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Director and J. Allan Gilbert Chair
in Medical Education Research

Carol Hodgson (Birkman), MSc, PhD


Carol S. Hodgson, MSc, PhD, received a master of science degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside in 1983 and a doctorate in education at UCLA in 1990. Before entering the field of medical education, Dr. Hodgson was a researcher in preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. In 1992, Dr. Hodgson entered the field of medical education at the UCLA School of Medicine and in 1999 became the director of the Center for Educational Development and Research. She was recruited to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 2000 and served as the director of the new Office of Educational Research and Development. In 2004, she was named the associate dean and director of the new Office of Educational Development and Research at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), School of Medicine. In 2010, she became the first J. Allan Gilbert Chair in Medical Education Research at the University of Alberta (U of A) and in 2017, the founding director of the IDEAS Office.

Dr. Hodgson is an expert in curriculum design, evaluation, educational research, faculty development and medical school accreditation. She has considerable hands-on experience with curricular change efforts at three medical schools, where she developed and implemented successful problem-based learning curricula and centralized evaluation systems. She has taught in numerous faculty development programs and as part of this work, she has trained more than 500 faculty members locally, nationally and internationally. Locally she has co-directed the UCLA, UCSF, CU Denver and U of A Teaching Scholars Programs. In addition, she was one of the original faculty members of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Fellowship in Medical Education Research, and later one of the originating faculty of the AAMC Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) program

Research Associate - Curriculum

Andrea Davila-Cervantes, MD


Andrea Davila-Cervantes, MD, is a graduate of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Dr. Davila-Cervantes trained in general surgery at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubiran and completed a fellowship in endocrine and laparoscopic surgery. She then joined the faculty at the UNAM and subsequently became the general coordinator of the Simulation Center. In 2010, she was appointed chief of integration of the Medical Sciences Department at the Faculty of Medicine at UNAM. Dr. Davila-Cervantes completed the Medical Education and Research fellowship at the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) in 2011. In 2012, she moved to Edmonton, joined the University of Alberta and served as a medical education specialist for the MD Program. Dr. Davila-Cervantes was recruited as a research associate at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's IDEAS Office in 2017.

Dr. Davila Cervantes has an extensive educational experience in the areas of curriculum development, implementation of successful problem-based learning and simulation curricula, evaluation, educational research and faculty development.

Research Librarian

Clair Birkman, MLIS


Clair Birkman, MLIS, received a master's degree of library and information science from UCLA in 1999. Upon graduation, she joined the National Library of Medicine's (NLM's) Regional Medical Library program, where she contributed to outreach and education activities for the NLM throughout the pacific southwest region of the US. In 2000, she began her appointment at the University of California San Francisco, where she served as Education Liaison to the School of Nursing and Social and Behavioral Sciences, teaching extensively as well as providing research support for faculty and graduate students.

In 2005, Ms. Birkman joined the University of Colorado Denver's Area Health Education Center, where she provided instruction and research support for clinical preceptors throughout the state of Colorado, as well as teaching in the School of Medicine's Teaching Scholars Program. She came to the University of Alberta in 2012, and since that time has taught in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's (FoMD's) Teaching Scholars Program, and provided research support to faculty in the FoMD.

Research Scientist (Qualitative)

Marghalara Rashid, MSc, PhD


Marghalara Rashid, MSc, PhD, received a bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Alberta in 2010. Following the receipt of her undergraduate degree, Dr. Rashid was admitted to the MSc program in the Department of psychiatry at the University of Alberta. After the first year of her MSc studies, she was given an opportunity to transfer to a PhD program in the Department of Pediatrics and received her PhD in Medical Sciences in December 2015.

In January 2016, Dr. Rashid started a postdoctoral fellowship on a multi-site project at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary in rehabilitation medicine. Currently, Dr. Rashid is working as a postdoctoral fellow with the IDEAS Office in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. She brings expertise in knowledge synthesis, knowledge translation and she is primarily interested in qualitative research methods.

Besides numerous awards that Dr. Rashid has received during her PhD, her doctoral project was fully funded by an Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research Investigator-Driven Grant (ACCFCR). However, as a trainee, she was unable to hold the grant. Dr. Rashid has successfully published all her PhD and postdoctoral work in high impact academic journals.

She is passionate about research and has extensive experience in handling a grant application from start to end, manuscript writing and submission. She has developed an excellent skill set of communication and performed KT activities by presenting her work in Canada and on an international scale

Research Scientist (Quantitative)

Qi Guo, MEd, PhD


Qi Guo, MEd, PhD, received his MEd and PhD degrees in Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta in 2012 and 2018. Dr. Guo's early research focused on psychometrics (e.g., Item Response Theory, Cognitive Diagnostic Assessments, and reliability) and applications of statistics (e.g., Longitudinal Structural Equation Modeling, and Multilevel Modeling) in child poverty and students' attitudes towards mistakes. Later, Dr. Guo's research focused on applications of deep learning neural networks in simulation-based assessment, automated item generation, and automated essay scoring. Currently, Dr. Guo is working as a postdoctoral fellow with the IDEAS Office in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Research Assistant

Catherine Bell, BA

Catherine Bell, BA, is a research assistant in the IDEAS Office. She received her BA in psychology at the University of Victoria in 2014, and is currently completing an after degree in elementary education at the University of Alberta (U of A).

Ms. Bell's initial research experience in 2015 was through the Summer Studentship in Health Professions Education Program in the U of A Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. She has worked on a variety of research projects, including a systematic review on disability education for health professions trainees and professionals, and a study discussing views on professionalism in medicine. She had the opportunity to present findings from the systematic review at the Celebration of Teaching at the University of Alberta and IME Conference at Keck School of Medicine in 2016, where she received the Stephen Abrahsom Award for Innovation for Outstanding Innovation.