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Dr. Juan Antonio Avina-Zubieta
Dr. Antonio Aviña-Zubieta completed medical school (1989) and his internal medicine training (1990-91) at the University of Guadalajara before pursuing a rheumatology fellowship at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (1991-93). After his formal training in Mexico, Dr. Aviña undertook a Clinical Research Fellowship at the University of Alberta (1993-95), and subsequently completed a Master’s Degree in Experimental Medicine at the same university (1997). He returned to Mexico City in 1998 where he established the first clinical epidemiology research unit at La Raza National Medical Center. Here, Dr. Avina was appointed as its first head, in addition to serving as an active staff member within the department of rheumatology at the same hospital.
In 2004, Dr. Aviña received a scholarship from both the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT-MEXICO) and the Mexican Institute of Social Security to pursue his PhD at the University of British Columbia (UBC), which he completed in 2010. Following graduation, Dr. Aviña began a faculty appointment as an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, and was granted a Network Scholar research training award from the Canadian Arthritis Network-The Arthritis Society to start his career as a new investigator. He was also named the first ever BC Lupus Society Scholar (2010), a title he continues to hold. Dr. Aviña currently mentors one PhD student, three master students, and six clinical trainees.
Dr. Aviña’s current research interests include the disease burden of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDs) including cardiovascular disease, costs, overall and cause specific mortality in individuals with SARDs. In order to conduct his research, Dr. Aviña has put together an administrative data cohort that includes all individuals in British Columbia with SARDs. This data includes all hospital, outpatient physician billing claims, all dispensed medications, vital statistics information, and cancer registry. It also includes laboratory test results and self-report data from survey, unique features of Dr. Aviña’s cohort that are not found in any other similar cohort across the world. Access to this one of a kind data set will allow Dr. Aviña to explore research questions that were not feasible before, leading to a deeper understanding of these diseases, the development of new strategies to prevent SARDs and their associated complications, as well as the creation of tools to help both patients and health care providers better manage SARDs. Dr. Aviña has co-authored more than 115 publications in refereed journals, book chapters, and peer reviewed abstracts, and has given presentations at a number of national and international conferences. To recognize his research program, Dr. Aviña was awarded a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar award for the maximum term of 5 years (2014-19). Currently, he is also the lead of the SARDs component of a team grant funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).