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people involved in media doctor canada

Alan Cassels

Alan Cassels has managed a variety of research and evaluation studies over the past twelve years primarily focusing on the impact of provincial drug benefits policies on consumers. He led the first ever evaluation of Canadian newspaper coverage of new drugs (published in April 2003 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal) and has lectured at Canadian journalism schools on issues surrounding pharmaceutical reporting in Canada. He is currently affiliated with the School of Health Information Sciences at the University of Victoria, and is co-author with Ray Moynihan of "Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning us all into Patients" (Greystone books, 2005).

David Blair

David Blair received his BSc in Pharmacy in 1967, MD in 1971 and Masters in Health Administration in 1995. His experience includes 17 yrs of community family practice (Campbell River), 7 yrs as the Medical Director of Burnaby Hospital, and 3 yrs as the Medical Director Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (WCB). With an interest in palliative care, he returned to family practice in 2000 (Victoria) and continues to work in this setting. He is an active member of medical associations and health care committees including the Board of Directors and Executive of the BCMA and the Board of Directors (CMA appointee) for the Canadian College of Health Services Accreditation. His ongoing interests surround the effective and efficient use of medications to improve health outcomes and he currently acts as a clinical lead in an educational prescribing initiative for doctors of BC. He has contributed to several articles about how prescription drugs are marketed and prescribed in Canada.

Carol Cole

Carol Cole is a former Registered Nurse with 22 combined years of clinical and research experience. She also has a Master's degree in interdisciplinary health care collaboration. Her research has included 7 years in the Research Department of one of the large multi-national pharmaceutical companies, and 9 years coordinating a diverse range of research projects at the University of British Columbia. She was a member of the Drug Assessment Working Group of the Therapeutics Initiative, and was a co-author of "Drugs in the News: How well do Canadian newspapers report the good, the bad and the ugly of new prescription drugs?" She is currently a Director for a not-for-profit organization.

Don Husereau

Don Husereau is Director of Health Technology Assessment Project Development at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). He received both his B.Sc in Pharmacy (1993) and his M.Sc (2000) from the University of Alberta's faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, where he also served as a lecturer/course facilitator. He joined CADTH in 2001 and, since then, has contributed to the development of several research programs including horizon scanning. As part of the HTA program, Don has developed the process of identification, refinement, prioritization, and assignment of policy research. He currently Chairs the Health Technology Analysis Exchange and serves on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. He is an academic editor for the Science ONE journal, a reviewer for the Cochrane Hypertension Review Group and a member in good standing with the Canadian Association of Magicians.

Fariba Jaffary

Fariba Jaffary is a member of Drug Assessment Working Group in Therapeutics Initiative, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at UBC where she does systematic reviews on safety and efficacy of new drugs. She received her MD, MSc in Medical Education, and PhD of Pharmacology from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) in Iran and had one year fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. She has ten years experience teaching and conducting research as an Assistant Professor in Pharmacology and Medical Education at IUMS. She is a member of Pharmaceutical Research Center, Medical Education Research Center, Skin Disease and leishmaniasis Research Center at IUMS and a member of editorial board of the Iranian Journal of Medical Education.

Joel Lexchin

Joel Lexchin received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1977 and for the past 18 years has been an emergency physician at The University Health Network. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Health Policy and Management at York University and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. He has been a consultant for the province of Ontario, various arms of the Canadian federal government, the World Health Organization, the government of New Zealand and the Australian National Prescribing Service. He is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed articles on topics such as physician prescribing behaviour, pharmaceutical patent issues, the drug approval process and prescription drug promotion.

James McCormack

Dr James McCormack is a Professor with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is also a member of the Therapeutics Initiative ( at the University of British Columbia. One of the goals of the Therapeutics Initiative is to provide physicians and pharmacists with up-to-date, evidence based, practical information in the area of rational drug therapy. To that end, Dr McCormack has had extensive experience, both locally and internationally, talking to health professionals and consumers about the rational use of medication. He has presented over 200 seminars on drug therapy over the last 10 years using interactive techniques to demonstrate evidence based and cost-effective drug use. In addition, he has approximately 100 publications in the medical literature, mainly in the area of rational drug therapy and has been an editor for two internationally recognized textbooks on appropriate/rational drug therapy.

Jaclyn Morrison

Jaclyn Morrison completed her BSc in biology and chemistry at the University of Victoria (UVic, 2007) and currently works as a research coordinator for UVic's Faculty of Health Information Science. The research projects she is involved in explore communications associated with consumer health issues and aim to educate professionals and the general public about pharmaceutical drugs and various governments' drug policies.

Vijaya Musini

Vijaya Musini has a broad interdisciplinary training (doctor of medicine, diploma in public health and masters degree in Pharmacology and Therapeutics). She has extensive experience in clinical care for 10 years and research for 14 years. She has conducted and supervised systematic reviews and meta-analyses on prescription drug therapy for 8 years for the Drug Assessment Working Group of the Therapeutics Initiative and acted as a critical appraisal expert of the Cochrane Hypertension Review Group for 5 years and the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group for 3 years. She is involved in teaching critical appraisal skills on evidence based drug therapy to undergraduate, graduate and medical students in the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at UBC.

Marco Perez

Marco Perez is an active member of the Therapeutics Initiative's Drug Assessment Working Group since 2001 and works on systematic reviews for the Common Drug Review and Cochrane Collaboration. He has six years of clinical experience as an intensive care specialist treating critical ill patients in a major university teaching hospital and has clinical pharmacology training in Mexico, and now at the University of British Columbia. He is a PhD candidate in the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at UBC and his PhD thesis involves a Cochrane systematic review on pharmacological interventions for hypertensive emergencies and urgencies.

Avis Picton

Dr Avis Picton has both a student and faculty UBC library card, as a resident in medical microbiology and a clinical instructor in the UBC Department of Family Medicine. She spent four years as a GP clinical associate in medical oncology at the BC Cancer Agency, Fraser Valley Centre, where she served on the Regional Ethics Steering Committee and in the Family Practice Oncology Continuing Medical Education working group. Previously she was in private general practice for 10 years in Tsawwassen, BC. She is a member of the medical staff at Surrey Memorial Hospital and former head of the Department of Family Practice at Delta Hospital. A journalism graduate from Langara College, she has been a weekly medical columnist for the Vancouver Sun and a feature writer and mental health columnist for Family Practice magazine. Her freelance articles have appeared in a wide variety of both medical and general interest publications.

Gwen Preston

Gwen Preston has a Bachelors degree in Honors Chemistry and is just finishing her Masters in Journalism at UBC. Her Masters thesis investigated the information cycle for three pharmaceutical drugs, assessing how the efficacy and risk information was presented in academic journal articles, press releases, and newspaper articles. Gwen is also involved in the Science Journalism Research Group at UBC. Headed by Dr Stephen Ward, this group is working on a series of projects to evaluate and improve the state of science journalism in Canada.

Jennifer Thornhill

Jennifer Y. Thornhill holds a Master of Science in Medicine in Applied Health Services Research from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Before enrolling in her masters, Jennifer completed a journalism degree, which included an honours thesis focusing on local news media coverage of a provincial hospital employee strike. She also worked in both public and private radio. Her MSc thesis followed a journalism theme, focussing on Atlantic Canadian newspaper coverage of wait times for medical services. Currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario, Jennifer works as Senior Advisor, Knowledge Summaries in the Knowledge Exchange branch at the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. Her primary role involves creating user-friendly summaries of research for health systems policy makers and managers.

Lorne Verhulst

Dr. Lorne Verhulst graduated with his MD (University of Alberta, 1978); Master in Public Administration (Harvard University, 1993) and post doctoral fellow in health policy and management (Johns Hopkins, 2005). His career includes 9 years in family practice (rural Alberta), 3 years as Assistant Executive Director at the Alberta Medical Association, 6 months as Acting Vice President of Medicine at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (Edmonton), and 13 years as Medical Consultant at the Ministry of Health in Victoria (British Columbia). Currently in the process of returning to clinical practice, Lorne will complete a year of family medicine residency at the end of November, 2008. He has published peer reviewed articles about case mix adjustment, practitioner profiling and workforce planning.

Laura Weeks

Laura Weeks holds a PhD from the University of Calgary's Department of Community Health Sciences. Her dissertation research was an in-depth analysis of mass media articles related to the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as well as an examination of how mass media messages impact an individual's decision to use (or not use) CAM. Currently living in Perth (Ontario), Laura now works for the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute as the Coordinator of the Bias Methods Group of the Cochrane Collaboration.

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