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

Maryam AboMoslim, BSc

Research Coordinator

Maryam graduated from UBC with a BSc in Nutritional Sciences. Her research interests are in Precision Public Health and Information Sciences. Maryam is the Lab Coordinator for the mHealth Research Group and a Research Coordinator for the ‘mHealth for Mental Health Management’ and Implementation Research study funded by Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), respectively.


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.


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.

Chris Lee

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.


Niloufar Tafreshi, MSc

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, 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.


Richard Musoke, MSc

Work Learn Student

Richard is graduate student at the school of Population and Public Health at UBC currently supporting the implementation science project at the mHealth research group.
Richard’s interests include health services research and systems strengthening particularly in the pharamceutical sector.

Richard holds a Masters degree of health science from John’s Hopkins University and a bachelors of Statistics degree from Makerere University. He has a strong background in data management, analysis and monitoring and evaluation. He has previously worked in HIV research and strengthening pharmaceutical systems in Uganda.


Jay Park, PhD

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.

Max Xie, BSc

Work Learn Student

Max has a B. Sc. in Biology from UBC. His interests lie in epidemiology, statistics, and performing inferential analysis. His current research focuses on meta-analysis of pooled data combined from multiple Wel-Tel studies conducted by the mHealth research lab.



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.

Jodi Gunawan, BASc

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.

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.


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