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Certified Respiratory Educators

Experts in the field of asthma and allergy education
Sylvia Grutzmacher

Sylvia Grutzmacher

RRT, CRE

Sylvia graduated as a Respiratory Therapist in 1983 and achieved certification as a Respiratory Educator in 2008. She currently works in Community Integrated Health Services providing Asthma and COPD Education Clinics, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Home Oxygen Therapy and Community Respiratory Therapy. Sylvia is fluent in English and French.

Joyce Yee

Joyce Yee

RRT, CRE

Joyce Yee is an advocate for empowering people to self-manage chronic lung disease. As a Certified Respiratory Educator, she provides asthma and COPD patients with the skills and knowledge they need to increase their quality of life and decrease their dependence on the healthcare system.

 

Holly Mitchell

Holly Mitchell

RRT, CRE

Holly has been a practicing RT in her home province of Nova Scotia for 15 years, obtaining first her Asthma Educator certification in 2006, and going on to complete her Respiratory Educator in 2007. Throughout her career, Holly has worked in various capacities including both hospital- based and community respiratory education, program development, pulmonary rehabilitation. Holly currently works in the community with home oxygen and sleep therapeutics.

Tracy Cushing

Tracy Cushing

RRT, CRE

Tracy Cushing has been a Respiratory Therapist for 25 years and has worked in Canada and the Middle East. She has worked with Respirologists in the research of COPD and pulmonary rehabilitation, and as an instructor at the Dalhousie School of Health Sciences in Respiratory Therapy.

Over the past several years she has been working as a certified asthma and COPD educator, smoking cessation counselor and pulmonary rehabilitation coordinator.

 

Susan Haskell

Susan Haskell

RRT, CRE, CTE, FCSRT

Susan Haskell is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Certified Respiratory Educator, Certified Tobacco Educator and Fellow of the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists with 24 years of experience in respiratory care and education.

Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee

Providing expert opinion based on evidence, editorial direction on materials and resources, and guidance on national initiatives and policies
Susan Waserman, MSc, MD, FRCPC

Susan Waserman, MSc, MD, FRCPC

Chairperson

Dr. Waserman obtained her MSc and medical degree from McGill University in Montreal. She specialized in Internal Medicine, followed by subspecialty training in Allergy/Clinical Immunology. She then completed a fellowship in Pulmonary Immunology at the Meakins Christie Laboratories at McGill University. She is currently a Professor of Medicine, in the Division of Allergy/Clinical Immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton.
She is the Director of the Adverse Reactions Clinic at the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health, St Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. She is the past President of the Ontario and Canadian Societies of Allergy and Clinical Immunology where activities included CME for physicians, allied health professionals and the community, as well as practice guidelines in areas such as anaphylaxis, rhinitis and immunotherapy.
Susan Balkovec, RRT, CAE

Susan Balkovec, RRT, CAE

Member

Susan Balkovec is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Certified Asthma Educator in the Respiratory Medicine Division at SickKids hospital in Toronto. In her role, she provides asthma education to families of children who have been hospitalized or been to the intensive care unit (ICU) for asthma. She collaborates with the multi-disciplinary team regarding asthma management and with the families during scheduled visits in the ambulatory asthma clinic. As an educator, Susan has been very active within SickKids promoting standardization of asthma education and management with other staff members to improve programs. She has taught both students and teachers about proper asthma management at a number of schools in the Greater Toronto Area. Susan was also involved in the early stages of The Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study, a prospective longitudinal birth cohort study still in progress which looks at early determinants of asthma and allergy. As the lead respiratory therapist, she directed the infant pulmonary function team looking at the role of lung function variables early in life.

Chris Carlsten, MD, MPH

Chris Carlsten, MD, MPH

Member

Chris Carlsten, MD MPH is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Canada Research Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease and holds the Astra-Zeneca Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease at the University of British Columbia. He is the Director of the Air Pollution Exposure Laboratory and also holds adjunct positions at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, the UBC School of Population and Public Health and the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation. The Carlsten laboratory focuses on the respiratory and immunological health effects of inhaled environmental and occupational exposures, using diesel exhaust, western red cedar, and phthalates as model inhalants. As director of the Occupational Lung Disease Clinic at The Lung Centre (Vancouver General Hospital), Dr. Carlsten welcomes patients with concerns regarding occupational or environmental exposures contributing to respiratory disease including asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease, cancer, and pleural disease

 

Matthew Feldman, MD

Matthew Feldman, MD

Member

Dr. Matthew Feldman is currently a Pediatrics Resident at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. Originally from Calgary, Dr. Feldman has lived with asthma all his life. He has been involved with Asthma Canada for since 2015 and has been an adviser on numerous projects such as redesigning Asthma Canada’s asthma action plan. He has enjoyed being involved in educating and improving the care for all individuals affected by asthma.

Alan Kaplan, MD, CCFP(EM), FCPC

Alan Kaplan, MD, CCFP(EM), FCPC

Member

Dr. Kaplan is a Family Physician practicing in York Region, Ontario, Canada. He is the Chairperson of the Family Physician Airways Group of Canada and the past- Chairperson of the Respiratory Section of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. He is a Senate member of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group and a representative of the College of Family Physicians of Canada to the SARS clinical working group.

A member of the Health Canada Section on Allergy and Respiratory Therapies, he also co-chairs Health Quality Ontario COPD Community Management standards committee and is a Board member of Thrombosis Canada. Dr. Kaplan is also the Vice President of the Respiratory Effectiveness Group.

 

Stacey McNeilly, RRT, CRE, CTE

Stacey McNeilly, RRT, CRE, CTE

Member

Stacey McNeilly is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Certified Respiratory Educator and Certified Tobacco Educator. Stacey works in a community hospital in Maple Ridge BC, as the Asthma Clinic Educator, Pulmonary Rehabilitation Coordinator and the lead for the Smoking Cessation Clinic. Stacey’s experience includes working as a Respiratory Therapist at BC Children’s Hospital (as a therapist and ECLS Specialist) and at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. 

As an individual living with asthma herself and working for over 25 years in the field, Stacey has a profound appreciation for how difficult it is to suffer with lung disease, and is a strong patient advocate. Stacey has been involved with Asthma Canada for a number of years in various advisory roles. 

Andrew O'Keefe

Andrew O'Keefe

Member

 A native Newfoundlander, Andrew completed undergraduate, medical and postgraduate studies in Pediatrics at Memorial University before pursuing further training in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Upon completion of his training, he returned to St. John’s to start a clinical practice. Since then, Andrew has been appointed clinical assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University.

He also serves on the board of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology as head of the asthma interest section. Andrew is furthering his studies at the Harvard School of Public Health, pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health, with an anticipated completion date of Fall 2020. Andrew is excited to join Asthma Canada and help empower patients, promote evidence based care, and optimize the health of Canadians living with asthma.
Ron Olivenstein, MD, Pulmonologist

Ron Olivenstein, MD, Pulmonologist

Member

Dr. Ron Olivenstein is an Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University. His research focuses on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). His research interests include clinical trials in asthma and COPD, investigations into airway inflammation in severe asthma and innovative therapies such as bronchial thermoplasty. He has collaborated extensively with industry in testing the effects of novel therapeutic agents in asthma and has helped to establish a well-characterized severe asthma cohort at the Montreal Chest Institute.

 

Cheryl Sadowski, B.Sc, Pharm.D., FCSHP

Cheryl Sadowski, B.Sc, Pharm.D., FCSHP

Member

Dr. Cheryl Sadowski is a Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta. She has a clinical practice in geriatrics in an interprofessional Geriatric Outpatient Clinic at the Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. Her area of expertise is geriatrics, and she has been responsible for developing geriatrics-related content throughout the 4 years of the pharmacy curriculum. She
also teaches students in rehabilitation medicine, nursing, and dentistry. Her research interest include geriatric syndromes and care, functional medication management, and interprofessional education. She has published research on the use, complexity, and scoring of inhaler devices, and interprofessional peer teaching regarding inhaler devices.

 

Padmaja Subbarao, MD, MSc, FRCPC

Padmaja Subbarao, MD, MSc, FRCPC

Member

 Padmaja Subbarao MD, MSc, FRCP(C) is a Clinician-Scientist and Pediatric Respirologist. She is the Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at the Hospital for Sick Children. She is also the Director and Toronto Site leader of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study. She is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Paediatrics and Physiology at the University of Toronto. She has held a New Investigator Award from CIHR for clinical research and her lab has been continuously funded by CIHR and AllerGen NCE. Her interests are in studying longitudinal objective lung function measurements from infancy to improve diagnostics and phenotyping of asthma.

In studying longitudinal trajectories of lung function and relating them to environmental exposures, she hopes to understand the developmental origins of chronic obstructive lung disease and factors related to persistence and remission.