THOMBS RESEARCH TEAM
Welcome to the Thombs Research Team Website!
Dr. Brett Thombs is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, a Senior Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital, Chair of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and Director of the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) and Director of the DEPRESsion Screening Data (DEPRESSD) Project.
Members of the Thombs Research Team work in three projects or areas: (1) SPIN, (2) the DEPRESSD Project, and (3) meta research and policy, which includes the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC), the development of an extension of the CONsolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement for trials conducted in cohorts and other routinely collected data, and other meta-research projects.
Each project group includes research coordinators, research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students who collaboratively work on various aspects of the projects. Check out the individual project sections to learn more about each project team and our current team members.
Congratulations to the SPIN team on receiving new CIHR funding!
The SPIN Team was awarded a $20,000 CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant and ranked very high for its proposal titled “Engaging Patients to Develop a Systemic Program of Patient Engagement in Musculoskeletal and Rare Disease Research: Putting Patients First”. The proposal was led by team member Elsa-Lynn Nassar, Dr. Brett Thombs, patient partner Maureen Sauvé, and Dr. Linda Kwakkenbos. This grant will support SPIN’s patient engagement work, which will involve engaging SPIN’s patient partners, scleroderma patient organization leaders, researchers, and clinicians to jointly develop an evidence-based framework for a patient engagement program. Congrats to the SPIN Team!
Welcome Lu to the team!
Lu Qiu recently join the DEPRESSD team as a Mitacs research intern. She studies biomedical engineering at South China University of Technology. She aspires to pursue future studies in the field of biostatistics. Read more about Lu here.
Welcome Sophie to the team!
Sophie Hu will begin as a research assistant with the SPIN Team on June 27th. She will be working on a variety of tasks across projects in English and French. Sophie graduated from McGill in spring 2022 with her BSc in Psychology. Under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Flake, Sophie completed her honour’s thesis on the development and quantitative assessment of a measure of student motivation and engagement in the pandemic. Read more about Sophie here.
Welcome new team member!
Lara Amiri recently joined the DEPRESSD team as a Mitacs intern. She studies psychology at the Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany. Lara aspires to study clinical psychology and clinical data science in the future. Read more about Lara here.
Welcome Vanessa to the team!
Vanessa Cook recently joined the SPIN team as a research associate. She works as a patient advocate and communications coordinator for individuals living with scleroderma. Vanessa completed her bachelor’s degree in April 2022 at Western University. She aspires to continue patient-centered work in the areas of autoimmunity and diet by pursuing a Naturopathic Doctorate (N.D.). Visit Vanessa’s page for more information.
Welcome Nadia to the team!
Nadia Gonzalez Dominguez joined DEPRESSD team as an intern in April 2022. They received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Superior Studies (ITESM) in 2018 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Nadia is currently studying a Master of Science in Public Health at McGill University. They worked in the field of neuroscience and data analysis, and medical device manufacturing industry. Nadia’s interests include epidemiological studies of mental health, social epidemiology, and public health policy. Visit Nadia's page for more information.
Welcome new team member!
Claire Adams, as Postdoctoral Fellow, joined The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) project in March 2022. Claire earned her PhD in Health and Clinical Psychology in 2022. She is also a registered psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Claire’s main areas of expertise include mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention, health behaviour change, healthy ageing, and patient-centered care. She’ll lead the SPIN Patient Engagement Project under the supervision of Prof. Brett Thombs, which aims to develop a systematic and effective model of patient engagement in SPIN. Visit Claire’s page for more information.
Congratulations to Elsa on receiving the McGill Post-Graduate Student Society Travel Award!
Team member Elsa-Lynn Nassar was recently awarded the McGill Post-Graduate Student Society Travel Award to attend the Canadian Psychological Association's annual conference being held this June in Calgary. Elsa will be presenting results from her master's thesis work on the methodological quality and reporting transparency of depression screening accuracy studies through three posters and an oral presentation. Congratulations, Elsa!
Congratulations to Amina and COVID LSR team on their publication in General Hospital Psychiatry!
We are excited to share that the COVID-19 LSR team's paper, led by Amina, on effects of mental health interventions among people hospitalized with COVID-19 , is now published in General hospital Psychiatry. This paper identified 47 randomized controlled trials from 3 countries, of which 21 tested the effects of psychological interventions, 5 physical and breathing exercises, and 21 a combination of interventions. It concludes that due to poor quality reporting there is insufficient evidence to make clinical recommendations based on included trials. Read more about the paper here.
Congratulations to the DEPRESSD Team on receiving new funding from CRCC and SSHRC!
We are thrilled to share that our DEPRESSD team was awarded a 1-year grant ($237,861) of New Frontiers in Research Fund. 2021 Innovative Approaches to Research in the Pandemic Context by Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for our project “Comparison of depression research diagnoses and symptom scores obtained via conventional in-person and alternative methodologies”. This funding will allow the team to robustly evaluate how data collection methods, especially alternative methods increasingly used in COVID-19 may influence sensitive mental health assessments. Thanks to Yin for leading this!
Elsa's meta-research review is now published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research!| 2022/04/01
Another review, led by team member Elsa-Lynn Nassar and co-authored by team members Dr. Brooke Levis, Marieke Neyer, and Danielle Rice, is published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research. The team examined 106 primary studies on the accuracy of depression screening tools. The team found that only 11% described a viable sample size calculation and 34% provided reasonably accurate confidence intervals (CIs). Overall, the number of included individuals in most studies was too small to generate reasonably precise accuracy estimates; of 103 studies where 95% CIs were provided or could be calculated, only 7% had sensitivity CI widths of ≤10%, whereas 58 (56%) had widths of ≥21%. The team recommends that future studies of the diagnostic accuracy of depression screening tools should conduct precision-based a priori sample size calculations to either attain desired precision levels or to understand limitations prior to initiating a study. To read the full article, click here here!
Congratulations to Dr. Yin Wu for receiving the McGill MedStar Award| 2022/03/24
We are excited to share that Dr. Yin Wu (DEPRESSD’s postdoctoral research fellow) has earned the McGill Medstar Award for Trainees for her publication in BMJ entitled: Accuracy of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale Depression Subscale (HADS-D) to screen for major depression: systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis, in recognition of the excellent research carried out in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University. The winning papers were selected to demonstrate excellence at all levels and to represent all disciplines of our training programs in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Congratulations to Olivia and the COVID-19 LSR team on their publication in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry!| 2022/03/14
We are happy to share that the COVID-19 LSR team's paper on the effects of COVID-19 mental health interventions among children, adolescents, and adultsis now published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. This paper, led by Olivia Bonardi, included randomised-controlled trials of interventions to address COVID-19 mental health challenges among people not hospitalised or quarantined due to COVID-19 infection. It identified 9 eligible trials, including 3 well-conducted, well-reported trials that tested interventions designed specifically for COVID-19 mental health challenges, plus 6 other trials with high risk of bias and reporting concerns, all of which tested standard interventions (e.g., individual or group therapy, expressive writing, mindfulness recordings) minimally adapted or not specifically adapted for COVID-19. The paper concluded that interventions that adapt evidence-based strategies for feasible delivery may be effective to address mental health in COVID-19. More well-conducted trials, including for children and adolescents, are needed. Read more about the publication here.
Congratulations to Diana et al. on their publication in the Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology! | 2022/03/04
We are excited to share that Diana et al.’s Letter to Editors: The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale in patients with systemic sclerosis: a psychometric and factor analysis in a monocentric cohort, is now published in the Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. The letter describes that mental health symptom questionnaires like the HADS are not intended nor calibrated to estimate prevalence; in most cases, they tend to overestimate the true prevalence of psychiatric disorders, often dramatically. It also discusses the evidence that would be needed to recommend mental health screening, which is labour intensive and can lead to unnecessary harms, like all screening programs. Read the letter here.
Meta-research study led by Elsa-Lynn Nassar is accepted for publication in General Hospital Psychiatry! | 2022/02/28
A meta-research study led by Elsa-Lynn Nassar (MSc Trainee) and co-authored by other team members, including Dr. Brooke Levis (Research Associate) and Danielle Rice (PhD Candidate), was recently accepted for publication in General Hospital Psychiatry. The aims of the study were to assess (1) the proportion of recently published studies of depression screening accuracy that appropriately excluded individuals with a confirmed depression diagnosis or who were already undergoing treatment and (2) whether this has improved since the last review of studies published in 2013-2015. A total of 106 primary studies were identified and assessed. Eighteen of 106 (17%) studies appropriately excluded already diagnosed or treated individuals, representing an 11% improvement since the last review. The proportion of depression screening accuracy studies that appropriately exclude individuals already known to have depression remains low. This may significantly bias research findings intended to inform clinical practice, where known depression cases are not screened. To learn more about the study, click here!
Congratulations to the COVID-19 Living Systematic Review (LSR) Team on receiving new CIHR funding! | 2022/02/14
We are excited to share that our LSR team was awarded a two-year grant ($368,998) by CIHR’s Addressing the Wider Health Impacts of COVID-19 program for conducting our project “Loneliness Among Older Adults in COVID-19: A Living Systematic Review of Changes in Loneliness from Pre-COVID-19, Association with Mental Health Outcomes, and Effects of Interventions.” This funding will allow the team to continue to update its synthesis of evidence on mental health in COVID-19 and to specifically evaluate changes in loneliness and the effectiveness of interventions to reduce or prevent loneliness in older adults during COVID-19.
New SPIN publication in The Lancet Rheumatology: Study on COVID-19 vaccination experiences and perceptions in people living with scleroderma. | 2022/01/26
From April 9th to May 15th 2021, the SPIN COVID-19 Vaccine Survey was administered and completed by 936 participants of SPIN’s COVID-19 cohort. At that time, 75% of participants had already received at least one dose, while 10% were described as hesitant to get the vaccine. Hesitant responders also rated potential concerns about the vaccine as higher than non-hesitant participants. Altogether, there was substantially lower vaccine hesitancy than in the general population; the vaccine did not cause major changes in medication; and no severe reactions were reported. In fact, reactions to the vaccine were very similar to those reported in the general population. Congratulations to our colleagues at Cornell University, Drs Jessica Gordon, Kim Showalter and Robert Spiera who led the study. The article can be accessed here.
Welcome new team members! | 2022/01/18
Enqi Wang and Hassan Khan, as research volunteers, joined the DEPRESSD team in January 2022. Enqi is an undergraduate psychology student with a minor in neuroscience at McGill. She is passionate about pursuing future studies in the field of clinical psychology. Hassan graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) degree in Psychology. He hopes to pursue a career as scientist-practitioner in the near future. His research interests broadly include mental health, meta-research, and health services research. Visit Enqi's and Hassan’s pages to learn more about them.