Laurie Proulx, Ex-offcio member
Midland, Kings County, New Brunswick
Linda Wilhelm is the President of The Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, a virtual, grass-roots, patient-driven, independent, national organization with members across Canada. She frequently participates in Health Canada expert advisory panels and conferences concerning access and drug safety issues. She is a former member of The Expert Advisory Committee for Vigilance of Health Products, the CIHR’s Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network’s steering committee and The Canadian Pain Taskforce.
Linda has been an active advocate for treatment access and quality of care for all patients both regionally and nationally for over twenty years, is a past board chair for the New Brunswick Division of the Arthritis Society, as well as a past Board Member of The Atlantic Health Sciences Corporation. Linda has been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over thirty five years. She and husband Kerry have been married for over thirty years, have three grown children, six grandchildren, and live in Bloomfield, Kings County, New Brunswick.
Dawn Richards, PhD, lives with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. At Five02 Labs Inc., her work combines her analytical chemistry training and her passion to ensure patients inform research and healthcare. She helps people and organizations design and execute their patient engagement initiatives using leading practices and tailoring their approaches to meet their goals and patient partners’ needs. She has contributed to the literature and practice in patient engagement on compensation, authorship, recognizing patients as people with skills and who lead fulfilling lives, and training on patient engagement in research. Dawn is the volunteer Vice President of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance.
Twitter handle: @TO_dpr
Louse is a proud Metis of Cree heritage who uses the teachings of her Elders in her teaching style. She came to us with a background of nursing and medical office assistant work and then decide to return to school. Louise studied anthropology/history and graduated from the University of Calgary in Heritage Resource Management. After spending several years managing heritage sites in northern Alberta, she returned to Calgary and “fell” into support work. She spent the next 25 years working as a community developer and support worker with organizations such as the Alex and Northeast Community Resource Centers. After working as a support worker at Mamahawi – Atoskiwin, she tried to retire but found she need more. In July 2019 she joined Bay River college as an instructor for the Family support worker certificate. That job ended one year later due to Covid closing the classes. She was retired again but returned this year to work for Action Dignity as a Broker and now the co-ordinator for the People’s CAFÉ (Coalition to Advance Fairness and Equity).
Janet was diagnosed with vasculitis 20 years ago. Since 2002 Janet has been an active volunteer with The Arthritis Society provincially and eventually became a volunteer with the national office by becoming a consumer reviewer with several grant competitions. She is a member of CIHR’s Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network. Janet is a member of the SPOR Chronic Pain Network as well as The Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research Patient and Family Advisory Council. She is also a volunteer with The Cochrane Collaboration.
Laurie Proulx has lived with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 25 years and it is her experiences that led her to the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA) where she advocates for increased arthritis awareness and the adoption of more inclusive, patient-centred policies and practices. She is currently an ex-officio member of CAPA and has been actively involved in the organization for over 10 years. In this role, she represents the patient voice on various health policy issues, leads projects to support people with arthritis navigate pregnancy and parenting, and support their participation in the workplace. She also works extensively as a patient partner in research. Laurie lives in Ottawa with her husband and two children.
Twitter handle – @ProulxLaurie
Linda is a retired executive health care leader and nurse who has worked locally, nationally, and internationally in healthcare over the last 35 years. She has spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and severe degenerative disc disease and has lived with chronic pain for over 10 years. Linda is a CIHR Patient Engagement Research Ambassador for the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis and is a member of the Institute’s Advisory Board. Linda states: “It is vital that the patient voice is respected, listened to, and incorporated into change in the delivery of health care services, including research. Patients are experts about their disease and the lived experience. They are becoming more informed and knowledgeable, and it is imperative that they are included in the development of plans of what is researched.”
Annette McKinnon has had Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 35 years and has seen huge improvements in the way RA is treated since her diagnosis. You can find her on Twitter @anetto.
She has a history of involvement with the Sjogren’s Society of Canada, and as a past Public Member of the Council of the College of Occupational Therapists. She is currently a Health Mentor for the Centre for Inter-Professional Education of the University of Toronto, a founding member of PAN (Patient Advisors Network) and a patient partner on research projects.
In an age where patient engagement is becoming the norm she advocates for the patient voice to be included in health care decision making at all levels, and for patients and caregivers to be embedded in the governance structures of health and research organizations.
Therese is a former Nurse, who has had Arthritis, and Fibromyalgia for 25 yrs. Therese is on the Patient Engagement Committee of the SPOR Chronic Pain Network, the Steering Committee of Action Ontario PNP, and an Advisory Board Member of a Downtown Toronto Clinic Out- Patient program of CAMH for People with Complex Mental Illness. Therese is also on the Online Consumer Panel of the Arthritis Society. Since developing Chronic Illness Therese has found relief and motivation from regular exercise and is a devoted member of the YMCA, and an advocate of many of the Arthritis Programs supported by the Y.
Therese is a member of Women Speak Out, advocating for the homeless and underhoused population of Toronto. Therese is also a Chef, Paralegal and Baker, and a humble member of CAPA.
Emily Sirotich is a current PhD student in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. She has been a patient partner for several years. This experience inspired her love of medicine and research. She completed a BSc at the University of Toronto, specializing in Health Studies, Immunology and Human biology. She began a Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology at McMaster University in 2017. Her success in the Diploma program recommended her for the MSc program and later the PhD program.
She began her PhD journey in September 2019. It was through engagement with patients during her PhD project that allowed her to realize the unique opportunity to combine her patient experience with her knowledge of health research. Emily advocates for patients with arthritis and engages with health research in various ways (studies, policy, etc.). When she is not working towards her PhD, she loves to swim, bike, and cook with the family!