When Vikram Bubber was just five years old, he began to have issues with his right ear. It turned out to be cancer.
A life-long battle with health issues followed, which deeply impacted Vikram both personally and professionally. Despite this, or more likely because of it, he chose a life of giving back. Vikram has been a cancer advocate for more than 30 years.
“I’m happy with the way things are right now,” says Vikram. “I spend my time volunteering and giving back.”
Vikram has volunteered with numerous organizations. In addition to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Alumni Association, he has given his time to the Terry Fox Foundation, BC Cancer Agency, BC Children’s Hospital, and most recently, Patient Voices Network and the Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon. Much of his volunteer work is as a motivational speaker. He has a story to tell and it’s not always an easy one to listen to.
After two years of radiation and chemotherapy treatments as a child, the cancer in his ear was eradicated, but there was a cost. He has profound hearing loss in his right ear and partial hearing loss in his left. The same radiation that cured his childhood cancer caused a bone tumour to develop more than 20 years later in Vikram’s right cheekbone. Once again, he underwent chemotherapy treatments, and eventually had surgery to remove much of the cheekbone. For three years Vikram was unable to open his mouth more than a centimetre. A piece of his leg bone was grafted into the space during reconstructive surgery and fat was injected to make his facial contours more natural. Eventually Vikram was able to open his mouth fully and enjoy eating once again.
He’s become one of the most engaged patient partners, by speaking at different post-secondary institutions and working on several committees within different health authorities and organizations locally & nationally. He regularly gives talks to nursing students on his experiences. Recently he spoke to radiation therapy students and at the University of British Columbia to dental students in a patient education program.
“I tell them it’s so important to treat your patient as a human being and not an object,” says Vikram. “I want to change the status quo because I feel like that was why I was given a second chance at life. I just feel like this is my niche, where I belong. I don’t belong in a nine-to-five job behind a computer. I’ve had a few bumps along the way, but that’s life.”
Sara Komarnisky is a settler scholar based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. She leads research activities and initiatives for Hotıì ts’eeda: NWT SPOR Support Unit, a patient-oriented and Indigenous health research support centre for the Northwest Territories funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and hosted by the Tłįchǫ Government. Dr. Komarnisky holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia where she was a Vanier Scholar from 2010-2013. She has experience with multiple research methods on a variety of topics – from ethnography of transnational life, to material culture and archival research on hospital art and craft, to surveys about youth smoking and drinking, to community-based research to inform tuberculosis policy. Most recently she was a post-doctoral fellow in History at the University of Alberta with the Object Lives and Global Histories in Northern North America project. In that role, she researched the circulation of art and craft made by Indigenous patients at tuberculosis hospitals from the 1930s to the 1960s.
She is mother to one daughter, Ingrid, and the author of numerous scholarly and popular publications including: Mexicans in Alaska: An Ethnography of Mobility, Place and Transnational Life and 150 Acts of Reconciliation (With Crystal Fraser).
Pediatrician with a Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology, and Ph.D. Candidate in Health Research Methodology Research at McMaster University. Associate Professor at the Department of Pediatrics at University of Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia) and Lecturer at the School of Rehabilitation at McMaster University. Former Deputy Director of Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) for the Health Technology Assessment Agency of Colombia (IETS). Dr Ivan Florez has been Consultant for the Panamerican Health Organization, is the current Leader of the AGREE Collaboration, and an Associate Editor for the journals: Systematic Reviews and PlosONE. His research has focused on Clinical Practice Guidelines (development and implementation), Knowledge Synthesis (Systematic reviews, and Network Meta-analysis), Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science, Pediatrics, and Childhood Gastroenteritis.
Dr. Kim Sears is an Associate Professor at Queen’s University. She is the Associate Director of Health Quality Programs. Dr. Sears has over thirty years’ experience as a nurse. Throughout her teaching experience, she has been primarily involved in the area of quality and safety in healthcare. She conducts an active program of research in health services with a focus on advancing quality care, reducing risk and improving patient safety. The majority of her work focuses on furthering the quality and safety of medication delivery. Dr. Sears has experience working integrative studies using systemic review methodology.
Linda Li is a Professor and a Harold Robinson/Arthritis Society Chair at the Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, and a Senior Scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Patient-oriented Knowledge Translation, and is currently the Lead for the Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science Methods Cluster of the BC SUPPORT Unit.
Dr. Li’s research focuses on the help-seeking experience of people with arthritis. She evaluates the use of e-health tools in patient care and self-management. Recently, her work has expanded to studying the benefits of engaging patients and the public in health research.
Janet Curran is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University. She is Co-Director of the Aligning Health Needs and Evidence for Transformative Change: Joanna Briggs Centre in the School of Nursing and holds a scientific appointment in pediatrics and emergency medicine at the Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre.
Dr. Curran’s program of research is focused on developing and evaluating interventions to improve transitions in care for children and their families/caregivers. She received the Pediatric Emergency Research Canada (PERC) Terry Klassen Young Investigator Award and the Dalhousie University Faculty of Health Professions Early Career Research Excellence Award in 2015. Her program of research is supported by a CIHR New Investigator Award in Knowledge Translation and her research is directly informed by the inclusion of multiple stakeholders (patients, caregivers, clinicians, and administrators). She currently leads a CIHR-NSHRF funded multi-centred national study exploring best practice strategies for discharge communication in paediatric emergency practice settings.
Fiona Clement has extensive training in Health Services Research, Health Economics and Health Policy. She is the Director of the Health Technology Assessment Unit within the O’Brien Institute of Public Health, University of Calgary; a policy responsive research unit that completes evidence synthesis, economic evaluations, health technology assessments and reassessments in response to decision-makers’ needs. Her research interests include drug and non-drug technology reimbursement and cost containment policy, evidence in decision-making, and evidence in health policy development.
Dr. Clement was selected as the Canadian Harkness fellow in 2014; a unique opportunity to study US healthcare policy. She has also received the Maurice McGregor Award for outstanding leadership and excellence in HTA in Canada. She is the first from Alberta to be awarded either of these awards. As a result, in 2015, she was named one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 for her work in health policy.