Our research team

INTERACT is recruiting students!

INTERACT is recruiting students to join our local teams. We offer graduate students and postdoctoral fellows advanced training opportunities in population health intervention research and opportunities for collaboration with leading researchers and policy makers across Canada. The program trains highly qualified personnel in GIS, GPS, accelerometry, epidemiology, statistics and qualitative and mixed methods, all of which are essential for urban intervention research.

Principal Investigators

Yan Kestens, PhD

Yan Kestens, PhD

Université de Montréal / CRCHUM

Yan Kestens, CIHR Applied Public Health Chair in Urban Interventions and Population Health and associate professor at Ecole de Santé Publique de l’Université de Montréal is a Principal Investigator on INTERACT. His research focuses on improving our understanding of how urban changes influences population health, considering converging objectives of sustainability, improved quality of life and reduced health inequalities. Yan develops new tools to collect and analyse spatial data and processes, including wearable sensors, and map-based online questionnaires. Offline, Yan turns to his other projects involving brewing, french sausage, and kids!

Meghan Winters, PhD

Meghan Winters, PhD

Simon Fraser University

Meghan Winters is a Principal Investigator on INTERACT, and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar. Her research focuses on ways that cities and their infrastructure can play a role in promoting healthy and safe transportation, for people of all ages and abilities. She is happiest when working in close collaboration with cities and stakeholders to conduct research and create tools that address real-world challenges. Meghan is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University and a core investigator at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility. Meghan has a PhD from the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. Out of the office, Meghan aims to spend the maximum time outside, biking, camping, picnicking and exploring with her family in tow.

Daniel Fuller, PhD

Daniel Fuller, PhD

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Daniel Fuller is a Principal Investigator on the INTERACT team and Canada Research Chair in Population Physical Activity in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University. His research is focused on using wearable technologies to study physical activity, transportation interventions, and equity in urban spaces. Dan has an MSc in Kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan, a PhD in Public Health from Université de Montréal. Dan is the Neighbourhood Factors Team co-lead of the Canadian Urban Environmental Health (CANUE) Research Consortium. He spends free time chasing his two rambunctious kids, and relives his youth playing recreational basketball on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Co-Investigators and Collaborators

Kevin Stanley, PhD

Kevin Stanley, PhD

University of Saskatchewan

Computer science – Machine learning – Tool development

Sébastien Lord, PhD

Sébastien Lord, PhD

Université de Montréal

Urban planning – Consultation process – Mixed methods

Michael Cantinotti, PhD

Michael Cantinotti, PhD

Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Mixed Methods – Mental Health – Psychology of Tech and Privacy

Catherine Morency, PhD

Catherine Morency, PhD

Polytechnique Montréal

Mobility – Active Transportation – Transit Planning

Scott Bell, PhD

Scott Bell, PhD

University of Saskatchewan

Spatial Cognition – GIScience – Health Geography

Joanie Sims-Gould, PhD

Joanie Sims-Gould, PhD

University of British Columbia

Sex and Gender Champion

Active aging – Qualitative Methods – Knowledge Translation

Geetanjali Datta, PhD

Geetanjali Datta, PhD

Université de Montréal / CRCHUM

Methods – Cancer prevention – Physical Activity

Paul Lewis, PhD

Paul Lewis, PhD

Université de Montréal

Planning policy – Transportation – Urban Design

Heather McKay, PhD

Heather McKay, PhD

University of British Columbia

Active aging – Implementation – Mobility

Nazeem Muhajarine, PhD

Nazeem Muhajarine, PhD

University of Saskatchewan

Intervention research – Maternal and Child Health – Neighbourhoods and Health

Trisalyn Nelson, PhD

Trisalyn Nelson, PhD

Arizona State University

Active Transportation – Cycling Infrastructure – Spatial Analysis

Ehab Diab, PhD

Ehab Diab, PhD

University of Saskatchewan

Land Use and Transportation – Perceptions of Transit Users – GIScience

Henry Luan, PhD

Henry Luan, PhD

University of Oregon

Collaborator

Spatio-temporal Analysis – GISscience – Health Geography

Lise Gauvin, PhD

Lise Gauvin, PhD

Université de Montréal / CRCHUM

Collaborator

Physical Activity – Health Equity – Built Environment

Martine Shareck, PhD

Martine Shareck, PhD

University of Toronto - Banting Fellow

Equity Champion

Health Equity – Social Epidemiology – Health Geography

Rania Wasfi, PhD

Rania Wasfi, PhD

Université de Montréal / CRCHUM - Postdoctoral Fellow

Collaborator

 Active transport – Methods – Geo-social determinants of health

Callista Ottoni, MAP

Callista Ottoni, MAP

University of British Columbia

Collaborator

Qualitative methods – Knowledge translation – Active aging

Students and Trainees

Meridith Sones, MPH

Meridith Sones, MPH

Simon Fraser University - PhD Population Health

Meridith is a knowledge translation strategist and PhD candidate whose research aims to advance how cities measure and understand the impact of urban change on social connectedness, health, and equity.

Built environment, social connectedness, knowledge translation

Caislin Firth, PhD

Caislin Firth, PhD

Simon Fraser University - Postdoctoral Fellow

Caislin generates necessary knowledge on how policies impact our social and built environments and influence health inequities, Her work supports action towards policy solutions that prioritize equity and ensure healthy communities for all.

Social epidemiology, health equity, knowledge translation

Nicolas Parenteau, MD

Nicolas Parenteau, MD

Université de Montréal - MSc Public Health

With a background in chemistry and medicine, Nicolas is interested in the relationship between modes of transportation and physical activity, with the goal of promoting healthy urban environments.

Transportation, physical activity, population health 

Gabrielle Rancourt

Gabrielle Rancourt

Université de Montréal - PhD Public Health

Gabrielle is a doctoral student in health promotion, interested in understanding how physical and social environments influence the well-being and mental health of populations.

Well-being, mental health, health promotion

Luana Fragoso

Luana Fragoso

University of Saskatchewan - MSc Computer Science

Luana is a Data Science Master’s student, interested in movement modelling which extracts meaningful behaviour information from location data, like GPS points, for movement analysis.

Movement behaviour, data mining, data analytics.

 

Jonathan Slaney

Jonathan Slaney

Memorial University of Newfoundland - MSc Kinesiology

Passionate about the health of people and active living, Jonathan is pursuing a master’s degree to apply his knowledge and ability to help individuals at the population level. 

Population physical activity, urban form interventions, non-communicable disease prevention

Kole Phillips

Kole Phillips

University of Saskatchewan - MSc Computer Science

Chérine Zaïm, MD

Chérine Zaïm, MD

McGill University - Master's of Public Health

Antoine Nzeyimana

Antoine Nzeyimana

University of Oregon - PhD Geography

Avipsa Roy

Avipsa Roy

Arizona State University - PhD Geography

Jaimy Fischer

Jaimy Fischer

Simon Fraser University - PhD Health Sciences

Kate Hosford

Kate Hosford

Simon Fraser University - PhD Health Sciences

Research Staff

Zoé Poirier Stephens, M.Urb

Zoé Poirier Stephens, M.Urb

Montreal Research Coordinator/ National Research Coordinator

Zoé brings together key people, resources, and data to advance and promote our research. She’s worked in political communications and research, before becoming a community organizer, where she focused on urban revitalization and ageing. She holds a Master’s of Urban Planning from McGill University. Zoé organizes her free time around food, transit, and friends.

Marina Najjar, MA

Marina Najjar, MA

Montreal Coordinator

Montreal project coordinator for INTERACT by day, couture seamstress by night, Marina is passionate about social and urban issues, particularly those relating to equity and the right to the city. She has a Masters in urban studies from Sciences Po Paris and has done urban research in Lebanon and Cairo, Egypt. You can spot her on weekends making custom-made pants!
 
Karen Laberee, MSc

Karen Laberee, MSc

Project Coordinator Victoria

Karen Laberee is the Project Coordinator in Victoria. She is also the Executive Director of BikeMaps.org. Karen has enjoyed drawing upon her experience in developing creative approaches for promoting BikeMaps.org to recruit participants in Victoria for Team Interact. When she’s not talking about biking, Karen can be found running the spectacular trails that are found just outside of Victoria.

Sylvana Tu, MPH

Sylvana Tu, MPH

Saskatoon Coordinator

Sylvana is the Project Coordinator in Saskatoon. She also works on the Improving School Food project at the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit. Sylvana comes from an interdisciplinary background with many years of laboratory and research experience from studying E.coli to grains & pulses to food waste. She has undergraduate degrees in Microbiology & Immunology and in Food Science and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Saskatchewan. In her spare time, Sylvana enjoys travelling, board games and volunteering for the Special Olympics.

Meridith Sones, MPH

Meridith Sones, MPH

Manager of Knowledge Mobilization

Meridith is a knowledge translation and communications strategist with a passion for mobilizing evidence and people around bold solutions to public health challenges. Meridith has spent the past ten years leading knowledge translation and evaluation strategies for health organizations aspiring for greater reach and impact. Her work has spanned multiple disciplines and settings, from government agencies in Canada to community organizations in Brazil and Botswana. Meridith spends most weekends playing in the mountains around Vancouver and park-hopping with her sushi-loving kids and mischievous yellow lab Kona.

Benoit Thierry, MSc

Benoit Thierry, MSc

GIS Specialist

Benoit is principally responsible for managing the spatial data collected as part of INTERACT. The rest of the time, he contributes to the work of the team by developing innovative spatial analysis techniques and geographic information systems related to population health. He also implements solutions for research and clinical interventions using multi-sensors combining GPS and accelerometers. Firmly claiming a generalist profile, he holds a telecommunications engineering degree (France) and a master’s degree in geomatics (Université Laval, Québec).  From time to time, satiated with bits and bytes, he uproots himself to southern latitudes.

Jeff Smith, PhD

Jeff Smith, PhD

Developper

Dr. Jefferson Smith is a semi-retired computer scientist and entrepreneur who couldn’t decide what he wanted to be when he grew up: a technology specialist helping socially relevant research programs deal with the complexity of software and data landscapes, or a science-fiction and fantasy author creating darkly humorous adventure landscapes in a style he calls ‘grindark.’ But then he realized that both jobs were too much fun to choose just one. So these days, Jeff spends half his week designing and implementing INTERACT’s data management pipeline, and the other half chasing imaginary people through the corridors of his mind.

Alumni

Caitlin Pugh, MSc

Caitlin Pugh, MSc

Former Project Coordinator Vancouver

Margot Gough, MPH

Margot Gough, MPH

Former Project Coordinator Saskatoon

Vanessa Brum-Bastos, PhD

Vanessa Brum-Bastos, PhD

Arizona State University

Postdoctoral Fellow

Rui Zhang, MSc

Rui Zhang, MSc

University of Saskatchewan

MSc Computer Science

Melissa Ann Tobin

Melissa Ann Tobin

Memorial University of Newfoundland

MSc Kinesiology

Sarah Bree

Sarah Bree

University of Saskatchewan

Masters in Geography

Stella Zhou

Stella Zhou

University of British Columbia

Master of Community and Regional Planning University of British Columbia

Knowledge Users

Join the team!

Apply to the INTERACT Trainee Program