Warren Brock

Communications Manager

Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, Southern Medical Program
Office: Reichwald Health Sciences Centre
Phone: 250.807.8601
Email: warren.brock@ubc.ca


Introduce yourself: who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Liisa, I’m a PhD candidate in the Translational Integrative Physiology Lab. I’ve also taught anatomy, neuroanatomy, and histology to first- and second-year medical students at the Southern and Frasier Valley campuses of UBC medicine. I am also a kindergarten to grade 3 science teacher at the Balsam school and a wrestling coach.

What is CAME Rising Star award?
The Canadian Association for Medical Educators Rising Star Certificate of Excellence Award is an award given to a medical student, resident, and graduate student from every medical school for demonstrating passion and commitment to medical education. I have been fortunate enough to be nominated and win for UBC across all 4 campuses.

What about educating youth in medicine speaks to you?
I originally started teaching because I thought it was a great way to make myself learn neuroanatomy in great detail for my own work. While I certainly had to do that to be an effective teacher, I wound up being more excited when students would ask me questions, I didn’t know the answer to because it’s an opportunity to learn something new I had never considered before. This actually happens just as often when I teach kindergarteners as when I teach medical students!

What does this recognition mean to you personally and professionally?
I try to do my best at every task I am given, but for the effort to be noticed by your boss is always a good feeling! Dr. McCorquodale is an important role model in teaching and leadership for me. To be her nominee for this award is the highest honour to me. I am very proud to represent the CCDPM, SMP and UBC as both an educator and grad student.

What are your future aspirations?
I’d really like to finish my PhD! I think I will always do something that has to do with science communication and education, whether that be in academia, industry, or government.

Name: Nathan Adams
Supervisor: Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis
Program of study: PhD in Kinesiology

What’s your research focus ?
My research focus is investigating sedentary behaviour among people with spinal cord injury. Sedentary behaviours—especially sitting—have received attention in media and scientific literature as being connected to chronic diseases, psychological conditions, and mortality. People with spinal cord injury are less active than other population groups, and as a result of spinal cord injury they also sit for much of their day. Very little research has explored if the negative outcomes connected to sedentary behaviour are the same in people with SCI, or what solutions would be useful to reduce the impact of these behaviours.

Why did you come to UBC Okanagan to pursue your graduate studies?
I have been hoping to come to UBC Okanagan to specifically work with Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis since my undergraduate degree where I first started studying physical activity and people with spinal cord injury. Dr. Martin Ginis is a world leader in this field, continually leading international collaborations, and setting an amazing example of high quality scholarship with a focus on community engagement.

What do you love about living in the Okanagan?
The potential for exploration has been my favorite part about living in the Okanagan. In the summers, I love cycling both to commute to campus and also to explore the pathways in Kelowna, and I have learned to love winters and the cold by learning to ski and play hockey. I would never have jumped into those activities without the opportunities in the Okanagan and Canada and buddies who have helped me learn them along the way.

Where’s your favourite place in the world to visit?
My favorite places to visit are sports games back home, watching the Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Kraken with my dad and my brother. I learned to love sport and physical activity while watching sports, and I improved my math skills by analyzing sports statistics. Now it is one of the ways we best stay connected.

What’s your most frequently used emoji?
Cowboy hat emoji 🤠

Dr. Femke Hoekstra has been appointed Assistant Professor (tenure-track) with the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, Division of Social Medicine and an Investigator with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM) in the area of Implementation Science.

Dr. Hoekstra holds a Doctor of Philosophy, PhD from the University of Groningen in the areas of implementation science, rehabilitation, and physical activity promotion. In addition, she completed an MSc in Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

For the past six years, she has served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the UBC Okanagan Faculty of Health and Social Development’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences and is the 2023 Postdoctoral Fellow Research of the Year. Dr. Hoekstra’s research focuses on improving health services and care for equity-deserving groups in rural, remote and other isolated communities by studying implementation processes of health innovations in real-world settings.

Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis named to the Royal Society of Canada for 2023.

Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis, a professor in the UBC faculty of medicine’s department of medicine and CCDPM Director, has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) for 2023.

Fellows are elected by their peers for their outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement. They are distinguished individuals from all branches of learning who have made remarkable contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in Canadian public life.

Dr. Martin Ginis, also the Reichwald Family UBC Southern Medical Program Chair in Preventative Medicine and director of the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, is the international authority on physical activity behaviour-change interventions and psychosocial outcomes in people with disabilities.

Her innovations in theory, measurement, intervention design and knowledge-translation are used worldwide. She has led international teams that have developed, tested, published and implemented hundreds of evidence-based tools and programs, while advancing scientific rigour and understanding of physical activity behaviour among people with disabilities.

“For over 25 years, I have worked collaboratively with an amazing team of trainees, scientists, and staff to improve the health and well-being of people with disabilities – an equity-owed group often overlooked in health research,” Dr. Martin Ginis said. “I am deeply honoured to become a new Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. This prestigious recognition is another glowing affirmation of my decision to come to UBC Okanagan where my research can flourish in a dynamic, energetic, and supportive environment.”

She is among 10 UBC researchers who were announced by the RSC as new Fellows and as new Members of the RSC College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and among 101 newly-elected Fellows across Canada. The 2023 Fellows and Members will be welcomed into the RSC in November, at the RSC Celebration of Excellence and Engagement.

Dr. Sarah Purcell sits with food and measuring cups.UBC Okanagan professor Dr. Sarah Purcell is now being recognized as a world-class researcher. As part of the latest funding announcement from the federal government, Dr. Purcell, an Assistant Professor in the Southern Medical Program and in the Department of Biology, is the new Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism in Chronic Disease. Dr. Purcell, who is also an Investigator for the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, focuses her research on understanding human energy balance in people with chronic diseases, both through the food they’re eating and how that energy is burned. Energy balance for people with chronic diseases—such as obesity, cancer or diabetes—hasn’t been as well studied as for healthy populations. However, chronic diseases can have significant impact on factors like appetite, physical activity levels and even how many calories someone might burn while at rest. “I’m very honoured to receive this award,” says Dr. Purcell. “It’s going to help us understand these really complex questions of what impacts energy balance in people with chronic disease. Currently, there’s not enough data for these populations to have targeted and evidence-based recommendations for energy intake. In the big picture, perhaps in the next 20 years, I’d love to have more effective nutrition recommendations for these groups.” Thanks to a partnership between the Canada Research Chair (CRC) program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leadership Fund, Dr. Purcell also received funding to build her lab at UBC Okanagan. This infrastructure will include equipment to measure body composition, or the amount of someone’s muscle and fat, as well as different tools for the lab to measure how many calories people burn and how much food they eat.
Dr. Purcell stands in front of open fridge and smiles at research participant.

In the Experimental Behaviour Kitchen, Dr. Purcell’s team prepares and measures the food research participants eat in order to accurately measure calorie consumption.

The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and of the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced support for over 4,700 researchers and research projects across Canada. These investments of over $960 million through grants, scholarships and programs are part of the government’s ongoing support for Canada’s research ecosystem. In total, UBC Okanagan researchers were awarded more than $6 million from the combined announcements. Across both campuses, UBC received $68.4 million in funding. UBC Okanagan is now home to eight Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs. The federal government established the Canada Research Chairs program in 2000 to promote excellence and innovation in Canadian research centres. Chairholders are some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds, improving our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthening Canada’s international competitiveness and helping train the next generation of researchers.

Local women 18 to 35 years-old needed for new health study

A UBC Okanagan study is recruiting women from the Central Okanagan to support a new health research project.

UBC Okanagan Assistant Professor Dr. Sarah Purcell is exploring the relationship between dietary intake and appetite, metabolism, body composition, physical activity, and premenstrual symptoms.

“Women often have fluctuations in their dietary intake over the course of their menstrual cycle,” says Dr. Purcell, investigator with the UBC Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. “We hope to gain a deeper understanding of how things like hunger, metabolism, and physical activity may contribute to dietary intake fluctuations to improve women’s health”

Women that meet the following criteria are invited to apply:

  • 18 to 35 years old
  • A body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 to 24.9. Link to BMI calculator
  • Have a regular menstrual cycle of approximately 21 to 38 days
  • Not taking oral contraceptive pills
  • Do not have a hormonal intrauterine device (IUDs; e.g., Mirena); copper IUDS are okay
  • Live within the Central Okanagan. Travel to UBC Okanagan required

Participants will be provided with 10 days of food and take part in measurements of appetite, body composition and metabolic rate (“metabolism”). A few online self-reporting surveys will also be required. Each participant will receive an honorarium for their time.

If you are interested in participating, please complete the pre-screening survey. For more information or questions, contact Miranda at smithm@student.ubc.ca

Being more active might be related to better blood glucose levels in people with diabetes, which is important to optimize health outcomes. Little is known about how active children with diabetes are, or why they are active (or not). Our aim is to learn about physical activity in children with diabetes in Kelowna, BC and its surrounding communities. We hope that results from this study can be used to support children with diabetes to be more active.

Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Christine Voss and an interdisciplinary team of researchers, clinicians and graduate students, we are seeking to learn more about physical activity in children aged 5 – 19 years with diabetes in Kelowna and surrounding communities in British Columbia.

The study consists of 2 phases: 1) completing an online survey 2) children wearing a Fitbit for 28 days, and OPTIONAL 3) semi-structured interview with a researcher.

Inclusion criteria: Children aged 5 – 19 years who:

  • Reside in the Kelowna, BC or its surrounding communities
  • Have a clinical diagnosis of diabetes

Participants will receive a Fitbit Charge 5 for their time. For more information contact Simran by phone (250) 878-9959 or email at simran.gill@ubc.ca.

West Kelowna’s Anand Kannan works out with UBC Okanagan staff during a research project.

Ever since Anand Kannan’s 2008 ATV accident left him a paraplegic, the West Kelowna man has learned to appreciate any and all victories in his mission to stay healthy. 

For instance, by participating in research studies at UBC Okanagan he was exposed to exercise equipment and regimens specifically tailored to the spinal-cord injury (SCI) community—something not readily available otherwise. 

“I was at UBCO using a press machine, pulling down on the weight,” Kannan says. “But then I realized the machine also worked in reverse—I could press straight above my head. For someone in a wheelchair, just being able to use that simple motion without worrying about falling backward was such a gift.” 

That’s one reason why Kannan is advocating for others in the SCI community to embrace the opportunities at UBCO in Kelowna by signing up for a research project. UBCO’s Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis is hoping to recruit as many as 60 participants for a project called “Exercise guidelines and Promotion and Implementation in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury” – or EPIC SCI. 

“This is an opportunity for adults with an SCI to help those in their same situation,” Dr. Martin Ginis says. “This isn’t about doing research so the results can sit on a library shelf. We are genuinely driven to do research that can improve people’s lives. But we need study participants. Even if you are unsure, please contact our offices and we will answer any and all questions.”  

Participants are compensated for visits to the UBCO lab and receive a gift card upon completion of the study. 

Study participants are also asked to complete an online or phone questionnaire and attend three in-person visits to UBC Okanagan—at entry into the study and again at three and six months. 

During the visits, participants are asked to undergo a fitness test, a brief pain sensation test and provide a blood sample. 

Participants are randomly divided into two groups. One group begins a personalized exercise program and participates in weekly Zoom or phone coaching sessions for six months. The other group waits for six months and then receives a personalized exercise program and weekly Zoom/phone coaching sessions for six months. 

“We are doing our best to remove any barriers to participation,” says Dr. Martin Ginis, director of the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. “We see everyone benefitting. Participants get personalized health prescriptions, access to adapted workout equipment, and the knowledge they are providing vital information for our research.” 

Anyone who wants to participate must be 18 or older, experience chronic pain and have been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury more than a year ago at C3 or below. Further, you must be doing less than 40 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises per week and fewer than two days per week of strengthening exercises. 

West Kelowna’s Kannan has already completed the program, and wants everyone in the SCI community in the Central Okanagan to know how much of a benefit it can be. 

“I’d say, if you’re presented with the opportunity, you need to take it,” he says. “Having people around makes it so much more worthwhile. You keep each other motivated, and it makes you feel connected to those who understand you. It’s just so much better working out with friends.” 

If you, or someone you know, wants to volunteer, email kenedy.olsen@ubc.ca or call 236-970-6226 with any questions. 

In early June, Dr. Chris West’s lab hosted a launch event at UBC Okanagan with research and industry partners for his recently awarded Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Alliance Grant.

The NSERC Alliance grant represents a large research collaboration with the UBC Faculty of Medicine, UBC Okanagan School of Engineering, and industry partner Transonic.

The overall goal of the project is to develop a state-of-the-art telemetric solution that would allow researchers to conduct long-term monitoring of vascular blood flow, blood pressure and ECG in animal models.

“This partnership represents an extremely exciting endeavor for our lab and will enable us to make the first simultaneous measure of cardiac pressures, blood flow and ECG,” says Dr. West, investigator with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. “These innovative devices will advance our fundamental understanding of how the cardiovascular system responds to a wide range of stimuli.”

Key project collaborators include Dr. Brian Kwon, Canada Research Chair in Spinal Cord Injury and Professor with the UBC Department of Orthopaedics and Dr. Rudolf Seethaler, Associate Professor with the UBC Okanagan School of Engineering.

Being more active might be related to better blood glucose levels in people with diabetes, which is important to optimize health outcomes. Little is known about how active children with diabetes are, or why they are active (or not). Our aim is to learn about physical activity in children with type 1 diabetes in the BC Interior, including rural/remote communities. We hope that results from this study can be used to support children with diabetes to be more active.

Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Christine Voss and an interdisciplinary team of researchers, clinicians and graduate students, we are seeking to learn more about physical activity in children aged 8 – 12 years with type 1 diabetes in Interior British Columbia.

The study consists of 3 phases: 1) parents completing an online survey 2) children wearing an accelerometer for 7 days, and 3) parent/child semi-structured interviews with a researcher.

Inclusion criteria: Children aged 8 – 12 years who:

  • Reside in the Interior Health Region
  • Have a clinical diagnosis of type 1 diabetes for at least 1 year
  • Have 1 parent/legal guardians who is also willing to take part in an interview

Participants will receive a $25 gift card for their time. For more information contact Simran by phone (250) 878-9959 or email at simran.gill@ubc.ca.