The Can-SOLVE CKD core operations team is almost entirely made up of women  –  dedicated and inspired women who not only provide a variety of essential expertise but also really care about improving Canada’s research landscape for people living with chronic kidney disease. In honour of World Kidney Day and International Women’s Day, we’ve gathered some quotes about them and by them.

“Can-SOLVE CKD patient councils are the centre of the network, and the core operations team supplies the connection that keeps us moving forward in a good way,” says Cathy Woods, Co-Chair of the Patient Council and the Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Council. “I appreciate and value their support, and our team truly is amazing!”

The team has members in BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec and many of the women balance their time between Can-SOLVE CKD and responsibilities they have with partner organizations.

“These women are efficient, organized, results-oriented and clearly love what they do,” says Dr. Joanne Kappel, Co-Principal Investigator of one of the network’s 18 research projects. “They are what makes the network so great!”

In their own words:

Catherine Turner
Chantal Boucher
Grace Jauod
Heather Harris
Helen Chiu
Leah Getchell
Mila Tang
Selina Omar Allu
Theresa Lam-Hawes


Catherine Turner, Indigenous Liaison Manager:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“I am coordinating screening in BC First Nations for the Can-SOLVE CKD project,Identifying Diabetes and CKD in Indigenous Communities, increasing awareness and health wellness within communities.”

Reflections & Inspiration:
“I am honored to be a team member in the Can-SOLVE CKD Network.  I am learning to trust the process with patience, and to practice kindness, whenever and wherever possible.”


Chantal Boucher, Coordinator, KRESCENT & Can-SOLVE CKD:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“I’m working on the development of the Regional Patient Networks. The Kidney Foundation has taken the lead in this initiative that will ideally extend the role of patients involved in research and keep that approach at the forefront of research. We have our first webinar organized for March 15th to launch the BC and Northern Alberta Branches Regional Patient Networks. This is very exciting to see this finally happening!”

Reflections & Inspiration:
“I feel privileged and honoured to be part of the Can-SOLVE CKD community. Working with pioneers in patient orientated research from both the patient and researcher realms is truly fulfilling and rewarding in so many ways.”


Grace Jauod, Finance Manager:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“I’m working on the financial year-end process, making sure that all financial transactions are recorded before the year-end cut-off dates, and ensuring that financial statements are generated in an accurate and timely manner.”

Reflections & Inspiration:
“I’m inspired by Can-SOLVE CKD’s vision and goals in seeking solutions and innovations to overcome chronic kidney disease.  Even though I’m working in the background, I feel by making the most of my workday in supporting the daily activities of the network, I’m contributing to network goals and gaining personal fulfillment.”


Heather Harris, Director:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“This whole thing. I’d have to say it’s moving the needle. Culture change; pushing the needle from business as usual to a new way of engaging patient partners in the research enterprise.”

Reflections & Inspiration:
“I’ve worked my entire career in health research. It’s the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, to have a part in changing the culture of health research to be more inclusive, and the people I am privileged to work with – patient partners, research team members, stakeholders and our core team. That’s why I do what I do.”


Helen Chiu, Patient Engagement Liaison:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“I’m working on the development of a learning pathway to enable partners in patient-oriented research to build culturally safe and respectful partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities in health research.”

Reflections & Inspiration:
 “It’s an honour and privilege to work with patients, researchers and other awesome partners in transforming kidney research together. I enjoy learning from everyone in this network, especially from our patient partners; their dedication, passion and hope are such tremendous inspiration that gives me strength to do what matters.”


Leah Getchell, Patient Engagement & Training Facilitator:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“We are about to begin piloting a unique storytelling program with our patient partners. We heard from the network that learning how to craft and share impactful patient stories within our health research context was a top priority. We’ll be highlighting three of these curated stories at the CANA Summit in May.”

Reflections & Inspiration:
 “My mother was a professional storyteller and I lost her to kidney disease almost four years ago. It’s a beautiful gift to now be in a role where I can facilitate opportunities for current kidney patients and their families to share their own stories. This not only enhances our research but ultimately enhances the lives of those patients and family members affected by kidney disease. I couldn’t feel more grateful to be involved in this work.” #inhermemory


Mila Tang, Project Manager:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“One of my roles has been to develop and support an annual project review process by the Research Operations Committee with the purpose to support the Can-SOLVE CKD projects in doing good science, being on track, engaging patients, and making sure the knowledge gained is spread.”

Reflections & Inspiration:
“Can-SOLVE CKD embodies the value of working smart by bringing different perspectives together to enrich research with the focus on making real-world impacts in healthcare. I’m inspired to play my part along with the brilliant patients and researchers who bring their passion to their work and who are fighting for a better future.”


Selina Omar Allu, Knowledge Translation Broker:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“I’m currently helping the network create sustainable structures for supporting knowledge translation. Specifically, this includes building capacity and strategic direction for the network’s Knowledge User/Knowledge Translation Committee, developing an online “KT Principles” Module, and facilitating participation of network patient partners in national events like the joint CANA/Can-SOLVE CKD/CSN Symposium.”

Reflections & Inspiration:
“I have been in the kidney world for more than six years and I have been fortunate to work with some incredible mentors (Joanne Kappel, Braden Manns, Brenda Hemmelgarn, Cello Tonelli, Adeera Levin, Heather Harris, to name a few) who have personally taken the time to see my strengths and nurture that development. I am inspired by these brilliant minds; I’ve had opportunities to meet amazing researchers, patients, policy makers, etc., who genuinely want to help people with kidney disease. Being a “people-person” I am blessed to have a job that allows me to do what I love most; meet people and connect them to others!”


Theresa Lam-Hawes, Administrative Coordinator:
One big initiative I’m working on:
“The Annual Meeting: My role is to plan and implement our one annual event that brings all our patient partners and researchers together for a face-to-face gathering and update on our network activities. I am responsible for ensuring that all the logistical details are handled, which includes coordinating venue selections, food and beverage, audio-visual needs, transportation, travel and accommodations, meeting materials, etc.”

Reflections & Inspiration:
“I am inspired by the concept of patient-oriented research and hope that my contributions in facilitating our network will eventually make a difference to the lives of those suffering from chronic kidney disease.”

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