Dr. Richard Lester, MD
Dr. Richard Lester is the Director of the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative (NGDI) and an Assistant Professor in Global Health in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia. He completed his research fellowship in HIV in Kenya at the University of Manitoba and University of Nairobi collaborative, where he initiated development of an innovative mobile phone health (mHealth) service that was demonstrated in a landmark trial, WelTel Kenya1 (Lancet 2010), to improve HIV outcomes. He is Scientific and Executive Director of the WelTel International mHealth Society, a non-profit organization and Grand Challenges Canada $1M award winner for transitioning the mHealth service to scale in remote Kenya. His program’s ‘research to action’ and patient self-management approach has been published in top-tier medical journals, including the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature, and has been featured in non-academic international and local media, such as CBC’s The National and The Economist. Dr. Lester continues to conduct studies internationally, in Kenya, Canada, and the United States, has consulted on mHealth innovations with the World Health Organization, and is a CIHR Foundation Scheme recipient and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar.
Kevin Bardosh, PhD
Dr. Kevin Bardosh has a PhD in African and Development Studies, and is an expert in implementation research, anthropology and mixed method research in relation to infectious disease. He has more than 7+ years experience in using implementation research to improve global health practice, and has worked in 10 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
Patrick Boutet, BSc
IT and Data Support Analyst
Patrick has an initial background in Information Technology from Grant MacEwan University and then transitioned into a B.Sc at the University of Alberta studying Molecular Genetics and Computer Science. At the UofA he spent several years doing research in ion channel physiology, bioinformatics and experimental oncology. His present interests lie in utilizing modern technologies such as cloud computing, machine learning and web/mobile application development for applied life sciences analyses. He is currently the IT & Data Support Analyst for the UBC mHealth research group and is passionate about bridging the gap between laboratory research and it having a more direct effect on human health and disease through the use of computers and technology.
Nelson Gorrin, BSc Pharm, MPH
Nelson is a pharmacist who studied at the University of La Laguna in Spain. He completed his Masters in Public Health degree with a specialization in Epidemiology and Methods in 1997 at the Berlin Institute of Technology (Germany). His master’s thesis focused on environmental medicine, evaluating the impact of organic emissions from green waste compost facilities and their implication on the health of the population. Under the supervision of Dr. Mark FitzGerald and Dr. Richard Lester, Nelson started his doctoral studies in September 2012 in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. As part of his research, he is currently investigating the effect of WelTel technology to optimize adherence to controller therapy in Asthma.
Michael Guo, BSc
Michael Guo is a graduate from the BSc. Pharmacology program at UBC with research interests in epidemiology and health innovation. He is currently assisting with research at Richard Lester’s mobile health group and working to improve the implementation of the WelTel intervention. Michael has completed a framework to assess the execution and scale-up of health interventions, and is currently working on a model to analyze and affect behaviour change to improve medication adherence.
Kate Jongbloed, MSc
Kate Jongbloed is a PhD Candidate in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. She is investigating The Cedar Project WelTel mHealth intervention for HIV prevention and treatment among young Indigenous people who use illicit drugs in Prince George and Vancouver, BC.
Daljeet Mahal, MSc
Daljeet Mahal is currently a medical student at the University of British Columbia. He has completed a graduate degree in Reproductive and Development Science, which focused on the microbial characterization of the reproductive tract in HIV-positive individuals. Prior to beginning his medical studies, Daljeet worked as an mHealth Coordinator at the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Anik Patel, MHA
Anik Patel is a Pharmacist and PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. Anik took an interest in healthcare management, public health and policy issues during his time as a community pharmacist in Seattle. He received his pharmacy training at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and master’s in health administration from the University of Washington. He is currently pursuing a PhD in health economics, where his research incorporates decision analytic modeling epidemiology and economic methods. His research interests include strengthening the health system and addressing global and local burdens of disease through the optimization of pharmaceutical use and health services delivery.
Anik’s thesis focuses on the cost-effectiveness of a cell phone-based HIV intervention in Kenya. He additionally conducts policy impact evaluations and observational studies. He has presented his work at multiple international conferences, including meetings of the World Health Organization, International Health Economics Association and International AIDS Society.
Shaina Pennington, MSc
Shaina is the Administrative Coordinator for the UBC mHealth team and is the Finance and Office Administrator for WelTel International mHealth Society in Canada. She earned an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and completed her undergrad in Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. She is also an alumna of the Global Stewardship Program at Capilano University.
Kamila Romanowski, MPH
Kamila holds a Masters of Public Health from the School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, with a specialization in epidemiology. Her primary research interests are in infectious disease epidemiology – particularly tuberculosis, and health policy evaluation. She is currently the data manager for a WelTel randomized control trial which aims to evaluate the effect of weekly text-message communication on treatment completion rates among patients with latent tuberculosis infection.
Kirsten Smillie, MA
Kirsten Smillie earned a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from Simon Fraser University in 2009. Since this time she has coordinated a number of research programs in supportive cancer care and digital health. As the research program manager for Dr. Lester’s UBC mHealth group, Kirsten directs project planning, monitoring and reporting, leads qualitative study design and analysis, and facilitates and manages stakeholder engagement and participation. Her research interests include the ways that research findings and health information are translated, adapted and implemented as interventions and programs.
Binyam Tilahun, MSc, MPH
Dr. Binyam Tilahun has a PhD in Medical Informatics from the University of Münster, Germany (2016). He has a broad background in Health informatics, with specific training and expertise in implementation science and mHealth. Dr. Tilahun’s research interests include eHealth, Mobile health, and implementation sciences with a solid understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods. During his PhD study, he developed an implementation science framework for successful uptake of Electronic medical record system implementation in low-resource settings.
He also established the first mHealth research group and the first PhD in public health informatics program at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He is also currently the principal investigator on a study using the WelTel mHealth intervention to Improve HIV and other infectious disease in remote settings in Ethiopia.
Mia van der Kop, MSc
Mia van der Kop has a Master of Science in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. After working as an epidemiologist in a Pharmacoepidemiology in Multiple Sclerosis research group, Mia joined Richard Lester’s mobile health research group at the University of British Columbia.
Catherine Lim, BKin (c2017)
Catherine Lim is a 4th year UBC kinesiology student interested in public health promotion with a global health focus. She is currently working with NGDI to implement and improve their online tool called the Global Health Online Network (GHON). The GHON aims to be a hub for global health news and events, exclusively for UBC students, faculty, and staff.
Pooja Patel, MHA(c)
Pooja is a Masters of Health Administration candidate at UBC. She is interested in knowledge translation specific to health care technology; and the interaction of research, policy, and the social determinants of health. Pooja obtained her undergraduate degree from Western University in Ontario, and previously worked with the clinical Research Ethics Board in Toronto.
Matt Budd, MSc
Matt received an M.Sc degree in Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at UBC and a B.A. in Psychology at Mount Royal University in Calgary. His specialties include quantitative analytics, exploratory research methodology, large database management, and multivariable modelling. He also has a particular interest in exploring health outcomes in women and children exposed to HIV and antiretroviral therapy.
Angelica Leon, BSc, MSc(c)
Angelica is an MSc candidate in Population and Public Health at UBC. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has experience in data mining and statistical analysis and her interests include health promotion and transforming knowledge into practice. Currently she is working on knowledge translation strategies for two WelTel studies.
Cate Giffin, BSc(c)
Cate completed two years of study in liberal arts and sciences degree at Quest University in Squamish, before transferring to the University of Manitoba to finish her undergraduate degree in science. With an interest in global health, Cate is excited to be volunteering with the mHealth team, specifically working on knowledge translation and dissemination of study results.
Jamie Forrest, MPH, PhD(c)
Jamie is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health. His dissertation is quantifying the association between of social media, and in particularly hook-up apps, on sexual and mental health outcomes among gay and bisexual men in Canadian urban centres. Jamie also has more than 10 years experience in global health, previously working with the International AIDS Society, the World Health Organization, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on implementation science, cohort research and health systems evaluations in the sub-Saharan African region.
Katie Gourlay, BSc(c), MM(c)
Katie is currently completing a Bachelor of Science in Immunology and Public Health, along with a Masters of Management as part of a UBC Dual Degree program. Her research interests include
antimicrobial resistance and public health knowledge translation. She is currently developing the NGDI’s own Global Health Online Network, which seeks to engage UBC faculty, staff and students with academic interests in global health.