What is the Education Working Group?
The Education Working Group of the TI is comprised of physicians, pharmacists, clinical pharmacologists, and epidemiologists with extensive experience in patient care, research, and teaching.
What do we do?
One of the main goals of the Therapeutics Initiative is to provide physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other allied health professionals with up to date, evidence based, practical information in the area of rational drug therapy.
Experts who have extensive experience in-patient care, research, and in knowledge translation guide the exchange of knowledge to healthcare professionals. Members of the group have extensive experience, both locally, nationally, and internationally, communicating with health professionals and consumers about the rational use of medication. They have presented over 500 seminars on drug therapy over the last 20 years. In addition, they have published numerous articles in the medical literature on rational drug therapy . Examples of the knowledge exchange products they produce include “closer to home” community small group drug therapy educational sessions. Another testament to their knowledge exchange expertise is the “Therapeutics Letter.” This is a bimonthly publication targeting important therapeutic issues with brief, simple, practical messages.
Request a speaker
If you are interested in having members of the Education Working Group provide an education session in your area, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Anshula Ambasta, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Dr. Ambasta is a general internist with a research focus on healthcare quality and patient safety. Having completed a medical degree and post-graduate training in general internal medicine at the University of Calgary, Dr. Ambasta pursued a Masters in Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a focus on Clinical Effectiveness. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia. Her overall research program focuses on reduction of low-value services in health systems. She is a member of the Choosing Wisely Canada national expert group dedicated to reducing unnecessary laboratory testing. Her research work in low-value laboratory testing has been funded by Alberta Health Services, Choosing Wisely Alberta, Canadian Society of Internal Medicine, Alberta Health Services, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her ongoing research projects include implementation of a multi-modal intervention bundle to reduce low-value laboratory testing across hospitals in Alberta and British Columbia, collaboration with a patient and family advisory council to engage patients with reduction of low-value use of health care resources and describing linkages between low value use of diagnostic testing and therapeutic use in healthcare systems.
Dr. Wade Thompson, PharmD, MSc, PhD
Wade is a pharmacist and researcher working to ensure older persons are taking medications that are necessary, effective, safe, and consistent with their healthcare goals and treatment preferences. This primarily involves developing and evaluating strategies to stop medications when they are no longer a good fit (“deprescribing”). Wade approaches deprescribing and polypharmacy management research with a multi-methods approach, incorporating qualitative methods, pharmacoepidemiological methods, knowledge translation, and implementation science. He is also an investigator with the deprescribing.org initiative. Wade has worked clinically as a pharmacist in long-term care, geriatric outpatient clinics, and primary care clinics.
Dr. Aaron M Tejani, BSc (Pharm), PharmD
Dr. Aaron M Tejani, is a researcher/educator with the Therapeutics Initiative (co-chair of the Education Working Group, member of the Drug Assessment Working Group), clinical assistant professor with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (University of British Columbia), and Medication use evaluation pharmacist with Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services (Vancouver, BC). He completed his BSc(Pharm) at UBC (Vancouver) and Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska).
Aaron is particularly interested in teaching healthcare professionals how to critically appraise evidence for medical interventions and how to use evidence in clinical practice/policy development. He is an author of a number of Therapeutics Letters.
Dr. Jessica Otte, MD, CCFP
Dr. Jessica Otte is a family physician in Nanaimo, BC. She has always been passionate about helping patients find the right health care according to the evidence and their needs and values, and she practices this daily with a focus on care of the elderly and palliative care. Dr Otte is deeply engaged in sharing this approach through continuing medical education, policy and medical leadership work, an active social media presence (@LessIsMoreMed), and teaching family practice residents.
Together with clinical expertise and patient values, Dr. Otte champions the values of the Therapeutics Initiative – rigorous and unbiased review of evidence – in her quality improvement, policy, clinical guideline, and health technology assessment (HTA) contributions at the provincial and national levels.
Mr. Ciprian Jauca, BA, DBM
Ciprian Jauca studied linguistics at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania (major in Romance Languages, minor in Germanistic Studies) from 1986 to 1990. In 1991 he earned an International Diploma of Business Management and Intercultural Communication from the University of Osnabruck, Germany. He speaks several languages and has worked as translator and simultaneous interpreter, as well as managing social development projects for non-profit organizations. Ciprian joined the Therapeutics Initiative at its inception in 1994. He is the Managing Editor for the Therapeutics Letter and has been the Program Coordinator for the Therapeutics Initiative from its inception in 1994 until 2018. He created the Therapeutics Initiative website in the late 1990s and has been serving as its webmaster. He has been involved in the international Cochrane Collaboration since 2001, serving as the Managing Editor for Cochrane Hypertension. He has been involved in the International Society of Drug Bulletins since 2003, was elected as a member of the Executive Committee in 2008 and was elected Secretary General of the organization in 2016. Ciprian served as an elected member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff (AAPS) at the University of British Columbia from 2011 to 2015. Ciprian is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Laurier Institution, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of Colibri Learning Foundation and Vice-Chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’í Community of Canada.
Dr. Benji Heran, PhD
Balraj (Benji) Heran received a B.Sc. (Hon.) in Physiology at the UBC and joined the TI in 2000. He recently graduated from the Ph.D. program in the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, UBC. Under the supervision of Dr. Jim Wright, he conducted two systematic reviews of the dose-related blood pressure lowering efficacy of ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers for primary hypertension. Benji is also a contributing author of a number of systematic reviews and protocols published in the Cochrane Library. From 2003 to 2009 he has served on the editorial team of the Cochrane Collaboration Hypertension Review Group as the Trial Search Co-ordinator, since 2009 has been an Editor with the Cochrane Hypertension Group and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Cochrane Heart Group. He has a keen interest in cardiovascular research.
Dr. Guillaume Grenet, MD, PhD
Dr. Grenet completed his MD specializing in endocrinology and his PhD in clinical pharmacology at the University of Lyon 1. He is a hospital doctor at the pharmaco-toxicology department of the University Hospital of Lyon, and a member of the Evaluation and Modeling with the Therapeutic Effects Group at the Laboratory of Biometry and Evolutionary Biology, CNRS UMR 5558 Lyon 1. His research focuses on treatment evaluation, especially of drugs used in diabetes, metabolic diseases and cardiovascular risk factors, mostly using meta-analytical approaches.
As a one-year Visiting Scientist, Dr. Grenet has joined the Therapeutics Initiative team to collaborate notably with the Drug Assessment Working Group and the Cochrane Hypertension Group. He will pursue the INDANA project of individual participants data meta-analysis in high blood pressure, initiated by Prof. Francois Gueyffier. In the context of the growing overweight and obesity pandemic, he will assess the impact of the body mass index on the cardiovascular benefits of antihypertensive drugs. The results are expected to help personalizing evidence-based treatment of people affected by overweight or obesity and high blood pressure.
Ms. Amy Cox, MA, BA
Amy Cox is a Research Coordinator at the Therapeutics Initiative. She holds a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Victoria and a BA (Honours) from the University of British Columbia. She has a background in public health, palliative care and educational psychology research. She is passionate about knowledge translation, implementation science and evaluation in research and evidence-based health care.
Dr. Carole Lunny, MPH, PhD
Dr Carole Lunny is a clinical epidemiologist and research methodologist with the Cochrane Hypertension Review Group, and the Therapeutics Initiative at the University of British Columbia. Dr Lunny specialises in methods for research synthesis and critical appraisal of systematic reviews, network meta-analyses, randomised controlled trials, overviews of reviews, and observational studies. She routinely tells people she is an expert in identifying bias and error in clinical research studies. Dr Lunny completed her PhD training at Cochrane Australia in January 2019 from Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
Dr Lunny’s current research is the development of a risk of bias tool for systematic reviews with network meta-analysis, tools for ‘overviews of reviews’, assessment of the impact of evidence syntheses on health systems and policy, and knowledge translation. She teaches courses at UBC and the University of Toronto.
To date, Dr Lunny has 24 publications, 16 of the 24 as first author, which have been cited 415 times as of July 2020. 16 out of the 24 studies are systematic reviews. You can access her publication at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=lunny+c&sort=date
Dr Lunny has been conducting systematic reviews since 2008 when she was hired as a Knowledge Synthesis Consultant with the International Centre for Infectious Diseases. She is an expert in conducting various types of knowledge syntheses including systematic reviews with and without meta-analysis, scoping reviews, evidence maps, network meta-analyses, meta-epidemiology and methods studies. She is an editor for the journal PeerJ and Systematic Reviews, and has peer reviewed for seven journals.
Dr Lunny is a member of the Cochrane Collaborations Statistical methods group and five other Cochrane methods groups, the SPOR Evidence Alliance, BC SUPPORT Unit, the Joanna Briggs Institute, the Campbell Collaboration, and the Open Science Taskforce at UBC.
Dr Lunny has been awarded over $515,000 in lifetime grant dollars and $257,000 in scholarship and award funding. She received two PhD scholarships– the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship and the Australian Postgraduate Award – from both the Cochrane Collaboration at Monash University (accepted) and the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) at University of Adelaide (declined). Dr Lunny worked for seven years for international development organisations such as the UNDP, UNICEF, the International Collaboration Centre for Infectious Diseases, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease in the US, Canada, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand and Mexico.
Dr. Gloria Chu, BSc, PharmD
Gloria graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours Science) and Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Waterloo in 2016. She is a community pharmacist working to incorporate deprescribing in a dispensary setting to try and minimize medication harm and burden. Gloria also enjoys getting to work with the Drug Assessment Working Group to learn critical appraisal skills, risk of bias assessments and work on systematic reviews.
Dr. Josh Levin, MD, CM, CCFP, Dip. ABLM
I am a GP in Victoria BC with a special interest in lifestyle – specifically exercise as medicine – and the application of rational testing and prescribing. I graduated from McGill medicine in 2012, and obtained a diploma in lifestyle medicine from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine in 2019. In my free time I coach and compete at a Masters level in weightlifting, practice yoga and mindfulness, and love being out in nature!
Dr. Rita K McCracken, MD, PhD, CFPC(COE), FCFP
Rita McCracken is a full-service family doctor and researcher living as an uninvited visitor on the unceded, traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations. She is a Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Practice at UBC and studies the availability of primary care in BC and reliable ways to measure changes in that availability. Her other research work includes assessing the effects of too much medication and effective methods to deprescribe those excessive medicines. She chose medicine as a second career after 10 years working in Human Resources, finished med school at the University of Calgary in 2006 and her doctoral studies at UBC in 2018.
Dr. Cait O’Sullivan, BA, BScPh, PharmD
Cait O’Sullivan has a clinical pharmacy background in acute general medicine, residential care, and community practice. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Brunswick (Honours, Medical Anthropology), a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Dalhousie University, and a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from the University of Washington. Cait has a research interest in the drug approval process and clinical practice guideline methodology.
Ms. Ellen Reynolds, BA, MPA
Ellen is a Research Project Manager at the Therapeutics Initiative. Originally from the East Coast, she has a BA in French Literature from Dalhousie University and a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing from UVic. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Victoria in 2015. The focus of her master’s research was physicians’ experiences and attitudes toward interactions with pharmaceutical sales representatives. She began working as a research coordinator at UBC in 2008, and previously worked extensively with women’s health organizations, including the Canadian Women’s Health Network and DES (diethylstilbestrol) Action Canada. She is currently the Project Manager for a grant looking at the impact of international safety advisories on prescribing, and also works on various TI and CNODES projects.
Mr. Patrick Salamé, MSc
Originally from Montreal, Patrick studied pharmacology and obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from McGill University. He took on several business development and management roles in the corporate world before dedicating his career to non-profit health research for advancement of medical sciences and the greater good. Prior to joining the Therapeutics Initiative, he was managing the extensive research portfolio of the cancer centre at Purdue University ranging from fundamental research to clinical trials. As the TI general manager, Patrick oversees daily operations, safeguards financial health, and provides strategic support to the working groups. What he appreciates the most working with the TI is its non-biased policy, openness to the world, and relentless pursuit of clinical evidence for drug therapy.
Mr. Douglas M Salzwedel, BAA, MLIS
Douglas M Salzwedel obtained a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario in 2001 and has worked as the Information Specialist for the Therapeutics Initiative and Cochrane Hypertension since June 2009. In addition to information retrieval projects, he leads Cochrane Hypertension’s priority setting activities, and is a member of the Drug Assessment Working Group and the Communications and Outreach Group.
During his time with the TI, Douglas served on the Cochrane Information Specialists’ Executive from 2011 to 2017 and from 2015 to 2018 he provided induction training, software training, mentoring and ongoing support to Cochrane Information Specialists across Cochrane’s international network as a member of Cochrane’s Information Specialists’ Support Team. He re-joined the Cochrane Information Specialists’ Executive in 2023 and is also a Co-Convenor of PRESSforum, a search peer review portal for health sciences librarians engaged in systematic review searching
Prior to joining the Therapeutics Initiative, Douglas was the information specialist for the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Review Group and a librarian at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Population Health.
Mr. Timothy Friesen, BSc
Mr. Timothy Friesen is an Executive Assistant to Dr. Dormuth at the TI office in Victoria. He obtained a combined major BSc in Biology and Psychology from UVic. His honours thesis research looked at the correlates of decision making and stimulant use in vulnerable populations in Victoria. He has a background in public health research and is passionate about health care research, evaluation of research, and project implementation that improves care for vulnerable populations.
Dr. Tom Perry, MD, FRCPC
Tom graduated from McGill University Medical School in 1978. After a rotating internship at Dalhousie University and internal medicine residency in Vancouver, he achieved Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. He took additional training at the Karolinska Institute Department of Clinical Pharmacology in Stockholm 1986-87 and at UBC until 1989, when he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Tom served as Opposition Health Critic from 1989-1991, then as Minister for Advanced Education, Training & Technology from 1991-93, and as a government MLA from 1993-96. These experiences alerted him to the importance of getting good value for money in health care, in order to maintain an effective universal health service in Canada.
After returning to clinical medicine in 1996, Tom practiced general internal medicine with sick patients at Delta Hospital, UBC Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital until 2014. Until the end of 2021, he maintained an outpatient internal medicine practice focused on pharmacological treatment of chronic pain and reducing polypharmacy (deprescribing). He continues to teach clinical pharmacology through seminars, lectures, special courses, and webinars presented throughout British Columbia. Tom has a special interest in the use of videography to teach students and health professionals about drugs and about human pathophysiology.
Tom co-chairs the Education Working Group and is Editor in Chief of the Therapeutics Letter. His other interests include wilderness canoeing and hiking, environmental conservation, peace and social justice issues, music, reading, and his wife (an experienced RN) and two children (geologist and NP). He likes continuous thinking and learning about medicine and drug therapy, and especially enjoys our interactions with smart and dedicated health care colleagues (students, MDs, pharmacists, NPs, nurses, PAs, and others) throughout B.C. and around the world. As of early 2022 he’s helping vaccinate British Columbians against Covid19 and hoping that the benefits of good medical science are extended rapidly to everyone on Earth.
Dr. Colin Dormuth, ScD
Colin Dormuth has extensive experience using administrative health care databases to evaluate pharmaceutical policy changes and physician prescribing behaviour. He has been a member of the Therapeutics Initiative since 1995. His research focuses on drug safety and effectiveness, as well as the design and evaluation of reimbursement policies for prescription drugs. He has training in economic theory, applied econometrics, epidemiology, health services outcome research and biostatistics. Dr. Dormuth holds a Sc.D. and S.M. in epidemiology from Harvard University, an M.A. in economics from the University of Victoria, and a B.A. in economics from the University of Manitoba.
Dr. Ken Bassett, MD, PhD
Ken Bassett conducts systematic reviews of the efficacy and safety of new and established drugs, as well as pharmaco-epidemiologic studies of serious adverse events associated with prescription drug therapy in British Columbia. His ongoing research interests are in the systematic review of drug therapy and drug funding policy.
Dr. James M. Wright, MD, PhD, FRCP(C)
James (Jim) Wright obtained his MD from the University of Alberta in 1968, his FRCP(C) in Internal Medicine in 1975 and his PhD in Pharmacology from McGill University in 1976. He worked as a specialist in Internal Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology from 1997-2021. He served as the Co-Managing Director of the Therapeutics Initiative and Editor-in-Chief of the Therapeutics Letter from 1994-2020. He currently sits on the Editorial Boards of PLoSOne and the Cochrane Library.
Dr. Wright’s research focuses on issues related to appropriate use of prescription drugs (particularly antihypertensive and lipid lowering drugs), Clinical Pharmacology, clinical trials, systematic review, meta-analysis and knowledge translation.