Academic Research Team

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Lead Investigator

Karen J Goodman

Upon moving to Edmonton in 2005, Karen joined the Centre of Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research and began leading an effort to bring together researchers to help address concerns about H. pyloriinfection voiced by northern Aboriginal communities and their health care providers. Trained as an epidemiologist at the University of California, Karen had previously conducted community-based research on H. pylori infection in other high-prevalence regions of the Americas. As Lead Investigator, Karen’s role is to ensure the scientific integrity of the research, while keeping the focus on community priorities.

Senior Investigators

Christopher Fletcher

Christopher Fletcher

Trained as an anthropologist and armed with decades of experience in northern Canada, Christopher ensures the community participation and knowledge exchange dimensions of the CANHelp Working Group are not only up to standards, but innovative as well. With his expertise in visual anthropology, Christopher suggested creating a documentary about the research for the community. This idea was well received by Aklavik, and the resulting documentary “Never Say Die: The Aklavik H. pylori Project” has been appreciated by the Aklavik community, new communities joining the project, and the scientific community as well.

Safwat Girgis

Safwat Girgis

Safwat directs the pathology component of the CANHelp Working Group research program, ensuring adherence to rigorous protocols based on current guidelines for pathological assessment of gastric biopsies. He also makes himself available to help trainees understand what can be learned from our pathology data. In addition, he participates in knowledge exchange activities that communicate how his work with our team supports the pursuit of our community health research goals.

Phil Jacobs
Health Economist

Phil is a Professor of Health Economics in the University of Alberta Department of Medicine and Director of Research Collaborations at the Institute of Health Economics. He conducts research on costing health care services, economic evaluation analysis and health care financing issues.

Cindy Jardine
Risk Communication Expert

Cindy’s research interests are in the area of environmental health risk communication. Specifically, she studies means and impediments to promoting better dialogue between stakeholders for more informed decisions on risks. She views risk communication as a part of a comprehensive risk management strategy, including incorporating public perspectives into risk decision making.

Monika Keelan

Monika Keelan

Monika directs the microbiology component of the CANHelp Working Group’s research program. She received her training in H. pylori research methods from Diane Taylor, a world authority on H. pylori genetics. Her research focuses on the pathogenesis of H. pylori, as well as mechanisms and prevalence of antibiotic resistance. Learning about how H. pylori causes illness is a priority of communities participating in CANHelp research.

Sander Veldhuyzen van Zanten

Sander Veldhuyzen van Zanten

Sander directs the clinical medicine dimension of the CANHelp Working Group’s research program, overseeing, in particular the endoscopy and treatment components. His research career has focused on clinical aspects of upper gastrointestinal disorders including dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and gastric and duodenal ulcers. His H. pylori research includes its role in digestive diseases, evaluations of diagnostic tests, treatment trials and assessment of antibiotic resistance. He actively supports our northern H. pylori projects, traveling to the communities to lead the teams of doctors and nurses who carry out endoscopy and treatment, advising community health care practitioners on follow-up care for participants, and making himself available to participants who want to discuss test results, treatment or symptoms.

Yutaka Yasui

Yutaka directs our statistical methodology and advises our data analysts in its implementation. His research career has focused on developing and applying biostatistical and epidemiologic methods in the intersection of biology and clinical/public health sciences. His deep understanding of public health enhances the value of his contributions to the CANHelp Working Group. As an excellent teacher of biostatistics who has won several teaching awards, he provides invaluable guidance to our trainees.

Junior Investigators

Sally Carraher
Applied Anthropology

Sally joined the team in 2010, as a research trainee and a PhD candidate in Health Anthropology at McMaster Univerity. She conducted her dissertation research in Aklavik, NWT during September 2011-June, 2012. During that time, she worked daily with the Aklavik Health Committee, local nurses and health centre staff, and members of the community to conduct a follow-up study of H. pylori infection and re-infection in project participants, and ethnographic research on local perceptions of H. pylori, stomach cancer, and risk. Sally became our Ethnographic Fieldwork Lead in 2013, a position she hopes will get her back “in the field” often, working directly with community members, as that is her favorite part of the job! Sally now oversees the planning and implementation of ethnographic research in CANHelp Working Group projects, instructing research trainees and field researchers hired from communities in qualitative research methods, and working with the other Management Leads to develop culturally-appropriate knowledge translation and data dissemination materials. Currently, Sally is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. When she’s not working, Sally is usually hiking, biking, berry-picking, or skiing in the Chugach mountains near her home in Anchorage, Alaska.


Arianna Waye
Health Economics

Arianna joined the team as a postdoctoral fellow from July 2013 through December 2014. She holds a PhD in Medicine, specializing in Health Economics, from the University of Alberta. As Policy Lead for the CANHelp working group, she worked alongside governments in both the NWT and the Yukon to examine the cost and health benefits of treatment aimed at eliminating H. pylori, along with helping identify potentially cost-effective policy alternatives for management of this infection. Currently, Arianna is a Health Economist at the Institute of Health Economics where she conducts economic analyses for healthcare policy makers and industry. She also has an appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the University of Alberta Department of Medicine.

Cheryl Currie
Social Epidemiology

Cheryl is an Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge. In 2014, she was appointed AIHS Translational Health Chair in Aboriginal Health & Wellness. Her research explores the upstream determinants of Aboriginal health, strength and resilience in Canada. Cheryl works in partnership with urban and rural Aboriginal communities to examine health determinants and to develop and evaluate interventions that address community-identified health needs for children, youth and adults.

Amy Morse

Scientific Advisors

Michael BruceArctic Investigations ProgramCDC, Anchorage, USA
Advisor – Arctic Investigations

Richard N FedorakAssociate Vice-President (Research), University of Alberta
Advisor – Intersectoral Health Research

David FormanSection of Cancer Information, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
Advisor – Cancer Epidemiology

Sanford DawseyNutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, USA
Advisor – Cancer Pathology

Researchers in Training

Postdoctoral FellowsAnthropology

  • Megan Highet, PhD, 2015


  • Monica Sierra, PhD, Epidemiology, 2012
  • Arianna Waye, PhD, Health Economics, 2013-2014
  • Sanjay Beesoon, PhD, Environmental Health, 2014
Clinical Research TraineesFormer

  • Justin Cheung, Gastroenterology, AHFMR Clinical Research Fellow, 2007-2009
  • Amy Morse, Gastroenterology, FRCPC Therapeutics Fellow, 2008-2009
Graduate Students,
Public Health

  • Amy Colquhoun (PhD student), since 2010
  • Emily Walker (MSc student), 2011-12; (PhD student), since 2013
  • Amrit Passi (MSc student), since 2016
  • Taylor Cromarty (MSc student), since 2016


  • Justin Cheung (MSc student), 2007-2009
  • Megan Lefebre (PhD student), 2010-2012
  • Katharine Fagan-Garcia (London School of Medicine & Tropical Hygiene MSc student), 2011-2013
  • Kathleen Williams (MSc student), 2013-2016

Science Policy

  • Janis Geary (MSc student in Global Health), 2007-10; (PhD student), 2011-2017

Global Health, Other Public Health

  • Michael Arget (MPH student), 2007-2008
  • Larissa Shamseer (MSc student), 2007-2009
  • Katie Tweedie (Simon Fraser University MPH student), 2008-2011
  • Ashley Wynne (MSc student), 2010-2012
  • Laura Aplin (MSc student), 2010-2011
Graduate Students, Anthropology  Former

  • Sally Carraher (McMaster University PhD student), 2010-2013
Graduate Students, Microbiology  Former

  • Megan Burlet (PhD student), 2013
  • Enaam Idrees (PhD student), 2014
  • Roaa Alzahrani (MSc student), 2014
  • Maysoon Mahmoud (PhD student), 2008-2015
Research Assistants

  • Homun Yee, 2014-2016
  • Oanh Nguyen, 2016


  • Hamna Tariq, 2012-2016
  • Jenny Ma, 2014-2016
  • Skye Russell, since 2015


  • Miranda Wan, since 2016


  • Nuha Soliman, 2016-2017
Undergraduate Interns
  • Katie Tweedie (UA Provost / VP Academic studentship), Summer 2008
  • Alvin Keng (AIHS studentship), Summer 2011
  • Kathleen Williams (McMaster U cooperative education placement), Summer 2011; (Nasivvik studentship), Summer 2013
  • Megan Burlet (CANHelp intern) 2008, 2009; (Honours in Research Project), 2010; (CANHelp intern), 2011
  • Kristina Lea (CANHelp intern), Summer 2012; (UA Provost / VP Academic studentship), Summer 2013
  • Yashna Beesoon (Nasivvik studentship), Summer 2013
  • Deborah Carreno, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil) student, (UA Research Experience stipend), Winter 2014
  • Jingyi Ma (Alberta Cancer Foundation studentship), Summer 2014; (AIHS studentship), Summer 2015
  • Melissa Power, Dalhousie University student, (UA Research Experience stipend), Summer 2014
  • Homun Yee (AIHS studentship), Summer 2014
  • Xiaoqi Xie (International Student Work Study Program), 2014
  • Shelly Jun (Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) Stripend), Summer 2015
  • Skye Russell (URI Stripend), 2016
  • Miranda Wan (URI Stipend), Spring 2016,  (Vessie Heckbert Memorial Summer Research Award), Summer 2016  
  • Yiwen Zhang, Wuhan University (China) SPH student (Globalinks Mitacs Research Internship), Summer 2016
  • Ting Wang (AIHS studentship), Summer 2017 
Summer Students,
High School 
  • Amanda Hamm, HYRS (2011)
  • Hamna Tariq, WISEST (2011)
  • Freya Hik, HYRS (2012)
  • Arsalan Ahmed, WISEST (2012)
  • Vidhi Desai, HYRS (2013)
  • Tamanna Haque, HYRS (2015)
Field Training
  • Manal Abou-Ghaida (MPH student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Shelly Benjaminy (MSc student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Mike Blake (MPH student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Phyllis Chui (MSc student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Jessica Dutton (MSc student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Maricon Hidalgo (MSc student field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Amanda Jones (MSc student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Adrienne Macdonald (MPH student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Kim McCarthy (MPH student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Harmony Mcrae (MSc student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Mellissa Visconti (MSc student, field work in Tuktoyaktuk), 2011
  • Emelie Gustafson (MPH student, field work in Ft. McPherson), 2014
  • Amna Haque (MPH student, field work in Ft. McPherson), 2014