Lab Members

Femke Hoekstra

Femke Hoekstra, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Femke earned her PhD at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her PhD project was part of Rehabilitation, Sports and Active Lifestyle study (ReSpAct-study) and focused on the nationwide implementation of a physical activity promotion program in Dutch rehabilitation care. In November 2017, she started her postdoctoral research with Drs. Heather Gainforth and Kathleen Martin Ginis. Femke’s main research interest focuses on understanding and improving knowledge translation processes, especially in the area of rehabilitation and health promotion. Her research involves studying implementation processes of behavior interventions and trials in real-world settings from different perspectives (organization, professional, and client/patient). Outside research, Femke enjoys running/hiking, cross-country skiing and playing tennis.

Email: || Twitter: @FHoekstra_Groot


Rhyann McKay

PhD Candidate (4th year)

Rhyann is a PhD candidate. She completed her Bachelor of Human Kinetics at UBCO and is now finishing the last year of her PhD in the ABC Lab. Rhyann is interested in understanding the impact of spinal cord injury (SCI) on participation behaviours in family, friends and partners who support someone with an SCI. In partnership with several SCI community-based organizations, her PhD research has systematically developed and will test an intervention to promote participation among family support providers of people with SCI. Outside of research, Rhyann likes to be outdoors either skiing, biking, or running – ideally with her dog.

Email: || Twitter: @rhyann_mckay

Kelsey Wuerstl

PhD Student (1st Year)

Kelsey completed her MSc with the ABC Lab in 2020 and is now a first-year Ph.D. student with the ABC Lab. Through meaningful engagement with the spinal cord injury (SCI) community, Kelsey is interested in improving health promotion for persons with SCI. Kelsey’s research aims to conduct preliminary testing of a theory-based smoking cessation intervention for persons with SCI, using behaviour change theory and an integrated knowledge translation (IKT) approach. In partnership with SCI British Columbia, her research aims to co-develop smoking cessation supports and resources that can be delivered in the community. When Kelsey isn’t at school, she can be found rock climbing, kayaking, or camping in the summer and skiing Big White in the winter.



Emily Giroux

PhD Student (1st Year)

Emily is a first year PhD student. She completed her BSc in Kinesiology at McMaster University and her MSc with the Applied Behaviour Change Lab at UBCO. Emily’s PhD research will focus on how spinal cord injury (SCI) community-based organizations can participate meaningfully and equitably as research partners. Outside of the lab, Emily enjoys spending time doing yoga, hanging out with friends, and soaking up the sun.

Email: || Twitter: @emilylizgiroux

Alanna Shwed

PhD Student (1st Year)

Alanna completed her MSc in Kinesiology at Nipissing University and is currently in the first year of her PhD program with the ABC Lab. She is interested in understanding how we can support researchers to implement and maintain quality partnerships to improve the relevance and impact of research findings. Her research aims to investigate and support the uptake of the new IKT Guiding Principles, and to produce and test an evidence-based resource tool to help researchers adopt the guiding principles and engage in partnerships. When she’s not working, Alanna enjoys all activities, but her favourites are hockey, snowboarding, and swimming.