About Katie

Kathryn (Katie) Birnie, PhD RPsych

Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, and Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary

Full Member, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of Calgary

Full Member, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary

Full Member, Owerko Centre, University of Calgary

Associate Scientific Director, Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP)

Psychologist, Alberta Children’s Hospital

Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Birnie is a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, and the Department of Community Health Sciences, at the University of Calgary where she leads the Partnering For Pain program. She is the Associate Scientific Director of Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), a national knowledge mobilization network working to improve evidence-based children’s pain management through coordination and collaboration.

Dr. Birnie completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Dalhousie University in 2016, including a predoctoral residency in Pediatric Health Psychology at the IWK Health Centre. She completed a CIHR-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Birnie also spent time as a clinical research postdoctoral fellow and clinical psychologist at the University Health Network, including with the Transitional Pain Service at Toronto General Hospital and the Interventional Pain Program at Toronto Western Hospital. Dr. Birnie joined Alberta Children’s Hospital as a medical psychologist in 2018, where she continues to provide clinical care through the Vi Riddell Children’s Pain and Rehabilitation Program.

Dr. Birnie is a recognized leader in pain research and patient partnership, for which she has received a number of national and international accolades. She was the recipient of the 2020 Pain Awareness Award from the Canadian Pain Society and was selected as a 2020-2021 MAYDAY Fellow, a prestigious fellowship focused on communications and advocacy for improved pain care. Previous highlighted awards include the Dr. John T. Goodman Award for Trainee Research in Pediatric Pain, the Brain Star Award from the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, and a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Dr. Birnie has more than 65 peer reviewed publications. Her research integrates patient and family partnership and multi-stakeholder engagement to improve the prevention, assessment, and management of pain experienced by children and their families. Dr. Birnie’s work spans the knowledge-to-action continuum including creating new knowledge, synthesizing existing evidence, and mobilizing knowledge to inform health practice and policy. Her work has contributed to recommendations by the World Health Organization for reducing vaccination pain, and international practice standards for pain assessment and management in children diagnosed with cancer. She is chair of the national working group developing a standard in pediatric pain management with the Health Standards Organization. Dr. Birnie’s research has been featured in media outlets including CBC News, CTV News, Radio Canada International and The Globe and Mail. She holds research funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Pain Society, the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit, and the Chronic Pain Network. Dr. Birnie is a strong advocate for the partnership of patients and families in health research, health care delivery, and health systems design.

Our Team

Violeta Faulkner photo-KT

Violeta Faulkner, BSc

Clinical Research Coordinator

Violeta obtained her BSc in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology at the University of Lethbridge. Her research focused on social anxiety, communication apprehension, emotions and popular culture. She is planning to pursue a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology and her current research interests include neurodevelopmental disorders and its influence on families, Social Anxiety and community engagement. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, practicing yoga and painting. 


Mahrukh Kaimkhani, BSc (Hons)

Research Assistant

Mahrukh received her BSc (Hons) in Psychology at the University of Calgary. Her past research has focused on statin medication adherence, portion size effects and child language development.  Mahrukh's interest in patient-orientated research developed through her experiences working as a behavioural aide and volunteering in research labs. She hopes to pursue research focused on health psychology and treatment outcomes. In her free time, Mahrukh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, decorating cakes (not baking), practicing henna and travelling.


Linda Tran, BHSc student


Linda is currently completing her Bachelor of Health Sciences: Biomedical Sciences at the University of Calgary. 

Mentorship & Training

Dr. Birnie provides opportunities for mentorship and supervision for emerging health research trainees from various disciplines within the Partnering For Pain program. Contact her to explore training opportunities at the undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate level within the University of Calgary. 

Dr. Birnie is actively seeking Master's or PhD students for the 2022-2023 academic year. She supervises in these graduate programs at the University of Calgary. 

Current Trainees

Dr. Sam Noyek, PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Calgary
Co-supervisor with Dr. Melanie Noel, PhD

Nicole Mackenzie, BA MEd

PhD Student, Clinical Psychology, Dalhousie University
Co-supervisor with Dr. Christine Chambers, PhD

Dr. Brittany Rosenbloom, PhD in Clinical Psychology

Postdoctoral Fellow, The Hospital for Sick Children
Co-supervisor with Dr. Jennifer Stinson, PhD

Linda Zhang

BHSc (Hons) Student, University of Calgary

Jamie Kaufhold

BA (Hons) Student, Psychology, University of Calgary
Co-supervisor with Dr. Melanie Noel, PhD

Rayna Anderson

BA Student, Psychology, University of Calgary

Patient & Parent Partners

The contributions of patient and parent partners are central to the Partnering For Pain team. Our work is more impactful and meaningful with the expertise of lived experience. Our incredible gratitude to all of the individuals who have joined as compensated members of the research team. 

Patient Partner Photo-cropped