Created in early 2017, 6 people with varying interests and experiences with clinical trials have formed our Patient and Public Advisory Group, better known as the P2AG. This group will advise CTO on current topics and issues regarding clinical trials for which patient and public input would be invaluable and will ensure that the patient and public perspective is respected and incorporated into relevant CTO activities. P2AG members will also act as ambassadors for clinical trials and for our organization.
Gail Bellissimo is a Patient Research Partner with the IMAGINE-SPOR Chronic Disease Network, a member of the CAMH Constituency Council, and a member of the Lived Experience Reference Panel of the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council. Gail’s passion for helping others arose from her work in healthcare and research administrative support, assisting family and friends navigate the healthcare system, and personal participation in clinical research. She seeks opportunities that enrich research initiatives through education, the inclusion of patient engagement and patient partnership.
Tina Ceroni provides extensive first-hand experience, both as a patient and clinical trial participant. A recipient of a stem cell transplant for a rare neuromuscular disease called Stiff Person Syndrome in a clinical trial at the Ottawa Hospital under the leadership of Dr. Harry Atkins, she is in remission six years later. Tina is a member of the Board of Directors for Clinical Trials Ontario and is a strong patient advocate for stem cell research, rare diseases and patient engagement. She is also the chair of the patient advisory committee for the Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine and is a member of the Stem Cell Oversight Committee for CIHR. Tina is also actively involved with a number of other health organizations as a public speaker and patient representative and is the founder of Share a Cell, an organization that aims to raise awareness and funds for stem cell research and rare diseases.
Scott Graham’s interest in CTO’s P2AG arises from his own clinical trial participation, as well as the clinical trial experiences of family and friends. He is a co-founder of a childhood charity that offers financial support to, among other services, quality of life programs and new treatment protocols for children living with and beyond cancer. Drawing on his empathy for patients navigating the healthcare system and his career in marketing and communications, Scott is eager to assist CTO further expand patient awareness and understanding of clinical trials in the province.
Alvin Holtvluewer is a former Construction Project Manger and graduate from Sheridan College, Civil Engineering. Alvin is married with 4 children and 2 grandchildren. At the Toronto Western Hospital Movement Disorders Clinic he is a participant in clinical research and volunteers at The University of Toronto Medical School for first and second year medical students in “The Patients Playing a Part Program.”
Paulette Lalancette is currently inactive within her chosen profession as a Respiratory Therapist /Anaesthesia Assistant, having taken time away to deal with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Despite this, she continues to help provide valuable healthcare to our Northern Ontario communities with her involvement in organizations such as Clinical Trials Ontario. Her belief is that exceptional healthcare includes research, and good research policy includes the public.