Meet our team

Research team

Susan Law, Ph.D.

Director – Health Experiences Research Canada

Susan leads the Canadian health experiences initiative and is a member of the DIPEx International Board. She is Director of Research and Scientist at the Institute for Better Health at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga Ontario, and Associate Professor at the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She completed her PhD at University of London (LSHTM) and has a Masters 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(c)

Research Program Coordinator and Qualitative Researcher

Ilja is a PhD student (McGill Department of Family Medicine) and has an MSc in public health (LSHTM, University of London, UK). Ilja has worked for this initiative since its beginning in 2011. She 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 during pregnancy. In the past Ilja has worked for several years for the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders and for her thesis she collaborates with the organization Action Against Hunger and explores how a better understanding people’s experiences with cholera in Haiti can contribute to improvements in the current prevention efforts.

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

Qualitative Researcher and Project Coordinator

Joel is a health and humanitarian psychologist and a social filmmaker who has taught at the Universities of Moncton, Montreal and Trois-Rivières on subjects involving action research, psychopathology, psychosocial and intercultural intervention. He has a special interest in clinical work, research and advocacy regarding vulnerable populations. His field work with Action Against Hunger and Doctors Without Borders included victimized Kurdish populations in Iraq, refugee Rohingya groups in Indonesia and sexually abused victims in Africa’s Great Lakes Region. His film The Healing Winds, on the history and the effects of the Residential School System on the Inuit of Canada, won the Grand Prize at the Montreal First People’s Festival. Joel has led the work on newly arrived immigrants’ experiences of depression and anxiety, and is currently leading a pilot study of experiences of living with an amputation.

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

Qualitative Researcher

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, DPhil

Qualitative Researcher

Linda Rozmovits studied at Trent University (BA hons), McGill University (MA) and the University of Sussex (DPhil). She has over 20 years’ experience in academic and applied qualitative health research in Canada and the UK as a researcher, educator and consultant. Linda worked with the health experiences research group at Oxford University for several years to complete a number of qualitative research 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.

Michelle Marcinow, PhD

Research Associate

Michelle is a research associate at the Institute for Better Health. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Public Health & Health Systems (University of Waterloo), PhD in Applied Human Nutrition (University of Guelph), and MSc in Health Sciences (McMaster University). She has quantitative and qualitative research experience and has worked on a variety of research projects, at the population level or in clinical settings. Her research has consistently had an applied focus, working with patients and health professionals to promote evidence-based interventions that improve health and health care. She is currently working on the development of training modules for patient-oriented research.

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

Internal Medicine Physician and Researcher

Seema Marwaha is an internal medicine physician and scientist at Trillium Health Partners and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 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

Family Physician and Health Experiences Team Advisor

Dr. Debbie Josephson is a 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 is helping to establish an Institute of Music Therapy 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

Associate Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, Division of Oral Health and Society

Mary Ellen Macdonald is a medical anthropologist with a full-time academic appointment at McGill University. She is the founder and chair of the McGill Qualitative Health Research Group ( and has been involved with as a National Advisor 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 program of research on the health of vulnerable populations is funded by a FRQS Junior 2 salary award, and includes work with Indigenous peoples and refugees, on topics including general health, oral health and palliative care.