Nutrition Science Advisory Committee (NSAC): Membership List and Biographies

Core Members

Core Members

Dr. Leah Gramlich, (Co-chair), MD, FRCP (C)

Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta; Co-Chair, Canadian Malnutrition Task Force; Provincial Medical Advisor for Nutrition Services, Alberta Health Services; Founding President, Canadian Nutrition Society

Dr. Leah Gramlich is a Gastroenterologist and Physician Nutrition Specialist. She graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at University of Alberta in 1987 and currently holds a position as Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta. In addition to her clinical roles in Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Dr. Gramlich is the Provincial Medical Advisor for Nutrition Services in Alberta Health Services. Her key research areas include nutrition support including enteral and parenteral nutrition, home nutrition support, malnutrition and enhanced recovery. She has an interest in implementation science and uses this approach to advance nutrition care locally, nationally and internationally. Dr. Gramlich is founding president of the Canadian Nutrition Society and a past member of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) Board of directors. She is a founding member and current co-chair of the Canadian Malnutrition Task force. She has published more than 100 articles as author or co-author, has had multiple students and received multiple grants for her research.

Dr. Véronique Provencher, (Co-chair), PhD, RD

Professor, Université Laval's School of Nutrition; Scientific Director, Food Quality Observatory; Member, Ordre Professionel des Diététistes du Québec

Dr. Véronique Provencher is a full professor at Université Laval's School of Nutrition and a researcher at the Nutrition, Health and Society Centre (NUTRISS) at the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF). A dietitian/nutritionist by training and a member of the Ordre Professionnel des Diététistes du Québec, Dr. Provencher pursued her studies at the master's and doctoral levels at Université Laval and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in psychology at the University of Toronto. Since the beginning of her career, she has published close to one hundred scientific articles on eating behaviours and her research work is financially supported by recognized funding agencies. Her innovative research program focuses on psychological and behavioural factors related to dietary choices and intake, as well as evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of prevention and health promotion programs. Through her active involvement as scientific director of the Food Quality Observatory, she is also interested in issues related to the food environment. The goal of her research program is to develop new practices in public health nutrition in order to promote healthy and sustainable eating habits among the general population.

Dr. Karen Davison, PhD, RD, CHES

Director, Nutrition Informatics Research Group; Faculty Member, Kwantlen Polytechnic University; Dietician; Associate Editor, BMC Public Health; Academic Editor, PLoS One

Dr. Karen Davison is an award-winning scholar who is currently the Director of the Nutrition Informatics Research Group and Health Science Program Faculty Member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Her investigative interests are aimed at food and nutrition practices, interventions, and policies that will foster the generational transmission of physical, mental, and cognitive health in diverse populations. She is currently an Associate Editor for BMC Public Health and Academic Editor for PLoS One. She has been awarded Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) fellowships, Dietitians of Canada Peer Recognition Award, and Popular Science's Magazine Clinical Leader Recognition Award. She is the first Canadian registered dietitian to be a recipient of a Fulbright Canada Research Chair award, to be inducted as New Scholar to the Royal Society of Canada (2019-2026), and to be a Fellow of the North American Primary Care Research Group. She has coauthored more than 100 scientific and professional publications that have been featured on the cover of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and across more than 50 international media outlets including ABC, CTV, and MSN News. Her research has been supported by the Tri-Council Agencies, National Research Council, and Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

Dr. Russell de Souza, ScD, RD

Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University; Dietician

Dr. Russell Jude de Souza is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (McMaster University). He holds degrees from Queen's University (BA), Ryerson University (BASc), the University of Toronto (MSc), and the Harvard School of Public Health (SD). He is a registered dietitian (RD), having practiced in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and nephrology. Dr. de Souza teaches epidemiology, and his scholarly work focuses on the nutritional determinants of chronic disease through the lifespan. Some of the trials he has worked on have formed the basis of dietary cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines in Canada and the United States. He has served as an external resource person for the World Health Organization's Nutrition Guidelines Advisory Committee. In this role, he was responsible for leading a team that would follow rigorous and best practices for systematic reviews and evidence appraisal using GRADE methodology to inform public health nutrition policy (i.e. WHO Nutrition Guidelines). Dr. de Souza's work with the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds, affords him the opportunity to place nutrition research into a broader public health context, notably studying the environmental and contextual determinants of health affecting racialized communities, including Indigenous peoples.

Dr. Mahsa Jessri, PhD, RD (c)

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Nutritional Epidemiology for Population Health, University of British Columbia

Dr. Mahsa Jessri is an Assistant Professor leading the Nutritional Epidemiology for Population Health Program at the University of British Columbia. She is an expert in public health nutrition, nutritional epidemiology, surveillance and methodology, biostatistics, as well as nutrition policy and in 2018 she received a Royal Society of Canada Award. Dr. Jessri's research program is uniquely at the intersection of nutritional sciences and population and public health. The overarching goal of her research program is to provide the evidence-base and decision tools to inform nutritional guidelines and policies for reducing the burden of chronic diseases.

Currently, Dr. Jessri's program is focused on population modeling of the impact of dietary patterns on health and healthcare, population health impact assessment of dietary patterns and nutrition policies, nutritional monitoring and surveillance, development of robust methods for addressing the challenges in assessment and analysis of complex dietary data, and design and implementation of personalized nutrition risk assessment tools. She has published several peer-reviewed research papers and several government reports and has been quoted by researchers and decision makers. Dr. Jessri has been a member of several nutrition and public health committees, including at the World Federation of Public Health Associations and American Society for Nutrition.

Dr. Sharon Kirkpatrick, PhD, RD

Associate Professor, School of Public Health Sciences, University of Waterloo

Dr. Sharon Kirkpatrick leads a public health nutrition research program in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. Her research primarily focuses on understanding dietary patterns in populations and influences on these patterns, using a systems thinking lens to consider the array of factors at play. Much of her work is aimed at improving methodologies for measuring dietary patterns to foster a robust evidence base on the diet-health nexus and the impact of interventions. She has contributed to the development of freely-available and highly-accessed resources for researchers, including an online dietary assessment primer and a web-based dietary assessment tool. Dr. Kirkpatrick also has longstanding interests in food security and equity. Dr. Kirkpatrick holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Master of Health Science in Community Nutrition from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Catherine Mah, MD, FRCPC, PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University; Chief Investigator, Monash University; Founding Member, St. John's Food Policy Council

Dr. Catherine L. Mah is Canada Research Chair in Promoting Healthy Populations and Associate Professor in the School of Health Administration, Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. Dr. Mah directs the Food Policy Lab, a multidisciplinary program of research on the environmental and policy determinants of diet and consumption. Her work is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). She also holds appointments at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto and Saint Mary's University. She previously held fellowships at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto, Toronto Public Health, and Kyoto University. Dr. Mah leads a range of population nutrition assessment, population health intervention, and policy research projects to promote health and prevent noncommunicable diseases, and in partnership with underserved communities facing food and nutrition disparities. Among her network of scientific collaborations, she is a Chief Investigator for the NHMRC Healthy Stores 2020 trial based at Monash University, Australia; Atlantic co-lead investigator for FLEdGE, a SSHRC global partnership on sustainable food systems based at Wilfrid Laurier University; an Associate Investigator in the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health at Deakin University, Australia; and a founding investigator of the CIHR PROOF food insecurity research team at the University of Toronto. Dr. Mah resides in Atlantic Canada. She is a former member of the Toronto Food Policy Council and founding member of the St. John's Food Policy Council.

Céline Plante, MSc, RD

Nutritionist; Member, Ordre Professionnel des Diététistes du Québec (OPDQ)

Nutritionist and member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ), Dr. Céline Plante obtained a bachelor's and then a master's degree in nutrition from Université Laval in 2005 and 2008. She discovered her passion for nutrition in public health during her master's project on the evaluation of the status and iron intake of women in Nunavik. Since 2006, she has been working as a scientific advisor at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec as part of the surveillance team at the Bureau d'information et d'étude en santé des populations, where she carries out methodological development and analysis of health indicators for the surveillance of chronic diseases and their determinants. For the past 15 years, she has worked in the surveillance of nutrition, body weight, cardiovascular disease and diabetes at the provincial level. Since 2016, she has been responsible for nutrition surveillance. Her mandate is to develop indicators and draft demographic profiles to monitor eating habits and nutritional status at the provincial level. She sits on several scientific committees, including the Observatoire de la qualité de l'offre alimentaire and NutriQuébec.

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