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PHSI 2021 – Speaker Biographies


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Speaker Biographies


Sarah Ball

Head of Research
Media Measurement

Sarah Ball is Head of Research at Media Measurement (MM) where she leads on methodology development and deployment.  She has 17 years of experience in the media analysis industry and was an early innovator in social media analysis methodologies at MM.  Her focus is on innovating approaches to digital media research to provide insights that are actionable in the real world.



Christopher Bate

Executive Director
Comox Valley Senior Support Society

Raised in the USA and in Manitoba, Chris Newell Bate is an enrolled member of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation near Ardoch, Ontario. Chris currently lives as a visitor in unceded K’omoks First Nation territory. He is currently the Executive Director of the Comox Valley Senior Support Society. He shares his home with dogs, Chester and Bob, a cat named Basil, and a garden snake named Elaine.



Dr. Simon Carroll

Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology
University of Victoria

Simon Carroll is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Victoria. He has a particular interest in the areas of sociological theory, the sociology of health and illness, and in social justice and social inequalities. His research over the past 15 years has been focused on sociological approaches to understanding health systems, specifically focused on reorienting health systems from a health promotion perspective. Methodologically, he has been involved in an emerging approach to knowledge synthesis, called ‘realist synthesis’. He has also contributed to the development of a variant of participatory action research, called Collaborative Action Research, which uses community-based participatory action research principles extended to multiple stakeholders in intersectoral settings. Simon is currently a research associate on a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research – Implementation Science Team studying the implementation of assistive technologies for older adults. He has also recently contributed to research on the impact of COVID-19 on people suffering from physical and mental health comorbidities, and the adoption of innovations in the Welsh Health Care system for the Bevan Commission.



Dr. Lorie Donelle

Associate Professor, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing
Western University

Dr. Lorie Donelle is an Associate Professor at Western University in the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing and a Scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute in London Ontario and is an inaugural member of Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Nursing (FCAN). She holds an endowed research chair – the Arthur Labatt Family Chair in Nursing focused on digital health.  Dr. Donelle’s research addresses issues of health literacy, social justice, and digital health.  Her research investigates technology enabled models of homecare and the relationships between health information technologies and client / clinician health practices. Dr. Donelle contributes to International and national advisory committees for health literacy and digital health.



Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd

Director of Research, Social Media Lab
Ryerson University

Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd is a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Privacy-Preserving Digital Technologies, a Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management and the Director of Research at the Social Media Lab at Ryerson University. He is also a Member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, a co-editor of a multidisciplinary journal on Big Data and Society, and a founding co-chair of the International Conference on Social Media and Society. As a computational social scientist, Dr. Gruzd’s research broadly explores how social media platforms are changing the ways in which people and organizations communicate, collaborate, disseminate information and misinformation, conduct business and form communities online, and how these changes impact society.  Dr. Gruzd’s expertise lies in studying online communities and social networks, and developing new computational methods and tools to study public discourse on social media sites in a wide variety of domains.



Amanda Higginson

Project Officer
Ottawa Public Health

Amanda is a Project Officer with Ottawa Public Health. Joining the social media team in 2020 she specializes in youth and young adult content. Amanda graduated from Carleton University in Health Sciences with a concentration in Global Health.                       Twitter handle: @AmandaHiggs90



Lucy Lavery

Senior Analyst
Media Measurement

Lucy Lavery is a Senior Analyst at MM. Her work focuses on uncovering actionable insights from digital data to help organisations across the world tackle innovative health solutions. Over the past year, she has led on project scoping and developing research findings for public health agencies, biopharmaceutical companies and NGOs.



Theo Munkacsi

Youth Activist
Our Earth Our Future Organization

Theo Munkacsi is a 15 year old, Grade 9 student at Esquimalt High School. Like the rest of kids and adults around the world, his life has been forced to pivot, due to COVID-19. He is a social justice activist and organizer with a passion for environmental, indigenous and LGBTQ+ causes. He has helped build the Our Earth Our Future Organization. He is one of five kids who organized school strikes for the environment in Victoria which have had crowds into the several hundreds. He has regularly to spoken to the crowds of protesters and has communicated to online protests in the virtual environment. During Greta Thunberg’s visit to Vancouver, he and his friends were in the VIP section with the media providing social media coverage for Greenpeace. When there is not a pandemic, he volunteers at the Royal BC Museum as a mentor to kids, he performs in his school drama productions and has a love for photography.



Kevin Parent

Program and Project Management Officer & Social Media Lead
Ottawa Public Health

Kevin is a Program and Project Management Officer with Ottawa Public Health (OPH). He has been the social media lead at OPH since 2018. He graduated from Carleton University with a major in Communications and a minor in Sociology and is perpetually tired due to working in health comms during a pandemic whilst also having 3 kids at home (including a newborn). Kevin is a ginger.                       Twitter handle: @Kevin__Parent



Darryl Quantz

Public Health Consultant
Fraser Health

Darryl Quantz is registered as a UK consultant in public health medicine and has 20 years of experience delivering population health programs and services. He recently finished working across Public Health England and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership where he led the public health response to the climate/ecological crisis and air quality. Darryl is passionate about addressing the wider determinants of health and is dedicated to contributing to the transition to a high wellbeing, equitable and environmentally sustainable economy.



Dr. Tim Takaro

Professor, Faculty of Health Science
Simon Fraser University

Dr. Takaro is a professor and physician-scientist in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. Trained in occupational and environmental medicine, public health and toxicology, at Yale, the University of North Carolina and University of Washington, Dr. Takaro’s research is primarily about the links between human exposures and disease, and determining effective public health based preventive solutions to such risks. He is a leader for the exposure assessment component of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort. His current research on human health and climate change focuses on water quality and quantity, extreme weather events and gastro-intestinal illness and the role of aero-allergens in the development of asthma and allergy in children. He has been senior supervisor for 26 Masters and PhD students over the past ten years.



Amy Wright

Digital Media Research Expert
Media Measurement

Amy Wright is a digital media research expert, specialising in the creation of strong, strategic, long-term client partnerships to plan and deliver top quality social and traditional media analysis research programmes to global clients. Amy presents research findings to NGO audiences across the world more than 50 times each year, providing consultancy-level insights that make a real difference to communications and broader organisational objectives.



Elisabeth Wilhelm

Co-lead, Vaccine Confidence Team, COVID-19 Task Force
US Centres for Disease Control

Elisabeth Wilhelm is co-lead of the Vaccine Confidence Team on the US CDC COVID-19 Task Force, home to the Insights Unit which conducts social listening to understand Americans’ concerns, questions and attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine confidence. She co-directed WHO’s first Infodemic Manager training in 2020 and has supported vaccine implementation research, mass campaigns and outbreak response efforts with WHO and UNICEF country offices on vaccine acceptance and demand, crisis communication, infodemic management, and behavior change community strategy development. She serves on multiple WHO committees on vaccine safety communication and digital engagement and leads the STOP training curriculum for Communications Specialists in partnership with UNICEF. Elisabeth holds an MA from Johns Hopkins in Communication. In her free time, she enjoys attempting (and usually failing) to use vegan food prep boxes, the infodemic manager WhatsApp chat (that blows up her phone at all hours of day since there are 79 countries represented on it), and This Podcast Could Kill You.