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Full-Time Research Assistant Position:

Psychology, Mental Health, Patient Engagement

Dr. Brett Thombs

Professor and Canada Research Chair

McGill University and Jewish General Hospital



The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN: is looking for a candidate to fill a full-time research assistant position within our team at the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital.


Scleroderma is a rare chronic autoimmune connective tissue disease characterized by abnormal fibrotic processes and excessive collagen production, which leads to substantial damage to the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. Common problems faced by people with scleroderma include limitations in hand function and mobility, pain, fatigue, constant itch, depression, and body image distress from disfiguring aspects of the disease.


SPIN was created to bring together people living with scleroderma, healthcare professionals who care for them, and scleroderma researchers from around the world to develop and test accessible patient support tools for scleroderma patients, including psychological supports, self-management, rehabilitation, and educational tools. SPIN’s mission is to help scleroderma patients live better lives with their disease and to serve as a model of a way forward for other rare diseases. 


SPIN maintains an international patient cohort of over 1,500 patients from 8 countries and has developed or is finalizing development of patient programs, including a program to support positive emotional coping with scleroderma, a program to help patients cope with body image distress due to disfiguring aspects of the disease, an exercise rehabilitation program, and a training program for individuals with scleroderma who lead patient support groups. SPIN is also currently running a feasibility with progression to full-scale randomized controlled trial of a scleroderma disease self-management program.


A central component of SPIN’s current research involves research on how patients can be best engaged as research team members and communicating research results to patients.


The tasks of the research assistant may include:

  • Calling research participants 

  • Answering voicemail/email messages from research participants and resolving requests/problems

  • Keeping track of patient progress by entering logs in an online system

  • Helping to draft and review ethics and grant submissions

  • Assisting with the development and testing of patient support interventions 

  • Helping with other organizational tasks related to a range of SPIN projects, including assisting in the implementation of SPIN interventions such as the feasibility trial with progression to full-scale trial to test the effectiveness of a scleroderma disease self-management program.

  • Support in development of manuscripts on studies of mental health and other patient-important outcomes


The candidate must meet the following qualifications:

  • Able to work in English and French

  • Degree in psychology, health sciences, social sciences, or related field with strong academic record

  • Good interpersonal skills and strong capacity for teamwork

  • Excellent computer skills

  • Excellent organizational, communication, and time-management skills 

  • Ability to meet deadlines

  • Initiative and flexibility

  • Research experience in psychology or related discipline

  • Should be able to commit for at least one and ideally two years


Salary: To be determined based on institutional guidelines and candidate experience.


Start date: August/September 2024


To apply: Applicants should send (1) a cover letter explaining their interest in the position and how this would support their career goals, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) an unofficial transcript, and (4) an English writing sample and an additional writing sample in French, to Marie-Eve Carrier at Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. French language capacity will be assessed during interview.

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