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:

  • Identify priority research areas: Members identify topics of joint interest to policymakers, researchers and the general public based on aligned research priorities. This includes the collective development of research projects, including a report on the Landscape of Prescription Stimulant Use (September 2018) and a report Characterizing Prescription Benzodiazepine Use (April 2021).
  • Are integrated with researchers & policymakers: This includes several leadership roles within the Citizens’ Panel, such as membership within our Stakeholder Advisory Panel, Ontario Opioid Drug Observatory, and opportunities for engagement with drug policy makers.
  • Participate 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.
  • Enhance patient engagement: Members are formally acknowledged on published material and have been instrumental in developing patient engagement opportunities (see Town Halls below) and tools including our online drug policy training modules.

ODPRN Citizen Virtual Town Hall Series

In 2022, the ODPRN Citizens’ Panel launched an initiative to raise awareness and understanding of current drug policy issues experienced by the general public by providing a platform for meaningful conversation between citizens of Ontario. The ODPRN will be conducting virtual town halls with other Ontario Citizens who are invited to share stories and raise questions on topics related to drug policy research in Ontario. A moderator and a content specialist will be available to answer questions and offer insight. These discussions will be used by ODPRN and other groups to inform future research and policy priorities that incorporates perspectives of people with lived experience.

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

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 Emily at Emily.Schneider@unityhealth.to for more information.



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.

Joyce Daigle

Joyce Daigle is a mom who was drawn to the Citizens’ Panel following the death of her twenty-one year old daughter due to toxic drug poisoning. Having retired from the classroom, Joyce is currently an Academic Remediation Specialist. 

Reuben D’souza

Reuben is a chemistry graduate of Queen’s University working in the healthcare and hospitals industry. After becoming the primary caretaker for grandparents in the Ontario system, Reuben became passionate about the ways in which government supports aging populations and the caretakers who look after them. Reuben enjoys outdoor sports, pub trivia, and cooking through recipe books. 

Robert Deonarine

Robert (he/him) is a current Health and Physical Education secondary school teacher for the Peel District School Board. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts (H.B.A.) from the University of Toronto at Mississauga; a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) from York University; and a Masters Degree from Ryerson University. He also served in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Reservist attaining his Canadian Decoration (CD) medal. He is a current member of the Drug Shortages in Canada – Expert Panel. 

Graham Gould

Graham, originally from Guelph, graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Health Science in 2024. During his time at Western, he contributed to research surrounding patient experiences in the Canadian healthcare system, and is very passionate about bridging the gap between patients and care. Outside of the classroom, he has worked in child and youth programming ranging from piano teaching to camp counselling.

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.

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 | Suzanne Deliscar | Terry Ebejer | Jerome Johnson | Lucie Langford | Ayan Mohamud | Josephine Quercia | Debbie Rotenberg

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