Patient Engagement

Patient engagement occurs when patients collaborate with researchers, contributing to the research design, implementation, and the interpretation of research findings. It adds value to clinical research by ensuring that the research reflects patients’ concerns, perspectives and values.

The iCAN-ACP project has engaged with patient advisors in a number of ways, including:

  • as members of the Cabinet (Executive Committee) which makes project level decisions
  • as members of the implementation teams at some of the research sites
  • as consultants on the selection, content, format and implementation of the communication and decision making tools that we are testing
  • as consultants on the interpretation of some of our research findings
  • as co-applicants on grant proposals



Dr. Julia Abelson, PhD

photo of Julia AbelsonJulia Abelson is a professor in the Department of Health Evidence and Impact, and an associate member of the Department of Political Science. She was director of CHEPA from 2006-2011, and is a past recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator award, and an Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Career Scientist award. She is also the director of McMaster’s Health Policy PhD program. Abelson obtained her M.Sc. in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health and her doctorate in social and policy sciences at the University of Bath, U.K. Her research interests include public engagement in health system governance; the analysis of the determinants of health policy decision-making; and the evaluation of innovations in the organization, funding and delivery of health services. Through her research, education and service activities, Abelson works closely with decision-makers in provincial, regional and local governments.

Patient Advisors

Ms. Martha Winhall







Ms. Gwenn Boryski

Photo of Gwenn Boryski