone project focused on improving collaborative efforts among a local One Health Initiative group to break down geographic silos and foster a participatory approach to communciation. In addition to concentrated interests in health promotion, Ashleigh has a preoccupation with patient safety, quality improvement, and organizational culture.

Ashleigh supports the EQuIS platform directed by Dr. Brindle. Her work supports projects involving surgical device implant induced infections and the evaluation of pain management strategies following orthopedic surgery for pediatric patients.

From an Ecuadorian medical brigade to the participation in an exchange program to France, Ashleigh enjoys travelling and experiencing the flavours of the world. She has an eye for photography, enjoys all things outdoors, and cherishes her pug.

Email: ashleigh.gibb@ucalgary.ca

Kathleen Grindrod-Millar, Research Associate

Kathleen joins the W21C while completing her Master of Community Health Science at the University of Calgary. She is currently working with eHealth Services and Strategy Lead Dr. Chad Saunders on her thesis examining the opportunity for mobile apps in the scalability of healthcare.
Kathleen graduated from Carleton University with an Undergraduate degree in Art History and Anthropology and has a passion for interdisciplinary patient-oriented research. She joins the W21C working with Dr. Amanda Roze des Ordons on the INSPIRE study examining spiritual distress amongst patient families members in the ICU.
Kathleen has conducted various interdisciplinary research projects in the fields of Health Services Research, Business, Computer Science, and Information Science. Her future research interests include participatory action research, cross-cultural communication, indigenous populations, and public nursing.

Email: kathleen.grindrodmil@ucalgary.ca

Sydney Haubrich, Research Assistant

Sydney has a B.Sc. in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Alberta. Her research interests include maternal health, chronic disease prevention, and health service delivery. Most recently, Sydney was part of an applied research team in Edmonton that developed strategies to promote healthy pregnancy weight gain to women in Alberta. At W21C, she provides research support for CRIO Projects B and C. Sydney enjoys cooking, hiking, snowboarding, and triathlon.

Phone: 403.210.7420
Email: sydney.haubrich@ucalgary.ca

Ada Ip-Buting, Research Associate

Ada Ip-Buting is a Research Associate working with Dr. Sachin Pendharkar. She has a BSc with a computer science concentration and completed her MBA from the University of Calgary. Her previous work experience includes being an IT project manager in the health care industry.

Phone: 403.210.7492
Email: aip@ucalgary.ca

Sydney Johnson, Human Factors Research Associate

Sydney is a human-centred designer and researcher. She holds a BA Graphic Design from Central St Martin's in London and has recently graduated from an MA in Experience Design from the U.K. satellite of Swedish school Hyper Island. During her Master's degree, she focused on qualitative design research and worked on a variety of projects in both the public and private sector. For her Master's thesis, she travelled to four continents in the span of three months to conduct global research on gender inequality in leadership positions of design, technology, and innovation initiatives. Needless to say, both travelling and issues of equality are strong interests.
She is excited to be bringing a unique background and perspective to W21C and is keen to be working in healthcare: a space with endless opportunity.

Phone: 403.210.8946
Email: sydney.johnson@ucalgary.ca

Jenny Kelly, Research Associate

Jenny received a BA and an MA in Sociology from the University of Calgary. Her thesis research examined how MS patients made the decision to have a controversial medical treatment. Jenny has spent three years working in the research department at Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research conducting research on best and promising practices in programs and services to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities. Her research interests include patient experiences, and chronic and degenerative illnesses.

Phone: 403.210.9264
Email: jekelly@ucalgary.ca

Linet Kiplagat, Clinical Research Nurse

Linet completed her BS in Biology from Nazarene University in Illinois and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science Immunology/Virology from Hood College in Maryland. Her thesis focused on Invitro Host range of various porcine viruses. Previous work has been focused in viral vaccine research and development, and testing. She has experience working with the FDA, USDA and EMEA in creating protocols for industry use in vaccine release testing. Linet also managed the virology laboratory for six years and was awarded the Dun Patman award in Lab Management and Leadership. In 2016, Linet completed her Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) certification program earning the title of Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP). 
In her current role at W21C, Linet supports several projects: CRIO D-The Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) project led by Dr. Deb White, CRIO A-Pressure Ulcer study led by Dr. Chester Ho, and a Phase 2 vaccine clinical trial led by Dr. John Conly.

Phone: 403.220.3370
Email: lkiplaga@ucalgary.ca

Julia Kupis, Research Assistant

Julia graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Calgary. Her interests in the field include forensic and behavioral psychology. During her degree, Julia gained an immense knowledge of research practice, and employed that to developing her own projects in the University of Calgary Behavioral Neuroscience laboratory, working with rats (her favourite) . Future research interests include the outdoors and what nature can do for the human psyche and well-being, as well as learning more about the management and workings of schizophrenia. In her role at W21C, she works alongside the Human Factors team, being able to apply her background to a variety of projects. She is happy to be gaining experience in healthcare research within W21C which has such an interdisciplinary team.  Her personal interests include hiking, biking, travelling and all 3 incorporated together.

Phone: 403.220.3365
Email: jnkupis@ucalgary.ca

Karin Lienhard, PhD, Research Associate

Karin received her BSc and MSc in Human Movement Science in 2009 and 2010 respectively, at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland. For her Master’s thesis, she investigated skeletal muscle strength and physical function in orthopedic knee patients at the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory of the Schulthess Clinic in Zürich, Switzerland. More specifically, Karin linked the patients’ isometric, isokinetic and isoinertial leg muscle strength to their gait performance. In 2014, Karin obtained her PhD in Human Movement Science from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in Nice, France. During her PhD, she investigated the neuromuscular adaptations during whole-body vibration exercise using electromyography recordings and specialized in electrophysiological signal processing.

Phone: 403.210.7544
Email: karin.lienhard@ucalgary.ca

Ali MacRobie, Research Assistant

Ali MacRobie is a Research Assistant who has been working with W21C since 2015. Based out of the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH), Ali supports the Efficiency, Quality, Innovation and Safety (EQuIS) research platform. Her current research work is focused on pediatric surgery, primarily in quality and safety improvement initiatives.
Previously Ali worked with Alberta Health Services on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in an administrative role. In that role, Ali learned the inner workings of the NICU and spent time with the NICU data management office learning different databases.
She is trained in realist review research methodology, and is currently pursuing training in research impact assessment and project management.

With Dr. Mary Brindle and the EQuIS platform, Ali’s current research projects include: a realist review of dedicated operating room time for urgent and emergent non-scheduled surgical procedures at ACH; evaluating pain outcomes of caudal vs. ilioinguinal nerve block in children undergoing hernia repair or orchiopexy, and a review of CAPSNet and CDHSG databases tracking all babies born with gastroschisis and congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and following them during pregnancy, birth, through surgery, and through their stay on the NICU.

Phone: 403.955.2596
Email: ali.macrobie2@ucalgary.ca

Matthew Mancuso, Research Assistant

Matthew Mancuso is a 2016 graduate from the University of Western Ontario, and received a B.Sc., Honor’s Specilization in Kinesiology. Through classes such as Clinical Biomechanics and Physiology of Fitness Appraisal, his educational and practical learning experiences have fostered a passion for promoting physical activity and lifestyle changes to positively affect the healthcare landscape. In all 4 years of his undergrad, he was a member of the Mustang's varsity Water Polo team, competing in intercollegiate athletics around Ontario. Matthew was the recipient of a summer studentship position in the Exercise and Health Psychology Lab at Western University. Within this position, he gained an understanding of the basic principles of research, which led to his desire to continue in the world academia. He feels as though W21C is the perfect place to do such, and is thrilled to be a part of the team!

Phone: 403.210.7453
Email: matthew.mancuso@ucalgary.ca

Wrechelle Ocampo, Research Associate

Wrechelle Ocampo completed her graduate studies in the Master of Biomedical Technology (MBT) Program at the University of Calgary in 2013, in which she did her MBT practicum in the area of Human Factors at W21C. Prior to her Master’s program, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology in 2009 from the University of Calgary. Wrechelle also studied at SAIT Polytechnic in 2010 where she obtained a Medical Laboratory Assistant Certificate. She is happy and excited to be working with W21C on current and future research projects. Her hobbies include ballroom dancing and baking.

Phone: 403.210.7792
Email: wbocampo@ucalgary.ca

Alicia Polachek, Senior Research Associate

Alicia Polachek completed a BA and MA in Sociology through the University of Calgary. Her graduate research was in the areas of work, family, gender, and health, with a thesis looking at how the division of household labour impacts lawyers’ mental and physical health. Alicia has a strong background in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research. Her research experience has focused largely on workers’ wellbeing, although she has become involved in several projects related to health care for vulnerable populations, understanding patients with complex chronic disease and high health system utilization, and program or policy evaluation and development. Alicia has been working with the W21C since 2011 when she started as a research assistant for the provider wellness portfolio. Since that time, she has taken on increasing responsibility and she is now responsible for overseeing a variety of research projects, developing research protocols, and pursuing and managing grant funding.

Phone: 403.210.9260
Email: ajpolach@ucalgary.ca

Laura Rivera, Research Associate

Laura holds a Master of Public Health, Epidemiology from the University of Toronto. She is passionate about applied health research, knowledge translation and implementation science, epidemiological and health services research methods, and health equity. As an epidemiologist, Laura has held positions in support of scientists across a number of content areas and institutions: at Public Health Ontario (determining the impact of socioeconomic status on future diabetes risk in Canada; evaluating infectious disease surveillance methods in Alberta and Ontario), University Health Network-Toronto General Hospital (investigating clinical outcomes for patients with new-onset diabetes after transplant), University of Toronto (characterizing the impact of HIV and Hepatitis C on bone disease), and University of Calgary (using health administrative data to support knowledge translation). Outside of work, Laura can be found honing her digital and film photography abilities, and eating her way through Calgary’s food scene. At W21C, Laura supports the EQuIS Platform and Dr. Mary Brindle, whose work aims to design, implement, and evaluate complex clinical interventions to improve quality, safety, and efficiency of surgical care in Canada and internationally.

Phone: 403.955.2837
Email: laura.rivera@ucalgary.ca

Jimena Rodriguez, Research Assistant

Jimena was born and raised in Costa Rica and came to Canada in 2011 to pursue a degree in Biomedical Sciences, for which she graduated this past June. In the past she has been involved in research regarding child and maternal nutrition, as well as microbiology and immunology; more specifically in the area of chronic gastrointestinal disease. She has always had an interest for medical research. Hence, after high school, she decided to follow her dreams of becoming a scientist and moved all the way to Calgary.

Her friends describe her as a very outgoing, bubbly and personable individual. As an avid foodie, she is always on the look for new restaurants and coffee shops to try out. In her spare time, she spends a lot of time with her dog (a little Pomeraian-Chihuahua called Peanut) at the local dog park. Recently, she has been getting into photography, where she loves going up to the mountains and snapping pictures of friends with the beautiful landscapes Alberta has to offer.

Phone: 403.210.7933
Email: jrodrgue@ucalgary.ca

Darlene Sola, RN, Research Nurse

Darlene completed her BScN at the University of Alberta. She has worked as an RN in both the hospital and community settings. Since 2008 she worked with the nephrology group as a study coordinator on 6 research projects.
Her hobbies include cooking, gardening and traveling. Darlene will be supporting CRIO Project A: XSENSOR in her research nurse role, where she is looking forward to working with the team.

Phone: 403.210.6923
Email: dsola@ucalgary.ca

Denisa Urban, PhD, Research Associate

Currently on Leave

Denisa Urban relocated to Calgary after completing her PhD at the University of Toronto, Department of Biochemistry in 2013. Since then, she has been working as a post-doctoral fellow within the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases where her responsibilities included heading several research projects simultaneously, as well as designing, implementing and troubleshooting experiments. Being an effective communicator, grant applications prepared by her for two major research projects were successfully funded by the Canadian Dermatology Foundation.

Having the opportunity to present at seminars, retreats, and scientific conferences, Denisa was able to build a strong academic network within Ontario and establish new connections in Alberta. She has a history of high impact publications and possesses four years of educational experience. With a strong desire for professional growth, Denisa has actively pursued ways of expanding and improving upon her skillset. Consequently, she has participated in workshops focusing on project management, team building, attended industry networking events, and taken a foundational course in business analysis. 

In her spare time, Denisa enjoys drawing and painting in both natural and digital media. She also enjoys the many hiking opportunities available in and around the city of Calgary.

Email: denisa.urban@albertahealthservices.ca


Nishan Sharma, EdD, Education Lead

Nishan Sharma, MSc EdD, is Education Lead at W21C, and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. After over a decade’s experience teaching undergraduate science, nursing, and medical students, he earned his doctorate in education in 2009, where his work focused on curricular change in medical schools. His current research interests focus on teaching and learning in undergraduate medicine and the integration of information technology into medical education. A qualitative and mixed methods researcher, he also coordinates educational activities and is involved in daily operations at W21C.

Phone: 403.210.7019
Email: nishan.sharma@ucalgary.ca

Anna Consoli, Education Research Associate

Anna Consoli has a background in Education and Psychology. She received her Science of Education degree and a master in teaching Second Language from the University of Milan and Siena. After she moved to Canada she completed an after degree in Psychology at the University of Calgary.
Her interest is developing educational strategies to improve the delivery and acquisition of knowledge. She is working with Nishan Sharma in the W21C education portfolio on the W21C Patient Safety Podcast and supports the coordination of the Patient Safety and Quality Management Course. She is also working on the iDECIDE study on advance care planning and goals of care.

Phone: 403.210.7422
Email: aconsoli@ucalgary.ca

Allison Brown, Research Associate

Allison completed her MSc in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University in 2017 and will be starting her PhD in Community Health Sciences this fall at the University of Calgary, specializing in Medical Education. Allison has spent the last 6 years working in research at McMaster University, where she coordinated research and quality improvement programming for medical students and residents within the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Previously she completed a BSc in Life Sciences at McMaster University in 2011. Her scholarly interests include research methods, health professions education, quality improvement, and patient safety. At W21C Allison supports the education portfolio with Dr. Nishan Sharma.

Phone: 403.210.6977
Email: allison.brown@ucalgary.ca

Academic Staff

Ghazwan Altabbaa, MD

Ghazwan Altabbaa, MSc, MD, FRCPC is an internal medicine specialist, clinical assistant professor, and associate program director with the Department of Medicine at the University of Calgary.

He received his MD degree in 1990 from Damascus University, certified in internal medicine in 1998, and completed research and clinical fellowships in nephrology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He completed a Master’s of Science in Clinical Epidemiology in 2012 at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Altabbaa's interests include medical education with an emphasis on high-fidelity simulation wherein he is a certified educator by the Society of Simulation in Healthcare and director of the High-Fidelity Human Patient Simulation Program within the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program. Research areas include diagnostics, clinical decision support, and the use of high-fidelity simulation to enhance patient safety and resident evaluation.

Barry Baylis, MD, Executive Co-Leader

Barry Baylis, MD, graduated from the University of Calgary Medical School in 1983. He completed a post-graduate fellowship in Internal Medicine and in addition did a two-year fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism. He joined the faculty at the University of Calgary and the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) in December 1989 as a founding member of the Division of General Internal Medicine. From 1989 onward he has contributed to undergraduate medical education, post-graduate medical education, and continuing medical education. He is also actively contributing to and has participated in clinical trials research at the FMC since 1990. His areas of research interest include: cardiovascular disease risk assessment and reduction, diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy, hypertension, lipid disorders, obesity, thrombophillia, and innovation in healthcare. As one of the founding leaders of W21C, he played a major role in the design of Unit 36 at FMC, and the creation of the W21C Living Laboratory. Dr. Baylis has been very active in fundraising for the initiative and has been heavily involved in its strategic direction as a member of its Executive Committee in his continued roll as a leader of the W21C. Dr. Baylis has an active interest in technology-based innovation, and has led work on fall prevention and location tracking in his time with W21C. He continues to mentor researchers through his participation in thesis committees for trainees associated with the W21C and serves on the W21C executive committee along with co-leads Ghali and Conly.

Aleem Bharwani, MD

Dr. Bharwani is the Director for Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships with the Cumming School of Medicine, and the Lead for Public Policy at the Institute of Public Health at the University of Calgary.  He is a specialist in internal medicine with graduate training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in public policy and public administration.  He has previously held Directorships for both the Medical Teaching Unit (in affiliation with W21C) and the Internal Medicine Residency Mentorship Programme while also actively serving as the Scientific Director for the Office of Leadership Development at the Cumming School of Medicine.  He was a recent resident of the Venture Incubation Program at the Harvard Innovation Lab.  In addition to annually winning teaching awards, he has been recognized for his leadership by two international societies (American College of Physicians and Society of General Internal Medicine). Dr. Bharwani remains an active community citizen, serving on a variety of community and corporate boards

For more on Dr. Bharwani’s experience, please refer to his LinkedIn profile.

Follow him on twitter @aleemcalgary.

Dr. Bharwani is always eager to explore new ideas! You can contact him through abadmin@ucalgary.ca.

Jeff Caird, PhD, Human Factors and Simulation Lead

Jeff Caird is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and an Adjunct Professor in the Departments Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1994 and a MS from the University of Colorado. He directs applied research activities in the Healthcare Human Factors and Simulation Laboratory in the W21C Research and Innovation Centre, which is affiliated with the O'Brien Institute of Public Health in the Cumming School of Medicine. He is a member of a number of university, national, international and professional committees including the National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board. He has consulted for more than 50 corporations, governments and legal firms on human factors research, development, intellectual property and accident cases. His broad areas of research are in transportation and health care human factors. In particular, the design of devices, environments and systems that reduce injuries and fatalities, and improve the quality of life, are integral research goals.

John Conly, MD, Medical Director

John Conly, MD, is a physician trained in infectious disease, and is a professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Recently the Head for the Department of Medicine at UCalgary, Dr Conly was the catalyst for the creation of W21C. His vision was to create a centre that enables health system innovation through a state-of-the-art clinical and research space. Since its inception almost 10 years ago, W21C has engaged interdisciplinary researchers to collaborate on exciting approaches to improve patient safety and quality of care. His focus on innovation and multidisciplinary networking has contributed significantly to W21C success to date. Dr Conly was the founding Co-Chair of the Canadian Hospital Epidemiology Committee, past President of the Canadian Infectious Disease Society, past Chairman of the Board for the Canadian Committee on Antibiotic Resistance and a previous Vice Chair for the Canadian Expert Drug Advisory Committee. He is currently a Board member for the Canadian Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the Editor-in-Chief for the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology. He has received numerous career honours including the Joe Doupe Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation, an Award of Excellence from the Riverdale Hospital, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Infectious Diseases Society. With over 120 peer-reviewed publications in his career, and over $10 000 000 in funding secured in the last 5 years alone, Dr Conly has achieved substantial results in furthering his research agenda focused on innovative infection control.

Jan Davies, MD

Jan Davies, MD, is a Professor of Anesthesia, Cumming School of Medicine, and an Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Calgary. She is a member of the Department of Anesthesia, Calgary Zone, Alberta Health Services. After completing an MSc in Experimental Surgery at the University of Alberta in 1972, she graduated from the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary in 1975. She finished her Anesthesia training in 1980 and then undertook a Killam Foundation Fellowship at the University of Manitoba in 1981, after which she joined the medical staff at the Foothills Medical Centre. Since 1983 Dr. Davies has worked and undertaken research in system safety, in healthcare and industry. She has been a consultant to various Canadian provincial medical examiners and coroners, a major Canadian airline, an Australian aviation safety organization, Health Canada, the Australian Department of Health and Ageing, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Alberta Health Services and the Health Quality Council of Alberta. She served as an expert in quality assurance, human error and human factors to the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquiry in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As well as having published numerous peer-reviewed articles, editorials, and book chapters, Dr. Davies is the co-author of a dictionary of safety terminology (“The Canadian Patient Safety Dictionary”) and a handbook of investigation methodology (“Systematic Systems Analysis: A Practical Approach to Patient Safety Reviews”). Her current research includes development of performance review methodology, Human Factors analysis of medical devices, and the aviation passenger brace position. She was recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Ward Flemons, MD, Quality and Safety Education Lead

Ward Flemons, MD, is a Respirologist at the FMC and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of of Medicine. Dr. Flemons graduated from the University of Alberta in 1984, completed his Internal Medicine and Respiratory Medicine training in 1990, and a three year AHFMR (Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research) Clinical Research Fellowship. He joined the medical staff of the Foothills Hospital in 1992. He has held the roles of Foothills Sleep Centre Medical Director, Department of Medicine’s QI physician and Site Chief and Chair, Respiratory Medicine undergraduate course. His leadership within Alberta Health Services has led to a number of important initiatives, from the development of four regional patient safety policies (Disclosing, Reporting, Just & Trusting Culture, and Informing) and a regional guideline on the management of serious adverse events, to the implementation of a new electronic safety learning reporting system and the establishment of a Patient / Family Safety Council. Dr Flemons also led in the creation of a regional patient advocacy program that assisted patients who had experienced adverse events and more effectively dealt with patient concerns about their health care. In 2008, he completed a two-year CHSRF sponsored EXTRA (Executive Training for Research Application) fellowship; his project focused on developing and implementing a system wide approach to improving Emergency Department patient flow. Dr Flemons has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles, review papers, and book chapters and chaired several international consensus groups in the area of sleep apnea. As Quality and Safety Education Lead for the W21C, Dr Flemons continues to work on the development of a quality and safety education curriculum, safety culture, and the design of safer and more effective healthcare delivery with specific focus on human-based innovation.

William Ghali, MD, Co-Leader

Dr. William Ghali is the Scientific Director of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary, and a practicing physician specialized in Internal Medicine. He is a principal in the University of Calgary World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Disease Classifications and health information. He recently completed two terms as a Canada Research Chair in Health Services Research, and has also been funded as a Senior Health Scholar by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. Clinically, he is trained as a General Internist (MD [1990] - University of Calgary, FRCP(C) [1994] - Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario), and completed methodological training in health services research and epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health (MPH [1995]).

Dr. Ghali’s research program is in the general area of health services research and his work focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to evaluating and improving health system performance to produce better patient outcomes and improved system efficiency.  He leads or co-leads three inter-related research and innovation initiatives:  1) the Alberta Provincial Project for Outcome Assessment in Coronary Heart Disease (APPROACH – see www.approach.org);  2) W21C initiative; and 3) the International Methodology Consortium for Coded Health Information (IMECCHI – www.imecchi.org), with strong linkages to the World Health Organization. These three initiatives share the overriding goal of enhancing the use of health information to produce applicable knowledge on system performance and patient outcomes, and through knowledge translation, tangible health system improvements.  

Dr. Ghali has held millions of dollars of peer-reviewed research funding from various agencies, and has published over 390 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has received numerous awards, including a Canadian Top 40 Under 40 Award from the Caldwell Group (2006), the David Sackett Senior Investigator Award from the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine, and Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine (2009) and the Boston University School of Public Health (2001). He was featured recently by the Globe and Mail (April 2012) as the Canadian public health researcher with the highest publication H-index, and is also named in the Thomson-Reuters listing of the top 1% of most highly cited researchers by discipline.

Douglas Hamilton, MD, PhD

A recent recruit back to the University of Calgary, Dr Douglas Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Medicine and is a researcher at W21C in the area of telemedicine and medical informatics. Until very recently, he was also a Flight Surgeon for NASA, Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering at NASA Johnson Space Center (supporting Space Station Operations). He continues to work as a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. Dr Hamilton’s studies performed on the International Space Station have demonstrated the ability to acquire diagnostic quality real-time ultrasound images obtained using novice ultrasound operators. Trained as both a physician and electrical engineer, Dr Hamilton is leading innovation initiatives in the domain of biomedical engineering at W21C. His past work, especially in the United States, has provided W21C with numerous opportunities to collaborate with experts in medicine, biomedical technology and remote sensing.

Dave Hogan, MD, Seniors’ Health Lead

Born in Baie Comeau, Quebec, Dr Hogan’s undergraduate and postgraduate medical education took place in Nova Scotia (Dalhousie University), Alberta (University of Alberta), and Ontario (University of Ottawa, University of Western Ontario). He is a physician trained in geriatrics, and a professor in the Departments of Medicine, Clinical Neurosciences, and Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. In addition to being a member of the AHS Seniors' Health Strategic Care Network Core Committee and Lead for Seniors' Health Research for W21C, Dr Hogan also holds the Brenda Strafford Foundation Chair in Geriatric Medicine and is Director of the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging. He has served in a variety of national leadership roles relevant to his field of practice - Chair of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) Specialty Committee in Geriatric Medicine, Chief Examiner in Geriatric Medicine for the RCPSC, President of the Canadian Geriatrics Society, President of the C5R (a national network of dementia researchers), and editor of the Canadian Journal of Geriatrics (renamed the Canadian Geriatrics Journal). Dr Hogan has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers, and has earned several prestigious awards in his career including the 2010 CIHR Betty Havens Award for Knowledge Translation in Aging and the Irma M. Parhad Award for Excellence through the Consortium of Canadian Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research. From an educational standpoint, he has been instrumental in the development of an RCPSC-approved training program in geriatric medicine and is also active in undergraduate, postgraduate clinical, graduate sciences, and continuing professional development (CPD) education. Dr Hogan’s primary research interest is in clinical aspects of aging with specific focus in cognitive impairment/dementia. Dr Hogan has a long-standing interest in creating systems of seamless care for seniors across the spectrum of health settings (i.e., home, primary and specialty care, hospitals, community-based care, assisted living/ long-term care facilities). He is also interested in the use of intelligent in-home technologies for vulnerable older patients.

Penny Jennett, MD

Former Head of the Health Telematics Unit and Professor of Community Health Sciences and previous Director of the Office of Medical Education in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Dr Jennett is recognized internationally for her expertise in e-health, telehealth, health telematics, health informatics and health education. Penny is a pioneer in telehealth and she is known for her systematic approach to analyzing the evidence base behind using e-health solutions in clinical, management, and learning contexts – including for use in chronic care and rural/remote regions. She is recognized for her grantsmanship skills, is well published, and has received awards for both her research and teaching achievements.

Jane Lemaire, MD, Wellness Lead

Dr Jane Lemaire is a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Vice Chair, Physician Wellness and Vitality, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary. She also practices within Alberta Health Services as an academic physician and consultant in General Internal Medicine.

Dr Lemaire's career focus includes medical education at the local, national, and international levels. She has served as member and chair of the Internal Medicine Specialty Committee, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dr Lemaire is currently Vice-Director of a University of Calgary-Lao PDR partnership spanning over a decade directed at enhancing medical education in this developing country. This global health project’s focus includes a revision of the Lao PDR University of Health Sciences undergraduate medical education curriculum and the development, implementation, and ongoing support of a Family Medicine Specialist training program.

Dr Lemaire’s research incorporates elements of medical education, healthcare services delivery, and healthcare provider wellness with an emphasis on physicians. Dr Lemaire is Wellness Lead, W21C Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Calgary. In collaboration with sociologist Dr Jean Wallace, Dr Lemaire and the Wellness research team study healthcare provider well-being with a view to improve productivity, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability for the work force. This program of research aims to identify the determinants of healthcare provider wellness, explore the links between this workforce’s wellness and effective healthcare systems, and educate all stakeholders of the importance of wellness. The knowledge gained through these enquiries is translated into programs to support and sustain the healthcare provider work force, ultimately enabling a more effective healthcare system. The Wellness research team has also explored the impact of innovation in the delivery of medical care upon the healthcare providers. The team has studied how innovations such as the introduction of the Sunrise Clinical Manager patient care information system, and the Vocera hands-free communication system affect healthcare providers.

Most recently, the Wellness research team is exploring the important role of the attending physician as clinician and medical educator. This research will provide a better understanding of the attending physician’s dynamic work environment and the conducts that physicians use to negotiate the contextual tensions that arise from working within complex adaptive systems. This knowledge will facilitate the education, orientation, mentorship and evaluation of attending physicians in their important role of training the next generation of doctors.

Irene Ma, MD, PhD, Clinical Simulation Lead

Dr. Irene Ma is a general internist at the Foothills Medical Centre and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, University of Calgary. Dr Ma received her Medical Degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she also completed her training in Internal Medicine and Nephrology. This was followed by an MSc in Epidemiology from Stanford University and a PhD in Medical Education from the University of Calgary. She is author or co-author on various abstracts and peer-reviewed publications in medical education and holds a number of leadership roles focused on residency training of procedural skills within Alberta Health Services and the University of Calgary. Dr Ma has also been invited to lecture at local, national, and international meetings, workshops, and conferences on how to teach medical procedures using simulation. A large element of her recruitment to Calgary was due to the research opportunities provided through the W21C. Now, as the Clinical Simulation Lead for the W21C team, Dr Ma’s research focuses on initiatives related to human-based innovation and to new approaches to promoting safety through education and better teaching.

Maeve O’Beirne, MD, Primary Care Lead

Maeve O’Beirne, MD, is a family physician and Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, Departments of Family Medicine and Community Health Sciences and Director of Research for Department of Medicine. Her research interests are in the areas of complementary therapies and patient safety. Dr. O’Beirne has served frequently as an invited lecturer both locally and nationally, and has been Principal Investigator and Co- PI on a number of grants looking at quality improvement and patient safety in the primary care arena. Dr O’Beirne’s research is focused on patient safety in community-based practices as well as patient safety in manipulative therapies. She is Chair of the Quality Improvement Committee in the Department of Family Medicine, Co-Chair of the Calgary Zone Community and Rural Health and Facilities QAC, and Chair of the Community Research Ethics Board of Alberta. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr O’Beirne is also active in teaching and education at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary as Preceptor for the Central Teaching Clinic and Low Risk Maternity Clinic.

Sachin Pendharkar, MD

Sachin Pendharkar, MD, is a respirologist and sleep physician. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences. Dr. Pendharkar received his medical degree from the University of Western Ontario and Internal Medicine training at the University of Toronto before completing a Respirology fellowship at the University of Calgary. He held an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Clinical Research Fellowship while undertaking clinical training in Sleep Medicine and a Master of Science in Health Services Research. He is the Quality Improvement Lead for the Division of Respirology and Evaluation Lead for the AHS Path 2 Home Provincial Discharge Model. Dr. Pendharkar’s research focuses on health care operations research, patient flow, and health systems efficiency, and he has collaborated with investigators from the Haskayne School of Business and Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. Current research projects include process improvement at the AHS – Calgary Zone pulmonary function labs and improving access for sleep testing and assessment using simulation modelling.

Maria J. Santana, PhD

Dr. Maria Santana is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Calgary. Dr. Santana completed a degree in Pharmacy and a Master in Pharmaceutical Technology at University of La Laguna in Spain. Dr. Santana worked as a clinical pharmacist in London, UK where she is a founding member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. In 2009, she received her PhD in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Alberta. The adoption of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) as standard practice at the University of Alberta Hospital lung transplant clinics is an outcome of her doctoral research. Dr. Santana continues to collaborate with her PhD supervisor, Dr. David Feeny at Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Dr. Dale Lien at the University of Alberta. Dr. Santana is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Society of Quality of Life Research. Current research interests within W21C include patient-centered care, patient engagement, transitions of care, and quality of trauma care.

Phone: 403.210.9257
Email: mjsantan@ucalgary.ca

Peter Sargious, MD, Chronic Disease Management Lead

Dr. Peter Sargious is Assistant Dean, Continuing Medical Education, Cumming School of Medicine at UCalgary.  Dr. Sargious received his MD from the University of Calgary in 1991, his Royal College Fellowship in Internal Medicine in 1995 and his MPH focused on epidemiology and biostatistics from Boston University in 1997. Dr. Sargious joined the University of Calgary in 1997 and also became the Manager for Alberta Research Council’s newly created Health Informatics Unit. During his five years with this not-for-profit research and development organization, Dr. Sargious led the development of internationally recognized interoperability standards for telehealth applications and the commercialization of two web-based electronic medical record products. In 2001, Dr. Sargious became the Founding Medical Director of Calgary’s Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Portfolio and worked with other regional leaders to establish the Living Well Program, which offers thousands of Calgarians with treatment for a variety of chronic illnesses. Dr. Sargious is recognized as one of Canada’s physician leaders in CDM and during his tenure as Medical Director CDM has won awards for his work, including the Department of Medicine’s inaugural Innovation Award (2006). He continues to serve as Chair of the Conference Board of Canada's Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. Dr. Sargious leads a number of key UCalgary strategic partnerships and, as a member of O'Brien Institute executive team, is charged with identifying activities within W21C and PHIRC that might benefit from those partnerships.

Chad Saunders, PhD, eHealth Services and Strategy Lead

As a researcher cross-appointed between the Haskayne School of Business (Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Strategy) and the Faculty of Medicine, Dr Chad Saunders is particularly well suited as the eHealth Services and Strategy Lead with W21C. His program of research focuses on how to strategically facilitate innovation in the 'back office' processes of health care (e.g., management of projects, research, human resources, and financial systems), leverage technology for collaboration among researchers, clinicians and patients, and to inform policy on the interplay among these dimensions. Dr Saunders’ strengths lend themselves to W21C’s work in developing innovative models of care, and advising on the strategic development of technical devices. He has also contributed to the creation and refinement of the W21C business plan.

H. Tom Stelfox, MD, PhD

Dr. Stelfox is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary and Scientific Director of Alberta Health Services’ Critical Care Strategic Clinical Network. He received his M.D. from the University of Alberta, Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Toronto, Ph.D. in Health Care Policy at Harvard University and Critical Care Fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital. His research program focuses on the application of health services research methods to evaluate and improve the quality of health care delivery to critically ill patients.

Deborah White, PhD

Dr Deborah White is a clinically trained nurse and a senior researcher in the Faculties of Nursing and Medicine at the University of Calgary. She is also the Dean and CEO of University of Calgary in Qatar and has over 20 years of experience in nursing education, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. Her research collaborations within the W21C focus on Patient Safety and Quality of Care, within three separate but linked areas: 1) health care workforce capability and development; 2) structures and processes in the work and learning environment; and 3) organizational practices and culture. Currently, Dr White is active on a number of CIHR funded patient safety initiatives and is leading a national study to examine the development, implementation, and impact of quality and safety teams in Canadian hospitals. The interdisciplinary research team involved in this study is composed of nurses, physicians, health decision makers, and graduate and undergraduate students. This overall umbrella of Patient Safety and Quality of Care fosters exploration of the interrelationship of the structural characteristics of care (i.e., provider, patient, necessary resources and support to deliver care), the care processes (i.e., what care providers do), the context in which care occurs, and their relationship to provider, patient and system outcomes. By studying these areas, Dr White hopes to improve the quality of health care for Albertans and Canadians. She is also actively partnering with Alberta Health Services (AHS) on a multifaceted evaluation of Strategic Clinical Networks – a new governance intervention established by AHS for enhancing care across the continuum.


Justin Baers, PhD Student

Justin Baers is a Health Services Research PhD student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Under the tutelage of Dr. Jeff Caird and Dr. Steve Wilton, he is focusing on the application of Human Factors methodologies to the design and evaluation of computerized patient decision aids. His research interests include risk communication, information visualization and decision-making.

Kyla Brown, Masters Student

Kyla has a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) with a concentration in Sociology from the University of Calgary. Her past research projects included developing a discharge estimation tool for the spinal cord rehabilitation unit, analyzing the work dissatisfaction and sleep problems, and observing family involvement in ICU rounds. Kyla's research interests include health services, healthcare delivery, and bettering patient care. At W21C, Kyla supports Dr. Tom Stelfox in his Reengineering the Discharge of Elderly Patients from Intensive Care project. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Drs. Stelfox and Fiest.

In addition to all of Kyla's past research work, she lived in Germany for three years and enjoys travelling.

Email: knbrow@ucalgary.ca

Pierre Wijdenes, PhD Candidate

Pierre Wijdenes is a human factors engineer who enjoys the challenge of finding novel solutions to today’s health care demands. After graduating with a master’s degree in human factors and cognitive engineering in Bordeaux (France), Pierre consulted for a top biotech company in Paris. He is deeply committed to applying innovation and cutting edge technology to improve global health care.

In 2012, this passion led Pierre to the University of Calgary where he is presently completing a PhD in BioMedical Engineering by developing novel neuro-bionic technologies that can detect, characterize and modulate epileptic activity. Pierre is excited to be a part of the W21C inter-disciplinary team where he will apply his expertise to supporting human factors and usability testing.

Unit 36

Rhonda Niebrugge, RN, Manager

Olivia Muir, RN, Unit Manager

Olivia graduated from the University of Athabasca's Bachelor of Nursing program at Mount Royal College in 2005. Her first RN position was on W21C's Unit 36. Shortly after graduation Olivia travelled and worked in various avenues of nursing in Australia and New Zealand, ultimately returning to W21C in 2007. She committed herself to the dynamic world of internal medicine and medical teaching and in 2012 took on the new role of MTU Flow Coordinator. In conjunction with the managers, Jennifer Cowles and Dr. Aleem Bharwani, Olivia created this coordinator role. She designed and carried out quality improvement projects for the unit and also promoted the understanding of the medical teaching teams hospital wide. In July of 2013 Olivia transitioned into the unit manager position for Unit 36 where she continues today.

Email: Olivia.Muir@albertahealthservices.ca

Debbie Wilson, RN, BN, MN, Clinical Nurse Educator

Debbie graduated from the University of Lethbridge’s nursing program in 2000. Her first nursing position was as an RN on FMC Unit 61, the unit that was transformed into W21C. Debbie has travelled and practiced her nursing skills in Nashville, Philadelphia and Seattle in pediatrics, bone marrow transplant and medical and surgical units. Debbie eventually returned to Calgary and W21C because she missed working with the fabulous team. She became a clinical instructor for UCalgary and MRU and has taught in all three hospitals within Calgary on multiple units. Debbie has a passion for teaching and went back to school and completed a Master of Nursing, specializing in Nursing Education in 2009 and Debbie has since been working as a Clinical Nurse Educator at W21C.

Email: Debbie.Wilson04@albertahealthservices.ca