Meet our team

Core team

Susan Law, Ph.D.

Director – Health Experiences Research Canada

Susan leads the Canadian health experiences initiative and is a director on the DIPEx International Board. She is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Better Health at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga Ontario, and Associate Professor at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She also has an adjunct professor appointment with McGill Family Medicine and is an affiliate scientist at St. Mary’s Research Centre in Montreal. She completed her PhD at University of London (LSHTM) and has a master’s in health administration from the University of Toronto. She is a health services researcher with a keen interest in personal narratives about health experiences and patient/family engagement in research that contribute to improvements in health and healthcare.

Ilja Ormel, MSc PH, PhD

Research Coordinator

Ilja is a research program coordinator and senior qualitative researcher at St. Mary’s Research Centre. She has worked for this initiative since its beginning in 2011 and has contributed to building the research team and led the development of the first two published modules (family caregiving and breast cancer in women) and is now working on perinatal mental health issues during and after pregnancy. Ilja is a post-doctoral fellow in McMaster’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact (HEI), working with the Humanitarian Health Ethics research group ( Her research interests include illness narratives, participatory research, humanitarian health response, disease outbreaks in disaster settings and health promotion.

Elizabeth Mansfield, PhD


Elizabeth is a Scientist at the Institute for Better Health at Trillium Health Partners whose current work focuses on patients with medically complex conditions, caregiver and healthcare provider experiences. She is a medical sociologist and qualitative researcher with expertise in meta-evaluation, discourse analysis and program evaluation. Her current work focuses upon service improvement for patients with physical and mental health challenges, experience-based co-design, and bringing a population health and intersectionality lens to capture the diversity of health services needs and preferences.

Debbie Josephson,   MDCM., B.Sc. Honors

Medical Advisor

Debbie is a retired family physician in Montreal with 30 years’ experience as a clinician and educator. She has a special interest in adolescent and women’s health, and an extensive background in pediatrics and emergency medicine. She assists in the McGill Family Medicine program and has helped to establish an Institute of Music Therapy in Montreal that provides support to music therapists, and education for the public and health professionals. Debbie provides the health experiences research team with clinical advice and expertise, was a member of the expert advisory panels on the breast cancer and family caregiving modules and is available at any/all times to offer support for this initiative.

Linda Rozmovits, PhD

Senior Qualitative Researcher

Linda is a qualitative health researcher, writer, editor, and educator. She has over 20 years’ experience in academic and applied qualitative health research in Canada, the US, and the UK. Linda was a member of the original health experiences research group at Oxford University where she completed a number of qualitative research and evaluation projects. More recently, she has worked with the Canadian health experiences team on a variety of initiatives to lead and support data collection, analysis, scientific writing, and strategy development. Linda has also worked with the US Health Experiences Research Network.

Michelle Marcinow, PhD

Research Associate & Project Coordinator

Michelle is a research associate at the Institute for Better Health at Trillium Health Partners and the University of Toronto. She joined the research team in 2018 as a researcher and coordinator across various projects. Michelle has worked on a variety of research projects at the population and clinical level throughout her career and her goal is to build collaborative relationships with patients, caregivers, families, researchers, and health care professionals to promote and share evidence-based knowledge for improving health interventions, systems, and outcomes. Michelle completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Public Health and Health Systems (University of Waterloo) and holds graduate degrees in Applied Human Nutrition (University of Guelph) and Medical Sciences (McMaster University). She is currently working on the long-COVID and heart failure projects.

Seema Marwaha, MD, MEd

Clinician Scientist

Seema Marwaha is an internal medicine physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and editor-in-chief of As a Frank Knox Fellow, she studied the use of technology and innovation in education at Harvard University, looking at novel ways to educate the public on health. Leveraging her background as a documentary filmmaker, her major career focus is on using storytelling to translate health knowledge to the general public. She also seeks to document and improve the patient experience, exploring areas for human-centered design methodology in healthcare. She is also a published journalist and on the editorial board at You can read more about Seema on her own website at

Yousra Lakhani

Social Media Coordinator

Yousra is a BHSc student at McMaster University. She coordinates the social media posts for the Canadian Health Experiences Research initiative and supports knowledge translation. As part of HERC, she aims to increase access to modules and disseminate information in an equitable manner. In the past, Yousra has worked with Harvard University, the Toronto District School Board, School Mental Health Ontario, and the Ontario Ministry of Education on projects in the fields of health equity and mental health. She is also a research volunteer with Ryerson University and a volunteer with Sunnybrook Hospital.

Ana Keller

Research Coordinator

Ana is a research coordinator at the St. Mary’s Research Centre. She worked as a clinical nurse in a pediatric ward in Brazil and contributed to different qualitative research projects. She holds a bachelor’s and Masters’s degree in Nursing from the Federal University of São Carlos and completed her PhD at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. As part of her doctoral program, she was a Graduate Research Trainee at Ingram School of Nursing at McGill University for seven months. She is currently working on the Perinatal Mental Health project.

Ryan Caulfeild

Technical and Web Support

Ryan is a student at McMaster University working towards his Bachelor of Commerce degree. Ryan has completed work over the past several years for different projects at the Institute for Better Health at Trillium Health Partners, utilizing his background in Information Technology to focus on the transferal of research into various forms of media. He is currently working with HERC on web development and assisting with web analytics.

Jason Nie, MSc

Research Associate

Jason is a Research Associate at the Institute for Better Health.  He has a background in Bioethics (University of Toronto) and Epidemiology (York University).  He is passionate about innovative and novel approaches for improving health and quality of life, especially for those who are most vulnerable or have complex needs.  Jason is currently supporting the heart failure module of

Kerry Kuluski, PhD


Kerry is the Dr. Mathias Gysler Research Chair in Patient and Family Centered Care at the Institute for Better Health at Trillium Health Partners and Associate Professor at the Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Prior to that she was a Scientist at Sinai Health System where she grew her program of research on patient and caregiver experience. She focuses on care quality challenges in our health care system including care transitions using multi-methods. She works in partnership with patients and families to co-design strategies that aim to improve health care experiences.  She just launched a new course at the University of Toronto on Patient and Caregiver Engagement in Research.

Hargun Kaur

Research Assistant

Hargun is currently studying medicine at McMaster University. She is a leader, advocate, and innovator passionate about creating more resilient and equitable communities. In addition to her work with Health Experiences, Hargun is a young board of director member, part-time researcher at the Population Health Research Institute, national youth advisory for the Cannabis & Mental Health Project and recently represented Canadian youth at the international Y7 summit.

Jane Sandercock, MSc, BScOT

Research Associate

Jane is a Research Associate working with Health Experiences Research Canada team exploring women’s experiences with heart failure. She has supported a wide range of people living with various health challenges that impact everyday living, both as an occupational therapist and as a health services and policy researcher. Jane holds Bachelors degrees from Queen’s University in Health and Occupational Therapy, in addition to a Masters degree in Health Research Methods from McMaster University, Canada. She is an advocate for patient and caregiver voice and experience guiding the innovation, development and evaluation of health services and policies.


Joel Montanez, PhD

Bishops University

Joel is faculty professor at the psychology department of Bishop’s University. He has an interest in visual advocacy, humanitarian strategy and physical rehabilitation based on the perspectives of extremely vulnerabilised populations. His field work with Action Against Hunger and Doctors Without Borders has included victimized Tigrayan and Kurdish population, refugee Rohingya groups and sexually abused survivors in Africa’s Great Lakes Region. His film The Healing Winds, on the Inuit of Quebec and the Residential School System, won the Grand Prize at the International First People’s Festival. Joel has led the modules on newly arrived immigrants’ and migrants’ experiences of depression and anxiety, and experiences of living with an amputation. He currently leads the module on experiences of rehabilitation personnel caring for patients in COVID-19 hot zones.

Mary Ellen Macdonald, PhD

Dalhousie University

Mary Ellen Macdonald, PhD (Medical Anthropology), is a Professor at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) where she holds the J & W Murphy Foundation Endowed Chair in Palliative Care. She is the founder of the McGill Qualitative Health Research Group ( and has been involved with since 2015. With Susan Law, she co-chaired the Advanced Seminar on Critical Qualitative Health Inquiry at Montreal in 2017. Her background in qualitative research includes expertise in ethnography. Her current research program includes grief literacy, grief after assisted dying, private and public acts of memorialization, oral health palliative care, and humanitarian migrant oral health.

Maria Santana, MPharm, PhD

University of Calgary

Maria is a health services researcher, patient and family-centred care scientist, an Associate Professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Dr. Santana has received training in clinical pharmacy (BPharm, MPharm, London School of Pharmacy, UK, Universidad La Laguna, Spain), public health and clinical epidemiology (PhD, University of Alberta, Canada). Her research focuses in developing novel methods to integrate the voice of patients and family caregivers in health care and health service research to improve health and health care. The methods advance person-centred care and patient-oriented research. She is the provincial lead, Patient Engagement for the Alberta Strategy for Patient-oriented Research ( She is the academic leader of the Patient and Community Engagement in Research (PaCER,

Cathie Scott, PhD, CEC

K2A Consulting (BC)

I acknowledge that I currently live and work on the traditional, unceded territory of the Syilx nation in Naramata, BC. Growing up in rural Alberta, I developed deep respect for the lands on which we live. I am committed to life-long learning and supporting individual and community growth. I have been fortunate to have a career rich in leadership experience in the frontlines of health services delivery, in academic settings, and in senior executive roles in provincial health and social organizations.  Throughout my career, I have maintained active academic engagement through research, teaching and student supervision at the University of Calgary, Royal Roads University, and University of British Columbia-Okanagan. As a private consultant I continue to be engaged in evaluation, community-based research, and leadership coaching.

Csilla Kalocsai, MPhil, PhD

Sunnybrook Research Institute

Csilla is a cultural anthropologist and education scientist and holds the ACMS Professorship in Education Research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is also Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute, Co-Chair of Don Wasylenki Education Day and Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Cross-Appointed Faculty at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, and Cross-Appointed Researcher at the Wilson Centre at the University of Toronto and the University Health Network. Her research program explores power and social justice in health professions education and care, and includes service user involvement in health professions education, harm reduction education for service users and health professionals, and how race, disability, and other vectors of social difference are made real in the lives of service users, learners, and faculty in health professions education and care.

Emily Gard Marshall, PhD

Dalhousie University

Emily is a Professor in the Dalhousie Department of Family Medicine, cross appointed with Community Health and Epidemiology, and Psychiatry, as well as a Nova Scotia Health Affiliated Scientist, and Director of the BRIC-NS SPOR Network. Her collaborative mixed methods research examines primary healthcare from patient, provider, and system perspectives to address the quintuple aim. Foci include access, continuity, and comprehensiveness to improve equity and optimize outcomes across the life course, involving population data, provider perspectives, and equity-deserving populations. She leads multiple pan-Canadian studies including the CIHR funded PUPPY-Study. Dr. Marshall is the 2020 recipient of the NAPCRG Mid-Career Researcher Award. She is also an avid artist. For more information, see

Janet Curran, PhD, RN

Dalhousie University

Janet is a Professor in the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University, Research Chair in Quality and Patient Safety at IWK Health, Nova Scotia Health and Dalhousie University and Implementation Science Lead at the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit. She is the Scientific Lead in the Strengthening Transitions in Care lab at IWK Health where her program of research is focused on co-designing and evaluating best practice and policy change interventions to improve transitions in care for patients and families. Her co-design work is informed by collaborating with multiple stakeholders including patients, parents and caregivers, healthcare providers, and policy makers.

Linda Tracey

Patient Partner

Linda Tracey is a freelance writer, editor and project leader, primarily in the area of healthcare communications, with a BA in Films and Communication and an MA in English Literature from McGill University.  Linda underwent cancer treatment in 2009 and 2010; she has been involved in many projects as a patient partner over the past 12 years, including iPEHOC, e-IMPAQc and, most recently, Health Experiences Research Canada.

Emilie Dionne, PhD

VITAM Research Centre (QC)

Emilie is a sociopolitical scientist, feminist thinker, and qualitative health researcher at the VITAM Research Centre in Sustainable Health (Centre de recherche en santé durable) in Quebec City and adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology at Université Laval. Her research interests include person-centred care, ethics of vulnerability, critical qualitative methodology, feminist bioethics, participatory action research.

Patricia Pottie

Patient Partner

Patricia was born and raised in Halifax, NS, and received her BSc at Dalhousie University. She worked in lab research and later clinical research at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. She moved to Montreal and ran the national business office for a large charitable organization. In 1974 she moved to Ottawa and worked at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre for 28 years, as Regional Coordinator for Forensic Psychiatry, until retirement. Since then volunteered at a long-term care organization in Ottawa, joined the Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) for both Cancer Care Ontario (still doing), The Ottawa Hospital for both Cancer and Corporate PFACs (still on Corporate). My ‘passion’ … is patient education. Patricia became involved with health experiences through Cancer Care Ontario as a breast cancer survivor.


Heather Lannon, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow (2021 – present)

Heather has a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Memorial University, a Masters of Social Work (Leadership) from the University of Calgary and a Doctorate of Social Sciences from Royal Roads University. Heather’s dissertation focused on heart patients and their caregivers who had to relocate to access transplants. Heather drew on her personal experience of relocating from Newfoundland to Toronto with her husband Jamie who was in needed of a heart transplant. Heather’s thesis highlighted the connection between home and the heart transplant journey.

Heather has worked in a variety of roles in the health care sector and is currently completing her Post Doc Fellowship working with the health experiences initiative on the Heart Failure in Women project.

Téa Christopoulos, MSc

PhD Student (2022 – present)

Téa is currently a PhD student at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Joint Centre for Bioethics. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Masters of Health Science degree in Medical Physiology. During her tenure at the University, Téa has received research training and experience from renowned institutions such as The Hospital for Sick Children and Holland Bloorview Kid’s Rehabilitation Hospital. She is currently working cross-collaboratively with the health experiences initiative on an environmental scan of models of care to address long-COVID, and a qualitative study of decision makers’ experiences designing and implementing new care models for this population.