The ORA’s executive members are the core contributors to the newsletter. The ORA welcomes guest contributions to the newsletter from members-at-large and others in the rheumatology community.

Core Contributor Bios

Dr. Henry Averns

Henry Averns trained at Sheffield University and practiced in Devon England, where as well as running a rheumatology practice he was assistant Dean for the University of Bristol focusing on doctors in difficulty. He moved to Canada in 2006 and now has an office in Kingston Ontario. He is twice winner of the Practice Reflection gold award. He represents the CRA in advocating for patients covered by the NIHB program. Outside rheumatology fly fishing remains a passion.

Dr. Philip A. Baer

Dr. Philip Baer completed medical school at McGill, trained in rheumatology at the University of Toronto, and practises in Toronto. Dr. Baer is Section Chair of Rheumatology, Ontario Medical Association (OMA), and Editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA). Dr. Baer has been recognized as the GTA Community Rheumatologist of the Year, and has received the OMA Section Service Award, the ORA Rheumatologist of the Year Award, and the CRA Practice Reflection Silver Award.

Dr. Julie Kovacs

Dr. Julie Kovacs completed medical school at McGill.  She did her internal medicine training and rheumatology fellowship at University of Toronto. She subsequently completed a lupus fellowship at U of T. She is a lecturer at U of T and clinician teacher to medical students and residents for years in the Rheumatology Clinics at St. Michael’s and Wellesley Hospital. She participated in Rheumatology Undergraduate Teaching at U of T in Foundations of Medical Practice, ASCM 2 Rheumatology physical examination skills instructor to Year IV medical students and an ASCM 2 OSCE Examiner. Dr. Kovacs is Section Chair of Rheumatology, Ontario Medical Association (OMA). She was on the ORA Board of Directors, served on the Therapeutics Committee and as OMA Rheumatology Section Secretary and Delegate. Dr.
Kovacs is a rheumatologist in Toronto with courtesy privileges at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dr. Vandana Ahluwalia

Dr. Vandana Ahluwalia heads the Rheumatology Division of the William Osler Health System in Brampton, Ontario. She is a graduate of Queen’s University and completed her medical training at the University of Toronto Medical School. She did her Internal Medicine training and Rheumatology fellowship at U of T with a subsequent research fellowship focus on lupus. Dr. Ahluwalia held the position of President of the Ontario Rheumatology Association (ORA) from 2010-2012. In 2012, Dr. Ahluwalia received the “Community Rheumatologist of the Year” award by the University of Toronto, Rheumatology Division. In May 2016, she was further recognized for her pioneering work in models of care and received the Rheumatologist of the Year Award by the Ontario Rheumatology Association.

Dr. Arthur Karasik

Dr. Arthur Karasik obtained his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Toronto. He trained in Rheumatology and Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Karasik has a community based practice in Toronto and has courtesy privileges at St Josephs Health Centre. He is past president of the Ontario Rheumatology Association ( 2014-2016) and contributes to the ORA executive and committees. His interests include participation in clinical research, teaching and is a participant in project ECHO (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes)

Dr. Tom Appleton

Dr. Appleton joined the Division of Rheumatology in 2016 as a Clinician Scientist and provides clinical service to patients with inflammatory rheumatologic disorders in addition to running the translational early OA research program. His cross appointment in the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology in 2017 facilitates the discovery aspect of the research program in the laboratory utilizing multiple molecular biology techniques. The main focus of the lab is studying the molecular interplay between synovium and articular cartilage and the inflammatory mediators that drive joint damage and dysfunction in early OA. Dr. Appleton joined the ORA Board of Directors in June, 2017 and oversees the data governance team within the Informatics Committee.

Dr. Jane Purvis

Jane Purvis completed her training at University of Toronto and has practiced community rheumatology for 25 years in the Peterborough region. She has been involved in the ORA since its formation and served as President from 2012-2014. She is passionate about ensuring that Ontario medical students hear about rheumatology as a career early in their studies and also is working towards improving the number and distribution of rheumatologists across the province. Another project is working towards equal access to biologics across the whole country. When not at work, she can be found either at the gym or planning another trip somewhere in the world.

Dr. Janet Pope

Dr. Janet Pope is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology and also Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), Schulich School of Medicine, London, Ontario, Canada. She is the Division Head in Rheumatology at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, London. She obtained her MD, and Fellowship in Internal Medicine at UWO and a Fellowship in Rheumatology and Masters of Public Health were acquired at Boston University. She then completed a Canadian Arthritis Society Research Fellowship in Scleroderma. Janet is passionate about research, teaching, mentoring and excellent clinical care. She chairs multiple boards including the Therapeutics Committee for the ORA as well as their Annual Scientific Meeting. She has received the Distinguished Investigator Award from the Canadian Rheumatology Association, Rheumatologist of the Year from the Ontario Rheumatology Association, Department of Medicine Research Achievement Award, and the Dean’s Award of Excellence in Research.

Dr. Felix Leung

Dr. Felix Leung completed medical school at the University of Saskatchewan, trained in rheumatology at the University of Toronto, and practises in Thornhill, Brampton, and Toronto. Felix is currently on the ORA Executive and serves as the Director of Communications within the Association.

Mr. Denis Morrice

To ensure the rheumatology association’s voice is heard at government and industry tables he brings his experience as the past President and CEO of the Canadian Hearing Society where they addressed many issues facing deaf and hard of hearing people.

As President and CEO of the Arthritis Society he served on many Health Canada Councils and committees along with various boards such as the Canadian Cochrane Network, Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, Canadian Arthritis Network, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation to move the health care agenda forward. He continues his involvement with the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board and the Best Medicines Coalition that deal with issues related to access to safe, effective and good quality drugs and health policy development including drug shortages.

Denis passionately believes that “those affected by a decision should be involved in making that decision”.