York University’s Faculty of Health welcomes 10 faculty this fall. Some faculty members are new to York, while others have earned new appointments.
“I’m delighted to welcome a highly talented group of people to the Faculty of Health at York University. We extend our best wishes for a rewarding transition into your new role,” said Faculty of Health Dean Paul McDonald. “You are joining a dynamic, progressive and collegial Faculty committed to excellence and innovation in teaching, research and citizenship, so we know you will fit right in.”
Brad Meisner joins the School of Kinesiology & Health Science with expertise in the psychology of aging, physical activity and health. His research program is dedicated to understanding how age stereotypes, age-based prejudice, and ageism manifest in daily life to ultimately shape health-related behaviours and outcomes among middle-aged and older people. Meisner’s research is published in top gerontology journals, including the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, Psychology and Aging and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. His biography and work on aging and physical activity is profiled in a leading textbook, Adult Development and Aging: Biopsychosocial Perspectives (2014). Currently, Meisner serves as chair of the Division of Educational Gerontology for the Canadian Association on Gerontology.
Meisner completed his BSc (Hons) in psychology and health studies at the University of Toronto (2005). He continued on to receive his MSc (2007) and PhD (2011), which was funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, at York University in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science. Concurrent with his PhD, he also conferred the graduate doctoral diploma in health psychology.
Before returning to the School of Kinesiology & Health Science as a faculty member this year, Meisner was an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University (2011-13) and in the School of Health & Human Performance at Dalhousie University (2013-17). At these institutions, he won the New Faculty Teaching Award (2012) and the Teaching and Mentorship Excellence Award (2016), respectively.
Constantine Gus Kandilas is an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science. He has has taught at York for over 25 years and has recently been accepted in the YUFA family and tenure stream promotion.
Kandilas is the current program coordinator for the Athletic Therapy Certificate Program. This year, he will teach Athletic Injuries – Extremities as well as Athletic Injuries Body Core. Kandilas is also actively involved in the sports medicine community, sitting as the chairperson for the Ontario Athletic Therapists Association as well as the sports medicine director for Karate Canada.
Thanujeni (Jeni) Pathman
Thanujeni (Jeni) Pathman recently joined the Faculty of Health as an assistant professor in psychology. She completed an bachelor of science degree (Hon. psychology major, biology minor) at McMaster University in 2004. After graduating, she worked at York University and the Rotman Research Institute as a research assistant before moving to the United States to begin graduate school. Pathman received her PhD from the Psychology Department at Emory University in 2011. She then completed postdoctoral training at the Center for Mind & Brain at the University of California, Davis. She was an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before moving to York University in 2017. She has joined the Department of Psychology, with her primary affiliation in the developmental science area.
Pathman’s research interests are in cognitive development and developmental cognitive neuroscience. She studies the development of memory. She is especially interested in learning about the development of contextual memory (e.g. memory for time and space), semantic memory, and the development of the processes and neural substrates involved in episodic and autobiographical memory. She also studies learning in naturalistic settings like science centres and museums. Pathman and her students use behavioural measures as well as cognitive neuroscience measures like eye-tracking, electrophysiology and neuroimaging.
Ingo Fründ joins the Faulty of Health as an assistant professor in psychology. He is interested in how the brain processes information. To gain insight into this process, he uses computational methods such as computer simulations and machine learning. These methods are powerful tools for making sense of complex data – a task that closely resembles what the brain is doing when we see. Fründ therefore takes inspiration from computational methods as possible solutions for the information processing tasks implied in visual perception.
Fründ studied psychology and mathematics at the University of Bremen, Germany and received a PhD in psychology from the University of Magdeburg, Germany. After postdocs at Technische Universitaet Berlin, Germany and at York University, he spent two years working in the digital industry as data scientist and AI (artificial intelligence) engineer. Fründ is also an associate member of York University’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science.
Magdalena Wojtowicz is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology (Clinical Developmental, Neuropsychology Stream) and a neuropsychologist specializing in mild traumatic brain injury and sport-related concussion.
Prior to joining York University, she was at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School working with service members, veterans and athletes. Her research interests include: understanding how pre-morbid factors influence concussion risk and recovery; and examining potential long-term consequences of multiple concussions and exposure to repetitive head trauma.
She uses a multi-modal approach to her research, combining clinical information, cognitive tests and neuroimaging techniques. She is currently running a research study at York University examining the effects of sub-concussive impacts on female varsity athletes.
Julie Conder is new faculty in the Department of Psychology. She joins the Faculty of Health as an assistant lecturer. Originally from the west coast, Conder completed her PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University.
Her research background is in cognition and cognitive neuroscience, with an emphasis on neuroimaging methods and cognitive control. When she began teaching, Conder expanded her research to include social pedagogy, e-learning and use of technology in the classroom. She has an extensive background in postsecondary teaching and as an educational research consultant for programs such as the DeGroote School of Business and the W. Booth School of Engineering & Technology at McMaster University.
Conder’s interests in science literacy, pedagogy and curriculum development led her to her current role as assistant lecturer in communication, writing and critical thinking in psychology.
Joining Faculty of Health as assistant professor in the School of Nursing, Iris Epstein is a registered nurse with clinical background in community nursing. Epstein has been teaching and designing nursing courses in diverse places (e.g. classroom, e-learning and clinical lab) for over 10 years. In particular, she uses still photography, video and games to engage and include the learner in diverse clinical and relational nursing skills acquisitions.
Epstein earned a BscN from Montreal University and a PhD in nursing from the University of Toronto. Her PhD thesis focused on ethical concerns emerging between health-care services, and technology in different places. Epstein’s research projects focus on collaborating with diverse Canadian health industry partners in the design, implementation and product evaluation.
A recent example includes advances in technology head and neck palpation skills are being replaced by ultrasound and removed from curricular. In collaboration with engineering students from George Brown College and an industry partner, he developed a haptic partial head to neck task trainer (Prototype 1) to teach nursing and dental students palpation skills. The team is currently evaluating prototype 1. Another recent project explored seniors and their caregivers’ perspectives on in-home monitoring technology. These projects were published in national and international peer-reviewed journals and allowed the industry partners to improve their product.
Andria Phillips recently joined the School of Nursing’s teaching team as a sessional lecturer. She has been teaching at York University since 2006 in a variety of clinical and lab courses, mainly focusing on acute care for adults and older adults. In her time at York, Phillips has taught students in all three nursing programs and has been teaching as a course director over the past year.
Phillips has been an emergency nurse since graduating with a BScN with a minor in psychology from Ryerson University in 2003, and has experience in mental health nursing as well. Phillips earned her MScN at York University in 2010. With a keen interest in education, she completed a major research project related to the challenges faced by faculty who teach in the clinical environment. Her current interests are in experiential education and she is currently working with colleagues within the School of Nursing to foster the implementation of simulation and simulated person methodology in the classroom setting.
Steven Hoffman joined York University as a professor in the Faculty of Health and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. He is also the director of the Global Strategy Lab and the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Population & Public Health. He holds courtesy appointments as an associate professor of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics (part-time) at McMaster University and adjunct associate professor of Global Health & Population at Harvard University.
He is an international lawyer licensed in both Ontario and New York, who specializes in global health law, global governance and institutional design. His research integrates analytical, empirical and big data approaches to craft global regulatory strategies that better address transnational health threats, social inequalities and human rights challenges. Past studies have focused on access to medicines, antimicrobial resistance, development assistance, health misinformation, health systems, maternal health, pandemics, technological innovation and tobacco. Currently he is co-principal investigator of a large CAD$4.6-million research consortium on “Strengthening International Collaboration for Capitalizing on Cost-Effective and Life-Saving Commodities (i4C)” with Trygve Ottersen at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
He previously worked for a Toronto law firm specializing in cross-border intellectual property litigation, health product regulation and government relations, as well as Incentives for Global Health – a Yale University-based NGO devoted to improving global access to medicines – where he was responsible for international advocacy and strategic planning. Hoffman recently advised the World Health Organization on development of a global strategy for health systems research and was lead author on the background paper that provided the strategy’s conceptual underpinnings. He was previously an associate professor of law with the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics.
Hoffman holds a bachelor of health sciences from McMaster University, a master’s in political science and a juris doctor from the University of Toronto, a PhD in health policy from Harvard University and a doctorate in law from Sciences Po Paris.
James Orbinski was named the inaugural director of the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (“The Institute”), effective Sept. 1, and as professor in the School of Health Policy & Management.
Established in 2015, the institute provides leadership and innovation to improve global health. This initiative has been made possible with a $20-million transformational donation from Victor Phillip Dahdaleh, a U.K.-based Canadian business leader and York alumnus.
A champion of global health and humanitarianism throughout his career, Orbinski is an internationally renowned professor, medical doctor, researcher, author and passionate advocate. He is the former international president of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, during which time he helped launch its Access to Essential Medicines Campaign. He has advised the UN Security Council, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross for his humanitarian leadership in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, and is an officer of the Order of Canada.