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Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, Southern Medical ProgramOther Titles: Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UBC Faculty of Medicine; Affiliate Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital; Course Director (SMP), FLEX
Office: Reichwald Health Sciences Centre
The overall goals of my research are to better understand and improve physical activity behaviours, and study how this important health behaviour is related to current and long-term health outcomes in both clinical and community-based settings. I use a combination of different methods to measure physical activity, ranging from questionnaires and interviews to state-of-the-art objective methods such as global positioning systems (GPS) trackers and commercial physical activity wristbands.
Courses & Teaching
R1 Research AHD Course, General Pediatrics Residency Program, Department of Pediatrics, BC Children’s Hospital, UBC
MEDD 412 Case-Based Learning, MD Undergraduate Program, Southern Medical Program, UBC
I earned my doctorate from the University of Essex, UK where I examined the association between cardiovascular health and modifiable health behaviours in a large cohort of schoolchildren. I first joined UBC as a postdoctoral fellow in 2011 at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility in Vancouver, before joining the Children’s Heart Centre at BC Children’s Hospital and UBC’s Department of Pediatrics in 2015. During these years, I have developed a keen interest in using state-of-the art technologies to understand complex physical activity behaviours, particularly in at-risk pediatric populations in whom such insight might inform clinical care. In 2019, I relocated to beautiful Kelowna to join the new UBC Faculty of Medicine Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management as a Clinical Assistant Professor.
Research Interests & Projects
Physical activity in children and teens with congenital heart disease
Reports on physical activity patterns in children with congenital heart disease are conflicting, and the interplay of medical-, environmental-, parental- and intra-personal factors are not well understood in this patient population. This poses a great challenge if we are to effectively promote physical activity behaviours in these children and teens. Across a range of research projects in collaboration with the clinical team at the Children’s Heart Centre, BC Children’s Hospital, I aim to address this problem by investigating activity levels, contexts and determinants (intra-personal, socio-cultural and environmental), and changes over time, using state-of-the-art objective measures of physical activity (accelerometry, global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS)), commercial activity trackers, as well as interviews and questionnaires.
Utility of commercial physical activity trackers in clinical research
There is no doubt that commercial physical activity trackers hold great promise for use in the clinical setting, owing to their ease of use and widespread availability. However, there is ongoing debate as to these devices’ validity (‘do they measure what they say they measure?’), which could be particularly problematic in children. With my research, I study whether: 1) commercial activity trackers provide valid and reliable estimates of physical activity levels and related metrics in children; 2) how children with chronic conditions view and use these devices; 3) whether these devices can play a role in changing physical activity behaviours in children.
Selected Publications & Presentations