Dr. Richard Lester, MD

Associate Professor in Global Health, Division of Infectious Diseases
Executive Director, WelTel


Dr. Richard Lester is the Director of the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative (NGDI) and an Associate 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.

Allison Enjetti, MSc

Research Program Manager

Allison holds a Masters of Science in Control of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a Research Coordinator for the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in the management and coordination of community-based participatory research projects within the Epidemiology and Population Health Program. Prior to obtaining her Master’s degree, Allison worked in Washington D.C. for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the President’s Malaria Initiative as a Program Analyst. As the research manager for Dr. Lester’s UBC mHealth group, Allison facilitates and manages stakeholder engagement and participation, project planning, research ethics, research strategy and operations for the team. Her professional interests include bridging the research to practice gap, knowledge translation and operations research.


Lena Bolten, PhD

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Lena obtained her PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics in 2017. Her thesis focused on biochemical characterization of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, one of the largest multi-enzyme-complexes.
Lena joined the mHealth research group in 2018 as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the field of implementation science, where she is involved in the establishment and improvement of the evaluation of the WelTel service developing and using a digital evaluation tool for health interventions.


Patrick Boutet, BSc

MSc Student

Patrick’s research interests are natural language processing, text mining, information extraction and machine learning on patient – care provider SMS communications in a public health context. His current work focuses on the field of precision public health and he leads the Smart Text-Analytic Tools (STAT) project, funded by a MSFHR i2c grant.



Chantelle Chan

Research Assistant

Chantelle is a Junior Full Stack Developer for the Smart Text Analytics Tools project funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Innovation 2 Commercialization award. She contributes to the integration of the frontend, backend, and API components of the application. She also assists in application architecture design and planning.




Alan Fisher

Research Assistant

Alan is an undergraduate computer science student at UBC working at the mHealth lab over the summer. He is currently working on the data processing infrastructure for the STAT text analytics project.





Amon Ge, BSc

MSc Student

Amon has a B.Sc. in Cognitive Systems from UBC and is an MSc Computer Science student at the University of British Columbia. His current research focus is visualization and natural language processing of text conversations. His other interests include machine learning, human-computer interaction, and education. At the mHealth group, he is designing visualizations for patient-doctor conversations with the Smart Text-Analytic Tools (STAT) team.

Nelson Gorrin, BSc Pharm, MPH

PhD Student

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 an environmental medicine issue, evaluating the impact of organic emissions from green waste compost facilities and their implication for the health of the population. Nelson is now pursuing doctoral studies in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. Nelson’s research aims to support healthcare providers to improve adherence to prescribed medication for asthma.

Emilie Humbert, MSc

Research Program Assistant

Emilie is the Research Administration and Finance Officer for the mHealth Research Group. She is also assisting the Research Manager with research ethics, research operations for the team and knowledge translation.

She holds a Masters of Science in International Business and Management from the University of Central Lancashire, UK and has been the Finance and Reporting Officer of the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) Synapsy project in Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.


Kate Jongbloed, MSc

PhD Student

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.



Mia van der Kop, MSc

PhD Student

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.

Cheng (Kim) Lee, BSc

Medical Student

Kim received a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering at University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a second year medical student at UBC. Her interest is to integrate technology with medicine and apply engineering principles and design concepts in an effort to improve the healthcare system.







Alissa MacMullin, MSc

Master Student

Alissa was born and raised on Haida Gwaii, and attended UBC in 2014 to complete a Masters in Public Health. She’s returned to UBC to pursue further research that merges her interests in exploring health technology and its role within rural and remote primary care delivery. She’s been working with the UBC mHealth Research Team for just over a year as a researcher and current MSc student with a focus on implementation science, while working with a local Haida Gwaii physician and primary care nursing team to implement and evaluate WelTel at Xaayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay/Haida Gwaii Hospital & Health Centre.

Julianna Mar

Co-op Student

Julianna is a 4th year Business Student and currently work as the Junior Business Strategist for the Smart Text Analytic Tools project funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. She specializes in researching a variety of potential market segments, generating comprehensive business plans, as well as developing premium market strategies. She also contributed to the modification and refinement of the overall commercialization strategy.



Jay Park

PhD Student

Jay has obtained his MSc at Simon Fraser University working on an oral oncology project through the BC Cancer Agency. In addition to his oncology background, he has experience conducting Health Economics Outcomes Research (HEOR). His research interest includes development and application of innovative trial methodology for randomized clinical trials.

Peter Plett

IT & Data Support Analyst







Gina Yao, BASc

Research Assistant

Gina is a new graduate from UBC Computer Engineering, and a Junior Front End Developer for the Smart Text Analytic Tools project. Her responsibilities include designing the front-end user interface, utilizing a variety of frameworks and libraries to develop views of data and application status, and integrating the front-end with a RESTful API.



Kevin Bardosh, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Global Health and Emerging Pathogens

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.

Jamie Forrest, MPH

Research Scientist

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.

Binyam Tilahun, PhD

Assistant professor of Health Information Systems and Director of eHealthLab Ethiopia

Dr. Binyam Tilahun has a PhD in Medical Informatics from the University of Münster, Germany. 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.

Matt Budd, MSc – Data Scientist from October 2016 to January 2018

Michael Guo, BSc – Research Assistant from December 2015 to August 2016

Catherine Giffin – Research Assistant from January to September 2017

Angelica Leon, MSc – Research Assistant from September 2016 to April 2017

Yang Luo, BSc, BASc – Research Assistant

Daljeet Mahal, MD – MD Candidate from September 2013 to August 2014

Anik Patel, MHA – PhD Student from September 2012 to May 2017

Pooja Patel, MHA – Research Assistant

Shaina Pennington, MSc – Administrative Coordinator from February 2014 to November 2017

Kamila Romanowski, MPH – Data Manager

Kirsten Smillie, MA – Research Manager from 2013 to 2017