Maria Santana

Dr. Maria J Santana

MPharm, PhD
Pronouns: She/Her



Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics


Libin Cardiovascular Institute

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

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Educational Background

Bachelor in Pharmacy , University of La Laguna, 1984

Doctor of Philosophy , University of Alberta, 2009

Masters Pharmacy, University of La Laguna, 1985


Dr. Maria J. Santana is a health services researcher, patient and family-centred care scientist, Professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada.

Dr. Santana has received training in clinical pharmacy (BPharm, MPharm, London School of Pharmacy, UK, Universidad La Laguna, Spain), public health and clinical epidemiology (PhD, University of Alberta, Canada). 

She is the provincial director, Patient Engagement for the Alberta Strategy for Patient-oriented Research ( ). She is the principal investigator for the Person-centred Care Research Team, and the academic director of the Patient and Community Engagement in Research, PaCER, .  

In 2023, she received the President Award by the International Society for Quality of Life Research. Recently, she has collaborated in three major international initiatives: World Health Organization - Patient Engagement: Technical Series on Safer Primary Care; Pan-American Health Organization – World Hypertension League Hypertension Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to aid Hypertension Control Programs; and the International Consortium for Health Outcome Measurement Adult Diabetes. She is a scientific advisor for the Gothenburg Person-centred Centre, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


Areas of Research

Health Services Research
Patient and Family Centred Care
Transitional Care

Dr. Maria Santana holds a PhD in Public Health Sciences from the University of Alberta.  She was previously the Associate Director for both the Alberta Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Methods Support and Development Platform, as well as The Methods Hub at the O'Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Santana is a patient-reported outcome measures methodologist.  There are two specific areas of research that Dr. Santana is currently developing:  person-centred care and transition and integration models of care.  Both of these areas focus on ensuring high level of quality of care that includes what matters to individuals and communities.  Dr. Santana is working to develop person-centred care quality indicators that could be implemented and used to measure person-centred care across the continuum of care.  She is also working to further her studies that explore the role of Patient-reported Outcome Measures in the routine clinical care of chronically ill children, while addressing and prioritizing the concerns of patients and caregivers while transitioning from childhood to adulthood.

She brings expertise in areas such as patient engagement research and advocacy, as well as the science of patient reported experience measures and outcome measures.

Participation in university strategic initiatives