CARA Connection Committee

The CARA Connection Committee creates our bi-monthly newsletter. Our volunteers lead all aspects of the newsletter including editing submissions, writing articles, conducting interviews, selling advertising, and doing the layout work. With the goal of a monthly newsletter, we always welcome more volunteers.

Please contact Sarah Lampson, CARA Executive Director, to get involved.



Naomi Bedek

Naomi Bedek is a Clinical Research Assistant in Thrombosis in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. She obtained her B.Sc. in Psychology from McMaster University. She also has a Clinical Research Associate (RA) certificate and Medical Office Administration diploma from Mohawk College. She is currently enrolled in the Research Administration Certificate program at Mohawk College, having completed 5 of 6 courses. Naomi co-developed a program evaluation questionnaire for CARA that is sent to new graduates of the RA program. Naomi has worked in clinical trials for 25 years, both in recruiting/enrolling study subjects as well as working in data management at an academic research center. She has a long history of volunteering for various organizations in Hamilton, including McMaster Children’s Hospital and the Hamilton General Hospital community garden. Her current volunteer venture is hosting a monthly karaoke show for stroke recovery and acquired brain injury patients in the Rehabilitation Building at the Hamilton General Hospital.

Anita Chiu

I am a research coordinator at the University of British Columbia.  I joined the CARA newsletter team in 2014 as a volunteer profile coordinator.  Recently, I also became the co-editor of the Brag Bag section.  My roles in the newsletter team have allowed me to get virtually acquainted with my peers working in research administration across Canada, share their passion for volunteering, and to learn how they have professionally developed themselves to become who they are today! Everyone has a unique story to bring to the newsletter audience, and we can always learn a lesson or two by reading the stories. Many functions in CARA are driven by volunteers, and it is my total privilege to be in a position to feature their profiles and to celebrate their achievements.  Every volunteer is important to CARA’s success, and I would love to feature you next.  

Mike Folinas

Mike Folinas is the Research Funding Manager for the Natural Sciences and Engineering unit with the Agency and Foundation Funding team in Research Services Office (RSO) at the University of Toronto.  Mike is an alumnus of the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences. He has worked in a variety of roles with the UofT since 2003 before eventually joining the RSO, first with the Institutional Initiatives unit before taking on the Research Funding Manager role where he oversees a team of 2 others managing the University’s NSERC funding programs along with a range of other opportunities including the Canadian Space Agency, CFAR and Ontario Ministry of Transportation funding. Mike currently volunteers with the CARA Connection and is responsible for the “Recommend a Resource”, “Question of the Month” sections and is avidly involved in advertising for the newsletter. Mike is a keen traveler, golfer, hockey player, and skier.

Jessica Galo

Jessica joined CARA and the CARA Connection Committee in November 2015.  Currently, she is a Data Access Coordinator at Population Data BC in the University of British Columbia.  She has extensive experience in health care and health care research, having been responsible for the coordination of health outcomes projects from grant development, ethics and data access application facilitation, stakeholder engagement through to knowledge translation.  In her current position at Population Data BC, she provides support and guidance to researchers during data access request development and coordinates the review of data access applications among data stewards including the Ministry of Health.  Her background in Biology (BSc), Nursing (LPN), and Business (GDBA) has provided a sound foundation for her position in health care research.

Katie Porter

An executive MBA graduate from the Ivey School of Business, Katie Porter is Director of Research Administration at Hamilton Health Sciences, home to one of the most research intensive environments for medical research in Canada. Katie is a regular lecturer at McMaster University, co-author of The A-Z Guide to Research Contract Review and Steer Your Career: A Research Administrator's Manual for Mapping Success and a frequent speaker at conferences, workshops and webinars.  Katie is an active volunteer with CARA, as an editor for the CARA Connection, CARA mentor and SIG leader, and her exceptional contributions to our profession internationally were recognized in 2014 with CARA’s Research Management Excellence Award.

Ali Siddiqui

My name is Ali Siddiqui, and I have had the amazing opportunity to be the coordinating editor for the CARA Connection newsletter since July of 2019. The short period that I have been with this organization has allowed me to interact with several amazing individuals. I am a recent graduate from the University of Alberta where I double majored in Political Science and Sociology. Currently, I work as a Data Research Administrator for Statistics Canada. My team is responsible for managing all social and business surveys. In collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency, the federal Justice Department, and Employment and Social Development Canada, we help determine statistics to help improve or create national policies. I am also currently a member of the International Network for Epidemiology in Policy. Under supervision from academics, my team writes policy briefs related to scientific concerns. Our papers have been published in several academic databases. Our goal is to make the general public more aware of health and policies that impact all of us. My involvement with CARA has helped me learn a lot about the organization and all of the great members that make it an important group to be a part of. I especially would like to give a shout out to all of the CARA Connection contributors and readers. The newsletter is a great way for insights that connect all of us.

Alex Willis

Alex Willis is a Pre-Awards Grants Specialist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto). Prior to 2013, Alex was a Research Officer at York University’s Faculty of Health, and before that, a grant and content developer working with clients in higher education and the not-for-profit sector. Originally hailing from Saint John, New Brunswick, he holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Toronto and is an avid cook and science fiction fan. 

Michel Ouellet

Michel Ouellet is a research development advisor at Université Laval in Quebec City.  He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology and was a research associate for 15 years, working on fundamental aspects of the host’s immune response to microbes, especially HIV.  He recently completed a Master’s in Project Management at Université du Québec à Rimouski at the Lévis Campus, during which he honed his project management, administration and teamwork skills. Moving from direct research to research development and administration greatly expanded his view of the complexity of the research environment but having worked directly in research also provides him with crucial insights into how researchers think and share information with the administration. Always interested in volunteering opportunities, he was elected president of his undergraduate and graduate student associations, was elected president of the research assistant union at the research center where he worked and always participate in social committees at work.  He now believes that he can contribute to the development of the Canadian Association of Research Administrators, helping to translate communications, contributing to the association’s newsletter, and finding useful content to share with other members via the association’s social media.  On a personal note, he is a father of two wonderful kids and is a dog-loving, easy-going, sociable geek who specializes in bad dad jokes and good clean puns.