Dr. Richard Lester, MD

Principle Investigator

Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases

Director, Neglected Global Diseases Initiative

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.

UBC Researchers

Fanan Fattah, BSc

Research Assistant 

Fanan graduated from UBC with a BSc. Her research interests are in Preventative Medicine, and Nutrition and Infectious Diseases. Fanan joined the mHealth Research Group as Lab Coordinator and a Research Assistant to broaden her research experience and to explore the impacts of mhealth locally and globally. In addition to her academic background, Fanan is passionate about learning ways to promote healthier lifestyles to improve, and sustain health outcomes.


Raymond Chau, MSc

Head of Innovation-to-Commercialization (I2C)

Raymond is co-managing the lab’s strategic commercialization plan with the Principal Investigator. His interest is in transforming research into competitive, viable and sustainable solutions. He has worked in software development, project management and product management for the telecom and healthcare industries. Raymond earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Computing and Information Science from Queen’s University at Kingston.


Samia El Joueidi, MPH

East Africa and COVID-19 Public Health Research Coordinator

Samia received her MPH degree from UBC in 2019. She holds a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and is the project coordinator for the East Africa WelTel Implementation Research, as well as the COVID-19 Public Health Response using mHealth Research Coordinator.
Her research and community health experience revolve around nutrition, refugee, maternal & child health. She hopes to combine academia and direct service public health to provide sustainable care to marginalized populations and to empower youth leadership.


Matthew Manson, MSc Candidate

Matt is an Ontario native pursuing his MSc degree as part of the experimental medicine program at UBC. He became passionate about the potential of mobile health technologies while working as a hospital porter during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic and joined the mHealth lab to help improve the reach of medical care and continuity of clinical communication. Previously, he attended the University of Guelph (BSc, Bio-Medical Science) where he was part of the Human Anatomy research lab, and a two-time Dean’s Scholar. In his free time, Matt enjoys riding motocross, mountain biking, and snowboarding.


Alison Muller, BSc, MSc, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Alison is a post-doctoral fellow who achieved her PhD at the University of Alberta in Physiology. During this time, she discovered passion for science communication, and chose to venture outside her basic science beginnings by joining the mHealth research team. She brings her experience and writing skills to the team by helping oversee their exciting research projects and managing the publication pipeline. In addition to academic writing, she also has a science blog that aims to make cutting-edge medical research understandable to all

Claire Galvin, MSc

Pediatric Research Coordinator 

Claire holds a Master of Science in Experimental Medicine from the University of British Columbia as well as a Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. Claire joined the mHealth research group in 2020 as the Pediatric Research Coordinator collaborating with BC Children’s Hospital. She is passionate about implementing mobile health technologies for pediatric patients and their families to improve health outcomes, quality of life and increase access to care.

Aziz Ishtiaque, BSc, MD

BSc – McGill University (Biochemistry), MD – St. George’s University

Aziz has been involved with various research projects involving cancer research in murine models to computational chemistry involving RNA models and various clinical studies while my time at McGIll University in Montreal, and New York (NYU Langone Hospital). Upon completing his medical degree, Aziz moved to Vancouver due to its excellent academic programs involving technology in public health as well as superior patient-centered mental healthcare that he sees his self being a part of. His current project at mHealth Research Group involves the use of mHealth technologies to support mental health population transitioning from inpatient to the community as well as helping develop a mental health focused Natural Language Processing component for Conviscope. Aziz looks forward to meeting you for your views on implementing innovative technology on improving patient care as he keeps working with UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health’s Mental Health and Substance Use unit.

Zahida Irin, MSc

Data Analyst, MSc

Zahida Irin is working for the mHealth Research Group supporting    as a Data analyst. Her research interest and  experience lie in global health and infectious diseases and to promote lifestyle and technologies that benefit human health.
Zahida holds a Master’s in Mathematics from the University of Saskatchewan graduating in 2019. She completed her graduation from Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh with a Bachelor and Master in Statistics.

Hyeju Jang, PhD

Post-Dostoral Fellow

Dr. Hyeju Jang is a research associate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. She was a CIHR Health System Impact postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia and the BC Centre for Disease Control. Her research interests include natural language processing, computational linguistics, discourse analysis, and text mining in various domains. Specifically, her current research is about applying NLP and text mining to the healthcare domain in order to help chronic disease management by processing patient-generated language. She received her PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Her PhD dissertation focused on computationally modeling metaphor in order to capture how metaphor is used and identify a broader spectrum of predictors from the discourse context that contribute towards its detection..

Chris Lee, BASc

Junior Full stack Developer

Chris is a fourth-year Computer Engineering student at UBC currently working as a Junior Full-stack Developer in the mHealth Smart Text Analytic Tools (STAT) Project. His work focuses on the development of the STAT application which provides data visualization from information extracted using natural language processing. He contributes to full-stack feature development, data automation, and architecture design.


Jodi Gunawan, BASc

Junior Full Stack Developer

Jodi graduated form Electrical Engineering at UBC, and previously worked as a Junior Full Stack Developer for the Smart Text Analytic Tools (STAT) Project. With the UBC mHealth Research Group, Jodi focused on creating software which provides data visualization from information extracted using natural language processing. He contributed to full-stack feature development, data automation, and architecture design. His interest includes web development, software design, and machine learning.

Joshua Kim

Junior Full Stack Developer – Coop Student 

Joshua is a part-time software development intern this week. Joshua is in his final year of studying Computer Engineering at UBC.  In his free time, Joshua enjoys soccer, baseball, snowboarding, and stock market investing.

Jae Chew

Junior Full Stack Developer – Summer Intern 

Jae Chew is a 3rd year UBC Business x Computer Science (joint program) student.

Jason Li

Junior Full Stack Developer – Summer Intern 

Jason a full-time software development intern. He is part of the ConVIScope v0.8 development team. Jason started with Materials Engineering at UBC, but he enjoys computers so much that he pivoted his academic concentration to Computer Engineering last year. Check out Jason’s project portfolio here:

Michael Woo

Student Researcher – Work Learn Student 

Michael is a rising fourth-year student studying Immunopathology and Epidemiology through the Integrated Sciences Program at UBC. He is thrilled by the opportunity to assist with the conversational analysis of WelTel user data and is eager to learn more about mobile health. During his free time, Michael is actively working to develop a software-based intervention that tackles food insecurity through the Clinton Global Initiative University program.


Christina Ngo

Market Researcher

Christina is a 3rd year UBC Business student, and is working for the mhealth research group to help with market research and analysis.

Maryam AboMoslim

Master Student

Maryam is a UBC Graduate with a BSc in Nutritional Sciences and extensive course work in Population & Public Health. Maryam joined then mHealth Research Group in January 2019 as a research assistant and Lester lab coordinator. In January 2020, Maryam worked as a research coordinator for several projects as well as the ethics portfolio of the lab. Since January 2021, Maryam had been a part of the team as Dr. Lester’s Graduate (MSc) student in UBC Experimental Medicine Program. She is also a Research Awardee at International Developmental Research Centre (IDRC). Her research interests are in Precision Public Health and Information Sciences.


Abdullah Babili

Master Student

Abdulaa Graduated from SFU with BSc in Health Science and focus on Population and Quantitate Health Science. Abdulaa joined the mHealth Research Group team to explore the horizon of mHealth locally and globally. His research interests are in Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Health System Development in the Middle East. Abdulaa aspires to become a Public Health and Preventive Medicine physician who works globally with vulnerable populations. He is currently an MSc in Public Health student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Linet Lumumba

Master Student

Linet is a master’s student from Pwani University, Kenya. Currently she is  involved with the Weltel Project as a person on the ground, and she is working with Samia and Dr. Osman to see Weltel’s deployment in Kilifi and Samburu Kenya.

 Her thesis project focuses on the use of Weltel platform to assess maternal   vaccine hesitancy and contributing factors during Covid 19 pandemic.

Niloufar Tafreshi

Master Student

Nilou is our mHealth Research member currently working on “Reducing preventable hospital readmission using post-discharge virtual care: WelTel H2home”

Project Link

Alissa MacMullin

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.


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.


Country Location/Project Research Coordinators Senior Investigators
Canada VGH Segal Center Dr. Jesse Sidhu, Michael Li, Dr. Mina Park (Co-I)
VGH CTU Jennifer Petersen Dr. Penny Tam, Dr. John Staples
VGH IDTM Clinic Dr. David Harris, Dr. Samatha Segal, Dr. Katherine Plewes
BC Children’s Hospital Astrid De Souza Dr. Kathryn Armstrong
UBC Computer Science Dr. Giuseppe Carenini
University of Toronto Dr. Carmen Logie
  Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Center Dr. Tracy Morton
  Centre for Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHÉOS) Dr. Patricia Spittal
  St. Paul’s Hospital Michelle Malbeuf Dr. Adeera Levin, Dr. Jesse Greiner
Rwanda Rwanda Biomedical Center (National) Dr. Muhammed Semakula Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana
Kenya Samburu County Dr. Peter Lodokiyiia
Amref Health Africa Dr. Meshak Ndirangu
Pwani University Dr. Osman Abdullahi
UK University College London Dr. Andrew Hayward
Ethiopia eHealthLab Ethiopia Dr. Binyam Tilahun


Max Xie, BSc

Richard Musoke, MSc

Kate Jongbloed, MSc, PhD

Nelson Gorrín, MSc, PhD

Partrick Boutet, MSc

Chantelle Chan, BASc

Amon Ge, MSc

Mia van der Kop, PhD

Matt Budd, MSc

Cheng (Kim) Lee, BSc

Allison Enjetti, MSc

Catherine Giffin

Emilie Humbert, MSc

Angelica Leon, MSc

Yang Luo, BSc, BASc

Daljeet Mahal, MD

Julianna Mar

Anik Patel, MHA

Pooja Patelm MHA

Shaina Pennington, MSc

Peter Plett, BSc, BA (Hons)

Kamila Romanowski, MPH

Kirsten Smillie, MA

Gina Yao, BASc


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.


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.

WorkLearn Student from May 2018 to April 2019

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


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.

PhD Student
Mia van der Kop has a Master of Science in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and her doctoral degree from 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.

Data Scientist from October 2016 to January 2018

Research Program Manager from November 2017 to October 2018

Research Assistant from December 2015 to August 2016

Research Assistant from January to September 2017

Research Program Assistant from February to October 2018

Research Assistant from September 2016 to April 2017

Research Assistant

MD Candidate from September 2013 to August 2014

Co-op student from May to August 2018

PhD Student from September 2012 to May 2017

Research Assistant

Administrative Coordinator from February 2014 to November 2017

IT & Data Support Analyst from January 2017 to October 2018

Data Manager

Research Manager from 2013 to 2017

Research Assistant from May to August 2018