Faculty A-Z

Holly Etchegary

Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology PhD

Community Health and Humanities Clinical Epidemiology

709 864-6605


Faculty of Medicine, M4M210

Teaching and Research
My primary teaching responsibilities are in the Diploma and thesis-based graduate programs of Clinical Epidemiology where I teach courses focused on clinical research design and analysis, as well as patient oriented research and practice. I contribute regularly to other core courses (e.g., epidemiology) and graduate seminars. I am also an active contributor to both the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medical School curriculum at Memorial through student and resident mentoring for research projects and in the delivery of a research design workshop for the first year undergraduate class. As part of my teaching responsibilities, I deliver the only graduate credit course on patient oriented research in Canada, developed to build capacity in this growing area of research and fill a void in the elective offerings of Clinical Epidemiology. I regularly supervise graduate students at both the Masters and PhD levels, in addition to undergraduate medical students and medical residents, across a variety of health research areas. I am always happy to hear from students with an interest in my research areas.

I am an Interdisciplinary Scientist. As such, my scholarly activity is highly interdisciplinary and focuses broadly on GE3LS (Genetics, Ethical, Environmental, Economic, Legal and Social Issues), the psychosocial impact of inherited disorders, patient and public engagement with genomics and health research more broadly, as well as health services research. I am often invited to join large research grants as a co-investigator to contribute a missing perspective (usually psychosocial GE3LS and more recently, expertise in patient oriented research). For example, on two of the most recent large CIHR grants with which I am involved, I am the patient engagement lead and contribute heavily to developing and coordinating patient and public engagement activities.

Many of my recent presentations and publications are co-created with students and patient partners as I am committed to building research and scientific capacity in these groups. The research on which I am currently working is twofold. One looks at patient and public engagement with genomic sequencing and is exploring public perceptions and concerns around informed consent models, the return of sequencing findings, and sequencing decisions with a goal to informing how this new technology can be implemented in our province. The other involves health services research across several areas including the reduction of low value care, the implementation of interventions to improve wait times in the emergency room, and exploring new models of providing ongoing care to families affected by hereditary cancers.
  • Education and Training:

    2005 PhD, Social/Health Psychology, Memorial University
    2005-2007 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Ottawa and National Institute of Population Health, Ottawa, ON

Research interests:
  • Personalized medicine; translation of new genomic discoveries to policy and healthcare practice
  • Informed consent in the context of genomic testing – what does this mean to stakeholders and how is it achieved in practice (or is it even possible?)
  • Genetic testing interest, uptake and the process of decision-making in this context, in both consumers and clinicians; other healthcare decisions related to genetic risk (e.g., prophylactic surgical decisions)
  • Genetics health services – what are the challenges to incorporating genetic discoveries into clinical practice; what educational tools may be necessary for patients and clinicians
  • Psychosocial impacts of genetic risk and illness, on individuals and families
  • Public and patient engagement with new genomic technologies and personalized medicine
  • Patient oriented research, particularly in oncology

Recent Publications:

Etchegary H, Winsor M, Power A, Simmonds C. Public engagement with genomic medicine: A summary of town hall discussions. J Community Genet 2021;12(1):27-35.

Pullman D, Etchegary H. Ethical, legal and social issues in clinical genetics research. Invited paper, Methods in Molecular Biology, 2021; 65-82. [In Patrick S. Parfrey and Brendan J. Barrett (eds.), Clinical Epidemiology: Practice and Methods, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 2249, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-1138-8_5.]

Etchegary H, Power A. Your data, your choice. A Design Jam on modernizing consent to unlock health in 2020. Report prepared for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Video: Your data, your choice

Etchegary H, Wilson B, Rahman P, Simmonds C, Pullman D. Public interest in whole genome sequencing and information needs: An online survey study. Personalized Medicine 2020; 17(4):283-293.

Vat E, Davidge B, Goould S, Warren M, Porter N, Etchegary H. Evaluating patient engagement in research: a participatory evaluation approach. Res Involv Engage 6:39; 2020.

Furlong B, Aubrey-Bassler K, Etchegary H, Pike A, Darmonkow G, Hall A. Patient Education Materials for Non-specific Low Back Pain and Sciatica: a Protocol for a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. BMJ Open, 2020; 10(9): e039530

Subramonian A, Smith D, Dicks E, Dawson L, Boragonkar M, Etchegary H. Universal tumor screening for Lynch syndrome: perspectives of patients regarding willingness and informed consent. Personalized Medicine 2020; 17(5):373-87.

Abhyankar S, Etchegary H. Rolling out genomic screening. The Newfoundland and Labrador
Public Advisory Council on Genomics (PACG). BMJ Partnership in Practice 2019; 12(17): Open Access https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/12/17/rolling-out-genomic-screening/

Mike Warren, Toni Leamon, Amanda Hall, Laurie Twells, Catherine Street, Allan Stordy, Kakali Majumdar, Lorraine Breault, Kirsten Fiest, Jananee Rasiah, Maria Santana, Holly Etchegary.
The role of patient and family advisory councils in health research: Lessons from two provincial councils in Canada. Journal of Patient Experience, 2020 Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2374373520909598

Dicks E, Pullman D, Kao K, MacMillan A, Logan G, Simmonds S, Etchegary H. Universal
tumor screening for Lynch syndrome: Perceptions of Canadian pathologists and genetic counselors of barriers and facilitators. Open Access Cancer Medicine 2019; 8(7):3614-22.

Factors influencing surgical treatment decisions for breast cancer: A qualitative exploration of surgeon and patient perspectives. Elizabeth Dicks, Rebecca Roome, Joanne Chafe, Erin Powell, Farah McCrate, Charlene Simmonds, Holly Etchegary. Open Access Current Oncology 2019; 26(2): e216-25.