Members of the PPE Collaborative 


Julia Abelson


Dr. Abelson is a Professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University, a member of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA) and lead of the PPE Collaborative. Throughout her career, Dr. Abelson's research program has been guided by a long-standing interest in how the public interacts with health systems as patients, community members, voters, and taxpayers. These interests have provided the foundation for numerous research studies focused on the design and evaluation of processes for engaging the public and patients in health system decision-making. Through her research, she has developed productive and long-standing partnerships with a wide range of policymakers and health system managers at the provincial and regional governance levels across the country and is regularly invited to advise policy decision makers an health system managers on the design, implementation, and evaluation of public engagement processes. 

Twitter: @Julia_Abelson


Laura Tripp


Laura has worked for the PPE Collaborative as a Research Coordinator since 2014. Since then she has been involved with a number of studies related to the evaluation of patient engagement and the elicitation of public and patient values on topics such as cancer drug funding and mammography screening. Laura earned her Master's degree in Health Studies and Gerontology from the University of Waterloo, and her Honours BA in Health Studies from McMaster University.

Twitter: @Laura_E_Tripp


Maggie MacNeil


Maggie holds a MIRA post-doctoral fellowship in citizen and community engagement methods and evaluation, and is working with Julia Abelson and Rebecca Ganaan (School of Nursing) to understand effectiveness of different approaches for involving older adults in research activities.

Maggie holds a PhD in Health, Aging and Well-Being at the University of Waterloo. 

Twitter: @4maggiemac



Rana is a PhD student in the Health Policy program in the political studies field. She holds a Master of Public Health from the American University of Beirut. Before joining the program, Rana worked at the Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center with primary expertise in advocacy, public participation, knowledge translation, and capacity development for evidence-informed decision making. She is interested in advancing the role of public participation in health policy in developing countries. 



Radha is currently a Master's student in the Health Research Methodology program at McMaster University. Radha is working with the PPE Collaborative on the evaluation of the SPOR Chronic Pain Network (CPN).

Jeonghwa You


Jeonghwa is a student in the Health Policy PhD program. She holds a Master's of Public Health from King's College London (England). Before beginning her PhD, she worked at South Korea's National Health Insurance Service. Her research is focused on understanding how public engagement has been utilized in health policymaking and the factors that affect the quality of these public engagement initiatives. 



Roma is a new addition to the PPE Collaborative as of May 2021! She holds a Master of Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Honours Bachelor of Science from McMaster University. Roma's academic interests include research ethics and health policy. She has in-press and published works on waivers of informed consent. Roma is the Director of Research at the women's health education platform missINFORMED, and a researcher and editor for Café Bioethics. Roma is passionate about health reform, advocacy, and education in all forms. 




Julia completed a 1-year Health System Impact Fellowship (2017/18), funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, with the PPE Collaborative. She was co-hosted for her fellowship by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health (CADTH). During her fellowship, Julia used conceptual and empirical work to identify ways to measure how, and to what extent, public and patient engagement activities have been considered in health technology management processes and what conditions support engagement. Her work specifically focused on engagement at CADTH. 

Julia holds a PhD in Community Health and Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. She is currently a researcher in the Department of Health Technology Assessment at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Norway) and is affiliated with the School of Physical Therapy, University of Saskatchewan (Canada).

Twitter: @JuliaBidonde



Sarah worked with the PPE Collaborative on the initial development of the Public and Patient Engagement Evaluation Tool (PPEET) and on the development of a PPE framework for health technology assessment. Sarah is an interdisciplinary qualitative researcher interested in the health workforce, health systems reform, and how health professional organizations, patients and members of the public try to shape health policy. 

Sarah recently held the position of Nursing Policy Analyst at the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO).

Twitter: @Sarah_Boesveld



Deirdre has a PhD in Health Research Methodology from McMaster University and worked with the PPE Collaborative in 2014/15 as a post-doctoral scholar. She collaborated on the development of a PPE framework for health technology assessment which was published in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care and won the 2017 Egon Jonsson Award. Deirdre's research has focused on developing research-based approaches for addressing social values in health technology policy analysis, particularly the use of qualitative evidence syntheses to inform health technology assessment (HTA). 

Deirdre is currently a Scientific Officer working at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) in Ottawa, Canada.

Twitter: @deirdredejean

Avi Denburg


Avi completed his PhD in Health Policy at McMaster University in 2018. His thesis was titled: The politics of child health technologies: Social values and public policy on drug funding for children in Canada. He worked with the PPE Collaborative on a project eliciting citizen's values related to cancer drug funding.

Avi is currently a staff physician and Clinician Scientist in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario. His research focuses on the political, ethical and economic dimensions of child health policy with a specific focus on the analysis and strengthening of childhood cancer care systems, especially related to pharmaceutical policy and drug access. 

Twitter: @AvramDenburg



FP completed his PhD in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University in 2008. His thesis was titled Public Involvement in Health Technology Assessment Agencies: A Comparative Analysis of Canada, Denmark and the United Kingdom. FP's research interests focus on evidence-informed policymaking, public and patient engagement in addressing pressing issues, and the potential for deliberative forums to find innovative solutions to collective problems. FP worked with the PPE Collaborative on a number of projects related to public engagement, including reports and syntheses about citizen engagement for various research organizations. He was also a collaborator for the Citizens' Reference Panel on Health Technologies (CRPHT) conducted in partnership with the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) at Health Quality Ontario. 

FP is currently the Senior Scientific Lead, Citizen Engagement and Evidence Curation for the McMaster Health Forum.

Twitter: @FPGauvin

Kathy Li


Kathy completed her PhD in Health Policy at McMaster University in 2013. Her thesis titled, "The Use of Public Involvement in Canadian Health Policy Decision-Making", examined the internal dynamics of how public involvement is used in the health policy decision-making process. During her PhD, she worked with the PPE Collaborative on the development of the Public and Patient Engagement Evaluation Tool (PPEET).

Kathy is currently a Senior Policy Advisor with the Government of Ontario in the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Stephanie Montesanti


Stephanie completed her PhD in Health Policy at McMaster University in 2014. Her thesis was titled: The participation of marginalized populations in health services planning and decision making. During her PhD she worked with the PPE collaborative on the completion of a research synthesis commissioned by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation on effective strategies for public engagement in healthcare policy and program development.

Stephanie is currently an Assistant Professor within the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. 

Twitter: @S_Montesanti

Melodie Song


Melodie completed her PhD in Health Policy at McMaster University in 2018. Her thesis was titled: Making Sense of Social Media for Public Health Decision-Makers - the Case of Childhood Immunization in Ontario. During her PhD, Melodie worked on various citizen engagement projects with PPE Collaborative including a study focused on citizen perspectives on mammography screening and developing case studies for the Participedia website.

Melodie is currently a CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellow at Public Health Ontario. 

Twitter: @MelodieYJSong

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