Meet The IBD Centre of BC team.



Dr. Brian Bressler


Dr. Bressler received his MD from the University of British Columbia and completed his residency in internal medicine and gastroenterology at the University of Toronto. He received an MSc in epidemiology from the Harvard Public School of Health and completed an advanced fellowship in IBD at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. In addition to his work at the IBD Centre of BC, Dr. Bressler is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Medicine. He is the founder of The IBD Centre of BC, the Director of UBC’s Advanced IBD training program and a world-recognized expert in inflammatory bowel disease.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Bressler has dedicated himself to advancing research and care for British Columbians with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. With the creation of The IBD Centre of BC, Dr. Bressler and other specialists are carrying out his dream of providing IBD patients with timely, province-wide access to a multidisciplinary team of health-care professionals, advancing IBD research and providing world-class IBD education.

Dr. P. Terry Phang


Dr. Phang is a Professor of Surgery at the University of British Columbia where he has taught many surgeons in British Columbia and Canada on rectal cancer and laparoscopic colon surgery, and many medical students and family physicians on colorectal diseases. His medical training was received at the University of Toronto. He received surgical training at Memorial University of Newfoundland and specialized colorectal surgery training at the University of Minnesota. He holds American Board certification for Surgery and Colorectal Surgery. He has a Masters of Science degree in biochemistry and clinical research training in critical illness and colorectal surgery with a research fellowship in rectal cancer at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Dr. Phang’s current research includes diagnostic imaging of rectal cancer, advanced techniques of rectal cancer surgery including laparoscopy, sphincter-preserving rectal cancer resection, and transanal microsurgery endoscopic resection.

Dr. Carl J. Brown

M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.C.

Dr. Carl Brown is a colorectal surgeon and the current Chair of the Section of Colorectal Surgery at the University of British Columbia. His primary clinical interest is the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer.

He is also the Provincial Lead for Surgical Oncology at BC Cancer. Dr. Brown completed medical school at McMaster University in 1998.  He completed general surgery training at the University of Calgary in 2003 and subsequently worked as a general surgeon at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary. In 2004, he moved to Toronto to train as a subspecialist in Colorectal Surgery.  Concurrent with his fellowship, Dr. Brown completed his master’s degree in clinical research at the University of Toronto.  In 2006, Dr. Brown was recruited to St. Paul’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia.


Dr. Amandeep Ghuman


Dr. Ghuman is a specialist in colon and rectal surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital and a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia, Department of Surgery. She is also the incoming Discipline-Specific Site Leader for the General Surgery Clerkship rotation of UBC undergraduate medical students. Dr. Ghuman graduated from medical school at UBC, where she finished her residency in General Surgery, completed her Master’s in Public Health in Clinical Effectiveness at Harvard University and completed subspecialty fellowship training in Colon and Rectal Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Florida.

Within the field of colorectal surgery, Dr. Ghuman has a particular interest in minimally invasive/laparoscopic surgery, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, including pelvic pouch procedures, colonoscopy and anorectal diseases. Her goal is to build a broad collaborative network of surgeons to continue identifying areas where surgical patient safety and care can be improved.

Dr. Kevan Jacobson


Dr. Jacobson is a pediatric gastroenterologist with a specialty in inflammatory bowel disease. He has been studying and treating kids with IBD for over 20 years. He began his training as an internist in South Africa and completed his internal medicine studies in Canada, followed by training in adult and pediatric gastroenterology and a research fellowship in IBD. Before moving to BC in 1999, he practiced at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. In addition to his clinical practice and his work with the IBD Centre of BC Young Adult Clinic, Dr. Jacobson is Division Head of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition in the Department of Pediatrics at BC Children’s Hospital, and has a research laboratory where he studies the biology of IBD and looks for ways to improve treatment.

Dr. Elisabet Joa

MD, FRCSC, Obstetrician

Dr. Elisabet Joa is a practicing obstetrician who completed her medical training at the University of British Columbia and her OB/GYNE residency at the University of Alberta. Dr. Joa is a Clinical Professor in Gynecology & Obstetrics at St. Paul’s Hospital and the Post Graduate Program Director for the UBC obstetrics and gynecology program. She is the previous chair of the Renal/Obstetrics Committee at St. Paul’s, where she pioneered minimally invasive surgery in gynecology. From the beginning of her career, Dr. Joa has had a special interest in pregnant patients with IBD and since residency training has advocated for combined clinics such as The IBD Centre of BC, where the care is patient- focused.

Dr. Ahmer A. Karimuddin


Dr. Karimuddin is a colorectal surgeon at St. Paul’s Hospital and Co-Director of the General Surgery Residency Training Program and an Associate Professor (Clinical) at the University of British Columbia. He received his MD from the University of Western Ontario, completed a Master’s in Adult Education at the University of Saskatchewan with a focus on surgical education and CanMEDS, and completed a fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of Toronto, with research focusing on clinical outcomes of early rectal cancer.

Dr. Karimuddin has special expertise in the management of cancer of the colon and rectum, inflammatory bowel disease and proctology. President of the British Columbia Surgical Society, his research interests include patient outcomes (clinical and PROs) in laparoscopic colorectal surgery, colorectal cancer, colonoscopy, inflammatory bowel disease and the pelvic pouch procedure, and improvements in patient care, with a focus on quality improvement of outcomes and optimizing patient care and recovery through Enhanced Recovery After Surgery. He is an active member of the Colorectal Cancer Tumour Group, and has participated in development of Clinical Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer at the BC Cancer Agency.

Dr. Yvette Leung

MD, FRCPC, Gastroenterologist

Dr. Leung attended medical school at the University of Calgary followed by a residency at the University of British Columbia, a Gastroenterology Fellowship at the University of Calgary and an Advanced IBD Fellowship at the University of Chicago. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Calgary and an Associate Clinical Professor, Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine at UBC. A gastroenterologist at The IBD Centre of BC since 2016, Dr. Leung has been researching pregnancy and IBD for more than a decade with a special focus on the effects of biologics on pregnancy. She is the founder of The IBD Pregnancy Clinic & Registry.

Dr. Julia Raudzus

MD, FRCPC, Consulting Psychiatrist

Dr. Raudzus completed her medical training at the University of British Columbia and has worked at St. Paul’s Hospital since 2008. Dr. Raudzus has a special interest in both eating disorders and psychiatric illness in the medically ill. She is the medical director of the Provincial Adult Eating Disorder Program at St. Paul’s Hospital and the hospital’s physician lead of the Consult Liaison Psychiatry Service.

Dr. Manoj J. Raval


Dr. Raval is a specialist in colon and rectal surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital and Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of British Columbia. He graduated from medical school at the University of British Columbia and finished his residency in General Surgery at the University of Calgary before completing his subspecialty fellowship training in Colon and Rectal Surgery and MSc in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto. 

Working closely with radiation and medical oncologists at the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA), Dr. Raval is the Chair of the Colorectal Surgery Tumour Group, whose mandate is to promote excellence in the surgical treatment of colorectal cancer for British Columbians. He has headed a number of initiatives through the BCCA, including development of Colorectal Cancer Care Pathway maps for patients and management guidelines for colorectal cancer for physicians.

Dr. Greg Rosenfeld


Dr. Rosenfeld was a family physician for 15 years before taking the step of pursuing a residency in gastroenterology with a focus on IBD at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Brian Bressler. In fact, Dr. Rosenfeld was the first fellow to complete UBC’s IBD Fellowship and was also able to complete a Master’s degree in clinical epidemiology. The impetus to take on this massive academic commitment came from Dr. Rosenfeld’s deep desire to provide long-term care and make a measurable difference in patients’ lives. Today, Dr. Rosenfeld leads strategy, development, communications and more at The IBD Centre of BC, where he hopes to leave a lasting professional legacy.

Gina Almasan

Registered Dietitian, UBC Clinical Instructor

Gina is currently the Registered Dietitian for The IBD Centre of BC. She is a food and nutrition enthusiast who loves experimenting in the kitchen and helping patients meet their nutrition goals. Gina graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSc in Dietetics and completed her internship with Vancouver Coastal Health. She has worked in a variety of practice settings ranging from acute medical hospital units to long-term care. Gina is passionate about digestive health, and she loves teaching people about how diet can relieve symptoms and help with disease management. 

Mariana Gutierrez

Registered Clinical Counselor

Mariana is a registered clinical counsellor running the group therapy program for The IBD Centre of BC. She graduated from Adler University in 2020 and is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), trauma, as well as somatic and body-based interventions. For over 15 years, Mariana has been working with clients of different ages, and with diverse mental health presentations.

Sara Ahmadian

Registered Clinical Counselor

Sara has a master’s in counselling psychology and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor at the IBD Center of BC. Her areas of interest include supporting adults with managing anxiety, depression, life transitions, and chronic illness. Sara pulls from several evidence-based approaches to meet the unique needs of each patient. In her sessions, she focuses on supporting patients as they process their emotions, become aware of their patterns and tap into their desire for growth and change.

Sara strives to bring values of authenticity, compassion, respect, and humour to each therapeutic relationship.

Dr. Genelle Lunken

Registered Dietitian, Ph.D.

Dr. Genelle Lunken is a registered dietitian and Translational Research lead at the IBD Centre of BC, as well as an assistant professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Dr. Lunken is a New Zealand-trained dietitian who has worked clinically for several years and currently specializes in working with IBD patients to optimize their nutrition to help with symptom and disease management.

In 2017, Dr. Lunken completed a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science with Massey University in New Zealand where she explored the role habitual diet plays in inter-individual host and microbial response to a dietary intervention. After completing her Ph.D., she moved to Vancouver to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship with Drs Kevan Jacobson and Bruce Vallance at UBC. During her postdoctoral fellowship, she aimed to better understand the impact diet, particularly fibre, has on the gut microbiome and IBD outcomes. Some of Dr. Lunken’s current research interests include developing better dietary assessment tools for IBD patients, understanding how diet impacts the gut mycobiome (fungi) and virome (viruses) in the context of IBD and elucidating the dietary and microbial factors involved in inter-individual response to medical and dietary IBD therapies to move towards personalized treatments for patients

Melody Chavarria


Melody Chavarria graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSc in Nursing in 2018. Since then, she has worked as a registered nurse in several hospital units including acute medicine, surgical, patient assessment and transition (PATH), and then in 2020, began working exclusively in the Covid-19 designated units. In 2021, she became an Endoscopy Nurse at Pacific Gastroenterology Associates which further ignited her interest in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, ultimately leading to her current role as a Clinical IBD Nurse at the IBD Centre of BC.

Kaity McLaughlin

Registered Dietitian

Kaity is currently the Registered Dietitian for The IBD Centre of BC. She holds a Masters of Public Health and has experience in a wide range of health care settings including clinical, research, administrative and operational. She’s interested in program management, epidemiology and public policy.

Christina Pears


Christina is a registered nurse who completed her BSc in Nursing at the University of British Columbia in 2006. She has worked in various areas of healthcare including medicine, cardiology and gastroenterology. In 2010, Christina joined Pacific Gastroenterology Associates, where she helped develop the role of the clinical IBD nurse. As the clinic expanded and the role of the nurse evolved, she has remained a part of the team at The IBD Centre of BC.

Amanda Swain


Amanda Swain graduated from John Abbott College in Montreal, Quebec in 1994 with a Diploma in Nursing. She worked as a Registered Nurse in the USA and England before moving to Vancouver to complete her BScN at UBC, graduating with honours in 2000.  Since that time she has worked in a variety of specialties ranging from working on an HIV/AIDS inpatient unit and outpatient clinic at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, England to the Neurology Unit at BC Children’s Hospital. In 2012 she took a position at Pacific Gastroenterology Associates in the endoscopy suite and infusion clinic, which then led to her current role as Clinical IBD Nurse at The IBD Centre of BC.

Board of Directors

Nikita Arora, BComm (Treasurer)

Principal at Social Leverage.

Brian Bressler, MD, MS, FRCPC

Practicing gastroenterologist; world-recognized expert in IBD; Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at UBC Department of Medicine.

Kulwant Chauhan, CA (Past Chair)

Chartered accountant; Vice President of Abacus Private Equity and Hillcore Group, responsible for analysis for broad initiatives such as new business models, acquisition models and new debt and equity financing.

Jon Festinger, Q.C. (Vice Chair)

Lawyer, strategic advisor and educator with a focus on digital media, creative freedoms, entertainment and sports; past Chair of Ronald McDonald House British Columbia.

Terry Gill, Local Business Owner

Owner of several substantive agriculture-related businesses in the Fraser Valley and Washington State for the previous 20+ years.

Bernie Hadley-Beauregard, MBA

Principal at Brandever. Expert in strategic branding, marketing communications and innovative design.

Lawrence Halparin, MD, FRCPC, CSPQ (Chair)

Diplomate American Board of Gastroenterology; Clinical Professor Emeritus, UBC; Former Head of Gastroenterology, Providence Health Care.

Kevan Jacobson, MBBCh, FRCPC, FCP, AGAF

Pediatric gastroenterologist; Clinical Professor and Head of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Pediatric IBD program at BC Children’s Hospital.


Tony Kalla, B. Comm

Mortgage broker; Principal of Westbridge Mortgage Services Ltd.; expert in commercial real estate acquisition, management and repositioning.

Nejeed Kassam, BA, JD

CEO and founder of Keela – an impact technology company, dedicated to empowering nonprofits with powerful technology. Founder of the public policy organization Better Canada Initiative.

Yvette Leung, MD, FRCPC

Practicing gastroenterologist in IBD; physician lead for the Vancouver Pregnancy and IBD Clinic; Associate Clinical Professor, UBC Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology.

Jennifer Pearson

Non-profit fundraising volunteer, formerly with BC Children’s Hospital and MS Society.

Kirsten Rogerson, BA, JD

Vancouver based lawyer representing clients in both commercial litigation and family law matters.

Greg Rosenfeld, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, CCFP

Gastroenterologist with an advanced Fellowship in IBD; Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, UBC; member of Pacific Gastroenterology Associates at St. Paul’s Hospital with a clinical practice focus in IBD.

Kip Woodward, B. Comm, MBA

Former Chairman, Vancouver Coastal Health.