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About the team

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Brynn Lavery

Brynn has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UBC and is the Social Media Coordinator for the #DebunkingDesire campaign, and has been running the UBC Sexual Health Lab social media for the past two years. She has worked to disseminate research findings from the lab’s various studies and understands how important it is to connect researchers with the public in improving sexual health awareness.

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Diana Firican

Diana is a Project Manager, Business Analyst, Certified Coach and participant in Dr. Brotto’s research program. The research, focused on providing sex education to women, led to a fundamental shift in her attitude and approach regarding sexuality. Through her coaching practice, Diana was able to witness how simple tools and strategies can change lives of individuals, families and communities. Empowered by her personal experience of receiving accurate information about sexual desire and debunking women’s sex-related myths, Diana is determined to use her personal experience to ensure that this valuable and life-changing information reaches women around the world.

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Julia O'Loughlin

Julia received her BA (Hons) in Gender and Sexuality Studies and is currently a PhD Candidate
in Counselling Psychology at he University of British Columbia. In her work as a researcher and
clinician, Julia focuses on issues pertaining to gender and sexuality. Julia's current research
projects focus on identifying physiological and psychosocial contributors to women's sexual
interest and arousal difficulties and improving intimacy between couples post-prostate cancer
treatment. Julia coordinated the study “Mood, Stress, and Sexual Desire in Women” (MODEST)
and is a clinician at the West Coast Centre for Sex Therapy.

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Lori Brotto, Ph.D

Dr. Lori Brotto is a Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and a Registered Psychologist. She is the Executive Director of the Women's Health Research Institute at BC Women’s Hospital. Dr. Brotto holds a Canada Research Chair in Women's Sexual Health. She is the director of the UBC Sexual Health Laboratory where research primarily focuses on advancing the science of psychological and mindfulness-based interventions for women’s sexual health. Dr. Brotto is an Associate Editor for the Archives of Sexual Behavior, has over 150 peer-reviewed publications, is passionate about knowledge translation, and as such, is frequently featured in the media on sexual health topics. Her book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire (Greystone Publishing) is a knowledge translation of her research over the past 15 years demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness for women’s sexual concerns and genital pain.

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Melissa Nelson

Melissa is the Communications Assistant at the Women’s Health Research Institute, where she previously managed social media for the MSFHR-funded #ItsNotInYourHead campaign. On a daily basis, she creates and curates content for the Institute’s various social media channels, website, and newsletter. Melissa has a keen interest in social media and its potential as a tool for social change, and enjoys seeking new ways to leverage these platforms to raise awareness about women’s health issues.


Nicole Prestley

Nicole is the Manager, Research + Knowledge Translation at the Women’s Health Research Institute. Nicole has worked as health care research facilitator and patient partner liaison since 2006. She is passionate about engaging patients in the research and information sharing (knowledge dissemination) processes. Professionally, she is dedicated to accelerating the access to and use of evidence-based information for patient, community, and other knowledge user, audiences. Nicole has formal training from the Knowledge Translation Program at St. Michael’s Hospital (Dr. Sharon Straus) and the University of Toronto/SickKids Hospital (Dr. Melanie Barwick).


Rayka Kumru, MSexol, M.A

Rayka is a sexologist, consultant and cultural advisor. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Critical Studies in Sexuality from UBC, a Master's Degree in Sexology from Curtin University, and a Master's Degree in Marketing Communication from Istanbul Bilgi University. She works with local and international sexual health & wellness brands and initiatives as a content/project consultant and strategist. Rayka is the International Digital Strategist for #DebunkingDesire. 

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