Investigators & Collaborators


Linda Li, BSc(PT), MSc, PhD 

Dr. Linda Li is Professor, Harold Robinson/Arthritis Society Chair in Arthritic Diseases, and Canada Research Chair in Patient-Oriented Knowledge Translation at the Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia. She is also a Senior Scientist at the Arthritis Research Canada.

Linda earned a BSc in Physiotherapy at McGill University, a MSc at University of Western Ontario, and a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology at University of Toronto. Funded by Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical epidemiology/knowledge translation at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Linda is currently a Michael Smith Foundation Health Research (MSFHR) Career Investigator, and a past recipient of the American College of Rheumatology Health Professional New Investigator Award, and the CIHR New Investigator Award.

As a health services researcher, Linda’s research focuses in two areas: 1) understanding the help-seeking experiences of people with early inflammatory arthritis, and 2) evaluating models of arthritis care. Her methodological skills include clinical epidemiology and mixed-methods design. She also collaborates with digital media experts to develop and evaluate online tools, such as decision aids for promoting shared-decision making and interactive programs for coaching people to be physically active. Her research is currently funded by CIHR, MSFHR and The Arthritis Society.

Email: lli@arthritisresearch.ca

Catherine Backman, PhD, OT(C), FCAOT

Prof. Catherine Backman is a Professor and Head of the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia, a Senior Scientist at the Arthritis Research Canada and an Affiliated Researcher at Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

Catherine’s research interests cluster in two broad areas: (a) occupational disruption and the impact of chronic illness on participation in paid and unpaid work and social roles. Recent studies relate to parenting, employment, and creative occupations, with an emphasis on balancing occupations to promote health and well-being; (b) evaluating the outcomes of occupational therapy and rehabilitation interventions, including use of e-health tools, and the ethical tensions that arise in delivering competent care..

To date, she has published over 150 papers, abstracts and book chapters.

In 2004, Catherine was awarded the Catherine Muriel Driver Memorial Lectureship and named a Fellow (FCAOT) by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists in 2004. She was also the 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, a Division of the American College of Rheumatology.

Recognized as an exceptional mentor, Catherine received the prestigious Killam University Teaching Prize in 2002 and currently supervises MSc and PhD students in rehabilitation and interdisciplinary studies.

E-mail: catherine.backman@ubc.ca

Anne Townsend, PhD

Dr. Anne Townsend is an Affiliate Scientist at the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada and a Research Associate at the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia.

She gained her BA in Sociology and Educational Studies in 1989 at the University of Lancaster, UK and an MA in Women’s Studies at the University of Exeter, UK in 1993. She was awarded a Medical Research Council PhD in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2005.

Anne’s association with the University of British Columbia began in 2006 as a Post-Doctoral fellow in the Health Policy and Training Program at the Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, which she completed in 2009.

Anne specializes in medical sociology, bioethics, gender and qualitative research.  Her research interests are focused in two main areas: the experience of chronic illness and health research ethics. Her work in chronic illness centres on self-management and issues of identity, shared decision-making, medication use and concordance, patient-practitioner interactions. Her work in ethics includes the ethics of qualitative research to inform an evidence base, the experience of being a health research subject and issues of relational autonomy in the patient/consumer-physician relationship. Her qualitative methodology expertise includes grounded theory, framework analysis and narrative approaches.

Click here to view results presented at the American College of Rheumatology / American Health Professionals Association Meeting, Washington DC, November 9-14, 2012

E-mail: atownsen@exchange.ubc.ca

Aileen Davis, PhD, M.Sc., B.Sc. (P.T.) 

Aileen Davis trained as a physiotherapist and clinical epidemiologist and received her doctorate from the University of Toronto. Currently, she is a Senior Scientist in the Division of Health Care and Outcomes Research, Toronto Western Research Institute and is an investigator with the Arthritis and Community Research and Evaluation Unit and the Arthritis and Autoimmunity Research Centre at UHN. She is a Professor at the University of Toronto in the Departments of Physical Therapy and Surgery and the Graduate Departments of Rehabilitation Science, Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and Institute of Medical Science.

Dr. Davis’ primary research focus is in musculoskeletal disease, particularly in identifying modifiable predictors of patient outcomes. She also has extensive experience in outcome measure development and evaluation Recent work focuses on models of care for arthritis including development and evaluation of care pathways to improve access to services for people with mild to severe osteoarthritis and hip fracture.

She is a past member of the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis Advisory Board and past Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee and member of the Board of The Arthritis Society. She is an associate editor and on the editorial board for Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. She is the National Director for Osteoarthritis Initiatives for Bone and Joint Canada.

E-mail: aileen.davis@utoronto.ca

Diane Gromala, PhD

Diane Gromala, PhD, is a Full Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). She builds bridges spanning technology (design, HCI, and engineering) and health (researchers, clinicians, patients and their advocates). Prior to joining SFU, Dr. Gromala developed transdisciplinary technology curricula as a faculty member at Georgia Tech, the University of Washington, and the University of Texas.

Dr. Gromala designs and builds innovative interactive health technologies, and tests them in a two-pronged approach: with health experts in clinical domains, and in patients’ homes. Currently, she is working to certify two of her VR systems with Health Canada and the FDA in order to deploy them in the real world.

As the Founding Director of the Pain Studies Lab, Dr. Gromala and her team of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers closely collaborate with health experts in pain medicine, neuroscience, psychology, and kinesiology to name a few. Dr. Gromala’s research projects combine qualitative and quantitative research methods including: patient-centred design, participatory design, and microethnographies to the evidence-based biopsychosocial approaches common in pain medicine. Ultimately, Dr. Gromala’s interactive health technologies are tested in RCTs (randomized control trials), the gold standard for health research. Increasingly, she is working with neuroscientists to explore long-lasting, neuroplastic brain changes via fMRI studies

E-mail: dgromala@sfu.ca

Lynne Feehan, BScPT, MSc, PhD

Dr Feehan is currently the Knowledge Translation Lead at the BC SUPPORT Unit and is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of British Columbia. Lynne is a licensed physical therapist with a specialization in upper extremity rehabilitation. She is a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT), with over 40 years of clinical experience working in private and public care settings in Alberta and British Columbia (BC).

Lynne received her PhD in Interdisciplinary studies from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, funded through a MSFHR doctoral training award. She has completed two post-doctoral fellowships in the Department of Physical Therapy at UBC, including a CIHR funded knowledge translation project and a MSFHR post-doctoral fellowship award. Her research focus is primarily in arthritis, bringing her expertise in implementation practice informed by implementation science, objective measurement of physical activity and sleep, and meaningful engagement of stakeholders / patients in health research in BC.

E-mail: lfeehan@bcsupportunit.ca

Antonio Aviña-Zubieta, MD, MSc, PhD

Dr. Antonio Aviña-Zubieta is an Assistant Professor at the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and a Research Scientist at the Arthritis Research Canada

Born in Mexico, Dr. Antonio Aviña-Zubieta graduated as a Medical Doctor from the University of Guadalajara in 1989. He did his Internal Medicine training from 1990 to 1991 at the University of Guadalajara, and from 1991 to 1993 he pursued a rheumatology fellowship at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM). He has been a National Scientist in Mexico since 1998.

After his formal training in Mexico, Dr. Aviña did a Clinical Research Fellowship at the University of Alberta from 1993 to 1995, and subsequently completed a Master’s Degree in Experimental Medicine at the same university in 1997. In 2010, Dr. Aviña received his PhD in Experimental Medicine/Epidemiology from the University of British Columbia and began a faculty appointment as an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the same university on July 1st of that year.

To start his career as a New Investigator, Dr. Aviña was granted a Network Scholar research training award from the Canadian Arthritis Network and The Arthritis Society. He was also named the first ever BC Lupus Society Scholar (a title he continues to hold). He is also a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research scholar. Dr. Aviña has co-authored more than 115 publications in refereed journals, book chapters and peer reviewed published abstracts, and has given presentations at a number of national and international conferences

His areas of research include (1) the current epidemiology of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARD) at the population level, (2) the disease burden of SARD including risks of co-morbidities associated with SARD and (3) the impact of SARD on overall and cause specific mortality.

E-mail: azubieta@arthritisresearch.ca

Jacek Kopec, MD, PhD

Prof. Jacek Kopec is a professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia and a Senior Scientist at the Arthritis Research Canada in Vancouver. He is also affiliated with the UBC Department of Medicine, the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto, and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project in the USA.

Jacek earned his MD degree from the Pomeranian Medical University in Poland and his PhD from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University. His scholastic achievements have been recognized with the National Health Research Scholar Award from Health Canada and the Senior Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

He has received over $3.5 million in operating research grants and his publications include 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals, mostly in the areas of musculoskeletal epidemiology, quality of life measurement, and population health. Having taught courses in epidemiology, measurement methods and survey design, Jacek has also supervised or co-supervised 30 graduate students. He is an international authority on disability and quality of life assessments, and his survey on disability levels among back pain sufferers is used by researchers worldwide.

E-mail: jkopec@arthritisresearch.ca

Diane Lacaille, MD, FRCPC, MHSc

Dr. Diane Lacaille is the Scientific Director and Senior Scientist at Arthritis Research Canada; as well as a Professor, Division of Rheumatology, and Associate Head of Academic Affairs, Department of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. She has a rheumatology practice in Richmond, BC. She holds the Mary Pack Chair in Rheumatology Research from UBC and The Arthritis Society of Canada.

She completed medical school and internal medicine training at McGill University in Montreal, and her Rheumatology training and a Master’s in Health Sciences, clinical epidemiology, at the University of British Columbia.

Her research focuses on two areas: 1) Studying the impact of arthritis on employment and preventing work disability. To that effect, she has developed Making-it-WorkTM , an online program helping people with arthritis deal with employment issues. 2) Evaluating the quality of health care services received by people with RA and conducting pharmaco-epidemiology studies, using BC administrative health data. Her research has been supported by peer reviewed grants from the Canadian Institute for Health and Research, the Canadian Arthritis Network, The Arthritis Society of Canada and the Canadian Rheumatology Association. She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2013 for her research contributions

E-mail: dlacaille@arthritisresearch.ca

Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD, PT

Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD, PT, Associate Professor, is a Canada Research Chair and a physical therapist at the University of British Columbia, Department of Physical Therapy. She directs the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory as well as the Vancouver General Hospital’s Falls Prevention Clinic.

Her research program focuses on defining the role of exercise to promote healthy aging, with a particular focus on cognitive and neural plasticity, as well as mobility. Various methods are utilized, including randomized controlled trials, functional neuroimaging, and actigraphy,

Dr. Liu-Ambrose works collaboratively with faculty in Psychology, Neurology, Family Practice, Geriatric Medicine, and Health Care and Epidemiology. Dr. Liu-Ambrose is an investigator with the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. She also co-leads the UBC data collection site for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.

Dr. Liu-Ambrose received her PhD from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 2004. She completed a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the area of cognitive science funded by both Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) and joined the UBC Department of Physical Therapy in April 2006 as an Assistant Professor.

Dr. Liu-Ambrose is a recipient of the Royal Society of Canada’s Alice Wilson Award (2006), CIHR Institute of Aging Recognition Prize in Research in Aging (2005 & 2011), MSFHR Career Investigator Award (2006), and CIHR New Investigator Award (2011).

E-mail: teresa.ambrose@ubc.ca


Allyson Jones, PhD, PT

Dr. Jones is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy with a cross appointment in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Alberta. She is also a Fellow with the Institute of Health Economics. She has a PhD in Epidemiology and a MSc in Physical Therapy from the University of Alberta, a BA in Administrative Studies from the University of Winnipeg and a BSc in Physical Therapy from the University of Saskatchewan.

Previous to joining the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Alberta, Dr. Jones completed a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)/Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Postdoctoral Fellowship in health-related quality of life. She received a New Investigator Award from the American Geriatrics Society for her postdoctoral work. She has and continues to practice clinically as a physical therapist

Dr. Jones’s research assesses patient health outcomes and health-related quality of life in chronic musculoskeletal conditions to determine how we can maximize successful outcomes. Her work incorporates multiple methods, including self-report measures, clinical evaluation, performance measures and administrative databases.

Current core projects focus on the following areas:

– Patient-related outcomes and determinants of total hip and knee arthroplasties
– Prognostic factors and outcomes of degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis
– Factors affecting functional recovery and health related quality of life or hip fracture

Project funding has been granted by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the University of Alberta.

E-mail: cajones@ualberta.ca


Jolanda Cibere, MD, FRCPC, PhD

Dr. Jolanda Cibere is an Associate Professor in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of British Columbia and a Research Scientist at the Arthritis Research Canada. She is a rheumatologist specializing in the research of osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that is affecting an increasing number of Canadians.

After completing her medical and internal medicine training at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Cibere completed her clinical rheumatology training at the University of British Columbia. She also trained in the University of British Columbia ‘s Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, completed a doctoral program focusing on osteoarthritis, and was awarded an MRC (now CIHR) Clinician Scientist Fellowship award for her studies.

Dr. Cibere pioneered a study on the current use of glucosamine sulfate by osteoarthritis sufferers, the results of which have been widely disseminated to consumers across North America. Dr. Cibere was the principal investigator for a research study on the early diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Her research led to the development of a standardized knee exam that has since become part of a clinical standard for early detection. She has reported that early knee osteoarthritis can be detected by findings of either joint swelling, gait abnormality or flexion contracture in the knee. In addition, her study found that specific blood and urine tests, which detect cartilage breakdown, are useful to identify early osteoarthritis of the knee. She is the principal investigator for ongoing research to investigate the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee after 3 and 6 years, and is involved with similar research on osteoarthritis of the hip.

Dr. Cibere received the Networks of Centres of Excellence Young Innovator Award early in her career. She was awarded a six-year Clinical Scientist Phase II Scholar Award (the highest level salary award given by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research), and received both the UBC’s Departmental Faculty Scholar Award and the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation Scholar

E-mail: jcibere@arthritisresearch.ca