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Meet some of the amazing women of CHÉOS

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International Women’s Day takes place annually on March 8. It is a day to celebrate the achievements of women, raise awareness about women’s equality, and call for accelerated gender parity.

In recognition of this important day, we invite you to meet some of the incredible women who fuel the powerhouse of CHÉOS.

Dr. Roxana Geoffrion

In addition to being a CHÉOS Scientist, Dr. Roxana Geoffrion is an associate professor in UBC’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, program director of UBC’s Advanced Training Program in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, and urogynecologist at the Centre for Pelvic Floor. Dr. Geoffrion is truly a woman helping women. She is spearheading research in urogynaecology, specifically pelvic floor disorders, to improve the quality of life for women living with these conditions. Recently, Dr. Geoffrion has been involved in writing a guideline on the surgical management of apical pelvic organ prolapse in women for the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

You can watch Dr. Geoffrion’s latest WiP Seminar on surgical innovation on our YouTube channel.

Tara Martin

CHÉOS Project Manager Tara Martin’s journey into research is a personal one. Her father’s family suffers from a neurological condition known as CADASIL, which causes mini strokes. They discovered the illness when Tara was just starting university and she really wanted to help find a cure or treatment for her family. Upon graduating, Tara’s experience and tenacity was recognized and she was hired in the clinical trials department of the Multiple Sclerosis Neurology Clinic at UBC Hospital, beginning what she describes as her “wonderful and fulfilling career and adventure in research.”

At present, Tara is working with CHÉOS Scientist Dr. Brian Grunau on a national COVID-19 project measuring antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and workplace risk factors among 5000 paramedics. It’s a project that comes with challenges, such as rapid set-up in a remote environment, but they are challenges that Tara enjoys navigating.

Dr. Josie Geller

CHÉOS Scientist Dr. Josie Geller is the research director of St. Paul’s Eating Disorders Program and an associate professor in UBC’s Department of Psychiatry. She is dedicated to helping people who live with eating disorders through their care and recovery. She understands the importance of self-compassion during recovery and works hard to understand and break down the barriers to practicing self-kindness when times are hard.

Recently, Dr. Geller spoke with The Daily Scan about reducing the impact of COVID-19 on people with eating disorders: “Like so many of us, people with eating disorders are using the coping strategies with which they are most familiar to manage the stress of the pandemic. People with anorexia nervosa are restricting more and those with bulimia are using compensatory strategies more… The isolation and loneliness are challenging for everyone but particularly so for people with eating disorders.” Click here to read the full story.

Dr. Anita Ho

CHÉOS Scientist and bioethicist Dr. Anita Ho is an associate professor at UBC’s Centre of Applied Ethics and associate adjunct professor of the University of California’s Bioethics Program.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a busy time for Dr. Ho, and understandably so. Her knowledge and expertise have proven invaluable to supporting educated discussions around the topic of vaccination prioritization. She has lent her expert opinion to articles debating who should receive the vaccine first (Vancouver Sun, Global News), and has publicly advocated for the vaccination of prison inmates: “COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, but there is a concern that our criminal justice system, our social system and our health system might discriminate” (The Washington Post, CTV News, CBC News).

Dr. Nisha Shewaramani

Dr. Nisha Shewaramani has always wanted to make a difference and through pursuing a career in clinical medicine and research, she is doing just that.

Prior to joining CHÉOS as a Data Manager, she worked as a medical doctor at a high-volume community hospital in Mumbai, India, where she was exposed to a plethora of issues specific to the developing world including infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, and chikungunya. Further to this incredible work, Dr. Shewaramani has clinical research experience from Hamilton Health Sciences (ON), Sick Kids Hospital (ON), and Mount Sinai Hospital (ON).

With a keen interest in infectious diseases, Dr. Shewaramani views CHÉOS as the perfect organization for her. At present, she puts her research interests into practice through her work on COVID-19 clinical trials.

Dr. Lillian Hung

It is no secret that the ongoing pandemic has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on older people living in long-term care. These people, particularly those who have dementia, are the focus of CHÉOS Research Associate and UBC School of Nursing associate professor Dr. Lillian Hung’s work.

When we hit the second peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last fall, a project of Dr. Hung’s was featured in an article in The Globe and Mail. The iPad Project was initially launched before the pandemic, but it has since become a vital lifeline for many people in long-term care and their family members. The project allows family members to record messages for their loved ones, stay connected, and provide much-needed comfort in these confusing and unpredictable times.


This article highlights just a few of the many women in CHÉOS who contribute to science and health care. There are a plethora more; for example, check out Dr. Skye Barbic’s work on UBC’s Strategic Mental Health Research Youth and Family Advisory Council, Dr. Wei Zhang’s research on the short supply of prescription drugs in Canada, Dr. Beena Parappiilly’s involvement with the Managed Alcohol Program, Dr. Tara Sedlak’s dedication to women’s heart health, Judy Needham’s work with the Clinical Research Professionals of British Columbia, Dr. Sarah Munro’s investigations into shared-decision making and birth (P.S. check out her WiP on March 10), Dr. Rita McCracken’s advocacy for improving primary care… The list could go on and on (and on and on)! Thank you all.