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Scientific Committee Co-Chairs       

Izabela Schultz PhD

Professor, Coordinator, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling, Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education, University of British Columbia

Dr. Schultz is a registered psychologist specializing in medico-legal and occupational aspects of psychological, neuropsychological and pain-related disability, both in her academic research and her forensic practice. She currently is a Professor in the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of British Columbia where she also serves as Director of the only Canadian graduate Program in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. She has presented, taught and published extensively in the United States, Canada and internationally in the areas of psycho-social and psycho-legal aspects of disability, rehabilitation and compensation for psychological injury. Her innovative investigation into the prediction of pain-related occupational disability has won her research team two international research awards.

Robert J. Gatchel PhD

Distinguished Professor of the Department of Psychology, College of Science
Nancy P & John G Penson Endowed Professor of Clinical Health Psychology, The University of Texas at Arlington
Director of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Health & Chronic Illnesses
Clinical Professor, The Eugene McDermott Center for Pain Management, Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Management, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Gatchel has been a major advocate for the biopsychosocial approach to chronic pain. This approach is now viewed as the most heuristic model for better understanding the etiology, assessment, treatment, and prevention of chronic pain. Dr. Gatchel has conducted extensive evidence-based clinical research in this area, much of it continuously funded for the past 30 years by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Defense (DOD). He was the recipient of a prestigious Senior Scientist Award from NIH. His major areas of clinical and research expertise include the following: the biopsychosocial approach to the etiology, assessment, treatment and prevention of chronic stress and pain behavior; the comorbidity of physical and mental health disorders; and clinical health psychology. He has published over 376 journal articles, 130 book chapters and has authored or edited 27 books. Dr. Gatchel has received numerous national and international awards and honors associated with his work in pain assessment and management.

Scientific Committee Members

Joan Bottorff PhD, RN

Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Development, University of British Columbia

Dr. Joan L. Bottorff is Director of UBC's Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention and a faculty member in the School of Nursing at UBC's Okanagan campus. She is an Affiliate Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Her research program focuses on gender-related influences on health, and designing gender-sensitive and gender-specific health promotion initiatives. She has extensive expertise in qualitative research methods and is currently Associate Editor of Qualitative Health Research.


Kenneth Craig PhD

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of British Columbia

Dr. Craig is Director of the Health Research Resource Office in the Office of the UBC Vice President Research, Chair of the Behavioural Research Ethics Board (B) and a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of British Columbia.

At UBC he has served as Director of the Graduate Programme in Clinical Psychology, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, CIHR Senior Investigator, and Distinguished Scholar in the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. Current activities at UBC include responsibility for development of health research teams. He has participated in a number of successful health research teams, including those pursuing pediatric pain, pain in the elderly and development of interdisciplinary training models for management of children's pain.

His research has pursued the application of social science methodology to population and public health challenges of pain and disability. He has challenged the biomedical focus upon pain by providing a comprehensive systems perspective on pain and disability that incorporates an understanding of social factors contributing to under-management of pain.


Arla Day PhD

Professor, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Saint Mary's University

Dr. Arla Day is a Professor in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary's University, specializing in Occupational Health Psychology, and she is the Director of the CN Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, and she was a Canada Research Chair for 10 years. Her research focuses on developing and implementing effective organizational and individual initiatives that address leadership, healthy workplaces, workplace respect and civility, employee well-being & well-being, and work-life balance.

Clermont Dionne PhD   

Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Rehabilitation, Laval University

Clermont E. Dionne (Ph.D. in Epidemiology, University of Washington), is a senior investigator at the Research Centre of the Laval University Hospital (Population Health and Optimal Health Practices Axis) and Full Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval (Quebec City). He works since more than 20 years on the epidemiology of musculoskeletal pain, including etiological and prognostic research, and the development of clinical decision rules. He has been involved in many national and international committees and acts regularly as a reviewer for scientific journals and granting agencies.

Alba Fishta MD, MPH   

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), Berlin Area, Germany

Dr. Fishta currently works for the Federal Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) which belongs to the German Ministry of Work and Social Affairs.

She is a public health physician with a doctorate degree in oncologic gynecology and a masters in public health. She has 17 years expertise in different countries worldwide working with government and non-government institutions. Her expertise as a researcher is mainly in the area of evidence based medicine and epidemiology, and her research is focused mostly in the field of occupational health, gynecology as well as infectious diseases. 

Erica Frank MD, MPH

Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Preventive Medicine and Population Health
Professor,  School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia
Founder of Next GenU

Dr. Frank's research has demonstrated the strong and consistent relationship between physicians' personal prevention habits and its incorporation in clinical practice. She is the Principal Investigator of four large (n>3,000) national physician and medical student health studies (in Canada, Israel, and the U.S.), and of a 4-year-long health promotion initiative in 17 US medical schools, with significant positive effects in both student and patient outcomes.  She is also the Founder, President, and Research Director of, the world's first portal to free, accredited higher education, developed in partnership with leading universities, professional societies, and government organizations, including Grand Challenges Canada, the U.S. CDC, World Bank, and the World Health Organization. Over the next 5 years, NextGenU will co-train (in collaboration with the University of Gezira and the Sudanese Ministry of Health) 10,000 Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine Residents in Sudan, a country desperately in need of more well-trained health care providers. Dr. Frank's team creates and tests the effects of these competency-based courses (currently in use in 145 countries). These include web-based didactics, a global peer community of practice, and local, skills-based mentorships, creating unprecedentedly accredited, free, high-quality medical and public health school courses, residency programs (starting with Pediatrics, Preventive Medicine, and Family Medicine), and Community Health Worker trainings, all available for testing and research.

Douglas Gross PhD

Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta

Dr. Douglas Gross is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Doug’s research focuses on individuals with musculoskeletal conditions, including prevention of work disability, functional evaluation, as well as investigating the effectiveness of clinical and public health interventions. He has given numerous national and international presentations and published several articles and book chapters.

Robert Gründemann PhD

Professor, Research Centre for Social Innovation, HU UAS Utrecht

Prof. Dr. Rob Gründemann studied Sociology at the University Utrecht (UU) and gained his PhD at the University of Amsterdam on the subject of work disability. He is working for a national research organisation (TNO) and as professor in the Research Centre for Social Innovation of the HU UAS Utrecht. He has been involved in almost 20 projects at European level; recently in a project about Healthy Work for Employees with Chronic Illness.

Karen Jacobs EdD, OTR/L, CPE, FAOTA

Clinical Professor, Program Director, On-line Post-professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Boston University
Founding Editor, WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation

Dr. Jacobs is the founding editor of the interdisciplinary, international journal Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation. She has published and presented widely on the topics of ergonomics and marketing. She is the author of Ergonomics for Therapists and Occupational Therapy: Work-Related Programs and Assessments; and coeditor of Quick Reference Dictionary for Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy Essentials for Clinical Competence, and AOTA’s OT Manager (5th edition); Dr. Jacobs is the past-president and vice-president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)and a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE). Dr. Jacobs is a 2005 recipient of The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship, the 2009 recipient of the Award of Merit from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Award of Merit from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2003, and the 2011 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award from AOTA. Dr. Jacobs’ research and scholarly pursuits examine the interface between the environment and human capabilities.

Vicki Kristman PhD   

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Scientist in Injury and Disability Prevention, Lakehead University

 Dr. Vicki Kristman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Lakehead University. She also holds appointments at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She holds a doctoral degree in epidemiology from the University of Toronto and completed the Work Disability Prevention training program through the Université de Sherbrooke, led by Patrick Loisel, in 2010. In 2014, Dr. Kristman was awarded a prestigious Canadian Institutes' of Health Research New Investigator Award for her program of research on "Preventing Work Disability through Accommodation". She is currently leading projects to test the effectiveness of a supervisor training program to prevent prolonged work disability and to determine factors associated with supervisors' support for providing work accommodations for workers with mental health concerns.

Catherine Loughlin PhD

Canada Research Chair in Management, Sobey School of Business & CN Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, Saint Mary's University

Dr. Loughlin began as Canada Research Chair in late 2005. She received her PhD in Industrial/Organisational Psychology from Queen's University and has taught in the Queen's School of Business and University of Toronto, Faculty of Management. She supervises graduate students in both Management and the Department of Psychology. She has published empirical papers in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the Journal of Applied Psychology, and the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, as well as co-authoring book chapters on work stress, workplace health and safety, and the quality of youth employment (several of these publications have been with her students). She is a reviewer for journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology and has consulted for the Government of Canada and private industry in the areas of management leadership training, work stress, and occupational health.

Karin Maiwald PhD   

Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia
Regional Practice Lead, Research Department, Interior Health

Dr. Karin Maiwald is Regional Practice Lead, Research & Knowledge Translation at the Interior Health Authority in British Columbia. She is an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Maiwald held an appointment as Student and Junior Researcher and Research Fellow in Disability Prevention, (former) Occupational Health & Safety Agency for Healthcare, Vancouver (2006-2010). Completed the Work Disability Prevention CIHR Strategic Training Program at the Universities of Sherbrooke and Toronto/Dala Lana School of Public Health, respectively (2008-2011). Before her graduate studies (In: Health Sciences and Public Health Policy, Maastricht University, the Netherlands), she gained extensive clinical experience as a Physiotherapist in the public and private sector in British Columbia (1988-2005). Additionally, Karin worked as a (Prevention Policy) Advisor, Workplace Health & Safety, Interior Health (2013). Her research interests include health and participation, focus on actual implementation of engagement (what is done in engagement practice in health and/or disability prevention research, what works, for whom, why -in continuous changing  circumstances in complicated organizations to improve care delivery and policy), disability prevention policy, return-to-work.

Karin is the lead for the Patient & Public Engagement in Research strategy, part of Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) in BC's southern interior. She has co-organized conferences held in British Columbia. Dr. Karin Maiwald is an invited scientific reviewer for Disability & Rehabilitation. She serves as a Co-Investigator and Collaborator for the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP). Earlier in her career, Dr. Maiwald conducted a set of studies that examined the differing perspectives on a provincial/regional disability prevention program, and a detailed evaluation of the implementation of a bipartite Return-to-Work process (part of bipartite policy) in the BC healthcare sector.


Linda Miller OT (C), OTD, CCPE, MEDes, CPE

Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta, in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine President/Ergonomist, EWI Works

Dr. Miller recently completed her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Boston University. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta, in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. She established EWI Works (Ergo Works Inc.) in 1991 to provide ergonomics consulting, design reviews, and user testing at both industrial and office environments. She is on the Editorial Board of WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation.

Linda is a member of the Alberta Association of Registered Occupational Therapists, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, Association of Canadian Ergonomics, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in the United States. She is a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist and holds American certification with the Board of Certified Professional Ergonomists.

Fergal O'Hagan PhD   

Assistant Professor (Limited Term), Department of Psychology, Trent University

 Dr. O’Hagan holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master’s of Science in Adapted Human Biodynamics from McMaster University and a Ph.D. in Exercise Science from the University of Toronto. Dr. O’Hagan’s experience includes progressive positions in public and private sector health care as a Clinical Kinesiologist, program manager, and private practice operator. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Trent University, Dr. O’Hagan teaches health psychology, behaviour modification, and advanced statistics and research design. His research program focuses on self-regulation and adaptation in the face of chronic disease as it relates to health behaviour and work participation. O’Hagan’s work as a postdoctoral fellow with the SSHRC CURA funded Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury Initiative examined mental health, stress and coping among injured workers with permanent impairments. Dr. O’Hagan’s work is dedicated to finding ways to help people adapt and heal so they can get back to work.

Georgia Pomaki PhD

Instructor, Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences
Manager, Mental Health Specialists, Wellness, Disability & Life, Manulife Financial

Dr. Georgia Pomaki is a mental health specialist at Manulife Financial. She is a clinical psychologist by training and has a PhD in occupational mental health. Prior to Manulife, she worked at the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare in BC and the University of British Columbia as a researcher in workplace mental health. In collaboration with stakeholders, Georgia has implemented numerous programs to improve mental health in the workplace. These programs focus on the prevention of workplace mental health issues as well as the return to work of workers with mental health conditions. Georgia is a lead author of the Best Practices for Return-to-Work/Stay-at-Work Interventions for Workers with Mental Health Conditions. She has also written more than a dozen research papers on workplace mental health and presented to both national and international conferences on the topic.

Peter Smith PhD

Senior Scientist and CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health, Institute for Work and Health
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School for Public Health, University of Toronto

Dr. Peter Smith is a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto. He also holds appointments as an associate professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and in the School of Population Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Australia. Dr. Smith has extensive experience conducting research related to work injury and its consequences using large population-based surveys and administrative workers' compensation data. His key research interests include: gender and sex differences in the relationship between work and the risk of chronic disease and work injury; labour market inequalities and their health-related outcomes; the labour market experiences of newcomers, older workers, younger workers and other vulnerable labour force subgroups; chronic illnesses and work injury; and trends in working conditions over time.

Shannon Wagner PhD, MSc, BA

Professor and Chair, School of Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia

Dr. Wagner is an Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia, in Prince George. Her research focus is occupational mental health, especially as it relates to disability management, occupational stress, trauma and family-work interface. She has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and chapters on occupational mental health. In addition to her research, teaching and service, Dr. Wagner maintains a small clinical practice. Her practice provides general psychological assessment for both children and adults and provides specific local expertise for issues of occupational mental health, especially workplace related traumatic stress.

Marc White PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia
CEO & President, Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability

Dr. Marc White is co-founder and CEO & President of the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability and research team lead on the HWP Portal project. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia. Dr. White was a principal investigator affiliated with AUTO21, Networks of Centres of Excellence (2008 – 2103). He held an appointment as Research Fellow in Medicine, Harvard Medical School and at the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology & Allergy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (2005 – 2008). Formerly a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (2003-2005). His research interests include theory-driven program development and evaluation, the utilization of academic and community partnerships to inform research development and knowledge mobilization, continuing medical education, disability prevention, consumer health education and primary care renewal.

Kelly Williams-Whitt PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Management, University of Lethbridge

Dr. Kelly Williams-Whitt is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Management at the University of Lethbridge, Calgary Campus. She was a registered nurse, and has an MBA and a PhD in Labour Relations and Human Resource Management, both from the University of Calgary. She has conducted the majority of her research in the area of return-to-work and disability accommodation. Dr. Williams-Whitt speaks frequently at conferences and has authored a number of peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters on this subject. She sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, and is the president of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association. Dr. Williams-Whitt teaches courses in managing employee health, labour relations, employment law, human resource management and workplace diversity. She also holds an appointment with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada as an adjudicator for cases falling under Part III of the Canada Labour Code.

Last Modified: 3/27/2017 10:56 AM