People in profile: Vanessa Dizonno

Meet Vanessa – managing many moving parts.

Q: What is your role in health research?
A: I am a clinical trials study manager with the Vancouver Stroke Program. I currently manage a national, multi-centre trial led by Dr. Thalia Field. We are investigating an oral blood thinner in an uncommon cause of stroke.

Q: What is your research area of interest? 
A: Broadly, my main interests are clinical research and women’s health. It has been meaningful to work with clinical populations at the Vancouver Stroke Program in the context of primary and secondary prevention, and establish authentic connections with people who are directly affected.  In general, women are underrepresented in clinical research so I believe more effort should be made to investigate topics pertaining to women’s health. 

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

A: Findings from the clinical trial I am working on will inform standard of care for cerebral venous thrombosis, and result in widespread benefits to patients and the health care system. Knowing the work I do has this sort of impact is truly rewarding. 

Q: What has been a highpoint of your research career so far?
A: Earlier this year, I organized a patient forum in Vancouver to empower, engage and connect individuals affected by cerebral venous thrombosis. I was thrilled to have such meaningful participation and insightful dialogue. Not only was it a chance to discuss what we know (and what we don’t know) about the disease, but our clinical and research team got to learn first-hand from patients and caregivers the concerns most relevant to their lived experiences.  

Q: What would you do if you weren’t a researcher? 
A: I would probably open up my own microbrewery.  I’ve really gotten into the craft beer scene, Vancouver has such a great one. I would definitely enjoy making my own; the brewing process is both scientific and creative!

Q: Who inspires you?
A: Every single person on the Vancouver Stroke Program research team! I am fortunate to work alongside and collaborate with extremely talented and supportive individuals. Everyone manages to accomplish so much and succeed at what they do, all the while, radiating positive energy Monday to Friday. 

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
A: I am planning on exploring more of British Columbia and Alberta this summer – coming from Toronto, the west coast landscape is so different and wondrous to me. Plus, I find it strange how some people can do so much travelling in their lifetime, but miss out on the beauty in their own backyard!

Q: What’s your healthiest habit? 
A: I would say I have a fairly healthy lifestyle (minus the occasional pint of ice cream). A recent change has been adopting a vegan diet. Since focusing on a plant-based diet, my body has responded quite positively and I enjoy my food more fully. It has also challenged me to be aware of the food I eat, where it comes from and the impact it has on the environment. 


Vanessa Dizonno has a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Toronto and is a clinical trial manager with the Vancouver Stroke Program at VGH. 


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