Research Team

Mary Forhan, PhD

Dr. Forhan is an occupational therapist and rehabilitation science researcher. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta, a quality of life research fellow and an interdisciplinary research in primary health care research fellow. Dr. Forhan is the principal investigator in a program of research focused on bariatric care and rehabilitation for patients in tertiary care programs in Alberta. Dr. Forhan's research is focused on improving the quality of health-care for patients with severe obesity, reducing disability experienced by persons with obesity and reducing the burden of obesity on the health-care system. Learn more about Dr. Forhan

Jeffrey A. Johnson, PhD

Dr. Johnson is a pharmacist and health services researcher. He is a Centennial Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, and a Senior Health Scholar with Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. Dr. Johnson leads the Alliance for Canadian Health Outcomes Research in Diabetes (ACHORD), a multi-disciplinary network of researchers with a common aim to improve the quality and efficiency of care for people living with diabetes. In September 2012, Dr. Johnson was appointed as Scientific Director for Alberta's Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition Strategic Clinical Network.

Arya M. Sharma, MD, PhD

Dr. Sharma is Professor and Chair in Obesity Research and Management at the University of Alberta as well as Medical Director of the Alberta Health Services Provincial Obesity Strategy. In 2005, he spearheaded the launch of the Canadian Obesity Network, which has remarkably transformed the landscape of obesity research and management in Canada. His research focuses on innovative approach to managing obese patients and includes the development of the Edmonton Obesity Staging System.

Geoff Ball, PhD

Dr. Ball is the Founding Director of the Pediatric Centre for Weight and Health, an inter-professional obesity management clinic at the Stollery Children's Hospital. His research in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, includes clinical trials, qualitative inquiry, epidemiology, and reviews to achieve a primary goal - generate and translate new knowledge that can optimize obesity management and prevention for children, youth and families.

David Dyer, MBA

David Dyer has worked in the health care industry for over 25 years and has multi-institutional, national and international health care experience in the fields of pediatrics, rehabilitation nursing, cancer care, business, education and research. David's current position is Acting Executive Director at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton AB. David has held management and leadership positions in Intensive Care, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Medicine most recently Cancer Care. Graduating from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, David began his career as a Respiratory Therapist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton and went on to earn his BSc in Genetics and BScN at the University of Alberta. In 2010 David graduated from the Alberta Haskayne Executive MBA program. David has been an active member of the Canadian Association of Rehabilitation Nursing representing Alberta in CARN's Board of Directors. David's recent research interests and publications include rehabilitation outcomes in bariatrics, staff safety, patient quality and safety, inter-professional education, and fall prevention.

Colleen Norris, PhD

Dr. Colleen Norris holds joint appointments at the University of Alberta's Faculties of Nursing, Medicine and School of Public Health. Her PhD, from the University of Alberta, is in clinical epidemiology and her research focuses on the health outcomes of patients with coronary artery disease. Dr. Norris, a Nurse by training, completed post-doctoral training in health outcomes research and developed the Alberta Provincial Project for Outcome Assessment in Coronary Health Disease (APPROACH) follow-up program. She has presented and published extensively in the area of cardiovascular epidemiology and health outcomes research.

Raj Padwal, MD

Dr. Padwal is a physician and health services researcher, with expertise in clinical pharmacology, general internal medicine and clinical epidemiology. He specializes in the care of adult patients with complex, multisystem disease, including (but not limited to) hypertension and other chronic cardiovascular diseases. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He is the Director of the University of Alberta Hypertension Clinic, the Co-Chair of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program Recommendations Task Force and the Director of Bariatric Care Implementation Science for the Canadian Obesity Network. He conducts health services research in severe obesity, bariatric (obesity) care delivery and hypertension.


Allyson Jones
Physical Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
University of Alberta
Robert Lederer
Associate Professor
Design Studies, Faculty of Arts
University of Alberta
Jim Raso
Senior Consultant
Research and Technology Development
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
Canadian Obesity Network

Diabetes Obesity and Nutrition Strategic Clinical Network
Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network

Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute


Kristine Godziuk

Kristine Godziuk is a PhD Candidate training under Dr. Forhan. She has a masters degree in athletic therapy, and is a certified exercise physiologist and kinesiologist with clinical experience in pediatric bariatric care. Her research looks at risk assessment, impact and prevalence of the sarcopenic obesity phenotype in adults with knee osteoarthritis.


Yilina Liubarojijin

Yilina Liubarojijin is a Masters Student currently, working on a project that explores the impact of a non-weight matched bariatric simulation suit on functional mobility in adults without obesity. It is hypothesized that by wearing the bariatric simulation suit, the balance, stability and spatial perception of individuals without obesity will be altered and similar to individuals with obesity. The findings of this study will provide information on the effectiveness of a bariatric simulation suit in helping students from health care professionals to gain a better understanding of the functional mobility of individuals with obesity.

Sophie Collins

Sophie Collins is in the last year of her MSc in Rehabilitation Sciences studying the effects of carotid chemoreceptor inhibition on exercise tolerance in patients with chronic heart failure. Working with Dr. Forhan and the BCRRG has given her the opportunity to enhance her rehabilitation and clinical knowledge, while working with a multidisciplinary team of researchers and healthcare providers.


Shelby Henry

Shelby Henry holds a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree for the University of Alberta and is currently a Master of Science student in Rehabilitation Science supervised by Dr. Forhan and Dr. Stickland. Her research focuses on the cardiovascular implications of an acute asthma exacerbation.




Elly Park

Elly Park is a Mitacs funded Post Doctoral Fellow working with the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute to evaluate and improve on current interventions for persons with co-morbidities of osteoarthritis and obesity. Her goal is to be able to personalize interventions to meet the needs of individual physical activity, nutrition, and mental health challenges. She has experience with qualitative research methods including narrative inquiry which she plans to incorporate in her post doctoral research.