The Can-Change Team

The core original members of the CAN-Change Network are drawn from health psychology and behavioral medicine experts from across Canada. They have over 25 years of experience in developing and delivering evidence-based health behavior change counselling (e.g., motivational communication) training programs for a wide range of healthcare professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, pharmacists, educators) across multiple disease areas (e.g., cardiovascular disease, hypertension, asthma, COPD, diabetes, arthritis, psoriasis, Hepatitis C, infectious disease, alcohol and drug abuse).

They have pulled together this expertise to form CAN-Change to improve the standardization, quality and availability of health behavior change counselling training programs and interventions across Canada and internationally.

Jump to:  Executive Members   |    Members   |    Coordinator   |    Trainees


Dr. Kim Lavoie (Chair)

Founding Member Dr. Kim Lavoie is Full Professor in the Dept. of Psychology, at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Medicine, and Co-Director of the Montreal Behavioral Medicine Centre (MBMC). She is also a Researcher at Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal and an Associate Researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute. Finally, she holds a number of national and international leadership positions including Co-Lead of the International Behavioural Trials Network (IBTN), and Chair of the Canadian Network for Health Behaviour Change and Promotion (CAN-Change)

Dr. Lavoie is internationally recognized for her research on chronic disease prevention and the impact of behavioral interventions, such as motivational communication, on health behaviors and chronic disease outcomes. Specifically, here research interests fall into 3 broad categories: the impact of psychological stress (e.g., depression, anxiety) and lifestyle factors (diet, exercise, smoking, adherence) on the development and progression of chronic illnesses (e.g., cardiovascular disease, asthma, and occupational asthma); psychophysiological and behavioral mechanisms linking psychological stress to disease; and behavioural medicine (e.g., behavioral interventions for chronic illnesses, including motivational communication and cognitive-behavioral interventions).

Dr. Lavoie is highly sought out to design and deliver health behaviour change interventions, with a focus on motivational communication, by industry and non-profit associations (e.g., Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Dermatology Association, Canadian Lung Association). To date, over 10,000 health professionals worldwide have attended her workshops. 514 338-2222 (3709)

Dr. Simon Bacon

Founding Member Dr. Simon Bacon, full professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Applied Physiology at Concordia University, and co-Director of the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, has had extensive training in the delivery of behavioural randomised controlled trials and has been a PI and co-I on 12 different studies involving behavioural interventions, including exercise, weight management, stress management, and motivational interviewing. In addition, he has several years in generating national recommendations through his work with the Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP: he has been a member of the last 5 recommendation panels), where he is currently the chair of the lifestyles sub-committee. Finally, Dr. Bacon has organised several knowledge translation events, including Café Scientifiques, where he has brought a number of different stakeholders together to discuss key topics and issues, for example, trying to create a common dialogue between researchers and the media to improve health innovation reporting.

Dr. Kim Corace

Founding Member Dr. Kim Corace, Ph.D., C. Psych, is an Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry (with a cross-appointment to the Department of Medicine) and Cross-Appointed to the School of Psychology at University of Ottawa.  She is an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University, and a Clinical Investigator with the Institute of Mental Health Research and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. She is a Clinical Health Psychologist and the Director of Research and Program Development at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. She leads an active lab, conducting research in mental health, substance use, stigma, public health, and hepatitis C. She has expertise in health behavior change, including how behaviour change theories can be used to guide and inform novel interventions to improve healthcare worker vaccination uptake and hand hygiene adherence.  She works at local, regional, provincial, and national levels to develop innovative interventions that lead to improved healthcare access and uptake for vulnerable populations, with a focus on developing collaborative hospital-community models of care.  Dr. Corace was the recipient of The Royal’s 12th Annual Inspiration Award in the Young Researcher Category. In 2013 the Ontario Ministry of Health Innovation Fund awarded the “Best Innovation in Mental Health Care Delivery” to Dr. Corace and her colleague for their Regional Opioid Intervention Service.

Dr. Michael Vallis

vallisFounding Member Dr. Michael Vallis (Ph.D., R. Psych) is a registered health psychologist practicing at the Capital Health, Halifax, and cross-appointed to Dalhousie University as Associate Professor in Family Medicine and Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor in Psychology and Health and Human Performance. He obtained his Ph.D. and M.A from the University of Western Ontario, London, and his B. Sc. From Dalhousie University. His main area of expertise is adult health psychology, with an emphasis on diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular risk and gastroenterology. He has developed the Behaviour Change Institute, a training program for lifestyle counselling skills for physicians, nurses, dietitians and other healthcare providers. He regularly supervises clinical and academic students at Dalhousie and is active in research on motivation, behavioural change and adaptation to chronic disease. He is an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Diabetes and Clinical Obesity, is the Canadian Lead for the Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs 2 study (DAWN2), is the Canadian Co-Lead and on the International Steering Committee of the IBD Connect project. He was recently awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Government of Canada on the recommendation of the Canadian Diabetes Association.  902-789-9545

Dr. Tavis Campbell

Founding Member Dr. Tavis Campbell is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Oncology at the University of Calgary. He obtained his Ph.D from McGill University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Duke University Medical Centre. His research interests involve identifying and understanding the bio-behavioral mechanisms involved in the development, progression, and management of chronic diseases, such as atrial fibrillation, cancer and arthritis. Dr. Campbell has published results from several behavior-based RCTs in the areas of cancer, pain, and chronic disease management, including the i-can sleep trial targeting insomnia in cancer survivors. In addition, he is actively involved in Hypertension Canada and is Chair of Care Delivery. Finally, Dr. Campbell is regularly sought out by a variety of healthcare professionals (e.g., physicians, rheumatologists, nurses, dermatologists) to deliver workshops with a focus on motivating health behavior change and improving patient-provider communication.

Dr. Gary Garber

Dr. Gary Garber is the Director of Safe Medical Care Research at the Canadian Medical Protective Association and an Infectious Diseases physician based at The Ottawa Hospital. He is a professor in the Department of Medicine and the School of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa and the Department of Medicine at University of Toronto. His clinical interests focus on the prevention of infections and preventing the emergence of antibiotic resistance through promoting appropriate use of antimicrobial agents, development of antimicrobials stewardship programs and surveillance of antibiotic resistant organisms. His work includes development and evaluation of new programs to improve patient safety including hand hygiene, healthcare worker vaccination and improving physician prescribing. He works collaboratively with experts in health behaviour change to inform innovative strategies to improve patient safety and applying the principles of Implementation Science for impactful dissemination. His CMPA team is actively investigating ways to improve safe medical care by identifying root causes at the practitioner, team and system levels with goal of improved patient safety.


Dr. Catherine Laurin


Founding Member Dr. Catherine Laurin is member of the Ordre des psychologues du Québec and has been for the past 8 years. She currently works in private practice as well as at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal. She completed her postdoctoral training in 2013 at Concordia University, specializing in health psychology. More specifically, she is interested in understanding the impact of anxiety and depression on chronic diseases like cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. She has worked in different fields of health (cardiology, gastroenterology, pneumology, and smoking cessation). She is currently participating in the development of health programs for patients and offers training for health professionals on different topics, including motivational communication., (514) 436-6041 (private practice)


Dr. Nicola Paine

Nicola PaineFounding Member Dr. Nicola Paine is a lecturer in Health Psychology at fellow in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University. She completed postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at Duke University, and in Montreal in the Department of Exercise Science at Concordia University and the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, within the Research Centre in the Hôpital du Sacré Coeur de Montréal. Dr. Paine’s research examines the impact of psychological stress on the development of chronic diseases, with a specific interest in understanding the role of and interactions between health behaviours (e.g., physical activity and exercise, smoking, diet) and physiological dysregulation in the context of psychological stress and chronic disease development and progression. Currently, her research is focused primarily on cardiovascular and respiratory disease development and outcomes. Her work utilises an inter-disciplinary approach encompassing epidemiology, experimental laboratory-based acute stress (both exercise stress and mental stress) testing, and intervention work to investigate these interests.

Dr. Codie Rouleau

Dr. Codie Rouleau is a Clinical Psychologist at TotalCardiology Rehabilitation and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary. Her research and clinical interests focus on health psychology, with an emphasis on behavioural aspects of cardiovascular disease initiation, progression, and outcomes. Her work includes the evaluation of non-pharmacological interventions to support treatment adherence, address psychological distress, and treat sleep disturbance in the context of cardiac rehabilitation. Dr. Rouleau regularly delivers training to multidisciplinary healthcare providers on how to address psychosocial risk factors and health behaviour change. She holds various leadership positions including Chair of the TotalCardiology Research Network and Clinical Liaison on the Canadian Psychological Association Health and Behavioural Medicine Executive Committee..

Dr. Justin Presseau

Dr. Justin Presseau is a Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (Canada) with a background in health psychology and implementation science, and an Assistant Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health and the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. He is also the Scientific Lead for knowledge translation at the Ottawa Methods Centre. Dr. Presseau’s research program focuses on behaviour change related to health. His research draws upon behaviour change theories and methods and applies these to understanding and supporting behaviour change in the general public (e.g., physical activity, organ donation registration), patients (e.g., adhering to medication, attending cardiac rehabilitation, attending retinopathy screening), and in the clinical behaviours of healthcare professionals translating research evidence into practice (e.g., prescribing, test ordering, delivering interventions). His research interests focus particularly on developing and evaluating theory-based behaviour change interventions and in understanding the role of habit/automatic behaviour and competing priorities in the process of behaviour change. Dr. Presseau completed his PhD in Psychology at the University of Aberdeen (UK) and has since been awarded early career awards from the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine, the International Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the European Health Psychology Society. Dr. Presseau is an associate editor for journals Implementation Science and Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being.

Dr. Jessica Kichler

Dr. Jessica Kichler, CDCES, Ph.D., C.Psych., is a Clinical and Health Psychologist and Associate Professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Windsor, who specializes in pediatric health research focusing on the development of health behavior change and self-management skills. She completed her PhD at Kent State University in Ohio, her internship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. She previously worked as a diabetes psychologist and certified diabetes educator at two academic medical centers (Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center) in the United States for almost 15 years before moving to the University of Windsor in the summer of 2020. Currently, she conducts clinical interventions and explores the psychosocial adjustment and coping with chronic medical conditions, especially type 1 diabetes, in youth and families. In addition, she is interested in how to most effectively support college-aged students with type 1 diabetes transition into young adulthood. She is also involved in diabetes education practices and appreciates working collaboratively in interdisciplinary settings.

Dr. Joshua Rash

Dr. Joshua Rash is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Psychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Director of the Memorial University of Newfoundland – Behavioural Medicine Centre (MUN-BMC), and Senior Research Fellow at the Duke University Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research (CHPIR). He is a clinical, health and rehabilitation psychologist with expertise in behavioural medicine, health behaviour change, chronic disease management, and cardiovascular psychophysiology. Dr. Rash has significant experience conducting multi-site, pragmatic clinical trials that involve pharmacological and behavioural interventions. His expertise is highly sought out in chronic pain management, weight management, stress management, motivating health behaviour change, treatment of insomnia, and cardiovascular psychophysiology. He has had the privilege of working with provincial governments and not for profit organizations (e.g., Salvation Army) and mentorship networks (e.g., Atlantic Mentorship Network – Pain & Addictions) to transform healthcare delivery. 403-483-7997

Dr. Geneviève Rouleau

Dr. Geneviève Rouleau, registered nurse, Ph.D., is professor at the Department of Nursing Sciences at Université du Québec en Outaouais. She obtained her Ph.D. at Université Laval. She completed her postdoctoral trainee at Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (Toronto). Her 16-years of experience as a research coordinator at the Research Chair in Innovative Nursing Practices yield in her participation in developing more than 10 web-based nursing interventions aimed to support people in self-managing their chronic conditions. Through those web-based tailored interventions and short videoclips, Geneviève played the role of a coach, the one of a virtual nurse who supported asynchronously people in adopting health-related behaviours (e.g., medication adherence, physical activity, smoking cessation). As part of her doctoral studies, she developed a virtual patient simulation training informed by motivational interviewing aimed to foster nurses’ relational skills. Her research interests include: capacity building initiatives (targeting patients and healthcare professionals), usage of digital health and e-learning and their impact on healthcare and learning, intersection between digital technologies and relational dimension of care, including the concept of digital compassion, as well as implementation science.

Dr. Florent Larue

Dr. Florent Larue is a general practioner in Montpellier in the south of France. He also holds a Masters degree from Concordia in the field of electronic cigarettes and Motivational Communication to help patients change unhealthy behaviours. He is currently involved in a project to develop a competency assessment tool for physicians to improve management and outcomes of chronic diseases.





Dr. Geneviève Szczepanik

Geneviève coordinates research projects at the Montréal Behavioural Medicine Centre at CIUSSS-NIM, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Université du Québec à Montréal., 514-338-2222 x7819





Dr. Anda Dragomir

Dr. Anda Dragomir is a clinical psychologist and postdoctoral research fellow at Concordia University. Her research focuses on behavioural change counselling training for healthcare professionals in the context of chronic disease prevention and management. Along with the team at the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, she led the development of Motivational Communication which is defined as a collaborative communication style to enhance patient self-management in the context of chronic disease management (Dragomir et al, 2020 – DOI: 10.1093/tbm/ibaa015). She was the lead postdoctoral researcher on the Making MECC work project, with the Health Behaviour Change Research Group at the University of Galway in Ireland, between 2022-2023. This project focused on the implementation of brief behavioural intervention training programmes and the patient’s perspective regarding receiving such interventions from their health providers. Dr. Dragomir has received extensive training in psychophysiology and behavioural trial design and development and works as a clinician with individuals suffering from chronic pain and other chronic medical conditions.

Dr. Vincent Gosselin-Boucher

Dr. Vincent Gosselin-Boucher is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. He completed his PhD in Psychology at the University of Quebec in Montreal. His research interests include behaviour change interventions, population health promotion and the use of digital health. His work includes the development of technology-based evaluation and scientific knowledge translation tools, the use of qualitative methods to describe barriers and facilitators to behaviour change, and the wellbeing of healthcare professionals. For his academic excellence and research potential, Dr. Gosselin Boucher has received several prestigious awards, including the Michael Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship, CIHR and FRSQ doctoral fellowships, an RBC Student-Athlete Award and a Canadian Psychological Association Research Award.

Claudia Gemme

Claudia Gemme obtained a Special Counselling degree in 2014, before undertaking undergraduate studies at McGill University. She graduated in 2017 with a major in psychology, a minor in behavioural sciences and another minor in social studies of medicine. Since then, she is a PhD student at UQAM, under the supervision of Dr. Kim Lavoie and Dr. Simon Bacon. Her main research interests are behaviour change, communication, asthma and medication adherence. Her thesis project addresses the optimization a brief motivational communication intervention for asthma medication adherence behaviours.


Sara Labbé

Sara Labbé is a Ph.D. student in psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal. After an academic course oriented towards a fundamental science such as neuroscience, Sara’s interest is gradually bifurcated towards applied research in the field of health. She is now interested in problems of our society which depends on physical health and psychological processes. As part of her thesis project, she is interested in patients with chronic diseases who are hesitant to receive recommended vaccination for their condition. With a motivational communication approach, she wants to see how health psychologists can accompany health care providers to better communicate with their patients in order to promote, by mutual agreement, the best decisions for their health.


Brigitte Voisard

Brigitte Voisard is a Ph.D. student in psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal, scientist-practitioner profile. After completing an undergraduate degree in creative writing at the Université de Montréal and gathering professional experience in the field of communications, she decided to link her passion for words to her passion for people by undertaking an undergraduate degree in psychology at McGill University. This background has prepared her uniquely as she joins the motivational communication research group at the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre under the supervision of Dr. Kim Lavoie and Dr. Simon Bacon. In the context of noncommunicable chronic disease prevention, she is particularly interested in behavioural change counselling training for medical professionals.