ODPRN Citizens’ Panel

The ODPRN Citizens’ Panel is a group of up to 25 volunteer citizens from across Ontario who have collectively come together to ensure that the ODPRN appropriately identifies issues of importance to the public, and incorporates these priorities into all aspects of our research.


In addition to meeting bi-monthly by teleconference and annually in-person to provide their input on current research projects and deliverables, members also participated in a two-day workshop to define their role, structure and governance:

  • Identifying priority research areas: Currently, members are collectively developing a research project of joint interest to policymakers, researchers and the general public based on aligned research priorities. The inaugural Panel-led project was our report on the Landscape of Prescription Stimulant Use.
  • Integrating members with researchers & policymakers: This includes several leadership roles within the Citizens’ Panel, such as membership within our Stakeholder Advisory Panel and opportunities for engagement with drug policy makers.
  • Participating on research teams: Currently, members are individually working on specific projects of interest to them throughout all stages of the research process, from developing the objectives to reviewing dissemination material, in order to ensure that our research is understandable to the general public.
  • Enhancing patient engagement: Members are formally acknowledged on published material and have been instrumental in developing patient engagement tools including our online drug policy training modules.

ODPRN Citizen Virtual Town Hall Series

In 2022, the ODPRN will be conducting virtual town halls with other Ontario Citizens on topics related to drug policy research in Ontario. These town halls will be a platform for Ontarians to be able to share their perspectives on issues related to medication access and pharmaceutical policies related to a given topic. These discussions will be used to inform and prioritize ODPRN research. This is an initiative led by the ODPRN Citizens’ Panel with the objective of making drug policy research relevant to Ontarians. 

The Inaugural Town Hall was held on July 27, 2022 and focused on navigating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adulthood. Read the report + listen to the audio clips from 7 of the individuals who shared live during the Town Hall as well as 4 individuals who shared their story following the Town Hall.

Keep an eye out for future topic announcements in this Town Hall series!



Brent is an Industrial Engineer by training and has lived and worked in Ontario for most of his career with a brief stint in the US. He is passionate about consumer health and empowering patients to take a more active role in their own health and wellness. Brent has considerable experience working across Canada to improve medication management and medication safety by using technology effectively and hopes to be able to contribute to ODPRN to continue to improve Ontario’s health system. Brent is married with two children and lives in Toronto.

Christine Caron

In the summer of 2013, I became known around the world as the “dog bite lady” after an infection and septic shock almost took my life. I am a patient advisor and advocate; I lead support teams for Canadian Sepsis Survivors and Amputees. I am a voice to help ensure research is both meaningful to and understood by septic and trauma patients and their families, using my background in science and health research communications along my lived experience to advocate for improved outcomes for infection survivors, for strategies to improve the lives of survivors and to support families who share in this journey.

Matt Joosse

Matt (he/him) is a Project Manager for the Early Years’ Workforce Development Strategy in the Homelessness Prevention & Children’s Services Department of Social Services at the County of Lambton. Previously Matt spent more than a decade as a Health Promoter for Lambton Public Health. Matt has a Bachelor of Biological Sciences (Hons.) degree (2009) and a Master of Public Health degree (2011) from the University of Guelph as well as a Professional Certificate in Project Management (2018) through Western University.

Matt is the current chair for the Ontario Drug Research Policy Network Citizen’s Panel, providing insight on research and policy impacting Ontarians.

Kris Lee

Kris is a retired high school science teacher who is passionate about children’s health and workplace safety. As an environmental auditor she inspects laboratories and provides workshops for young workers and educators about their rights in the workplace. As a cancer survivor, Kris wants to learn from patient experiences.

Greg Owens

Greg (he/him) is a queer outreach worker within the HIV sector and a private dispute resolution practitioner, with experience working for Health Canada and leading an award-winning student mental health collective.

Suzanne Pierson

Suzanne Pierson has been a member of the ODPRN Citizens Panel since 2016. Her background is in education. She is both a consumer and an ally for others navigating their way through the public health system. Suzanne is (well) over 65 and brings the perspective of a senior living in rural Ontario community to the Citizens Panel.

“I have learned so much that I have been able to share with my friends, family, and anyone who will listen. I strongly encourage others to get involved with the Citizens Panel.”

Zal Press

Zal Press is the Executive Director of Patient Commando, an organization dedicated to lifting the veil of silence that so often accompanies the onset of illness. He has held numerous patient advisor roles including his current position as Vice Chair, Patient and Community Advisory Committee at CADTH and was founding co-Chair of The Beryl Institute Global Patient and Family Advisory Board, which works to ensure that the voices of patients and families are a central consideration in the strategic direction and offerings of the Institute.

Zal has lived with Crohn disease for more than 40 years. He is passionate about illustrating the need for improved health care policy and delivery by sharing stories that enrich our appreciation of the lived illness experience.

Jenna Shea

Jenna, a teacher in the GTA, is a mother to two little girls and a member of a family affected by Huntington’s Disease (HD). Over the last several years, Jenna has taken on a fairly active role as a patient advocate for those affected by HD. She is currently a mentor for the Youth Mentorship Program through the Huntington Society of Canada, a member of HD-COPE and Clinical Trials Ontario’s ‘College of Lived Experience’, and Project Coordinator for the Mentorship Program of the Huntington’s Disease Youth Organization. Jenna is passionate about sharing her lived experience in the rare disease community as a caregiver navigating the Canadian health care system and believes that incorporating the patient’s voice into the process is integral to effective health care.  

Zainab Apooyin | Priya Chendke | Joyce Daigle | Terry Ebejer | Jerome Johnson | Lucie Langford | Ayan Mohamud | Kristen Morin | Alexander Peever | Zal Press | Josephine Quercia | Debbie Rotenberg

Interested in becoming a Member?

The ODPRN is looking for a few more individuals to join our Citizens’ Panel. If you are interested in becoming a member, please email us at dana.shearer@unityhealth.to for more information.

Please note that this report is NOT COMPLETE and is still in progress. Click below if you would like to continue.