About the PharmacoEpidemiology Group (PEG)
Appropriate use of drugs is a central aspect of health care. The research program at the PharmacoEpidemiology Group (PEG) provides a setting for a wide range of activities related to the use and outcomes of prescription drugs.
PEG uses epidemiological methods to analyze linked administrative data in British Columbia from PharmaNet, Medical Service Plan, and hospitals to answer important questions unaddressed in clinical trials. Our work includes evaluation of policies and educational interventions, monitoring of drug utilization, innovations in research methodology, and analysis of prescription drug safety and effectiveness.
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. Greg Carney, BSc, PhD
Greg Carney completed his doctorate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, with a focus on pharmacoepidemiology at the University of British Columbia. His PhD thesis examined the comparative safety and effectiveness of medications commonly used to aid smoking cessation. Greg has worked for the Therapeutics Initiative since 2003, and is currently Co-Chair of the PharmacoEpidemiology Group (PEG). Greg has 20 years of experience in analysing health care databases to evaluate pharmaceutical policy and program changes, and in conducting drug safety and effectiveness studies. His current research focus is on the implementation and evaluation of physician audit and feedback programs using randomized designed delay trials.
Dr. Anat Fisher, MD, MHA, PhD
Dr. Anat Fisher has extensive experience using administrative health care databases to evaluate pharmaceutical policy changes and the long-term effects of medication. She also conducts systematic reviews of the efficacy and safety of new and established drugs. Anat has been a member of the Therapeutics Initiative since 2006, and is currently Co-Chair of the PharmacoEpidemiology Group (PEG). She completed her PhD in Pharmacology and Therapeutics with a focus on pharmacoepidemiology at the University of British Columbia. Her PhD thesis examined the comparative persistence of tumor necrosis factor alpha antagonists in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Anat also holds an MD from the Hebrew University in Israel, and Master’s in Health Administration from the Tel Aviv University in Israel.
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. Ayodele Ajayi, MD, MPH
Dr. Ayodele Ajayi is a Research Data Analyst of the PharmacoEpidemiology Group (PEG). She has experience analyzing healthcare databases for epidemiology, maternal health, and cancer research as well as manuscript writing for research publication. She also has experience in literature review and data management. Ayo completed her MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Boston University School of Public Health, USA. She also holds an MD from the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
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. Scott Garrison, MD, PhD
Scott Garrison has degrees in engineering physics and medicine, as well as a PhD in experimental medicine from the University of British Columbia. He has worked in Richmond, BC as a full-time office and hospital-based family physician since 1992 and has been a member of GPAC working groups producing the current BC provincial guidelines for the management of hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular risk reduction. He sat on the Primary Care Advisory Council for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and was the President of the Medical Staff for Richmond Hospital. He is also a clinical assistant professor with the UBC Dept of Family Practice and the principle investigator of a clinical trial exploring the role of magnesium in muscle cramping.
Mr. Jason Kim, BHSc, MPH
Jason is a Research Analyst at the Therapeutics Initiative, specializing in epidemiological methods, data analysis, and statistical programming. He graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences from McMaster University and a Master of Public Health from the University of British Columbia, which was supported by a CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship. He has particular interests in causal inference methods for observational studies, modern approaches to data visualization, and reproducible research. Jason is especially passionate about utilizing data to evaluate health care systems and policy. At the Therapeutics Initiative, he works with administrative health databases to evaluate pharmaceutical outcomes, policy impacts, and prescription drug utilization trends.
Dr. Barbara Mintzes, BSc, PhD
Barbara Mintzes is an Associate Professor at the School of Pharmacy and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney. She has a PhD in epidemiology from the University of British Columbia (UBC; 2003) and was at the School of Population and Public Health at UBC before moving to Sydney in 2015. Her research is on pharmaceutical policy, including systematic reviews, observational research on regulatory policies, and drug utilization/ pharmacoepidemiology. She has studied the effects of direct-to-consumer advertising of medicines in the U.S. and Canada, and of the quality of information provided by sales representatives to family doctors in Canada, the U.S. and France. Barbara Mintzes and Colin Dormuth are jointly leading a research project that compares regulatory safety advisories on medicines over a 10-year period in Australia, Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Barbara has also worked for many years with consumer and women’s health organizations in Canada and internationally and is a member of the European network of Health Action International (HAI-Europe).
Mr. Peter Malik, BHSc, MSc
Peter is a health-services researcher at the Therapeutics Initiative with interests in physician education, knowledge translation and the generation of knowledge syntheses. He completed his undergraduate studies in Health Sciences, specializing in Global Health, and a Master of Science degree in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University, where his thesis focused on surgical learning curves of minimally invasive procedures. Peter is passionate about informing evidence-based practice and access to healthcare and medicines through rigorous study designs. At the Therapeutics Initiative, Peter is working on a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the impact of post-market risk communications to healthcare providers on patient outcomes and prescribing patterns. He also assists with the production of educational modules for the management, evaluation, and analysis of Canadian administrative health data through the Canadian Network for Drug Effectiveness Studies.
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. 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.
Ms. Mrinmayi Thorat, BA(Econ)
Mrinmayi graduated from the University of Victoria with a BA in Economics. As a part of the Economics Honours Program, she conducted original research under the guidance of economics professors and authored a thesis paper on studying the effects of pay transparency and pay equity laws on the gender pay gap in Canada. After graduating, she worked as an Analyst at Statistics Canada focusing on economic research and data analysis related to science, technology, and innovation in Canadian industries.
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.