Learn About Our Current Students

The ODPRN Student Training Program aims to engage with students to develop capacity in drug policy research in Ontario. Our program provides students from across Ontario the opportunity to access online training, webinars and networking with scientific academic researchers and ministry representatives. Students enrolled in the 2021 Drug Policy Research 101 program will begin in January 2021.

Current Students

Anna Rzepka

Anna is an MSc student in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Toronto. She recently graduated from Western University with an Honours BSc in neuroscience. Anna’s primary research area is pharmacoepidemiology. For her thesis, she is using self-controlled study designs to investigate the association between fluoroquinolone antibiotic use and acute kidney injury.

Anna Wong

Anna is a 1L at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and a Massey College Junior Fellow. She holds an Honours B.Sc. in Molecular Genetics and International Relations from the University of Toronto, and currently works as a researcher at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Governance, Accountability, and Transparency in the Pharmaceutical Sector.

Bassem Toeama

Bassem Toeama graduated in medicine and has worked in clinical medicine as an oncologist, in academia, and in the pharmaceutical industry over the past 20 years. His experience has been primarily in oncology, pharmacovigilance, clinical research, and lab research. He holds an MSc degree in Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Oxford, UK and an MSc degree in Experimental Medicine at McGill University, Canada. He is a Ph.D. candidate in health technology assessment at the University of Toronto, Canada. Bassem is a pharmacovigilance consultant, a clinical research instructor, a health economist, and an entrepreneur. He founded MD Pharma Consulting Group, a Canadian Contract Research Organization. Bassem’s areas of research are health technology assessment, decision analysis, and benefit-risk assessment.

Candace Rapchak

Candace is currently in her 3rd year of the University of Waterloo PharmD program. Before starting her pharmacy education, Candance studied biological sciences at the University of Windsor and worked briefly as a research assistant studying muscle protein kinetics. When she is not doing schoolwork, she enjoys walking her dog with her husband and spending time with friends and family. Candace is excited to be a part of the ODPRN program and to work with such a talented group of students!

Daniel Harris

Daniel is a third-year PhD candidate in the Division of Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. After completing a Master of Public Health at Brown University, Daniel came to Toronto to pursue doctoral research related to patterns of medication use among older adults living in long-term care. Supported by an Alzheimer Society of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, Daniel’s research will examine how antipsychotic and other sedating medications are prescribed for older adults with dementia, and whether different prescribing patterns (e.g., drug switching) have implications for health outcomes, such as falls.

Fatemeh Ahmadi

Fatemeh Ahmadi is a first-year Master’s student in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University. She is a Pharm.D, BCPS who graduated from the Clinical Pharmacy Residency Program at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2017. While doing her residency thesis and later while working as a lecturer in a medical university, she worked on rational medication use. Because of her background, pharmacoepidemiology and clinical epidemiology are her general research interests. In particular, she loves working on the pharmacotherapeutic challenges of kidney diseases, diabetes, and thrombotic disorders.

James Keech

Kaitlyn Brethour

Kaitlyn is a first year MPH Epidemiology student at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She recently graduated with an Honours B.Sc. in Biopharmaceutical Science and Genomics from uOttawa, where she completed her thesis in pharmacoepidemiology. Kaitlyn has previously worked at a pharmaceutical market access consultancy and is currently an employee of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Her key interests include the pharmaceutical industry, infectious disease and machine learning.

Marlene Haines

Marlene Haines is a PhD Candidate in the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa. Her program of research focuses on the overdose crisis, drug policy, and safer supply programs. She is also a Nurse Coordinator with Ottawa Inner City Health, where she works with individuals experiencing homelessness and people who use substances.

Mary Elias

Mayur Tailor

Mayur is a second-year Doctor of Pharmacy candidate at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. He completed an Honours Biomedical Science undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa, where he completed a thesis involving circulating anti-angiogenic factors in women with type 1 diabetes in pregnancy at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. His research interests are clinical pharmacy, drug-policy, and optimizing health outcomes.

Michael Cristian Garcia

Michael Cristian is an international student from the Philippines currently doing an MSc degree in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. His thesis is a mixed-methods study to produce reporting guidelines for studies on the prevalence of drug-resistant HIV. Cristian has a BSc in Health Studies from the University of Waterloo and developed a keen interest in both health policy and clinical epidemiology – particularly clinical pharmacology – during his time as a research assistant at various institutions such as St. Michael’s Hospital, The Hospital for Sick Children, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project. Currently, Cristian is leading both a systematic review and retrospective chart review on the relationship between QT-prolonging medications and adverse cardiac events, as well as a systematic review on interventions designed to improve medication adherence to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in people at risk of HIV. During his free time, Cristian likes to play his Nintendo Switch, do at-home workouts on YouTube, and contemplate getting a dog.

Natalia Konstantelos

Natalia is a currently an MSc student supported by a CIHR CGS-M award and aims to transfer to the PhD program this year. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto in biomedical toxicology and has previously worked in research at the Hospital for Sick Children and St. Michael’s Hospital. Her research interests lie in real-world evidence, pharmacoepidemiology and osteoporosis research.

Pavanjit Bagri

Pavanjit graduated from the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy in 2009 and has been practicing as a clinical pharmacist since then in both retail and hospital settings. Currently, she is enrolled in UofT’s PharmD for Pharmacists program, which is a doctorate level program designed for working professionals while also working for Halton Healthcare. In the fall of 2020, Pavanjit completed an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiential with Telus Health’s Pharmacy Consulting Team. This was her first real exposure to drug benefits management and drug policy. She thoroughly enjoyed that experience, particularly learning about national drug policies and decided to apply to the ODPRN program. Pavanjit is looking forward to learning from her peers.

Ronald Zahoruk

Ronald Zahoruk is a pharmaceutical professional with 10+ years of commercial experience in industry across various functional areas throughout the drug development life cycle and is currently working on his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto under Dr. Paul Grootendorst of the Leslie Dan School of Pharmacy. His research examines drug shortages from an industrial economics perspective and how the Canadian drug supply chain is compromised because of global crises, such as COVID-19. He also holds a Bachelor of Science from McMaster University and a Master of Science from the University of Waterloo. At present, Ronald is employed by Vasomune Therapeutics, Inc., a private biopharmaceutical firm based in downtown Toronto with clinical trials underway for its lead candidate drug targeting COVID-19.

Tara Farquharson

Tara is a practicing pharmacist at the outpatient pharmacy at the Hospital for Sick Children. She is currently working on attaining her PharmD. She graduated from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto in 2013 and went on to complete a hospital residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in 2014. Her current practice focuses on complicated pediatric patients with advanced needs. In serving this population, the challenges and disparities faced by such families has become clear and triggered an interest in the creation of the policies governing their care.

Tiffany Ho

Tiffany is currently an MSc student in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto and had obtained a Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on studying and enhancing nanoparticles for cancer therapy. She has a strong interest in expanding her understanding on how her research fits into the broader context driving drug policy, and how collaboration between researchers and policy makers can enhance the approval of research results and their clinical impact.

Tolulope Ojo

Tolu Ojo is a second-year Ph.D. student at the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She completed her MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and has worked on several public health programs related to access to medicines for infectious diseases. Her research interests include policy to improve access to medicines for vulnerable populations, health equity, and maternal, newborn and childhood health.

Vanessa Koo

Yousef Labib

Learn about our alumni students here.

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