Project team

Research team

The ECHO OEM research team is led by Dr. Andrea Furlan from the Institute for Work & Health and Dr. Anil Adisesh from the University of Toronto. Drs. Furlan and Adisesh are the study’s principal investigators. The research team’s role is to develop, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of the ECHO OEM project. Learn more about the ECHO OEM project and research.

Photo of Andrea Furlan

Andrea Furlan, MD, PhD, Institute for Work & Health

Dr. Andrea Furlan is a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health and a physician and senior scientist at the KITE Research Institute at University Health Network. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Physiatry at the University of Toronto.

Furlan is an expert in rehabilitation medicine, chronic pain, systematic reviews, clinical practice guidelines, opioid treatments, cannabis and cannabinoids, and the implementation and evaluation of ECHO projects. Furlan was the first person to bring an ECHO project to Canada in 2014, on chronic pain and opioid stewardship. She has since helped many groups in Ontario start ECHO projects for conditions such as rheumatology, liver disease, epilepsy, mental health, children’s health, care of the elderly and wounds.

Furlan completed her residency in physiatry at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and obtained a PhD in clinical epidemiology from the University of Toronto. She completed a two-year clinical fellowship in physiatry at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Furlan received the Canadian Pain Society’s Excellence in Pain Mentorship Award in 2021 and the Pain Excellence Award from the Pain Society of Alberta in 2020.

Anil Adisesh

Anil Adisesh, MB ChB, MSc, MD, FRCP, FFOM, FRCPC, Dalhousie University

Dr. Anil Adisesh received his medical degrees at the University of Liverpool, UK. He is UK trained in general medicine, with UK accreditation in family medicine and UK specialty accreditation in occupational medicine. 

Adisesh worked as Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the UK Health and Safety Executive national laboratory, Buxton. He was subsequently appointed the inaugural JD Irving Limited, Research Chair in Occupational Medicine at Dalhousie University, and was later Associate Professor and Division Director of Occupational Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He was also Head of the Division of Occupational Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital Toronto.

Photo of Nancy Carnide

Nancy Carnide, PhD, Institute for Work & Health

Dr. Nancy Carnide is an associate scientist at the Institute for Work & Health. She is a lead researcher on IWH projects concerning long-term outcomes for injured workers, opioids surveillance and the implications for the workers and the workplace, cannabis and fatalities and cannabis use among Canadian workers.

Carnide holds a PhD in epidemiology from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. During her PhD, she was the recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and a CIHR Strategic Training Fellowship in Work Disability Prevention.

Shireen Harbin, RN, BScN, Institute for Work & Health

Shireen Harbin is the administrative assistant for the ECHO OEM project. Harbin is a research associate and project coordinator at the Institute for Work & Health. For four years she was the managing editor of Cochrane Back and Neck where she also gained experience developing searches for systematic reviews and participating on review teams. Harbin is also a co-author on three Cochrane reviews related to back pain.

Harbin is a registered nurse with clinical experience in cardiovascular surgery and occupational health, and her research interests include systematic review methodology and knowledge translation in clinical practice and public health.

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Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health

Emma Irvin is the director of research operations at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), where she oversees research planning, research operations, information systems and the internal library. She also has an adjunct appointment with the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Irvin also oversees the Systematic Review Program at IWH, one of the Institute's key research programs. Her research focuses on the methodology and conduct of literature reviews, from scoping to systematic. She teaches systematic review methods in a number of forums. Irvin has a BA from the University of Toronto.

Photo of Sara Macdonald

Sara Macdonald, Institute for Work & Health

Sara Macdonald is the manager of knowledge transfer and exchange at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and the KTE specialist on the ECHO OEM project.  She and her team engage stakeholders in research projects, from concept development to the dissemination of research results. She also oversees stakeholder knowledge exchange networks representing workplace parties (employers, labour, and occupational health, safety and disability management professionals) and health practitioners.

Macdonald earned an occupational health and safety certificate at Ryerson University to complement her earlier education in science at the University of Waterloo and in business systems management from Askengren College in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Behdin Nowrouzi-Kia

Behdin Nowrouzi-Kia, OT Reg. (Ont.), PhD, University of Toronto

Dr. Behdin Nowrouzi-Kia is an occupational therapist and assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science at the University of Toronto, where he also holds the inaugural Emily Geldsaler Grant Early Career Professorship in Workplace Mental Health.

Through an occupational lens, his research program is a systematic study of work disability prevention, return to work and disability management. His approach is designed to produce results directly applicable to identifying and assessing risk, and to developing interventions for preventing or improving high-risk behaviours in the workplace.

Nowrouzi-Kia’s work is motivated by efforts in work disability prevention that extend beyond efforts to prevent or cure diseases from a purely physical perspective to more holistic approaches. The major tenets of his work use a biopsychosocial perspective to understand work disability and incorporate personal characteristics (e.g. psychosocial) and environmental (e.g., health-care system, workplace, workers’ compensation system) factors in improving health outcomes.

Colette Severin, MHSc, Institute for Work & Health

Colette Severin is the research operations manager responsible for data, information, privacy and ethics at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH). She is the project coordinator of the ECHO OEM project. Severin has coordinated projects related to disability prevention, leading indicators of health and safety, and long-term injury outcomes.

Severin holds a master’s of health science in community health and epidemiology from the University of Toronto, and a CPHI(C) certification in public health inspection from the School of Occupational and Public Health at Ryerson University.

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Peter Smith, PhD, Institute for Work & Health

Dr. Peter Smith is scientific co-director and a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto. He also holds appointments as an associate professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and in the School of Population Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Australia.

Smith has a master's in public health from the University of New South Wales, Australia, and a PhD from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. He is a previous recipient of a five-year Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health (2014-2018) from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and a CIHR New Investigator Award (2008-2013).

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Dr. Aaron Thompson, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Dr. Aaron Thompson, an occupational medicine specialist, is the chief medical officer of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). He is also an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine with a cross-appointment to the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and a former director of the Occupational Medicine Residency Training Program at the University of Toronto. His clinical practice is based at St. Michael’s Hospital, where he is a staff physician in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Thompson conducts research in both clinical occupational medicine and disability management, with a focus on improving return-to-work (RTW) programs. He brings specialized expertise by providing a clinical perspective on the needs/gaps in existing communication and accommodation tools, and by providing input on how to optimize tools to facilitate effective and sustained work/RTW through effective accommodations that minimize and prevent disability.

Advisory committee

The ECHO OEM advisory committee provides overall guidance on the project, including guidance on its development, promotion, implementation and evaluation, as well as the related research. The following individuals comprise the committee.

  • Dr. Joel Andersen, Occupational Medicine Practice Consultant, Andersen Occupational Health Consulting
  • Dr. Sanjeev Arora, Founder and Director, ECHO Institute, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Victoria Arrandale, Assistant Professor of Occupational & Environment Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Dr. Ash Bender, Psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Dr. Donald Cole, Physician, Occupational & Environmental Medicine Consultant
  • Allison Crawford, Co-chair, ECHO Ontario Superhub and Ontario Mental Health
  • Dr. David Elias, President, Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine
  • Dr. Linn Holness, Director, Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease
  • Dr. Tom Lawley, Treasurer, Occupational Medicine Specialists of Canada
  • Kavita Mehta, CEO, Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO)
  • Vanessa Mooney, Education Manager, Nurse Practitioners Association of Ontario
  • Dr. Deborah Parachin, Chief Physician, Hydro One
  • Patricia Phillips, Occupational Health Nurse; CEO, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers
  • Dr. Deborah Scharf, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Lakehead University Research Centre
  • Dr. Vincent Spilchuk, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Igor Steiman, Clinician, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
  • Dr. Aaron Thompson, Occupational Medicine Specialist and Chief Medical Officer, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board