Angela Towle, PhD

Senior Scholar

Dr. Angela Towle is Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. She joined the Centre for Health Education Scholarship (CHES) as a Senior Scholar in July 2011, following an 8-year term as Associate Dean, MD Undergraduate Education, Curriculum & Vancouver Fraser Medical Program in the Faculty of Medicine. During her time as Associate Dean she was part of the leadership team that implemented the expansion and distribution of the medical school which resulted in a doubling of the entering class size and two new satellite campuses. She co-chaired the Dean’s Task Force on Curriculum Renewal from 2009-2010. Angela co-directs Patient & Community Partnership for Education in the Office of UBC Health. The unit has a research and development focus on patient/client involvement in health professional education and in health care decision-making. Angela is also Academic Director of the UBC Learning Exchange, where she promotes activities that strengthen engagement between Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and UBC faculty and students, including the Making Research Accessible initiative, a collaboration with UBC Library. As a CHES Scholar, Angela was, until September 2019, the UBC coordinator of the Maastricht University Masters in Health Professions Education (MHPE-Canada) course. Angela has over 30 years’ experience of medical education research, curriculum, faculty development and community engagement at UBC and in the UK.

Research Interests

My main area of research is studying the active involvement of patients and lay people from the community in the education of health professionals to advance understanding of the role patients can play in student learning and the long-term impact. This builds on earlier work on the active involvement of patients in decision-making about their health – informed and shared decision making (ISDM). I also lead scholarly innovation at UBC in partnership with a wide range of community organizations, including non-traditional approaches to evaluation and knowledge mobilization. More broadly I am interested in the nature of the expertise and experience that resides in the community, how it can enrich the academic discourse of the university, and generate new ways of thinking about and solving social problems.

Publication Highlights

Adamjee, L., Kline, C., Godolphin, W., Towle, A. Patients and students co-develop a resource database. Clinical Teacher (in press).

Cook, C., Camman, C., Leyland, A., O’Shea, S., Towle, A. Dramatizing learning, performing ourselves: stories of theatre-based evaluation in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation (in press).

Kline C, Asadian W, Godolphin W, Graham S, Hewitt C, Towle A. (2018). From “academic projectitis” to partnership: community perspectives for authentic community engagement in health professional education. Engaged Scholar Journal; 4(1): 79-96.

Cheng, PTM., Towle, A. (2017). How patient educators help students to learn: an exploratory study. Medical Teacher, 39(3), 308-314.

Towle, A., Leahy, K. (2016). The Learning Exchange: a shared space for the university of British Columbia and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside communities. Metropolitan Universities 27(3), 67-83.

Towle, A., Farrell, C., Gaines, ME., Godolphin, W., John, G., Kline, C., Lown, B., Morris, P., Symons, J., Thistlethwaite, J. (2016). The patient’s voice in health and social care professional education. The Vancouver Statement. International Journal of Health Governance, 21 (1): 1-8.

Towle, A., Godolphin, W., Kline, C. (2015). The community comes to campus: the Patient and Community Fair. Clinical Teacher 12: 260-266.

Towle, A., Godolphin, W. (2015). Patients as teachers: promoting their authentic and autonomous voices. Clinical Teacher 12: 149-154.

Ruitenberg, C., Towle, A. (2015). “How to do things with words” in health professions education. Advances in Health Sciences Education 20(4): 857-872.

Hubinette, M., Dobson, S., Towle, A., Whitehead, C. (2014). Shifts in the interpretation of health advocacy: a textual analysis. Medical Education 48: 1235-1243.

Towle, A., Brown, H., Kerston, RP., Hofley, C., Lyons, H., Walsh, C. (2014). The expert patient as teacher: an interprofessional health mentors programme. Clinical Teacher 11: 301-306.


• JW McConnell Family Foundation Community Service Learning Award, Division of Health Care Communication, Aboriginal Community as Teacher program (2012)