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Program Management

Program directors and managers at PHRI are responsible for end-to-end management of studies – from site assessment and initiation, through to site close-out and study followup and publication.

What We Do
Tara McCready

Program Director

Tara McCready
Program Director

Tara McCready, PhD, oversees a variety of collaborative programs at PHRI, and serves as Project Manager for PHRI research studies and registries.

She was recruited to PHRI as a Program Director for the Canadian Network and Centre for Trials Internationally (CANNeCTIN), a national network funded by the CIHR/CFI Clinical Research Initiative program to improve the prevention and treatment of cardiac and vascular diseases and diabetes.

Previously the Executive Director of the Canadian Maternal, Infant, Child and Youth Research Network, Tara holds a PhD in Biochemistry and a MBA in Technology Commercialization from the University of Alberta.

Sumathy Rangarajan

Program Director

Sumathy Rangarajan
Program Director

Sumathy Rangarajan has been Program Director, Global Health, since 2016, preceded by many years’ service at PHRI in other roles. She oversees the PURE study team, as well as the INVICTUS rheumatic AF treatment trial, the CANPWR pediatric weight management registry, and others.

She holds both a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Science degree from Pune University in India.

Heather Beresh

Associate Program Manager

Heather Beresh
Associate Program Manager

Heather Beresh has worked at PHRI since May 2002, largely devoted to managing global, multi-centre clinical trials of antithrombotic therapies in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). She started as research coordinator for the ACTIVE study evaluating dual antiplatelet therapy and angiotensin receptor blockers in patients with AF, then continued with oversight of the AVERROES open label extension trial evaluating a novel oral anticoagulant in the same population, and ARTESiA evaluating anticoagulant therapy in patients with subclinical AF.

In addition, she has coordinated trials of ablation procedures versus anti-arrhythmic medications and trials evaluating screening strategies for AF. Heather also manages network collaborations, including the Canadian Stroke Prevention Intervention Network (CSPIN). She has as a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences from McMaster University.

Dipika Desai

Associate Program Manager

Dipika Desai
Associate Program Manager

Dipika Desai oversees many epidemiologic studies, including the South Asian birth cohort, START, the South Asian Heart Risk Assessment (SAHARA), and the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds (CAHHM), as well as management assistance and oversight in the utilization of samples from a number of other studies.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition from the M S University in Baroda, India, and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of British Columbia.

Gayle Lewis

Associate Program Manager

Gayle Lewis
Associate Program Manager

Gayle Lewis joined PHRI’s Arrhythmia group in 2005 to work on the RELY trial; she started up the AVERROES trial in 2007, which she managed until its 2010 close. In 2012, Gayle moved to PHRI’s Global Health program, where she works on various epidemiological studies including PURE, as well as the rheumatic AF treatment study, INVICTUS.

Prior to joining McMaster University, she worked in Toronto at Digital Equipment of Canada for 5 years and was responsible for the development, testing, implementation and training of the Canadian Automatic Quoting system (AQS) for all Sales Representatives across Canada.

She has been an employee of McMaster University since 1989 when she joined the Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics Group, and remained on campus until 1992, at which time she relocated to the Clinical Trials Methodology Group.

Ellison Themeles

Associate Program Manager

Ellison Themeles
Associate Program Manager

Ellison Themeles’ experience includes more than 20 years in the conduct, execution and management of large, international clinical trials involving both medical devices and pharmaceutical agents in the area of cardiovascular disease and arrhythmias.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gerontology and Sociology, and a Master of Science Degree in Health Research Methodology, from McMaster University.

Jessica Tyrwhitt

Associate Program Manager

Jessica Tyrwhitt
Associate Program Manager

Jessica Tyrwhitt has more than 10 years’ experience in coordinating and managing large, international clinical trials. As Associate Program Manager, she oversees interventional trials, registries, and observational research studies looking at primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in a variety of therapeutic areas, including cardiology, thrombosis, nephrology, cardio-oncology and diabetes.

She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree & Business from the University of Waterloo.

 

Jessica Vincent

Associate Program Manager

Jessica Vincent
Associate Program Manager

Jessica Vincent has more than 15 years’ experience in coordinating and managing large, international clinical trials. As Associate Program Manager, she oversees interventional trials, registries, and observational research studies in the areas of perioperative medicine, cardiac surgery, and digital health.

She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree from Queens University, and a Master of Clinical Epidemiology Degree from the University of Newcastle.

Statistics

Data analytics and data management teams operate within the Statistics department, with the overarching mission to identify, develop and apply sound biostatistical foundations essential for methodological excellence.

What We Do
Dr Shrikant Bangdiwala
Dr Shrikant Bangdiwala
Shrikant Bangdiwala

Director, Statistics; Senior Scientist

Shrikant Bangdiwala
Director, Statistics; Senior Scientist

Shrikant Bangdiwala, PhD, has extensive experience in the design, conduct and analysis of multi-center observational and experimental studies, having worked on clinical and community-based randomized controlled trials in congestive heart failure, cardiovascular risk factors, functional bowel disease, and obesity prevention. His statistical research interests include non-parametric methods, methodology for clinical trials, reliability and validity of diagnostic tests, and graphical methods for descriptive analyses.

A Professor in McMaster University’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, he is a former Fulbright senior specialist in global public health, and holds faculty positions in universities in Chile, South Africa and India.

He is a member of the USA NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) “COVID-19 Preventive mAb Data and Safety Monitoring Board” (DSMB) that will be reviewing and monitoring the US government-supported clinical trials of candidate preventive monoclonal Antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. He also chairs the Multinational DSMB for the division of AIDS at NIH, and is a member of the Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA.

Leanne Dyal

Manager, Statistical Operations

Leanne Dyal
Manager, Statistical Operations

Leanne Dyal is responsible for leading the development of data quality standards and processes across PHRI in accordance with industry standards. She was previously Manager, Data Management, and before that, Statistical Analyst with PHRI for several years, giving her a wealth of experience in, and knowledge of, study design, conduct, databases and data management.

She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Mathematics and Statistics, and Masters of Science Degree in Statistics, from McMaster University.

Information and Communication Technologies

From providing a stable, secure infrastructure and custom software, to data collection and critical lines of communication with the investigative sites, the ICT department maintains the systems at the heart of PHRI studies.

What We Do
Andrew Renner

Director, ICT

Andrew Renner
Director, ICT

Andrew Renner provides strategic leadership for PHRI’s information and communication technology (ICT) department, which includes infrastructure, information management solutions, telecommunication platforms that support the organization’s service offerings internally and externally. He is also responsible for the ICT governance structures that harmonize organizational objectives with performance goals and metrics.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematical and Computer Science, and his Bachelor of Kinesiology, from McMaster University, and has more than 15 years’ ICT experience.

Les Farago

Manager, ICT, Solutions

Les Farago
Manager, ICT, Solutions

Les Farago is responsible for implementing custom software solutions when off-the-shelf software does not meet the needs of a study’s specifications. He has been with PHRI his entire professional career, involved in almost every study the organization has conducted over the past decade.

Prior to his current position, he was a Software Architect and Software Developer at PHRI where he gained expertise in randomization, re-supply, IP logistics, study management, and software development. He received a Bachelor of Computing and Business degree from Brock University.

Dan Trottier

Manager, ICT, Operations

Dan Trottier
Manager, ICT, Operations

Dan Trottier is accountable for the continuous improvement and effective delivery of IT operational services at PHRI. Prior to joining the organization, he held IT-based technical and managerial roles in academic, industrial, analytical laboratory, and banking sectors.

He has volunteered for 15+ years in community networking initiatives as technical committee chair, board member, and president of the not-for-profit Hamilton Wentworth Community Network, created to bring affordable Internet access to all Hamiltonians. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from McMaster University.

Matt Smart

ICT Projects Manager

Matt Smart
ICT Projects Manager

Matt Smart provides leadership for PHRI’s Business Analysts and Clinical Data Operations teams, working collaboratively with program management and support departments to improve efficiencies at PHRI. Matt is responsible for aligning ICT priorities with PHRI needs, leading innovation projects, and delivering quality systems to enable clinical research initiatives.

He has been with PHRI since 2009 contributing to over 100 studies and study-related systems, gaining a wealth of experience in clinical research operations, software development, ICT operations, business analysis, project management, quality assurance, data management, and leadership. Matt has a Bachelor of Mathematics degree from University of Waterloo.

Financial Services

The Financial Services team work with researchers and study teams to develop budgets for grant applications, track finances, generate financial reports, and more.

What We Do
Beena Cracknell

Director, Financial Services

Beena Cracknell
Director, Financial Services

Beena Cracknell and her team manage around 200 cost centers and more than 350 members of the PHRI family. She is a Certified General Accountant, an accounting graduate of Ryerson University.

Moiz Motiwala

Manager, Financial Services

Moiz Motiwala
Manager, Financial Services

Moiz Motiwala is responsible for managing, organizing and controlling the operational activities of PHRI finance, including handling the complexities of the multinational research environment and competing requirements of internal and external stakeholders.

He has completed: Chartered Accountancy from Pakistan; CMA from UK; CPA from USA; and CPA from (Ontario) Canada. Before joining PHRI, he worked eight years at the Qatar location of Weill Cornell Medical College, NY, where he was responsible for handling financial affairs of the college including their research portfolio with grants of more than US$180 million.

Contract Management

The Contracts team at PHRI supports researchers by navigating through international laws and national regulations and negotiating with stakeholders such as private and public funding sources, collaborators and investigative sites in more than 100 countries, national leaders’ offices, and service providers.

What We Do
Tanya Chow

Research Counsel and Director of Contracts

Tanya Chow
Research Counsel and Director of Contracts

Tanya Chow is responsible for providing strategic legal advice and contracting expertise to PHRI, with the goal of cultivating a client-centered, proactive legal office. She directs and manages the daily operations of the Contracts department, a dedicated team of contract specialists, coordinators and administrators.

She is a corporate commercial lawyer with 10+ years of experience in the healthcare and research sectors. Tanya received her LL.M. (Health Law) from York University, her LL.B. and Masters of Health Services Administration from Dalhousie University, and her B.Sc. and B.A.(Hons) from Queen’s University.

Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance

The QA department supports research teams by developing and implementing policies and procedures to ensure quality across all stages of research, as well as ensures compliance with regularly changing regulations in various regions of the world.

What We Do
Maha Raheb

Senior QA Coordinator

Maha Raheb
Senior QA Coordinator

Maha Raheb is leading the different quality assurance (QA) activities including PHRI Quality Document Management, Internal Audit Program, Corrective and Preventative Actions Program (CAPA), and also supports various PHRI study teams and departments during Sponsor Audits and or Regulatory Inspections.

She is an international medical graduate, holds a Master’s degree in internal medicine, with 15+ years of experience as an IM Specialist. Prior to joining PHRI in 2016, Maha worked in clinical research organizations for six years as Medical Research Associate, Quality Control Specialist, and Quality Assurance Auditor.

Research Specimen and Supply Management

The RSSM department sources, procures, and distributes healthcare supplies and devices for PHRI studies around the world, as well as creating, packaging, labeling, and shipping biological specimen collection kits.

What We Do
Lea Rayner

Coordinator, RSSM

Lea Rayner
Coordinator, RSSM

Lea Rayner has been with PHRI since 2016, the Coordinator of Research Specimen and Supply Management (RSSM) since 2018. She and her team source, procure, and distribute supplies for PHRI studies around the world; with an emphasis on creating, packaging, labelling, and shipping biological specimen collection kits, and ensuring the biological specimens from these kits arrive back to Canada for testing and storage.

She received her Advanced Diploma in Science Laboratory Technology from Fanshawe College, and Medical Laboratory Assistant certification under the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science after graduating from the Mohawk College and The Michener Institute collaborative program.

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