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McMaster University

Collaborative for Health and Aging

Our Trainees

The Collaborative draws upon the expertise of our community partners, researchers, students and staff across the disciplines of nursing, health sciences, rehabilitation sciences, policy, aging, health economics, medicine, patient and public engagement, and integrated knowledge Ttanslation.

Meet our Trainees

Ali Muhammad
Muhammad Ali

Dr. Muhammad Ali is currently working as an epidemiologist and is a part-time PhD student at McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Parminder Raina in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. Muhammad is actively involved in the various projects associated with the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA), and McMaster Evidence Review & Synthesis Team (MERST). He has comprehensive knowledge and skills in the field of clinical and evidence-based medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics and is proficient in performing various statistical analyses such as meta-analysis, meta-regression, regression, survival analysis, decision-analytic modelling, Monte Carlo simulations and sensitivity analyses. He has also authored/co-authored numerous publications in peer-reviewed high-impact journals.

Deedee Begin
Diane (Deedee) Begin

Deedee Begin is a dual-degree student in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. In this program, Dee is enrolled in the PhD in Rehabilitation Science and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy programs. For her doctoral thesis, Dee is focusing her work on exploring how different people view and think about risk and safety in acute care settings, as these concepts relate to care and discharge planning for older adults. Dee is interested in improving health care services to better meet the needs of older adult populations. As a firm believer in the saying “Nothing about us without us,” Dee is dedicated to using collaborative approaches in research. Before starting graduate studies, Dee worked in various clinical settings as an Athletic Therapist and Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Megane Bouchard is currently an MSc Epidemiology student at McGill University completing a thesis on autoimmune disorders as a risk factor for multiple sclerosis under the supervision of Dr. Christina Wolfson. She completed her Bachelor’s in Health Sciences from McMaster University in June 2021. Megane has been involved with ACHRU since January 2020 and has had the opportunity to work on many of their projects, particularly the community partnership program for diabetes study. Her primary research interest is chronic conditions which affect aging populations.

Cassandra D'Amore
Cassandra D'Amore

Cassandra D’Amore is a PhD candidate in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Her work focuses on understanding physical activity behaviour and its uptake in older adults. She is interested in strategies to maintain mobility and autonomy in the aging population. Cassandra is passionate about including older adult voices in research and creating opportunities for trainees to build capacity in community engagement. Before starting graduate studies, She worked in clinical rehabilitation settings as a registered massage therapist with an undergraduate degree in kinesiology.

Sophiya Garasia is an interdisciplinary researcher with interests and a background in health economics, health equity, and public health. Her PhD research in the health policy program at McMaster University focuses on the health, health care, and economic experiences of migrants in Canada, and covers various health care areas including mental health services, home care, and long-term care. Prior to her PhD, Sophiya obtained her master of public health from the University of Guelph and her bachelor of science from McMaster University and obtained training from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. Sophiya recently started a one-year fellowship with the Central West Ontario Health Team as a part of the OHT Impact Fellowship program provided by University of Toronto. She is currently assisting the team co-design a home-primary care-based integrated care model for older adults experiencing frailty, and leading initiatives to address mental health problems in the Central West area. Her academic host is Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid. 

Meghan Gilfoyle
Meghan Gilfoyle

Meghan Gilfoyle is a doctoral student based at the University of Limerick in the School of Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Jon Salsberg and co-supervisor Professor Anne MacFarlane. Her PhD involves using a trust lens to inform a social network theory of participatory health research, by defining, measuring and influencing trust in research partnerships. Her previous academic and work experience has had a public health and health systems focus, with specific areas of expertise in cancer prevention and screening, epidemiology, statistical analysis of population health data, evidence-informed public health practice, and knowledge translation. Meghan has a keen interest in engaging public and patient groups in health research in a meaningful and respectful manner. For instance, she has previously worked with entrepreneurs to identify how to best engage people with dementia in the design, testing, and commercialization of an information communication technology. As a Canadian researcher completing her PhD in Ireland, Meghan looks forward to innovative research collaborations as well as networking opportunities within an international context.

Stephanie Lucchese
Stephanie Lucchese

Stephanie Lucchese is a registered nurse and PhD student in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. She is a certified psychiatric and mental health nurse and has extensive clinical experience working as an advanced practice nurse, clinical nurse specialist in mental health and addictions. Stephanie holds a research appointment at Unity Health Toronto – Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute as a practice based researcher. She is passionate about aging research and exploring ways to improve health service delivery for clients who have a mental illness. In addition, Stephanie has experience working as a research assistant on the following topics: intimate partner violence, immigrant health and global health. She is currently a research assistant for the Strengthening a Palliative Approach in Long-term Care (SPA-LTC) team led by Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen. 

Maggie MacNeil
Maggie MacNeil

Maggie MacNeil’s background as a policy analyst in the Minister of State for Seniors Support Unit, Employment and Social Development Canada has informed her research interests in health and social issues relevant to older people. Maggie’s postdoctoral fellowship is focused on evaluating a community co-design initiative with older people and community health and social service providers.

Alexandra Mayhew
Alexandra Mayhew

Alexandra Mayhew is a postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. Her postdoctoral work focuses on understanding the impact of adiposity measured as visceral adipose tissue and subcutaneous adipose tissue on healthy aging. Dr. Mayhew has extensive experience using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. She has worked on projects on a wide range of topics including sarcopenia, physical function, dementia, disability, nutrition, menopause, and chronic cough. 

Kenny Noguchi
Kenny Noguchi

Kenny Noguchi is a PhD candidate in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Kenny completed his undergraduate degree in kinesiology and master’s degree in rehabilitation science, also at McMaster University. Kenny is passionate about exercise and improving health outcomes in people living with stroke and older adults. Specifically, his doctoral thesis is examining the impacts of resistance exercise training on physical function in people with stroke. He is also interested in and passionate about mentorship and trainee development, particularly in his roles as co-chair of both the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging Trainee Network Executive Committee and School of Rehabilitation Science Student Council.

Isabel Rodrigues
Isabel Rodrigues

Dr. Isabel B. Rodrigues is a postdoctoral fellow at the GERAS Centre for Aging Research within the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. She completed her doctoral training at the University of Waterloo where she specialized in the aging, health, and wellbeing program. Her research focuses on designing interventions to improve mobility and quality of life among older adults living with osteoporosis and frailty using a collaborative, user-centric approach. Her goal is to help older adults successfully “age in a place” rather than “age in place”. She is an implementation scientist with skills in knowledge mobilization, clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, qualitative description, randomized controlled trials, and tool development. She is also a member of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Evidence Alliance and a trainee member at the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA). 

Stephanie Saunders
Stephanie Saunders

Stephanie Saunders is a current MScPT/PhD student at McMaster University in rehabilitation sciences, where her PhD work examines fall risk in community dwelling older adults. She is interested in determining how to best maintain older adults’ independence to prevent and attenuate mobility-related hospitalizations. Prior to starting her dual-degree program, she worked as a research coordinator in Palliative Care at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care. She also completed her master’s degree in human kinetics at the University of Ottawa and worked as a kinesiologist after completing a kinesiology and political science undergraduate degree. Her research interests tie together emphasizing the importance of physical movement with undertaking creative knowledge translation efforts to improve quality of life. 

Kylie Teggart
Kylie Teggart

Kylie Teggart is a certified oncology RN and a PhD student in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. Kylie is passionate about supporting optimal outcomes for individuals living with cancer through evidence-informed nursing practice and supportive care. Her doctoral research aims to partner with nurses, patients, and their caregivers in the experience-based co-design of strategies to better manage common and distressing cancer-related symptoms. Kylie is a trainee and research assistant in the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit (ACHRU) under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Ganann.

Jeonghwa You
Jeonghwa You

Jeonghwa You is a PhD student in the health policy program at McMaster University. Her research interests are in the engagement of older adults in health policymaking that affects their health. Her thesis is specifically on ‘why’ and ‘how’ governments conduct public engagement in health policymaking related to seniors’ health. Before beginning her PhD study, she worked at South Korea’s National Health Insurance Service in conjunction with various stakeholders (government, healthcare providers, public representatives, and academic experts) on the annual price negotiations of medical fee schedules. Jeonghwa holds a master’s degree in public health from King’s College London, United Kingdom.

Marie-Lee Yous

Dr. Marie-Lee Yous is a registered nurse and postdoctoral fellow in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. Her supervisor is Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen. She is also a volunteer with her local Alzheimer Society. Her research interest is supporting persons living with dementia, care partners, and healthcare providers. She has interest in co-designing interventions with care partners to support the quality of life of care partners and persons living with dementia in the community and long-term care. Her collaborations extend beyond McMaster University and include Western University and the University of British Columbia.