Our Leadership

Senior Leadership

Senior Leadership

Kelli Buckreus, Executive Director

Kelli Buckreus has 20 years of experience in program management, community-based participatory health research, and stakeholder engagement, including more than a decade collaborating with Indigenous research partners. Kelli previously worked in Canadian immigration law as a policy/legal analyst and communications executive. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in Bioethics, and an interdisciplinary Master’s degree specializing in Education. She studied Journalism at the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU; formerly Ryerson University), and has served a term on TMU’s Board of Governors. Kelli is currently completing a Doctor of Education degree; her dissertation research is exploring emerging technologies and pedagogies in medical education. Kelli has also completed executive training in artificial intelligence and business strategy through MIT.

Dr. Finlay McAlister, Scientific Director

Dr. Finlay McAlister, MD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Alberta. He is the Scientific Director of the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit and previously led Alberta SPOR’s Data Platform from its inception. He has won numerous research and teaching awards, is a former President of the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine, and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Tim Murphy, Nominated Principal Applicant

Tim Murphy, MBA, CPA, CMA, is Vice President, Health at Alberta Innovates, with responsibility for the health research and innovation investment portfolio. Within his role at AbSPORU, he brings a deep commitment to partner collaboration, community asset development and impact assessment to transform and strengthen Alberta’s health system.

Lead, Capacity Development

AbSPORU is currently hiring for this position.

Dr. Jeff Bakal, Co-Lead, Data & Research Services

Dr. Jeff Bakal, PhD, is the Program Director for Provincial Research Data Services at Alberta Health Services which operates the Alberta Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) data platform and Health Services Statistical & Analytics Methods teams. He is a biostatistician with over 15 years of experience working with Health Services data and Randomized Clinical Trials. His specialties include Biostatistics, Survival analysis, Cost-Utility modeling, Exploratory analysis, Experimental Design, Clinical Trials, Population Health Research, Analytics.

Dr. Hude Quan, Co-Lead, Data & Research Services

Dr. Hude Quan, MD, is a Professor at the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary and Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in Classification, Terminology and Standards at the O’Brien Institute for Public Health. A major theme of Dr. Quan’s research is to develop novel methods for analyzing big data and improving its quality to enable its optimal use for health research, precision medicine, disease surveillance, and healthcare system performance assessment. He leads the International Methodology Consortium for Coded Health Information, which was created to develop, test, and promote methodological advances for the applied use of coded health information with the aim of improving methods in health services research.

Dr. David Johnson, Co-Lead, Learning Health System

Dr. David Johnson, MD, is the Co-Lead for the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Learning Health System Team, a Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Calgary, and the Senior Medical Director for the AHS Maternal, Newborn Child and Youth Strategic Clinical Network. His primary research focuses on the management of common respiratory illnesses (croup, bronchiolitis, and asthma). Dr Johnson also investigates how best to translate knowledge into practice. He has completed several large multi-centre studies assessing different strategies for implementing clinical practice guidelines and clinical pathways in Alberta. He is an active member of KT Canada.

Co-Lead, Learning Health System

AbSPORU is currently hiring for this position.

Tracy Wasylak, Co-Lead, Learning Health System

Tracy Wasylak, MSc, is a Co-Lead for the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Learning Health System Team and the Chief Program Officer, Strategic Clinical Networks with Alberta Health Services. She has held numerous senior leadership roles within Alberta Health Services. Tracy holds an adjunct assistant professor appointment with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. She received the Order of Merit, Nursing Policy Award, from the Canadian Nurses Association in March 2018. She was the recipient of the 2015 AHS Presidents Excellence Award in the category of Innovation and in 2019 she received the award for Outstanding Achievement in Quality Improvement for her provincial contributions to care pathways.

Dr. Maria Santana, Lead, Patient Engagement

Dr. Maria Santana, PhD, is a health services researcher, patient and family-centred care scientist, an Assistant Professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. She is the provincial lead for the Strategy of Patient-oriented Research, Patient Engagement. Dr. Santana has received training in clinical pharmacy, public health, and clinical epidemiology. Her research focuses on developing new methods for advancing person-centred care and patient-oriented research.

Operational Leadership

Dr. Yazid N. Al Hamarneh, Scientific Officer

Dr. Yazid N. Al Hamarneh, PhD, is the Scientific Officer of the Alberta Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research Unit and has been with the Unit since its inception. His main research interests are chronic disease prevention and management with special interest in cardiovascular disease and pharmacy practice research. Dr. Al Hamarneh has a vast experience in research design and methodology and helping investigators navigate the research landscape. He has been the recipient of multiple research awards and supported many successful grant applications who have received from a variety of funding agencies, including the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

Bing Li, Co-Associate Director, 
Data & Research Services

Bing Li, MSc, is a team lead with the Alberta Health Services Analytics. He holds a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Calgary.

Erik Youngson, Co-Associate Director, 
Data & Research Services Team

Erik Youngson, MMath, is a biostatistician and co-associate director of AbPSORU Data and Research Services/Co-Lead of AHS Health Research Methods and Analytics. He obtained his Master of Mathematics degree from Waterloo and has been working with health services data in various roles for the past 15 years.

Denise Thomson, Associate Director,
 Learning Health System

Denise Thomson, MA MBA, is the Associate Director of the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Learning Health System Team. She has many years of experience in health promotion, health research and knowledge translation. Denise holds an MBA with a specialization in knowledge transfer in the Canadian health care sector, as well as a MA and is currently a PhD student at the University of Alberta, studying health system policymaking about climate change impacts.

Dr. Paul Fairie, Associate Director, 
Patient Engagement

Dr. Paul Fairie, PhD, is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. Drawing on a social science PhD, Paul is involved with various research projects involving community engagement approaches, as well as those trying to better understand and measure the patient experience, either through traditional surveys or new natural language processing techniques. As Associate Director of Patient Engagement, Paul leads a diverse team of health services research and patient engagement experts. Outside of work, Paul is actively involved in a variety of civic and community projects.

Chloe Burnett, Associate Director, Capacity Development

Chloe Burnett, EdD Candidate, MSc MEd, is the Associate Director of the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Capacity Development Team. She has broad experience in planning continuing professional development programs for health professionals. Her research interest is in education program evaluation as well as examining education practice.

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3330 Hospital Dr NW
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1702, 8215 112 St NW
Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8

Land Acknowledgment

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit operates on and acknowledges the lands that are the traditional and ancestral territory of many peoples, presently subject to Treaties 6, 7, and 8. Namely: the Blackfoot Confederacy – Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika – the Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Stoney Nakoda, and the Tsuu T’ina Nation and the Métis People of Alberta. This includes the Métis Settlements and the Métis Nation of Alberta. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We make this acknowledgment as a reaffirmation of our shared commitment towards reconciliation, and as part of AbSPORU’s mandate towards fostering health system transformation.