Board of Directors
Samantha lives in Northwestern Ontario, in the small town of Atikokan. She grew up in Northern Manitoba, graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition in 2013, and moved south to Northwestern Ontario. After 8 years as a general practice dietitian and having a child, she is now a nutrition and lifestyle coach for people with inflammatory arthritis.
In addition to being an arthritis professional, Samantha is an arthritis patient. In 2014, she had her first flare and was subsequently diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. She is excited to bring both of these experiences to the role of President Elect.
Paul had a 30-year career at the Mary Pack Arthritis Program (MPAP) in Vancouver. Initially trained as a social worker, he provided counselling to clients for 20 years before taking a position in which he was involved in coordinating professional and patient education at MPAP, as well as other related tasks. His areas of interest are many and include patient empowerment, eHealth applications, eLearning, communities of practice, and models of care, to name a few. He has nurtured these interests through his participation in research and previous volunteer roles with AHPA and the Association of Rheumatology Professionals (ARP). He has been retired since 2019 and now lives on Vancouver Island.
Michelle Bridge is an Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care (ACPAC)-trained Occupational Therapist, with Arthritis Society Canada’s Arthritis Rehabilitation and Education Program, covering Windsor-Essex county in Ontario. She is involved in the Arthritis Health Professions Association’s ACPAC Special Interest Group committee, having contributed as Chair of the education sub-committee as well as being the website liaison. She is a member, in good standing, of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario; the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists; and internationally, she is also a member of the Association of Rheumatology Professionals. Her career objectives focus on delivering optimal best-practice rheumatological healthcare; improving access to care for pediatric and adult patients with arthritis while embracing inclusion and diversity; and strengthening the healthcare capacity while enhancing inter-professional care with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes. She has been with the Arthritis Society Canada since 2014, coming from an occupational therapy background in chronic pain management, homecare, and return-to-work, and 8-years experience working in kinesiology.
Mary Ellen Marcon became a professional grandmother of 2 boys after retiring as a Physiotherapist, Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care with The Arthritis Society—Ontario Division in 2019. Who knew that all that experience would lead to looking after other treasures?
In the Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma area, Mary Ellen was able to deliver client centred primary care to residents with arthritis and to present group education sessions for self management of arthritis. She also worked alongside a rheumatologist, where she provided comprehensive rheumatology assessments to enhance timely treatment for people with inflammatory arthritis. Follow-up assessments via Ontario Telemedicine Network helped support patients of a visiting rheumatologist. In the Timmins area, Mary Ellen collaborated with 2 visiting rheumatologists at the Timmins and District Hospital to provide a quarterly innovative Inflammatory Arthritis Clinic. These undertakings spanned 37 years of change in arthritis care and delivery.
Mary Ellen considers AHPA to be an important networking opportunity for arthritis health professionals across Canada. She looks forward to being a support that helps maintain those network bridges.
Dr. Karine Toupin April is an Associate Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa. She is cross-appointed with the Department of Pediatrics and is affiliated with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and the Institut du savoir Montfort. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy and undertook graduate and post-graduate training in public health and epidemiology.
She has research expertise in chronic disease management, patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), shared decision making, patient engagement in research and knowledge translation. Her work has included research in pediatric and adult rheumatology, with experience in conducting systematic reviews and developing PROMs, clinical practice guidelines, patient decision support interventions and self-management tools. Her main research project aims to develop, evaluate and implement a web-based decision support intervention called the JIA Option Map to help youth with juvenile arthritis choose among pain management options with their families and health care providers. She is an editor of the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group and the chair of the OMERACT (Outcome Measures in Rheumatology) shared decision making working group. She has been teaching occupational therapy and medical students at the University of Ottawa since 2008.
Petra Audrey Kodeda, B.Sc., MBA, PA, CCPE
Petra is the Director, Strategic Partnerships & Innovation at Rx Connect Specialty Pharmacy. As a dedicated career pharmaceutical, medical sales and pharmacy assistant professional, Petra has over 20 years of experience working in a wide range of therapeutic areas, including Rheumatology. She has previously worked in the Biologics/Biosimilar space within pharmaceutical sales.
Petra completed her undergraduate degree in Cellular Biology at the University of Toronto. Most recently, she graduated with an MBA in Pharmaceutical Healthcare and Marketing from the Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Petra is currently completing her M.Sc. in Applied Behavior Analysis from the same institution. She also obtained her Pharmacy Assistant Diploma in 2018.
Petra is a lifelong learner and strong advocate of continuing education. She most recently held a position on the Continuing Pharmaceutical Education (CCPE) Board of Directors, as Regional Delegate for Ontario.
Petra brings to the AHPA Board her extensive partnerships in the Pharmaceutical Industry, and a strong interest in enhancing patient outcomes and patient-centric models of care.
Sue graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1980 with a BScPT and worked at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener as staff physiotherapist until 1988 when she started working with the Arthritis Society’s Arthritis Rehabilitation and Education Program (AREP) in Kitchener, ON.
She has been active in the assessment and management of people living with arthritis and has developed and presented education programs for people with different types of arthritis and for healthcare professionals who wish to enhance their competency in arthritis care.
In 2009, she completed the Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care program through the University of Toronto and St Michael’s Hospital. She provided ACPAC support in the Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic at Children’s Hospital in London ON and for local physicians and rheumatologists in Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo from 2009 - 2021. Her passion has been the development of models of care that improve timely and appropriate access to care for people living with arthritis.
Sue has been a member of the Arthritis Health Professions Association for over 33 years and served as President of the organization 2018-2020 during which time she was focussed on the development of a Strategic Plan and promoting collaboration with CRA, ORA and ARP. She was awarded the AHPA Extraordinary Service Award in 2021 and the AHPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022.
In 2022, Sue was awarded the Leadership and Advocacy Award from the Ontario Physiotherapy Association, a Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Woman of the Year Award for her Professional activities and the Association of Rheumatology Professionals Ann Kunkel Advocacy Award.
Sue recently retired from the Arthritis Rehabilitation and Education Program of the Arthritis Society and is enjoying her new role as proud Grandma to 3 wonderful granddaughters.
I have worked as a physiotherapist with the Arthritis Society for the past 11 years in Kingston and the surrounding areas. During that time I have adopted the Arthritis Society’s model of a care by working as a primary therapist encompassing both the role of both physiotherapy and occupational therapy. This has allowed me to provide comprehensive, holistic care to individuals suffering from all forms of arthritis. I have worked closely with several rheumatologists and for the past year have also taken on the role of Clinical Practice Lead. This includes a focus on education both internally and externally.
I have previously been able to benefit from the continuing education opportunities through AHPA. In particular, I always found the pre-course information at CRA and ORA very beneficial and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to network with other health care professionals dedicated to the field of rheumatology. I feel Covid has reduced these opportunities for the past several years and limited the exposure of other health care providers to AHPA. My hope for AHPA over the next 2-5 years would be increased exposure to secure a larger membership base and more opportunities to meet in person. Continued virtual education sessions on topics of interest would also be a valuable resource for AHPA to maintain.