Supporting quality medical practice with evidence-based
research and evaluation


What we do

The Research & Evaluation Unit (REVU) is part of the College’s Continuing Competence Department. REVU focuses on evaluating existing competence programs, and the design of new ones. REVU liaises with CPSA staff as well as with external experts to conduct ethical, relevant, timely, and evidence-based medical research and regulation.

The Importance of Evidence-based Medical Regulation

REVU uses evidence-based medical regulation to guide their work.

Based on Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), evidence-based medical regulation is the conscientious, explicit, judicious and the reasonable use of modern, best evidence in designing and evaluating the effectiveness of competence programs.

REVU integrates experiential knowledge, novel data collection techniques, experimental program design, and outcome evaluation to ensure the best available research information is applied to the College’s work. By continuously improving CPSA’s competence programs, REVU can better support Alberta physicians in remaining competent throughout their careers.

“What research means here… is doing things in the right way… to get an accurate and true answer.”Dr. Nigel Ashworth, CPSA Senior Medical Advisor REVU
All REVU research projects receive ethical approval by the appropriate Health Research Ethics Board at the University of Alberta.

Select Projects & Highlights

  • Contribution to the redesign of the CPSA Competence Programs; Group Practice Review Design; Individual Practice Review Design. (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • January 2017: Attended The Qualitative Report 8th Annual Conference at Nova Southeastern University. (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  • February 2017: Completed interviews with 23 experienced physician-assessors in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario for the CPSA-led pan-Canadian qualitative project (“Experiential Knowledge of Physician Risk & Support Factors”). (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • February 2017: Attended the Alberta Federation of Regulated Health Professions Educational Workshop on Competence. (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • February 2017: Participated in the inaugural meeting of the Consortium for Outcomes Measurement in Canada. (Toronto, Ontario)
  • March 2017: Attended and represented the CPSA at the Alberta College of Family Physicians Annual Scientific Assembly. (Banff, Alberta)
  • April 2017: Presented three oral presentations (“When the physician is unwell: characteristics of physicians accessing the health monitoring program at the CPSA;” “The transition from junior to senior physician: the first 10 years and the last;” & “Physicians in transition: change in scope of practice”) Coalition for Physician Enhancement Spring 2017 Meeting: Critical Transitions in Medical Careers. (Fort Worth, Texas)
  • May 2017: Completed data analysis and project summary for qualitative project (“Experiential Knowledge of Physician Risk & Support Factors”). (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • May/June 2017: Presentation of Analysis of MD Snapshot Survey Results (“The CPSA’s MD Snapshot: Physicians’ Attitudes and Opinions upon Receipt of their Personalized Prescribing Profile”) to College Council and to PPP Advisory Council. (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • June 2017: Participated in the Thinking Qualitatively Workshop Series, University of Alberta Institute for International Qualitative Methodology. (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • June 2017: Completed research report on Phase I of the CPSA’s Family Medicine Group Practice Review. (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • September 2017: Completed qualitative analysis of data from CPSA’s Benzodiazepine prescribing Randomized Controlled Trial. (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • April 2016: Presentation on Knowledge translation from ongoing results/outcomes of research, Coalition for Physician Enhancement. (San Diego, California)
  • August 2016: Ethics approval from the University of Alberta’s Health Research Ethics Board for various research projects regarding the redesign and evaluation of the CPSA’s Continuing Competence programs. (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • September 2016: Poster, oral presentations and workshops representing quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods research projects presented at the International Physician Assessment Coalition and the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities. (Melbourne, Australia)
  • October 2016: Oral presentation, International Institute for Qualitative Methodology’s Qualitative Health Research Conference. (Kelowna, British Columbia)
  • December 2016: Ethics approval from the University of Alberta’s Health Research Ethics Board received for Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) regarding interventions to improve physician benzodiazepine prescribing. (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • 2015/2016: Mixed-methods approach to physician consultation (surveys, focus groups, etc.) and research report –> replacing the Physician Achievement Review (PAR) Program. (Edmonton, Alberta)

Who are we?


Dr. Nigel Ashworth

Dr. Nigel Ashworth (MSc., MB.ChB., FRCPC) received his medical degree from the University of Lancashire (UK) in 1989. In 1997 he completed his residency training at the University of Saskatchewan in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), and received a Specialist Certificate in PM&R from the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. In 2001 Dr. Ashworth completed a Masters degree in Community Health & Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Ashworth is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta and has over 60 peer-reviewed publications in clinical neurophysiology, neuro rehabilitation, and population-based health.

Dr. Ashworth’s research interests include neuromuscular disease; clinical neurophysiology; research study design; epidemiology; quantitative research methods; mixed and multi-method health research; physician quality improvement processes; and risk and support factors for healthcare professionals.

Dr. Ashworth is a member of the following medical societies: Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiologists, Australian & New Zealand Association of Neurologists, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, British Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.


Dr. Nicole Kain

Dr. Nicole Kain (RN, BNSc, MPA, PhD). Nicole received her PhD in Public Health from the University of Alberta in 2017, and was the first doctoral recipient of the Dean’s Gold Medal from the School of Public Health. Her dissertation explored how family physicians in Canada experience public health crises, and the related risk communication processes surrounding such events. Dr. Kain holds Clinical Lecturer Appointments in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. In her role at the CPSA, she participates in qualitative and mixed-methods data collection and analysis processes to guide continuous process improvement, research initiatives and program evaluation, key evaluation questions and outcomes measurement strategies.

Dr. Kain’s research interests include public health; health policy; infectious disease prevention; immunizations and vaccine preventable diseases; risk communication to healthcare professionals; qualitative research methods; mixed- and multi-method health research; physician quality improvement processes; and risk and support factors for healthcare professionals.

Dr. Kain is a member of the Women & Children’s Health Research Institute, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Society for Risk Analysis, the Alberta Public Health Association, the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta and the College of Nurses of Ontario.


Ms. Delaney Wiebe

Ms. Delaney Wiebe (BSc, MPH) received her Masters of Public Health from the University of Alberta in 2017 and is currently pursuing her Certification in Public Health (CPH) through the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Her studies focused on global health and infectious disease surveillance and epidemiology. Ms. Wiebe has experience working with disease prevention and healthcare improvement both locally and globally. She received Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funding to pursue a practicum in innovative maternal, newborn, and child health programming with the Canadian Red Cross. In her role at the CPSA, Ms. Wiebe contributes to and supports the research and evaluation initiatives of the Continuing Competence department.

Ms. Wiebe’s research interests include public health; global health; program evaluation; infectious disease prevention and surveillance; social determinants of health; culture; quantitative research methods; mixed and multi-method health research; physician quality improvement processes; and risk and support factors for healthcare professionals.

Ms. Wiebe is a member of the Canadian Public Health Association and the Alberta Public Health Association.


Questions or comments? Suggestions on research proposals or projects?

Contact us at or 780-969-4947