The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is a sub-committee of The Arthritis Society's National Board of Directors. The SAC's role is to advise The Arthritis Society on matters pertaining to arthritis science and research, specifically, but not exclusively –
- National strategic priorities for arthritis science research
- Planning and direction
- New initiatives
- Research and Career Development scientific program structure
- Arthritis Society interface with other research funding agencies
- Arthritis Society partnerships; e.g. Industry, Governments
- Allocation of resources
- Timely issues as they arise
Dr. Marc Pouliot (Chair)
Dr. Pouliot is a professor in the Department of microbiology-infectiology & immunology (faculty of medicine) at Laval University in Quebec City. He established his group in the Centre de recherche en rhumatologie-Immunologie du CHUQ in 2000, where he leads a program that develops knowledge on the implication of the white blood cells in arthritis and pain, with emphasis on pathways that are involved in resolution of inflammation. Dr. Pouliot regularly publishes papers in the area of arthritis, inflammation and pain; current focus includes the anti-inflammatory properties of adenosine and other cyclic-AMP-elevating agents.
Additional information about his program can be found on his Laval University web page.
Dr. Pouliot did his undergraduate studies in biochemistry, and graduate studies (M.Sc & Ph.D) in cellular & molecular biology, at Laval University. He received a Medical Research Council (MRC) award to conduct post-doctoral studies in the rheumatology department of the University of Adelaide (Australia). Then, with a Centennial postdoctoral fellowship award (from MRC), he continued his work at the Brigham & Women's Hospital (Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA), specializing in neurogenic inflammation.
Since becoming an independent investigator, Dr. Pouliot received numerous awards from funding organizations, including the Canadian Pain Society (Young Investigator), the Banting Research Foundation (Young Investigator), the Canadian Arthritis Network (Scholar), the Arthritis Society and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (New Investigator) and the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (Senior Investigator). He currently receives support from CIHR, The Arthritis Society, CAN and the NIH.
Dr. Pouliot is currently the co-chair of the Training and Education Committee, and a regular member of the Research and Management Committee, at the Canadian Arthritis Network (CAN). At The Arthritis Society, Dr. Pouliot is a regular member the Scientific Advisory Council. He is also a regular member and scientific officer on the BCA review committee at CIHR, and a member of the Senior Scholarship Committee (Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research). Moreover, he is on the Editorial advisory board of the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty-Acids, and Associate Editor for The Journal of Immunology
Dr. John Robert Matyas (Former Chair)
Dr. John Robert Matyas, a native of Ithaca, NY received his Bachelor's of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1978 with a major in Biology. After working as a technologist in bone marrow transplantation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he returned to earn a M.Sc. in Medical Science (Orthopaedic Pathology) from Cornell University 1985 under the supervision of Dr. Peter Bullough). He had a short stint in radiopharmaceutical research at Squibb before returning to academia and earning his Ph.D. in Medical Science at the University of Calgary 1990 under the supervision of Dr. Cy Frank. Dr. Matyas did a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary under the supervision of then Arthritis Society Chair, Dr. Mark Adams, before being appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary. Dr. Matyas served as a Scholar and Investigator of The Arthritis Society until 2008, and currently holds an appointment as Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary (2006). Dr. Matyas has been a Member of the Canadian Arthritis Network since its inception.
Dr. Matyas has served on the Scientific Advisory Committee of The Arthritis Society since 2005. Dr. Matyas currently holds competitive research operating support from CAN, NSERC, CIHR, NIH, and the Alberta Cancer Board. His primary research interests include: Comparative animal models of joint injury and repair; the contribution of progenitor cells to skeletal healing in arthritis and cancer; functional imaging of connective tissues (cartilage, bone, intervertebral disc), the stereology of connective tissues (NSERC).
Dr. Ciarán M. Duffy
Dr. Jeff Dixon
Dr. Jeff Dixon is a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and Division of Oral Biology in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario. He also serves as Co-Director of the multicentre Joint Motion Program – a CIHR Training Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research and Leadership.
Dixon received his DDS from The University of Western Ontario in 1977. After 3 years in general practice, he obtained specialty certification in Periodontics (1985) and a PhD in Oral Biology (1986) from the University of Toronto. He carried out postdoctoral research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (1985-1987). Dixon returned to The University of Western Ontario in 1987, supported by an MRC Development Grant (1987-1997). Dixon's research focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the formation and destruction of bone. Goals are to understand the physiological regulation of these processes and to identify therapies to inhibit bone loss and stimulate bone formation. Dixon has supervised numerous graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists. Trainees under his supervision have won local, national and international awards for their research.
Dixon serves on the editorial board of the journals Purinergic Signalling and Bone, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, one of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). He is past-president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research and has served as member, scientific officer and chair of several committees for the CIHR. Dixon was a founding member of the Canadian Arthritis Network (CAN), one of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence. Within CAN, he has been a member of the Research Management Committee and Chair of the Training and Education Committee. From 2001-2009, Dixon served as Director of the CIHR Group in Skeletal Development and Remodeling, an interdisciplinary team focusing on basic and applied aspects of musculoskeletal and dental health research.
Dr. Paul Fortin
Dr. Fortin obtained his medical degree from 'Université Laval' in Quebec City and graduated from McGill University in Rheumatology. He then obtained a Master's in Public Health from Harvard University School of Public Health. He followed three years of special training in clinical epidemiology as a Harvard post-doctoral research fellow under the direction of Dr. Matthew H. Liang at the Robert Breck Brigham Multi-Purpose Arthritis Center of the Brigham and Women's Hospital. He returned as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill University and to the Montreal General Hospital/McGill University Health Centre and Research Institute between 1992 and 2000, where he was funded uninterruptedly by operating grants from The Arthritis Society (TAS) and/or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Dr. Fortin joined the staff of Toronto Western Division/University Health Network (UHN) and Research Institute in 2000 as a Clinician Scientist and Director of Clinical Research for the Arthritis Centre of Excellence. He became Full Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto in 2007 and held cross-appointments as staff at the Hospital for Sick Children and as Associate Professor at the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation of the University of Toronto. In August 2011, he moved to Quebec City, Canada and became Full Professor with tenure at Université Laval and Clinician-Scientist at the 'Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec'.
Dr. Fortin has been working on a better understanding of the bio-psycho-social impact of chronic rheumatic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARD), osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. He is particularly interested in developing interventions for the treatment of SLE, APS and SARD.
His methodological interests cover the development and validation of health status measures and other clinical tools such as measures of disease activity or damage in SLE. His other methodological interests include the development of risk profiles for arterial or venous thrombosis in APS, the testing of treatments of disease activity or cardiovascular disease in SLE, or the validation of biological markers in osteoarthritis.
In 1995, he created the Canadian Network for Improved Outcomes in SLE (CaNIOS) with the specific goal of running a multi-centre, randomized, and controlled Study of Methotrexate in Lupus Erythematosus (SMILE). CaNIOS brought together many lupus experts who, despite their limited individual cohorts, were able to pool information for the completion of SMILE. CaNIOS is now conducting several CIHR and TAS funded national studies, including the recently funded project on 'Empowering Patients as Active Partners in Their Care: Lupus Interactive Navigator (LIN)', 'The Dissemination of the Lupus Health Passport', 'Health Improvement and Prevention Program for Persons with SLE' (HIPP study), 'Lupus Nephritis New Emerging Team' (LuNNET), 'Genetic and Environmental Factors in SLE' (GenES Study), and 'Role of Thrombophilic Factors in Persons with SLE' (ThromboFIL study). Also, CaNIOS is building a national database, a clinical trial infrastructure through support from the Lupus Clinical Trial Consortium and a training environment for young researchers.
Dr Fortin received the Kirkland Scholar Award in 2007, and he received the prestigious Distinguished Senior Research Investigator Award from The Arthritis Society of Canada. In 2010, he received the Hope Award from the Lupus Ontario to recognize his outstanding leadership in improving the lives of people with lupus.
Dr. Monique Gignac
Monique Gignac is a Senior Scientist with the Division of Health Care and Outcomes Research at the Toronto Western Research Institute and an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She is also an Adjunct Scientist with the Institute for Work and Health. In 2008, she became Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Arthritis Network, a Networks of Centres of Excellence and in 2011 became Interim Chair of the CIHR's Institute for Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis Advisory Board. She has served on CIHR's Social Dimension in Aging (SDA) review committee and on CIHR Team Planning and Development grants. She is also an Associate Editor for Arthritis Care & Research.
Dr. Gignac's research expertise is in the areas of health and social psychology. Her research examines psychosocial factors like stress, coping, and adaptation and their importance in understanding the impact of arthritis and other chronic diseases in the lives of adults across the life span. In particular, her work focuses on ways to enable people with chronic disease to maintain involvement in employment and other valued roles and activities. She also conducts research related to social support and participation among persons with Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and glaucoma.
Dr. Joanne Homik (MAC Chair)
Dr. Homik earned her MD degree from the University of Manitoba in 1986. Her internal medicine training was done at the University of Manitoba and her Rheumatology training was completed at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. In 1998, she obtained her MSc in Public Health Sciences from the University of Alberta. After a brief post-doctoral program at the Health Technology Assessment Unit at the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, she joined the Staff at the University of Alberta Hospital. She has recently been promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. Since 2003, Dr. Homik has been the Director of the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Alberta.
Dr. Homik has been a reviewer for the Cochrane Collaboration's Musculoskeletal Group and is currently the U of A representative for the Canadian Cochrane Network. She is the Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee of The Arthritis Society and a member of the national board of The Arthritis Society. She is currently Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Canadian Rheumatology Association. She has extensive experience in clinical trials and systematic reviews. She is active in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and promoting evidence based medicine via her involvement in the Cochrane Collaboration and the U of A Evidence Based Practice Centre.
Ms. Heather Howe
Heather Howe is a corporate lawyer who practiced with McCarthy Tetrault until January 2000. She was a partner specializing in securities law applicable to investment funds. She now acts on specific legal projects on a part-time basis and is active in charitable and not-for-profit activities. Heather is a Past-Chair of the Board of The Arthritis Society, Ontario Division, and a member of the National Board of Directors. She is Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the National Board. She is also a member of the Board of the Bishop Strachan School.
Heather grew up in Ottawa and attended Carleton University, receiving her Hons. B.A. in 1974 prior to working for National Museums of Canada for four years. She attended Osgoode Hall Law School from 1978 to 1981 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1983. She qualified to practice in New York State in 1985, while working for Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City.
Heather is married to Greg A. Reed and they have two children in university.
Mr. Drew McArthur
Drew joined the BC and Yukon divisional advisory board of The Arthritis Society in January 2008, after retiring from a rewarding 35 year career with TELUS Communications. At retirement, Drew was vice president corporate affairs and compliance officer for TELUS, and he wanted to provide his experience learned in the business community to the work of the society. He soon learned that there was much more work to be done than just providing experience and expertise.
There are so many aspects of arthritis that need our ongoing support, including the staff and volunteers of The Society who develop the programs and materials that educate and fundraise, the researchers who devote their careers to finding insights into the disease, and the medical practitioners who work daily with those affected directly by arthritis. It is for these reasons that those who work within the arthritis community must continue to reach out to others, to inform, educate, assist and encourage others to become active in some way to support the ongoing work of The Society.
The learning curve has been steep for Drew, and since joining the BC board he has been involved with Medical Advisory Committee in B.C., a group of dedicated medical practitioners who provide their insight and expertise to The Society; the Advocacy Committee, which has worked to determine those areas that need the most focus for supporting the pillars of The Society; as well as involvement in fundraising and supporting The Society in general.
Dr. Carlo Marra
Dr. Marra is an associate professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is also the Director of the Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) located at UBC. The mission of CORE is to improve health-related outcomes to drug therapy through the application of the best in research, education, and practice enhancement strategies. This involves collaboration with other outcomes researchers, professional organizations, and policy makers. Dr. Marra has published over 145 peer-reviewed articles and has been invited to present nationally and internationally at over 80 events/meetings.
Dr. Marra did his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of British Columbia in Pharmacy, Health Economics, and Epidemiology. He went on to complete a Postdoc with the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada in Arthritis Epidemiology and Pharmacoepidemiology. He currently holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Pharmaceutical Outcomes. In addition to his CRC award, Dr. Marra has received awards from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the International Society of Quality of Life Research, the Canadian Arthritis Network,the Medical Research Council of Canada/Arthritis Society, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He currently receives support from CAN NCE, CIHR, Genome Canada and Genome BC.
Dr. Marra is currently a member of the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee, National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities; American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Guidelines Subcommittee; CIHR Operating Grant Evaluation Committee – Health Services Research;
DSEN CIHR Evaluation Committee; British Columbia Clinical Genomics Network Management Committee; Management Team, PROOF National Centre for Excellence; National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee, NAPRA; BC Ministry of Health Drug Review Resource Committee; BC Ministry of Health Drug Benefits Committee. Moreover, he is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and the Canadian Pharmacist's Journal, and Section Editor, Evidence-Based Pharmacotherapy. He is also a reviewer for over 30 peer reviewed journals.
Dr. Paul Salo
Dr. Salo is the chief of orthopaedics at the Foothills Medical Centre and an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary. He holds a Senior Scholar award from Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions. His clinical interest is the treatment of spinal disorders and injuries.
His laboratory at the McCaig Institute for Joint Injury and Arthritis Research is investigating ligament and tendon healing in animal models with a focus on the mechanisms by which the nervous system promotes inflammation, angiogenesis and healing.
Dr. Salo received his medical training at the University of Toronto, followed by a surgical residency in Calgary. He then did a Clinical Fellowship in Spine Surgery at the Toronto Hospital. He was then funded by The Arthritis Society to complete his research training in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto and was subsequently appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto from 1993 to 1998. He received a Clinical Investigator Award from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research in 1998 and relocated to the University of Calgary. His research continues to be supported by Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.