Research | Research Team
At W21C, our dedicated team of researchers brings a diverse array of experience to the work we do here, from heuristic evaluation and participatory design, to focus groups and systematic reviews – all under the overarching theme to enhance patient safety and quality of care.
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.
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.
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.
Dana Hunter, Research Assistant
Dana received her BA in Psychology from the University of Calgary in 2016. Previously, she was a Research Assistant with the Healthy Hearts Lab at the University of Calgary, a Health Psychology lab supervised by Dr. Lianne Tomfohr-Madsen. During her time with the lab, she collaborated with a pediatrician and a couples therapist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital to examine the effectiveness of an international adoption support group on the stress symptoms experienced by adoptive parents. She also worked on a research project aimed to investigate treatment preferences in men with postpartum depression (PPD) as well as examining potential correlates of paternal PPD.
Dana is also interested in rehabilitative health and medicine. She volunteered at the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured (ARBI) working with individuals with brain injuries, such as stroke and TBI. She worked one-on-one with clients and administered various programs thoughtfully designed by physical, occupational, and speech-language therapists. Further, she was a team member for an outreach program at ARBI and provided care for clients who have graduated from the on-site program and struggled with affording further care or were unable to find care that suited their needs.
Not only is Dana passionate about making a positive difference in others' lives via health care initiatives and research, she is a spirited team player owing to her two decades of experience as a Rhythmic Gymnast. She loves to travel and has been a part of the National team since 2010, which has allowed her to explore Europe while competing in two World Gymnaestradas.
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.
Maheer Khan, Research Associate
Maheer completed a Masters degree in Global Health at McMaster University in 2013. His scholarly paper on the strategies to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has since morphed into a global initiative to train community health workers in diagnosing, managing and preventing CVD in low resource settings. A standardized training curriculum for community health workers has been implemented in Colombia and Malaysia and is currently being incorporated into the World Health Organization's Global Hearts Initiative. Along with his academic interests in global health and non-communicable diseases, Maheer has also coordinated studies in stroke rehabilitation at the Population Health Research Institute and multiple sclerosis (MS) at the University of Calgary's MS research program.
At W21C, Maheer hopes to build upon his experiences in clinical research to learn how technology and innovation are shaping the future of health care and explore how this can be used to address health disparities both locally and globally. He is also completing a certificate in project management through the University of Calgary. Outside of work, Maheer enjoys playing basketball, hiking in the Rockies and volunteering with a local organization to improve access to health services in Kashmir, Pakistan.
Sara Hartmann PhD, Research Associate
Sara is a Research Associate working on the PRIHS study led by Dr. John Conly, Prevent CDI-55, which aims to reduce hospital acquired Clostridium difficile infection rates through the use of probiotics in Calgary hospitals. Sara’s background is in clinical integrative physiology, specifically focused on vascular and respiratory function in COPD patients. She obtained a PhD (Cardiovascular & Respiratory Sciences) and postdoctoral training from the University of Calgary. Sara’s personal and research interests in altitude physiology has enabled her to work on high altitude expeditions in in Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland and Chile.
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.
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.
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.
Hasan Abdullah, Research Assistant
Hasan has a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, and a MSc in Immunology from the University of Toronto. His previous work has centered around genetic and molecular research in medical diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis during his Masters, Psoriatic Arthritis and obesity during summer studentships at the Toronto Western Hospital and SickKids Hospital, and most recently, supporting a clinical research project at the University of Alberta assessing risk-factors for glucocorticoid induced osteoporosis. Hasan's research interests are in bench-to-bedside translational research.
At W21C, Hasan is a research assistant supporting Dr. Mary Brindle's EQuis platform, specifically focusing on a project assessing healthcare-associated infections in paediatric surgery patients at the Alberta Children's Hospital.Having past educational and work experience in basic science, Hasan hopes to broaden his experience by participating in clinical research. He is particularly interested in assessing the patient healthcare experience. In his spare time, Hasan is an amateur wild-life and nature photographer, he also enjoys traveling and trying different kinds of food.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Amanda Cheung, Research Assistant
Amanda Cheung has a background in Biological Sciences and Biomedical Technology. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Calgary, in which she also completed her graduate studies from the Master of Biomedical Technology program. Her research interests include health care delivery, process improvement and product development. She is currently working on CRIO Project A on several sub-studies involving pressure ulcers. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys painting, snowboarding and rock climbing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Linet Kiplagat, Research Associate
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.
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.
Wrechelle Ocampo, Research Associate
Currently on Leave
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.