Meet our team

Research 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.

Mona Magalhaes, MHA

Qualitative Researcher

Mona Magalhães has been with St. Mary’s Research Centre since 2014. Her work as a qualitative researcher and project coordinator has supported projects related to patient and healthcare staff experiences of care, the co-design of quality improvement projects, and the development of self-care interventions. Mona graduated with a MA in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Concordia University in 2013. She is currently working with the health experiences initiative to adapt women’s narratives for an innovative mobile application that will offer women who are preparing for breast cancer surgery access to the stories of other women with lived experience of breast cancer surgery.

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.

Kathleen Charlebois, PhD

Qualitative Researcher and Project Coordinator

Kathleen is senior qualitative researcher and project coordinator on a number of health experience and co-design projects, in particular the end-of-life project, which focuses on people who lost someone in the last five years of life and who witnessed the last moments of their loved one’s life. She has also played a role in a co-design project on the discharge process in internal medicine. Over the years, her work has centred on qualitative research, which includes conducting interviews and focus groups with healthcare professionals, patients and families and which involved thematic and narrative analysis. The various research projects on which she has worked have covered an array of topics, including poverty, health and social policy, cancer care, service integration, genomics, governance as well as public participation. Kathleen is currently working on a project in palliative care as well as one focusing in kidney transplantation.

David Wright, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa

David is a full-time faculty member in the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa, and has been involved with this initiative since 2014. As a palliative care nurse and end-of-life care researcher, David is currently working toward the development of a module on peoples’ experiences at the end of life. David attended the DIPEx International training in Montreal in October 2015. David’s background in qualitative research includes expertise in ethnography, discourse analysis, and empirical bioethics. His research interests include ethics of end-of-life care, particularly assisted death. In 2014 he received a three year new-investigator award from the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, with appointment as a Research Associate for nursing research at the St. Mary’s Research Centre.

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.

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.

Charles Onu, PhD (c)

Health Informatics Researcher

Charles is a PhD student at McGill Department of Computer Science. His research focuses on the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile technology to medicine. He has worked with Health Experiences Research Canada since May 2016, contributing to the design and leading the development of the HERS app – a personalized tool (mobile app with recommender system) for patients using the breast cancer module. Charles is actively involved with other AI-health initiatives at the Montreal Children’s Hospital including the APEX project aimed at decision support for physicians in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). He also leads the Ubenwa project, applying AI for reliable, low-cost diagnosis of perinatal asphyxia.

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.


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.

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.