RHSRNbc Team

Stefan Grzybowski, MD

RHSRNbc Director

Dr. Stefan Grzybowski is a family physician-researcher and co-principal investigator of the Rural Maternity Care Research Program, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Prior to moving to UBC, he practiced as a family physician for twelve years on the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii. Dr. Grzybowski’s focus has been on advancing the rural maternity care research agenda in order to better understand the needs of parturient women and their families, care providers and policymakers. Current funded studies include determining the costs associated with different levels of maternity services in rural BC and comparing selected population-based maternity and newborn outcomes by residence stratified across service levels in 3 Canadian provinces using a parallel research strategy. Dr. Grzybowski is a Senior Scholar with the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Professor in the Department of Family Practice at UBC, co-director of the Centre for Rural Health Research, and director of the Rural Health Services Research Network of BC.


Jordie Fischer

Research Network Coordinator

Jordie Fischer recently completed her Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of British Columbia. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Science in both Nutrition and Nutraceutical Science and International Development from the University of Guelph. Her research experiences are in the areas of global and women’s health, anemia, micronutrient deficiencies and the gut microbiome. Previously, she has worked for Helen Keller International in Cambodia, the Department of Food, Health and Nutrition at UBC and the Centre for Global Child Health at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. She is passionate about providing equitable health services to all, including those in rural settings.



Urvee Karve

GIS Research Assistant

Urvee Karve is a recent graduate from UBC with a background in Geography, GIS and research. In her role, she is particularly interested in understanding the process involved in establishing sustainable primary care networks in remote areas of the province. She recently transitioned from her Research Assistant position at the Centre for Rural Health Research where she applied aspects of the Network’s GIS catchments to the Rural Birth Index project. Additionally, she has previously applied some of the catchment work to the Rural Surgical and Obstetrical Network project at CRHR. She has also worked at the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC, where she worked on a research project that assesses the impact of the forestry industry and climate change on watersheds in Canada. Her interests are in sustainability, climate science and GIS.


Anna de Waal

Rural Community Resiliency to Climate Change Research Coordinator

Anna de Waal completed a Master of Science in Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, both at McGill University. Her research interests are in HIV epidemiology, Indigenous health, and improving access to primary care. She is passionate about supporting rural community resilience for a more sustainable and equitable future. Anna has worked in clinical HIV epidemiology in South Africa, with the Pan-American Health Organization at the Office for the Eastern Caribbean, and in qualitative analysis with the Department of General Practice at Monash University, Melbourne. She enjoys spending time in nature, painting, and running whenever she can.


Alexandra Bland

Rural Community Resiliency to Climate Change Research Assistant

Alexandra Bland is the Research Assistant for the Co-RIG project examining rural resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia and an MSc in Health and International Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her past research has primarily focused on global health and health disparities in low and middle-income countries. The topic of her MSc dissertation was evaluating effective pneumonia prevention strategies to reduce under-five pneumonia mortality in high burden countries. She is passionate about health equity, health systems strengthening and the social determinants of health. Outside of work Alex loves to bake and go hiking with her dog Alfie.


Elyse Tsang

RHSRNbc Student Assistant

Elyse Tsang is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Physiology and Immunology at UBC. Her experience working with rural families in Guatemala has fueled her passion for advancing health equity through research, education, and community engagement. She currently volunteers with several health-related non-profit organizations and aspires to make a positive impact on eliminating global health disparities.




Kyara Liu

RHSRNbc Student Assistant

Kyara Liu is a 5th-year student in the Honours Sociology program with a minor in Health & Society. She is interested in studying health inequalities through the social determinants of health, the focus of her honours thesis. After graduation, Kyara hopes to establish a career in the public health field in research, education and advocacy. She also volunteers with various health organizations on campus, including the UBC Wellness Centre and AMS Peer Support.




Maya Venkataraman

RHSRNbc FLEX student

Maya is a first-year Medical Student at UBC. She completed her Bachelors of Medical Sciences Honours degree at Dalhousie University. She is passionate about physical activity, connecting with nature, and spends a lot of time outdoors running, mountain biking, and camping. She was involved with a Quality Improvement project that aimed to provide online resources to patients in remote locations preparing for surgery. She is now focusing her research on policies and actions that affect the environment where rural populations live.


Luke Barbour

RHSRNbc FLEX student

Luke is a first-year medical student at UBC. He grew up in Nanaimo, B.C., where he attended Vancouver Island University and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology and analytical chemistry. Though he has spent most of his life on Vancouver Island, he has spent some time living in rural B.C. and Nova Scotia. Luke is passionate about climate change and living a sustainable life. He likes to be active in his community and has spent many years volunteering at youth groups, food banks, and crisis lines. On a personal note, Luke likes to read, run, hike, and spend as much time with his family as he can.