Sent on behalf of Dr. Mohit Kapoor and Dr. Robert Inman, Co-Directors of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, UHN

Arthritis Program Newsletter

Happy Holidays


The special features included in each newsletter highlight some of the outstanding individuals who have contributed immensely towards the success of each division of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute. Our September newsletter feature highlighted Samra Mian-Valiante. If you have missed this feature, please see our September newsletter.

In this edition, we are highlighting two exceptional individuals who have made an outstanding impact towards the growth and success of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute.

Kim Perry

Kim Perry  

Kim Perry is the Biobank Manager for the Division of Orthopedics' Schroeder Arthritis Institute Biobank, one of the world's largest biobanks in orthopedics research. She is also the Lab Manager of Cartilage Biology and Joint Restorative Research group at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute. She has been with the Institute since 2014. Kim Perry, along with Amanda Weston (former biobank manager), spearheaded the collection of highly precious orthopedic biospecimens and helped in creating one of the largest biobanks in orthopedics. As a Biobank Manager, she is responsible for the collection, processing, data management as well as the storage of high quality specimens for the Biobank. Working very closely with the orthopedics research team, all requests of samples that are stored along with data for the Division of Orthopedics will go directly though Kim. She has constant communication between the clinical teams to ensure that all tasks are being accomplished efficiently, whether it's for consenting patients for blood, tracking and maintaining surgical patients, or communicating with end users to make sure they receive the samples they need. As a Lab Manager, Kim maintains all equipment, ethical protocols and basic procurement such as ordering and finance. Kim is also the Co-Chair for the Schroeder Arthritis Institute Biobank Committee.

When asked what her biggest motivation is, Kim said "My motivation is helping others achieve their goals. I feel very happy at the end of the day knowing I helped someone." Her Mantra of Success is to not get caught up with problems, but rather with solutions, in order to keep things moving. She believes that there is a solution to every problem, even though you may not see it just yet.

Kim considers herself to be an introverted person and mentioned that this allows her to have a high emotional intelligence which enhances her teamwork. She has the chance to work with numerous large teams and knows that everyone is different, mistakes can happen, and understands the importance of fixing things on an interpersonal level. She is a very honest person and brings this into her work everyday. Kim is also strong willed. She is resilient in her work and does not like giving up. She is driven by small results and these small results eventually add up to bigger results which will help you reach your goals.

In her spare time, Kim likes to cozy up with a book so big she has to hold it with two hands in her self made library of over 200 books. She also enjoys spending time with her two YorkiPoos.

Kim is grateful to work with a dynamic team and expressed that if there are ever any questions about the Division of Orthopedics Biobank to please contact her:

On behalf of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, we are grateful for Kim's outstanding contributions to the growth and success of the Institute.


Marcia Correale

Marcia Correale  

Marcia Correale, an Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner by training, is currently the Provincial Clinical and Education Practice Lead for the RAC Low Back Pain (RAC-LBP) Program at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute where she trains, educates and supports over 150 RAC-LPB clinicians across Ontario to implement high quality standardized care for low back related symptoms. Marcia graduated from the University of Toronto in 2000 with a degree in physiotherapy and has since immersed herself in clinical orthopaedic practice in both the public and private sectors. Her career at the University Health Network began over a decade ago when Marcia was hired as one of its inaugural Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) as part of an innovative community-based model of care pilot for back pain management known as Interprofessional Spine Assessment and Education Clinics (ISAEC). In 2016, she transitioned to a provincial role as the ISAEC Practice Lead. Marcia has helped to educate and train her peer physiotherapists and chiropractors to implement the model founded by Dr. Raja Rampersaud, spine surgeon at the University Health Network, so that patients can be managed effectively and close to home. She helped to develop clinical and central intake and referral management processes, clinical assessments, quality dashboards, and digital implementation of tools to drive best in class LBP care. The success of the pilot led to an Ontario-wide expansion by the Ministry of Health from 3 clinical sites to 16 clinical sites. The success of the program has also gained recognition both nationally and internally. Marcia is grateful to work with an outstanding group of APPs and Practice Leaders across the province who raised the emerging concern of patients having no access to care during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Her relationships with the Practice Leaders allowed her to convene a rapid response to building Virtual Care capacity for LBP across the RAC-LBP program where both patients and providers had helpful; resources to allow safe, standardized, and effective virtual care for the spine across Ontario. This work has been collated into a toolkit, which has been adapted by various stakeholders including Bone and Joint Canada and the contents of the Toolkit were presented as a State of the Art Podium Presentation for World Congress Physiotherapy in 2021. In her clinical role as an Advanced physiotherapist Practitioner, Marcia assesses patients who have been identified as requiring an escalation of their care for their non-emergent low back related symptoms. She correlates the patients' imaging findings with their clinical presentation, reviews the treatment options for management and facilitates appropriate specialist referrals.

When asked what her biggest motivation is, Marcia expressed that her family brings her the most motivation. “My immigrant parents really instilled the values of hard work, humility, gratitude, dedication and excellence for me. They always had so much confidence in my capabilities and they made me believe that I could do the impossible.” Marcia mentioned that her family gave her an inner drive to always try her best in all that she does and to continuously seek opportunities for growth and development. These are the values that she has carried forward with her husband and three wonderful daughters who bring her so much joy, inspiration and motivation. Marcia’s Mantra of Success is “Don’t wish for it, work for it. Work hard to know what you don’t know because the only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.” Over the years, she has realized that this Mantra should also include rest and recharging. Marcia is detail oriented, thoughtful and enthusiastic. She believes these qualities have led to her ability to create collaborative working relationships with a diverse network of patients, providers and institutions. A fun fact about Marcia is that she is Anglo-Indian. During British rule in India, children born from British soldiers and Indian women were known as “Anglo-Indians.” Colonies developed and this population grew over time with its’ own unique identity and culture. Marcia is very proud of her Anglo-Indian heritage and has a large close-knit family that allows her to immerse herself in her beautiful culture and celebrate traditions together.

Marcia is very grateful to work with an incredible group of people that constantly seeks the best evidence-based care for patients. There is an emphasis on critical thinking, best-practice, creativity and a commitment to excellence that nurtures her inquiry mindset. Her experiences have fostered her growth and development both personally and professionally and has allowed her to both contribute and gain knowledge and skills from patients, team members and the provincial network.

On behalf of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, we are grateful for Marcia’s exceptional contributions to the growth and success of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute and all its initiatives.


Best Female Scientists in Canada 2022

Dr. Dafna Gladman  

Dr. Dafna Gladman, Senior Scientist at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, was recently ranked 3rd in the Best Female Scientists in Canada 2022 by Learn more on


Operating Grants - Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)
Operating Grant - National Institute on Aging

Dr. Angela Cheung  

Dr. Angela M. Cheung, Director of the Osteoporosis Program, along with Dr. Margaret Herridge, secured funding through CIHR's "COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity" for their project looking at the effects of COVID-19 on patients up to one year after infection.


The War Amps - Research Grant Award

Dr. Heather Baltzer  

Dr. Heather Baltzer, Director of the Hand Program at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute and Head of the Division of Plastic Surgery at the Sprott Department of Surgery, was recently awarded The War Amps - Research Grant Award for her project titled "Early Prototype of Low-Cost, Sensate Thumb Prosthesis: Assessment of Feasibility and Usability."


Strategic Operating Grants - The Arthritis Society

Dr. Joan Wither Dr. Robert Inman Dr. Nigil Haroon

Dr. Joan Wither, Senior Scientist in the Division of Rheumatology at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, was recently awarded the Strategic Operating Grant from The Arthritis Society in the 2022 competition for her project titled "Understanding the role of innate immune populations in the transition from benign autoimmunity to development of symptoms in systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases."

Dr. Robert Inman, Co-Director of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, was recently awarded the Strategic Operating Grant from The Arthritis Society in the 2022 competition for his project titled "Regulatory T Cells in Ankylosing Spondylitis: Pathogenic Role, Therapeutic Potential."

Dr. Nigil Haroon, Head of the Division of Rheumatology at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute and Sinai Health System, was recently awarded the Strategic Operating Grant from The Arthritis Society in the 2022 competition for his project titled "Pathogenic neutrophils induced by hypoxia: A potential novel therapeutic target in spondyloarthritis."




Kevin Robb

Kevin Robb  

Kevin Robb is a fifth year PhD Candidate in Dr. Sowmya Viswanathan's lab, and is co-supervised by Dr. Rajiv Gandhi at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute. He recently identified a signature of features that can be used to help define the anti-inflammatory and pro-regenerative properties of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), and a candidate cell therapy for numerous diseases, including osteoarthritis. His work was published earlier this month in the Open Access journal, Frontiers in Immunology. Kevin was also recently featured on the University Health Network's Seeds of Science podcast, where he discussed his new paper and highlighted his experience with the Institute.

Building on his recent publication, Kevin is working to understand factors that underpin whether a patient with knee osteoarthritis will respond well to an MSC therapy. Using different batches of MSCs from a previous knee osteoarthritis clinical trial at the University Health Network, he aims to identify characteristics (termed "critical quality attributes") of the MSCs that can be used to distinguish therapeutically effective batches of cells versus less effective cells. In parallel, he is measuring indicators of inflammation to investigate whether patients with higher levels of inflammation in osteoarthritis might respond better to mesenchymal stromal cell therapies, which are believed to act through anti-inflammatory mechanisms. This knowledge could be used in future precision medicine-based approaches to match patients who are identified as being more likely to respond to a MSC therapy with a batch of MSCs that are known to have strong therapeutic properties in osteoarthritis.

Kevin is a passionate researcher and would like to continue in research after his PhD, whether in industry or academia. He also has strong interests in medical writing and in teaching. Kevin expressed that his experience within the Schroeder Arthritis Institute has been extremely positive. "This is a fantastic training environment, and the collaborative nature between scientists and clinicians is invaluable," he shared. Outside of his research and teaching engagements, Kevin serves on several committees, he continues to science blogs and he enjoys distance running hiking and pampering his cat, Frances.

You can connect with Kevin and follow his research updates on Twitter @KP_Robb, ResearchGate, and on LinkedIn.

On behalf of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, we are grateful that Kevin is part of our team and wish him all the success in his future.

Patricia Remalante-Rayco

Patricia Remalante-Rayco  

Patricia Remalante-Rayco is a second year Clinical Research Fellow in the Spondylitis Program working with Dr. Robert Inman and Dr. Nigil Haroon at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute. She's an international graduate from the Philippines where she trained in internal medicine and rheumatology and worked as staff rheumatologist, associate professor, and a clinical researcher before deciding to come to Canada to pursue her dream fellowship in July 2021. Some of her current research projects include a study defining the incidence and predictors of demyelinating diseases in spondyloarthritis (SpA) patients and a randomized controlled trial comparing TNF inhibitor tapering and dose maintenance in axial SpA. At the same time, Patricia is working at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute as a research volunteer where she learns immunological lab techniques from PhD students and scientific associates. She is currently preparing a thesis proposal for assessing disease outcomes in Filipino SpA patients through a national research database inspired by the Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) for her Master of Science training in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of the Philippines.

Patricia's future goal is to be a clinician-scientist in the field of SpA. She shares, "Being a clinician gives me the chance to directly care for my patients and witness the impact of applied knowledge on their daily lives. On the other hand, being a scientist will enable me to make new discoveries and contribute to knowledge advancement." A fun fact about Patricia is that she loves learning new languages. Some languages she has studied include German, Russian and Japanese. She also was an alto singer in a choir in medical school.

She greatly expressed her gratitude to the Schroeder Arthritis Institute for giving her the opportunity to pursue advanced training in arthritis and autoimmune diseases and highlighted that the diversity of the team is certainly one of its strongest assets.

You can connect with Patricia and follow her research updates on Twitter at @trishiemd and on ResearchGate.

On behalf of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, we are grateful that Patricia is part of our team and wish her all the success in her future.



2022 Graeme Clark Institute (GCI) Women in STEM Student Award

Michelle Espinosa Hernandez  

Michelle Espinosa Hernandez, PhD student at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, supervised by Dr. Andy Kin On Wong, was awarded second prize in the Women in STEM Student Awards for her project titled "Understanding the pathogenesis of postmenopausal osteoarthritis linked to estrogen by examining its impact on bone and cartilage remodelling through medical imaging" by the Graeme Clark Institute for Biomedical Engineering at the University of Melbourne.


November 2022 Office of Research Trainees Conference Participation Award

Dr. Amit Sandhu  

Dr. Amit Sandhu, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, supervised by Dr. Mohit Kapoor, was awarded the November 2022 Office of Research Trainees Conference Participation Award.


First Place Abstract Award - Lupus 21st Century Annual Meeting

Dr. Carolina Munoz-Grajales  

Dr. Carolina Munoz-Grajales, Clinical Research Fellow at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, supervised by Dr. Zahi Touma, was awarded First Place for her Abstract presented at the Lupus 21st Century Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizona, for her Abstract titled "Serum Cytokine Profiling Reveals Elevated Levels of S100A8/A9 and MMP-9 in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients with Cognitive Impairment Independently of Disease Activity and Inflammatory Markers."



Cover of University Health Network - Annual Research Report 2022

Dr. Nigil Haroon on cover of UHN Research Report  

Dr. Nigil Haroon, Head of the Division of Rheumatology at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute and Sinai Health System, was featured on the cover of the University Health Network's Annual Research Report 2022. View the full research report



Patient Experience Survey - Division of Orthopedics

The Division of Orthopedics at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute is excited to announce the launch of a new Patient Experience Survey! This initiative led by Dr. Raj Rampersaud, Dr. Christian Veillette, Dr. Chris Nielsen and Project Coordinator, Emma Nastase, is a first step towards understanding patient experience in our orthopedic clinics from referral to consult. Survey development was informed by an environmental scan, input from our clinical teams and most importantly, patient partner focus groups. This work is a key quality improvement initiative that will align with our SAI Quality Framework 'Patient Entered' domain. Through patient feedback obtained from the survey, we will be able to improve our care delivery and ensure we are meeting the needs of our diverse patient population.

This work was shaped through the efforts of many team members at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute that came together to provide their perspectives, feedback and recommendations. Thank you to our Patient Partners, APPs, Administrative staff (particularly Claudia Clementi), Projects and Research teams, as well as our University Health Network Patient Partnership and University Health Network Patient Education colleagues.

UHN staff handing sitting patient a tablet  


Joy in the Workplace Initiative

Led by Clinical Director, Silvi Groe, Schroeder Arthritis Institute has undertaken a 'Joy in Work' initiative that builds off of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)'s Framework, with an aim of achieving the quintuple aim for healthcare improvement. An inaugural workshop was held with Schroeder Arthritis Institute clinical leaders in March 2022, with a follow up workshop in October 2022. Through this meaningful work, staff have the opportunity to identify what brings 'joy' in their work tasks, teams and environments with the goal of putting words into action to create a more joyful work experience.

Special thanks to Samra Mian-Valiante, Director of Strategy, and Sandralee Rose, Project Manager at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, for their invaluable efforts towards this work.

Collage of UHN staff  


Schroeder Arthritis Institute Strategic Plan for Education 2022-2027

After extensive collaborative work, we are pleased to announce the official launch of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute Strategic Plan for Education, 2022-2027.

This plan encompasses education in all practice domains of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute including clinical training, research, interprofessional and continuing professional development as well as patient and family education. The plan was developed with the input of an Institute-wide Education Retreat in April 2022.

Why have a strategic plan for education?

  • To create a framework for planning educational activities
  • To assist in the identification of gaps and opportunities in education
  • To prioritize education initiatives and funding
  • To support Joy in the Workplace

How will we implement this plan?

The Schroeder Arthritis Institute Education Committee (EdC) has been assembled and the first meeting was held November 1st, 2022. The committee will be responsible for supporting the dissemination of the strategic plan, to all divisions and programs within the Schroeder Arthritis Institute. This will include helping each division to identify and catalogue current educational activities, and use the plan in a meaningful way in their unique environment to recognize gaps and find opportunities to develop new education initiatives. The role of the EdC is also to ensure that education stays "on the agenda" with leadership and maintains an important profile, along side clinical care and research at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute.

Schroeder Arthritis Institute vision  

What should you do now?

Feel free to contact your local education representative if you have an education project you want to see reflected in the strategic plan (existing or a potential project). We particularly want to focus on projects that offer integrated learning opportunities and support cross-fertilization between divisions and programs, and that encompass trainee education, interprofessional education, continuing professional development and patient and family education.

Here is your Education Committee:

SAI Education Committee class=  


Spondyloarthritis Patient Forum Webinar

In collaboration with the Canadian Spondylitis Association (CSA), an evening webinar focusing on axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA) was conducted on October 17, 2022. This webinar featured Dr. Robert Inman, Co-Director of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, Dr. Nigil Haroon, Head of the Division of Rheumatology at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute and Sinai Health System, and Laura Passalent, Physiotherapist and Associate Education Lead at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, as keynote speakers. This event highlighted important topics about cause, diagnosis, treatments and exercise to manage Axial Spondyloarthritis.



Watch the Recorded Conference!

The Schroeder Arthritis Institute, in partnership with The Arthritis Society, CIHR-Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, and the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, hosted the inaugural International Conference on Arthritis: Convergence of Care, Education and Research, a virtual event on October 13 and 14, 2022.

This virtual two-day conference featured 33 invited speakers from all over the world and had an international audience of over 800 attendees from 29 different countries.



Lupus Program Celebration Dinner

The Division of Rheumatology at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute hosted a Celebration Dinner, celebrating 50 years of the Toronto Lupus Program and the exceptional contributions of the program founder, Dr. Murray Urowitz, on December 1st, 2022.

Read about Dr. Murray Urowitz's story with the Lupus Program.

Group photo of celebration dinner  


Sequencing Specialist - Sequencing Center, Schroeder Arthritis Institute

Dr. Starlee Lively Keemo Delos Santos

The Schroeder Arthritis Institute would like to thank Dr. Starlee Lively, former Sequencing Specialist, for all of her contributions to the success of the Sequencing Center at the Institute. We would like to congratulate Dr. Lively for starting her new role as a Safety Officer with the University Health Network Safety Services, and we are pleased to announce that Keemo Delos Santos has recently been appointed as the new Sequencing Specialist for the Sequencing Center at the Institute.

Please contact Keemo to discuss your sequencing needs:



A Model to Implement Standardized Virtual Care for Low Back Pain Amongst a Large Network of Providers in Urban and Rural Settings

Correale M, Soever L, Rampersaud R. Journal of Primary Care and Community Health. October 2022.
Click here for publication.

Association of mycophenolate and azathioprine use with cognitive function in systemic lupus

Dobrowolski C, McGinley J, Fazzari M, Su J, Bingham KS, Anderson N, Ruttan L, Beaton DE, Wither JE, Tartaglia MC, Kakvan M, Bonilla D, Choi MY, Fritzler MJ, Diaz Martinez JP, Katz P, Green R, Putterman C, Touma Z. Rheumatology (Oxford) September 2022.
Click here for publication.

Evaluating the threshold score for classification of systemic lupus erythematosus using the EULAR/ACR criteria

Johnson SR, Martinez JPD, Whittall-Garcia L, Urowitz MB, Gladman DD, Touma Z. Journal of Rheumatology. November 2022.
Click here for publication.

Isolated Neutropenia in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Alhammadi NA, Gladman DD, Su J, Urowitz MB. Journal of Rheumatology. October 2022.
Click here for publication.

Management of Axial Disease in Patients with Psoriatic Arthritis: An Updated Literature Review Informing the 2021 GRAPPA Treatment Recommendations

Lubrano E, Chan J, Queiro-Silva R, Cauli A, Goel N, Poddubnyy D, Nash P, Gladman DD. Journal of Rheumatology. November 2022.
Click here for publication.

Musculoskeletal Surgery in Psoriatic Arthritis: Prevalence and Risk Factors

Kwok TSH, Sutton M, Cook RJ, Pereira D, Chandran V, Gladman DD. Journal of Rheumatology. November 2022.
Click here for publication.

Putative critical quality attribute matrix identifies mesenchymal Stromal cells with potent immunomodulatory and angiogenic "fitness" ranges in response to culture process parameters

Robb KP, Audet J, Gandhi R, Viswanathan S. Frontiers in Immunology. November 2022.
Click here for publication.

Sex Effect in Psoriatic Arthritis

Gladman DD. Journal of Rheumatology. October 2022.
Click here for publication.

Sportomics method to assess acute phase proteins in Olympic level athletes using dried blood spots and multiplex assay

Bassini A, Sartoretto S, Jurisica L, Magno-França A, Anderson L, Pearson T, Razavi M, Chandran V, Martin L 3rd, Jurisica I, Cameron LC. Scientific Reports. November 2022.
Click here for publication.

Systemic lupus erythematosus phenotypes formed from machine learning with a specific focus on cognitive impairment

Barraclough M, Erdman L, Diaz-Martinez JP, Knight A, Bingham K, Su J, Kakvan M, Muñoz Grajales C, Tartaglia MC, Ruttan L, Wither J, Choi MY, Bonilla D, Appenzeller S, Parker B, Goldenberg A, Katz P, Beaton D, Green R, Bruce IN, Touma Z. Rheumatology (Oxford). November 2022.
Click here for publication.

Understanding synovial cell diversity in post-traumatic Osteoarthritis

Rockel JS, Kapoor M. Nature Reviews Rheumatology. November 2022.
Click here for publication.

Understanding the Post COVID-19 Condition (Long COVID) in Adults and the Expected Burden for Ontario

Quinn KL, Katz GM, Bobos P, Sander B, McNaughton CD, Cheung AM, Herridge MS, Atzema CL, Born KB, Chan C, Chien V, Kaplam DM, Kwong J, Leung S, Mah L, Mishra S, Morris AM, Mushquash CJ, Palmer K, Rendely A, Slutsky AS, Stalteri R, Razak FA. Science Table COVID-19 Advisory for Ontario. September 2022.
Click here for publication.



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