Research Team

Research Candidate 

Angela Pickard is a PhD Candidate in Social & Behavioural Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH), University of Toronto (U of T), a Post-Graduate Student at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), Accredited Family Mediator (AccFM) and Registered Social Worker (RSW). Ms. Pickard’s interests focus on research and practice with parents and mediators involved with family mediation, conflict resolution, and alternative dispute resolution programs. Ms. Pickard has experience managing and coordinating research projects, interviewing, transcribing, data analysis and preparation of papers and reports. She will lead the research study with support from her supervisor and thesis committees (described below).  Ms. Pickard interviews parents and facilitates family mediation services in private practice and subsidized mediation program with the Toronto family court. She has conducted research interviews with the I-Track behavioural surveillance studies of illicit drug users conducted in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada and local public health units in Toronto. She has transcribed, coded, and analyzed qualitative research from the Program Evaluation Project of the East Toronto Hepatitis C Program with South Riverdale Community Health Centre in Toronto. Further, she transcribed, coded and analyzed qualitative research from the Columbia University School of Social Work and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention project in NYC. Ms. Pickard coordinated several research projects at Palladia Inc in NYC with several external research agencies.


Monique Gignac, Ph.D., is Scientific Co-Director and a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and a Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Gignac is an established researcher whose expertise is in social and health psychology. Her research examines psychosocial factors related to employment transitions; workplace communication and accommodation policies and practices; disclosure of health needs; and employment across the life course. She has extensive previous experience in qualitative methods, survey methods and measurement design and has received research funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Committee Member

Joanna Sale, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation at the University of Toronto, a Scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, and Research Program Lead for the Musculoskeletal Health and Outcomes Research group at St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto. Dr. Sale has experience working with PhD candidates and leading research projects. She previously held a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her program of research focuses on the patient perspective and includes studies that examine topics such as fracture prevention, caregiving, understanding risk, navigating the health care system, experiences of the clinical encounter, and managing multiple chronic conditions. She has published in the areas of health seeking behaviours, patient perceptions of provider barriers, and factors related to why patients may or may not follow treatment recommendations. Dr. Sale is a clinical epidemiologist with expertise in qualitative methods and multiple methods research.

Committee Member

Michael A. Saini, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto and holds the endowed Factor-Inwentash Chair in Law and Social Work and the Co-Director of the Combined J.D. and M.S.W. program. Dr. Saini is a leading researcher in family law matters, including research to explore high conflict separation, coparenting, parenting competencies, strained parent-child relationships, the intersection of child welfare and custody disputes, and dispute resolution approaches. In 2019, Dr. Saini was awarded the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award, sponsored by the Oregon Family Institute. He has over 100 publications, including books, book chapters, government reports, systematic reviews and peer-reviewed journal articles. Professor Saini has extensive experience in both qualitative and quantitative methods and has received SSHRC and CIHR funding.