ACT-AEC Coordination Team: Alexander Lim, David Cameron, Aviva Blacher, P.J Devereaux, Ipsita Banerjee, Eva Friedman, Sarah Kuiper, Heather Gill

What We Do

We advance equitable access to trials for all Canadians – no matter where they live, inclusive of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status – following the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in clinical trials such that the knowledge gained is applicable to all those affected.

ACT Operating Committee (AOC)

Dr. PJ Devereaux is AOC Co-Chair, and a Senior Scientist at the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, has led many large international RCTs that have impacted perioperative care globally. These trials have randomized >33,000 patients at >300 centres in >30 countries. He has published >400 peer-reviewed papers, including 14 in the New England Journal of Medicine, 11 in The Lancet, and 11 in JAMA, and he has an h-index of 109. He has received over $296 million in research funding, and he holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. He has won 30 research awards, 5 teaching awards, and a mentorship award; 12 researchers he has mentored now lead their own international RCTs.

Dr. Guy Rouleau is AOC Co-Chair, and the Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University. He has >900 peer-reviewed articles and has received >$78M in CIHR and other research funding. He has led several multinational research networks and is co-founder of the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute. He was a founder and CEO of a biotech company (RGS Genome Inc) that merged with Xenon Pharmaceuticals in 2000. Xenon is now traded on Nasdaq with a capitalization of $2 billion. He has served on the boards of several biotechnology companies (e.g., ALS Pharma, Acanthas Pharma Inc, Bioaxone) and is a consultant for some venture capital firms. Dr. Rouleau has received the Order of Canada, Order of Quebec, and Gairdner-Wightman Award.

Dr. Wayne Clark is a member of the AOC and is the ACT Indigenous Peoples Champion. He is an Inuk healthcare leader and early career researcher. Dr. Clark is Executive Director of the Indigenous Health Program at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. He worked closely with Inuit (Nunavut and Manitoba) in COVID-19 Inuit identified diagnostic tests and has contributed extensively to health and social policy for the Inuit in Manitoba. Dr. Clark also engaged Manitoba First Nations and other Indigenous communities on health system transformation and digital health to draft the Indigenous Partnership Strategy for Shared Health Manitoba.

Dr. Dean Fergusson is a member of the AOC and the Co-Chair of the ACT Systems Transformation Committee. He is the Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI). An international leader in transfusion medicine, his trials have advanced knowledge and practice on the optimal blood products to transfuse, establishing timelines to administer transfusions, and evaluating transfusion alternatives. His methodological work in the areas of pragmatic trials, clinical equipoise, post-randomization exclusions, ethical use of placebos, and statistical approaches has influenced the practice and reporting of clinical trials globally. He has received >$250M in peer-reviewed research grants. He is one of the most cited and impactful clinical trialists in Canada, having published >650 peer-reviewed articles, many in high-impact journals.

Dr. Amit Garg is a member of the AOC and the Co-Chair of the ACT Scientific Committee. He is the Associate Dean for Clinical Research at Western University, where he is working with partners at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Lawson Health Research Institute, and Alimentiv (formerly Robarts Clinical Trials) to help faculty plan and execute trials. He has substantial experience with Canada’s healthcare administrative data and has led several large, pragmatic, registry based RCTs. He has published >600 papers and his h-index is 109. In 2021 he received the Hellmuth Prize, Western University’s highest distinction for sustained excellence in research.

Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw is a member of the AOC and the Co-Chair of the ACT Knowledge Mobilization Committee. He has a Canada Research Chair in Health Knowledge Transfer and Uptake, and he is a Senior Scientist at the OHRI and a professor at the University of Ottawa School of Epidemiology & Public Health. He trained as a family physician in the UK before undertaking a PhD in health services research at the University of Aberdeen. He is a world leader in the evaluation of interventions to disseminate and implement evidence-based practice and has been awarded the CIHR Knowledge Translation award twice and the 2018 CIHR Barer-Flood career achievement award for health services and policy research.

Dr. Corinne Hohl is a member of the AOC and the Co-Chair of the ACT Canadian Emergency Department Rapid Response Network. She is a clinician scientist at the University of British Columbia, and her research expertise spans RCTs and drug safety and effectiveness. She holds >$16M in funding, with over 90 peer-reviewed publications. She chairs the Canadian COVID-19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network’s Steering and Executive Committees.

Ms. Catherine Joyes is a member of the AOC. She has worked for the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University since 2015. In her current role as Associate Director of Clinical Research, she provides operational oversight for the various initiatives within the School’s clinical research enterprise, including the advancement of its trials platform which includes pragmatic, First-in-Human, and standard trial streams. Prior to joining Schulich’s research department, Catherine managed the secretariat of the Southwestern Academic Health Network. She also worked for Western University from 1997-2002, as a member of the Prospect Research team in Advancement Services, part of the External Relations Department at Western.

Ms. Susan Marlin is a member of the AOC and Co-Chair of the ACT Ethics Working Group. She is in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University, and she is the President and CEO of Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO), leading development and growth over the past decade with programs to streamline research ethics review, speed up RCT start-up, decentralize trial procedures, and engage patients and the public to improve trials. She is the NPA of the CIHR-funded CHEER Project, a 5-year grant focused on achieving a single research ethics review for multiple site studies across Canada. She is a past president of the Canadian Association for Research Ethics Boards (CAREB), has served on REBs, and has significant clinical trials (Canadian Cancer Trials Group) and institutional research leadership experience (e.g., Associate Vice-Principal Research, Queen’s University).

Dr. Emily McDonald is a member of the AOC and Co-Chair of the ACT Communications Working Group. She is an early career researcher at McGill University and the Scientific Director of the Canadian Deprescribing Network. She has published >110 peer-reviewed manuscripts in journals such as NEJM, JAMA Network, and BMJ (including 7 RCTs). She has received ~$4M in funding for the conduct of RCTs in medication appropriateness and optimal treatment of infectious diseases. She has supervised >30 HQP. She was the recipient of the McGill Department of Medicine Early Career Investigator award (2020) and the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine New Investigator award (2017).

Dr. Stuart Nicholls is a member of the AOC. He is the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) Program Facilitator at the Office for Patient Engagement in Research Activities (OPERA) within the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He has >100 peer reviewed publications, $47 million in research funding, and leads a program of research to develop patient engagement methods in clinical research.

Dr. Louise Pilote is a member of the AOC and the ACT Sex and Gender-Based Analysis Champion. She is a Professor of Medicine at McGill University and holds the Distinguished James McGill Chair. She is the Deputy Director of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, co-founder of the Canadian Organization for Sex and Gender Sciences, and co-chair of the Health Canada scientific advisory committee on women’s health care products. She is a sex and gender scientist who developed a gender measure to assess the impact of gender on cardiovascular outcomes, which is used internationally, and one of the first to use Canadian administrative databases to conduct a registry trial on report cards. She also conducts comparative effective studies to assess sex differences in the safety and effectiveness of cardiac drugs and devices to supplement evidence-based trials. She has published >350 publications, and her h-index is 83.

Dr. Denis Prud’homme, MD, MSc, is the President and Vice-Chancellor of the Université de Moncton. He was previously associate vice-president, research and scientific director of the Institut du Savoir Montfort. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in human kinetics before becoming an MD in sports medicine. He has been a full professor at the School of Human Kinetics of the University of Ottawa, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. Dr. Prud’homme’s studies focus on the effects of physical activity, nutrition, and medication on different populations with health problems. He also studies how language barriers affect health, specifically how such barriers affect access to high-quality, safe health care for members of the Francophone minority communities.

Dr. Lawrence Richer is a member of the AOC and the Co-Chair of the ACT Systems Transformation Committee. He is a Professor of Pediatrics at the U of Alberta and holds the Alberta Health Services Chair in Health Informatics Research. He established the data coordinating center at the Women and Children’s Health Center, and supports several national clinical trials. He serves as the new Associate Dean of Health Research for the College of Health Sciences at the U of A, with the aim to enhance multidisciplinary research across health disciplines, as well as the Vice Dean of Research (clinical) in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. As Director of the Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre (NACTRC), he oversees all clinical trials at the U of A. He is a practicing pediatric neurologist with research interests in pediatric headaches.

Alexander Lim has more than 10 years of health sector experience at the local, regional, provincial, and pan-Canadian levels. As a health system leader, his work has focused on health system transformation, program development and implementation, and quality improvement. Alex holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto, a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Law degree specializing in Health Law from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University). He is also a certified Project Management Professional.

Patient Engagement Committee

Manuel Escoto is the Patient, Family, and Donor Partnerships & Education Manager with The Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program (CDTRP). Within CDTRP, Manuel supports the integration of patient, family, and donor (PFD) partners into research projects and in CDTRP’s governance and leadership activities. He also leads CDTRP’s patient engagement capacity-building activities. Before joining CDTRP, Manuel was the Community Development and Communications Manager with The Kidney Foundation. In this role, he connected with patients and families impacted by kidney health, organ donation, and transplantation to help them navigate the health system. He was also responsible for educational initiatives increasing the awareness of The Kidney Foundation, kidney disease, and organ donation. As a kidney transplant recipient, he’s developed a passion for donation and transplantation policy and research and advocates for the meaningful integration of patient partners in research, policy development, and knowledge mobilization initiatives. He has a Master of Public Health and has experience developing evidence-based policy recommendations with government and community-based research organizations.

Alicia Murdoch is a certified Clinical Research Professional (ACRP-CP) with over 14 years of clinical research experience. Prior to joining Can-SOLVE CKD, she worked as a research coordinator, review manager at a Research Ethics Board (REB) and ethics and regulatory coordinator for phase 2 and 3 clinical trials. Her past employment experiences have given her a wide breadth of knowledge about the research process. In her current role as a Can-SOLVE CKD Network project manager, she is responsible for the Canadian Nephrology Trials Network and Can-SOLVE CKD Network Pediatric Committee, helping these core infrastructures move their initiatives and ideas forward in the pursuit of improving the lives of those affected by chronic kidney disease.

ACT Coordinating Centre

Dr. Salim Yusuf is Executive Director of the ACT Coordinating Centre, PHRI, and a principal applicant of the ACT consortium. He has led >50 major RCTs in >100 countries and several of these have changed medical practice worldwide. He has published >1200 articles in refereed journals, he was the second most cited researcher in the world in 2011, and the highest cited researcher in cardiology for several years. He is the highest cited scientist in the world for clinical trials, 8th in all fields of medicine combined, 2nd in Canada, and has the 17th highest h-index (267) globally. He has set standards for large simple trials, and has established a network for clinical trials at >1000 centres in >60 countries. He has received >70 awards including the Order of Canada, Gairdner-Wightman Award, Killam Prize, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, and awards from many major international cardiology societies including the World Heart Federation’s Lifetime Research Achievement Award. He has served on advisory committees for the US FDA, and has obtained regulatory approvals based on his research for new drugs in Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe.