CNS is Celebrating 10 years!

Cardiometabolic Research Network


By invitation only

Virtual via Zoom Meeting.  Registration required. 

Click to register

Purpose of the workshop: to provide an opportunity through a workshop for researchers interested in addressing pre-diabetes, cardio-metabolic conditions through diet and exercise to review current evidence and practice and to brainstorm about advancing the agenda of implementation research in this area. 


11:30 - 4:00 ET
11:30 - 11:40   Welcome & Introductions

Paula Brauer, PhD, RD, FDC - University of Guelph
Sophie Desroches, PhD, RD - Université Laval
Rupinder Dhaliwal, RD, FDC 
Dawna Royall, MSc, RD, FDC - Research Consultant, University of Guelph

Andrea Grantham - Canadian Nutrition Society

Click to expand for moderator bios +/-

About the moderators:

Paula Brauer, PhD, RD, FDC
Professor emerita, University of Guelph 

I have pursued various strategies to create and implement better nutrition counselling services in the primary health care system.  I have been working at various levels of implementation, more recently looking at different methods for health behaviour change.  In the past, I also contributed to development of Family Health Teams in Ontario and was a member of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care

Sophie Desroches, PhD, RD
Université Laval

Dr. Sophie Desroches, PhD, RD, is Professor at the School of Nutrition at Université Laval. She is also a research scientist at the Centre NUTRISS (Nutrition, santé et société) of INAF. Her research program aims to identify, develop and evaluate knowledge translation strategies that will optimize adherence to dietary advice. Her more recently funded research projects have explored the use of social media as knowledge translation strategies to enhance adherence to evidence-based dietary advice for preventing and managing chronic diseases. 

Rupinder Dhaliwal, RD, FDC

Rupinder Dhaliwal is the Project Leader of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force-Canadian Nutrition Society. In this role, she has been assisting with advancing the national agenda for addressing malnutrition through the oversight and delivery of several projects. She is the former Director of Operations of Metabolic Syndrome Canada, a non-profit organization where she was instrumental in the expansion of a team-based diet and exercise intervention, the CHANGE program, in primary care clinics across Canada. At the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, she played a key role in knowledge generation, synthesis and translation. She has written numerous publications and presented at many national and international conferences. 

Andrea Grantham
Canadian Nutrition Society

Andrea Grantham has played an executive leadership role in the not-for-profit sector for more than 25 years.  She is the Executive Director of the Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS). Hired in 2014 as the first official CNS staff person, Andrea was responsible for setting up its national headquarters, and has led the development and implementation of its strategic plan – which includes the develop of new programs, initiatives, and partnerships. Prior to joining CNS, Andrea was CEO of Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) and an active leader with the Coalition for Active living and the Sport Matters Group.  She has also served as a consultant to support other not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.

Dawna Royall, MSc, RD, FDC

Dawna Royall is a Senior Evidence Analyst for PEN®: Practice based Evidence in Nutrition, a knowledge translation database to support evidence-based practice. She is also a contract research consultant for the University of Guelph with research interests that focus on improving the effectiveness of nutrition services in primary care. In the past, she was Editor for 20 years at the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. 

Funding Opportunities
11:40 - 12:10 Speaker:
Mary-Jo Makarchuk, Msc, MHSc, RD - Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

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Mary-Jo will provide a brief introduction to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) focussing on the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD), and the strategic priorities and activities the institute is leading, particularly the recently launched initiative to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin,  100 Years of Insulin: Accelerating Canadian Discoveries to Defeat Diabetes.

About the Speaker:

Mary-Jo Makarchuk, MSc, MHsc, RD
Assistant Director
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

Ms. Makarchuk has served as the Assistant Director of Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD) since January 2009.  Under the direction of the Scientific Director, she has taken a leadership position in the development of INMD Strategic Plans, and in the development of large Strategic Research Initiatives, including in the areas of Food and Health, Bariatric Care and most recently, in the development of a large initiative to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, 100 Years of Insulin: Accelerating Canadian Discoveries to Defeat Diabetes.  Mary-Jo has also played a pivotal role in liaising and partnering with Government agencies, health charities and international research funders and is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the institute.

Prior to joining CIHR, Mary-Jo worked in Planning and Policy at Toronto Public Health, and participated in a two-year secondment to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. She supported Public Health Nutrition efforts and has served on national and provincial conference and advisory committees.

12:10 - 12:30 LUNCH BREAK
Current Projects
12:30 - 13:20

Sylvia Santosa, Sylvia Santosa, PhD, RD (CDO) - Concordia University 
Justine Horne, PhD, RD - Université Laval
Caroline Richard, RD, PhD - University of Alberta
Annalijn Conklin, MSc, MPH, PhD(cantab) - University of British Columbia

Click to expand for presentation descriptions and speaker bios +/-


Conklin - "Addressing the multileveled, intersecting determinants of cardiometabolic health: Current pilot projects"
The goal of this talk is to share findings and preliminary work to improve prevention of poor cardiometabolic outcomes in Canadians. The first part will show recently published results from my CIHR Catalyst grant for secondary data analysis of the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (CLSA). The second part will present phase one of a patient-oriented research project.

Horne - "The importance of considering genetics in research assessing lifestyle factors and cardiometabolic outcomes"
The aim of this presentation is to appreciate the application of genetics to lifestyle and cardiometabolic research. This presentation will first, provide an overview of nutritional genomics and lifestyle genomics. The presentation will further review the application of these sciences to cardiometabolic research while detailing current projects in the field.

Richard - "Understanding the obesity-related immune dysfunction in obesity: the Nutrition and Immunity (NutrIMM) Study"
The aim of the presentation is to appreciate the role of nutrition, obesity and insulin resistance in modulating the immune system and the current knowledge gaps in the literature. The NutrIMM study was designed to answer some of the important questions in the field of Nutritional Immunology in the context of obesity.

Santosa - "The Fundamental Differences in Childhood-Onset and Adulthood-Onset Obesity"
It is often taken for granted that all obesity is the same. However, adults with persistent obesity since childhood are at greater risk of obesity-related comorbidities compared to those who only developed obesity as adults. The reason for the differences in disease risk among these individuals is unclear. Our investigations have uncovered fundamental differences between these two types of obesity. This presentation will describe these differences demonstrating that those with childhood and adulthood onset obesity are not the same.

About the speakers:

Dr. Annalijn I. Conklin, Hon.B.Sc., M.Sc. (Res), MPH, PhD (Cantab)
Assistant Professor | CORE | Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Scientist | CHEOS | Providence Health Research Institute
The University of British Columbia

Dr. Conklin is an Assistant Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and a Scientist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences in St. Paul’s Hospital. A former Gates Cambridge Scholar (2011-2014) and CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2016), Dr. Conklin leads a policy-focused research program on social epidemiology and diet-related outcomes with a special interest in gender disparities in obesity. Dr. Conklin uses both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including advanced statistical techniques of mixed modelling as well as participatory action research and Indigenous ways of knowing. Dr. Conklin was previously a policy analyst in health and healthcare at RAND Europe Cambridge Ltd. (2007-2012), with a significant role in two cross-/national evaluations of chronic disease management. Dr. Conklin is currently funded by CIHR, MSFHR/BC SUPPORT Unit, and GlycoNet.

Justine Horne, RD, PhD
Université Laval and Western University/Brescia University College

Justine Horne is a postdoctoral fellow at Université Laval and visiting fellow at the Genomes to People lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard University. She is also a registered dietitian with the College of Dietitians of Ontario and sessional instructor at Western University (Brescia University College) in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Horne obtained her PhD from Western University, where she studied the pragmatic application of nutrigenetics in a primary care setting. She continues to explore the science of nutritional genomics as a CIHR-funded postdoctoral fellow, where she is focusing on developing the first clinical practice guidelines in the field. Dr. Horne has published a number of peer-reviewed articles and is known in the dietetics and academic community for her expertise in nutritional genomics. She has been invited to present on the topic locally, nationally, and internationally to various healthcare professionals, university students, and academics. Dr. Horne has received a number of awards and honours for her accomplishments and notably is a finalist for the Royal Society of Canada’s 2020 Alice Wilson Award, which is presented to “a woman of outstanding academic qualifications who is entering a career in scholarship or research at the postdoctoral level.” She is also an active advocate for evidence-based health information and advice. Twitter: @justinehorneRD

Caroline Richard, RD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition
Canada Research Chair in Nutritional Immunology
Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science - University of Alberta

Dr. Caroline Richard is a RD, PhD and an Assistant Professor of Nutritional Immunology in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Alberta. She completed her BSc and internship in Nutrition at Laval University in 2007 and then her PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism in 2013. She then completed her postdoctoral studies in nutritional immunology at the University of Alberta in 2016. Dr. Richard’s research interests focus on understanding how specific nutritional interventions can mitigate immune dysfunction related to chronic diseases including obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. She was recently awarded a Canada Research Chair in Nutritional Immunology and was the recipient of the CIHR-INMD/CNS New Investigator Award in 2019. In 2015, she also received the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism Award for Nutrition Translation for her review paper in immunology. She is currently funded by CHIR and NSERC among other industry grants that she holds.

Sylvia Santosa, PhD, RD (CDO)
Canada Research Chair, Tier 2 - Clinical Nutrition
Associate Professor, Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Applied Physiology, Concordia University 

Dr. Sylvia Santosa, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Applied Physiology at Concordia University and a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Clinical Nutrition. Prior to joining the department in 2011, she completed a research fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes, metabolism, and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She earned her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from McGill University and completed her dietetic internship at the McGill University Health Centers. Dr. Santosa is a registered dietitian through her membership in the College of Dietitians of Ontario. She has given over 30 research and community talks, and published almost 40 research articles in the area of nutrition and metabolism. The goal of Dr. Santosa’s research program is to examine the heterogeneity of obesity, from the cell to the entire body. Through her research Dr. Santosa investigates factors that affect different fat tissue depots and how these fat depots, in turn, affects health. Her research applies techniques in biology, physiology, and nutrition to study the effects of obesity that contribute to weight gain and disease. Results from her studies will promote the development of better public health interventions from disease prevention to management.   

Patient Engagement Strategies
13:20 - 14:20

Joyce Dogba, PhD - Laval University
Pauline Wijeyesekera 
Catherine Yu, MD, FRCPC, MHSc - St. Michael's Hospital

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Wijeyesekera / Yu - "What does it mean to engage patients meaningfully in research?"
Join Pauline Wijeyesekera and Catherine Yu to learn how engaging patients in your research is not just the "right thing to do", but also how it will enhance your work. Get practical tips on how to engage a patient knowledge user (and keep them engaged!) throughout the research journey. 

About the Speakers:

Maman Joyce Dogba, MD (Togo), PhD
Dr. Joyce Dogba is trained as a physician in Togo. She holds a master’s degree in health economics and a PhD in Public Health. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Family and Emergency Medicine at Laval University.  Joyce Dogba is a co-lead on patient engagement within the SRAP/SPOR Network in Diabetes and Related Complications. 

Dr. Catherine Yu, MD FRCPC MHSc
Staff, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, St. Michael's Hospital
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Associate Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital 

Catherine Yu is a Staff Endocrinologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, Associate Professor of Faculty of Medicine and Dalla Lhana School of Public Health, and Associate Scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital.  She is the past co-Chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Dissemination and Implementation Committee of Diabetes Canada, where-in she has developed evidence-based and innovative strategies to put guidelines into practice across Canada.  

14:20 - 14:25 BREAK
Policy Maker Perspective
14:25 - 15:05

Petra O'Connell,  B.Sc., MHSA - Alberta Health Services

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"Informing & Influencing Health System Transformation in Alberta: The Role of the Strategic Clinical Networks (SCN)"
Overview of what the Strategic Clinical Networks are and what they do in Alberta.

About the Speaker:

Petra O'Connell,
  B.Sc., MHSA
Senior Provincial Director of the Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition and the Neurosciences, Rehabilitation & Vision Strategic Clinical Networks™ for Alberta Health Services  

Petra is the Senior Provincial Director of the Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition (2012) and the Neurosciences, Rehabilitation & Vision (2018) Strategic Clinical Networks™ for Alberta Health Services. She is responsible for developing these diverse clinical and research networks and for leading the design, implementation and evaluation of initiatives that improve the quality and delivery of health care services in these clinical areas across Alberta. Province-wide initiatives include the development and implementation of diabetic foot and eye care pathways for use in Primary Care; the improvement of diabetes management in hospitals; and the development of bariatric care hospital standards. Work is underway to: introduce a virtual diabetes prevention program to Alberta; address malnutrition in the community; and develop a provincial hospital pressure injury prevention strategy. Petra has extensive experience in strategic and operational planning and evaluation across health care settings and clinical service areas. She has held senior management positions in strategic and hospital facilities planning, hospital support services operations and ambulatory care management in Alberta. She has degrees in BSC. Medical Laboratory Sciences and Masters in Public Health from the University of Alberta and has published in the areas of diabetes management, health technology assessment, clinical practice guidelines, and on strategic clinical networks. Petra joined the Board of Directors of Wounds Canada in January 2018 and is a contributing member of the Diabetes Canada 360 initiative.


Breakout Sessions & Report: How to collaborate to advance the research agenda
15:05 - 15:20 Session 1 (goal #1):
Finding a home for the Cardiometabolic Research Network 
15:05 - 15:20 Session 2 (goal #2):
Priorities for Joint Action by  Cardiometabolic Research Network 
15:05 - 15:20 Session 3 (goal #3):
Collaborative pilot projects-in progress and near future
15:05 - 15:20 Session 4 (goal #4):
Finding the right funding and the right partners 
15:20 - 15:55 Report Back / General Discussion
Wrap Up
15:55 - 16:00 Next steps for Network

Click to register


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