Who We Are

Meet our Advisory Board Members

Our Advisory Board, comprised of patients and researchers with experience in patient engagement, is here to help you to engage patients in your research. We provide methods support and general advice about how to find patients to partner with, how to engage them in your work, and how to make your work patient-oriented. 

Contact us to request a review of your work or consultation with our Advisory Board.

Joan Barker

Patient Advisor

Ms. Barker is currently senior advisor and clinical support to the provincial Emergency Measures Assistance Team (EMAT) and Aboriginal Mental Health Consultant to the Cree Nations of James Bay. As well, Ms. Barker provides clinical support for Feathers of Hope, an Aboriginal Youth Initiative through the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. Ms. Barker started her career at Michigan State University where she worked with other practitioners to establish the St. Lawrence Hospital Geriatric Assessment Center.  The Center was one of the first in the US to focus on Geriatrics with a multi-disciplinary approach to senior’s health care.  As part of the Family Medicine department at MSU, Ms. Barker focused her research on caregiver stress and elder abuse. After moving to Canada in the late 1980’s, Ms. Barker focused her attention on Elder Abuse, Alzheimer’s and caregiver support. Ms. Barker played a lead role is establishing the first provincial Elder Abuse Advocacy group and was instrumental in opening the first Abbeyfield House in Guelph.  She specialized in counselling caregivers to the elderly or persons with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. After moving to the Canadian Arctic, Ms. Barker moved her focus to Aboriginal and Indigenous Issues.  For five years, she provided mental health counselling and support to Inuit in Nunavut.  She then moved south to James Bay in Ontario where she provided clinical and mental health support to the residents of First Nations Communities along the James Bay Coast for over twenty years. Ms. Barker was also a member of the clinical support team for the Truth and Reconciliation commission.

Lorraine Bayliss

Patient Advisor

Lorraine Bayliss , a qualified teacher at both secondary and elementary levels with additional qualifications as a teacher of the gifted and learning disabled. Also served as a board wide resource teacher for the second largest board in North America.and later as a school administrator.

My motivation for getting involved with POR is having lived with juvenile onset diabetic 48 years. I have been invited to serve as the chair of the Citizens’ Panel with the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network.. Being in education led me to being actively involved as (SPOR) Masterclass faculty member co-presenting with the faculty from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry the Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine on the Conduct and use of Patient Oriented Research.  I am currently a presenter for the current online Masterclass Webinar. I am a presenter at TUTOR – Transdisciplinary Understanding and Training on Research – Primary Health Care (TUTOR-PHC) Western University.  I serve on the OSSU Patient Partnership Working Group PPWG.  Member of Patient Advisors Network (PAN).  I co-presented at Primary Health Care Research Day – Trillium 2018 with Melissa Courvoisier on the success of our  Partners in Research course for patients and researchers. I was invited to be a co-presenter for our award winning poster at the North American Primary Health Care Conference Montreal  2017 with  the Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine.  I helped organized a support group at Women's College Hospital and later Toronto General for Type 1 diabetics. I serve as an  advisory member for the Type 1 Diabetic Think Tank (T1DTT). In my younger days I actually worked with Dr. Charles Best co-discoverer of insulin.

Ron Beleno

Patient Advisor

Ron Beleno is an active advocate for dementia, caregiving, aging, and research communities. Being a caregiver to his father who lived with Alzheimers for 10+ years to age in place at home, Ron utilized technology, community, and access to research to support his family's life to live well and as best as possible. Ron has traveled the journey of research participant, collaborator, co-designer, and project lead on numerous research and industry endeavors internationally. A strong supporter of patient engagement, Ron is an active member, advisor, and mentor to numerous organizations and educational institutions such as AGE-WELL NCE, Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) at Baycrest, City of Toronto's Seniors Strategy, SE Health (formerly known as Saint Elizabeth Health Care), the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit (OSSU), and the Translational Research Program (TRP) at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine.  Other interests include mentoring and supporting the next generation of researchers, distant and remote communication, safety in the community as we age, and mealtimes with stakeholders.

Jennifer Boyle

Patient Advisor

Jennifer Boyle is an active arthritis volunteer and patient advocate. She has been a Patient Partner in Arthritis since 2010, educating students in the musculoskeletal examination and arthritis. She has been an Arthritis Society patient ambassador since 2008 and received the 2013 Ontario Volunteer Impact Award for her work in research, education and knowledge translation.  Jennifer received the 2016 Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and the 2018 Arthritis Health Professions Association Extraordinary Service Award for her arthritis volunteer work. Jennifer is an advocate for arthritis education and patient engagement in research. She is working towards her Certificate in Creative Non-Fiction Writing at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.

Mary Huang

Patient Advisor

Mary Huang graduated from University of Waterloo for Systems Design Engineering and has MBA from INSEAD in France.  Mary lived the first 10 years of her life in Taiwan and has also lived and worked in Europe for 10 years with 2 years in London, 1 year in Paris, 1 year in Fontainebleau in France and 6 years in Prague in addition to short periods in Auckland, NZ and Malaysia.   Mary is a consultant specializing in big data, datawarehouses and building planning and forecasting systems for clients such as eBay, Apple, J&J, Sandoz, OfficeMax, Fountarra (NZ Dairy) among others and have spoken at conferences in her field.   Having worked often in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams, Mary is a strategic and out of the box thinker focused on solutions. With her father being diagnosed with MCI then dementia in 2014 which was refined to mixed Alzheimer and Vascular Dementia in 2015 and her mother diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2017, Mary have been increasingly involved in advocacy.  There should be more person-centric care and more options for patients and families including creative ones  that involved out the box thinking.  In addition to some research projects, Mary has participated in the National Dementia Conference and has been involved with AGE-WELL and CABHI more recently since she believe strongly in research and technology.

Caron Leid

Patient Advisor

Caron Leid, author of Alzheimer’s: What they forget to tell you. Caron  is a dedicated mother and passionate student. Born in Swindon, England to George and Marlene Leid, immigrated to Canada in 1971 and then spent her formative years in Trinidad W.I. attending Holy Name Convent in Port of Spain. Her parents then moved back to Canada, to Brampton, Ontario where she currently resides. Caron pursues her passion for education by pursuing her Doctorate in Education. Her book has been featured on Chapters, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and international book stores. Caron received her undergraduate degree from University of Windsor, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology. Her career and passion surrounded educating others and believes in the pay it forward principle. As the primary caregiver to her mother for the last 18 years and counting, Caron hopes that her story can inspire people that struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and the various aspects surrounding the disease.

Alies Maybee

Patient Advisor

As a patient advisor, Alies Maybee brings her experience as patient and caregiver plus her professional background as business analyst for technology companies and as partner in a brand consultancy. At her local hospital, Alies was the initial co-chair of the newly formed Community Engagement Council.  And she is one of two initial PFAs (patient and family advisors) in the hospital.  At the system level, she has participated on many projects and panels on various aspects of healthcare. Alies works with Health Quality Ontario developing performance measures from the patient perspective.  And she is a member of the inaugural Citizens Panel for the Toronto Central LHIN and the West Sub Region group. In the area of research, Alies spent three years on the Research Management Committee of CFN (Canadian Frailty Network) and a year on the ARTIC (Adopting Research to Improve Care) Operational Committee in the same role. She is a patient partner for BeACCoN, the Ontario PIHCI and is on the operational committee for INSPIRE. She was a member of the CFN citizen engagement working group looking at how best to involve patients and families in research.  She has been a partner in over 10 research projects. Alies has been trained by CIHR (Canadian Institutes for Health Research) to deliver their patient oriented research curriculum. She also conducts workshops on partnering with citizens in research. The workshops were developed together with fellow patient partners as part of the Ontario SPOR Demonstration project she led. She is a co-founder of the Patient Advisors Network (PAN), a national community of practice for patient and family advisors/partners. PAN is focused on building the capacity for advisors/partners to become more effective in their engagements.

Jo-Ann Stans


Rebecca Ganann

Assistant Professor (Tenure track), School of Nursing RN, BScN, MSc, PhD (McMaster University), Graduate Diploma in Health Services and Policy Research

Dr. Ganann first joined the School of Nursing at McMaster in 2006 as a part-time faculty member and became a full-time Assistant Professor in 2017. She teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. After completing her PhD, Dr. Ganann completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit to study the impact of patient, caregiver, and community engagement in research teams under the supervision of Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid, Ruta Valaitis, and Carrie McAiney. Dr. Ganann is an early career researcher with the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit and the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging. 

Meet Our Researchers

Researchers work together with a view to improve health research and outcomes

Vivian Ramsden

Research Advisor (Participatory and Primary Health Care Research)

Vivian is a professor in the Department of Academic Family Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Vivian was recently recognized by the College of Family Physicians of Canada as one of the Top 20 Pioneers in Family Medicine Research in Canada for her work in helping to improve healthcare in underserved communities. A Registered Nurse by training, Vivian also holds a Masters in Community Administration and Wellness Promotion and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (Primary Healthcare and Curriculum Studies). Her work has mainly focused on underserved communities: inner-city, Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan, incarcerated women, and rural communities in south India.

Maggie MacNeil

Post-doctoral fellow

Maggie MacNeil holds a MIRA post-doctoral fellowship in citizen and community engagement methods and evaluation, and is working with Drs. Julia Abelson and Rebecca Ganaan to understand effectiveness of different approaches for involving older adults in research activities.

Maggie MacNeil received her PhD in aging, health and wellbeing from the University of Waterloo. Her doctoral research focused on policy and regulatory issues related to the innovation and adoption of health technologies for older adults. Between 2013 and 2015, Maggie worked as a policy analyst for the Senior’s Policy and Minister of State Support Unit within the department of Employment and Social Development Canada. Her research interests include: older adults, policy, health technologies, caregiving, patient engagement, age-friendly cities and qualitative methodologies.

Foundations of PERC

Founding members of the Patient Engagement Resource Center

Simone Dahrouge

Research Advisor (Primary Health Care Research)

Simone Dahrouge is a Scientist at the Bruyere Research Institute and Vice-Chair Research for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She is Deputy Chair for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Her current research is in the area of population health and primary care, more specifically focusing on organization of primary care health services research and its effects on quality and equity of care. 

Divya K Bhati

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Divya received her Ph.D. in Public Health from the Institute of Health Management Research University, India (a WHO Collaborating Centre for District Health System based on Primary Health Care). She currently works as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bruyère Research Institute affiliated with the University of Ottawa. Her postdoctoral research focuses on patient engagement in research. She also holds a post graduate diploma in Digital Health from Algonquin College, Ottawa. Prior to this, she gained valuable experience working as a Senior Research Officer at International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), India. In 2012, she received a ‘Young Researcher Grant’ award focusing on child health rights under the Future Health Systems (FHS) junior faculty and postgraduate student awards. FHS- a research consortium head quartered at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health with IIHMR University as one of the global partner.  Her research interests include effective patient engagement, interdisciplinary research, and social determinants of health.

Ian Graham

Research Advisor (Integrated Knowledge Translation & Citizen Engagement)

Ian is Senior Scientist in the Clinical Epidemiology Program of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health, and Nursing at the University of Ottawa. He is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Nursing at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario and an Honorary Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Deakin University, Melbourne Australia. Ian obtained a Ph.D. in medical sociology from McGill University. His research focuses on knowledge translation research (the process of research use) and conducting applied research on strategies to increase implementation of evidence-informed practice and policy. His research program also includes studying how partnerships between researchers and knowledge users (including patients) work and their impact.

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