Dr. Robert Petrella

Professor and Head (Chair) Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia
Professor Emeritus, Family Medicine, Western University 
Professor, Kinesiology, Western University

Professor, School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute
Scientist, Bone and Joint Institute, Western University
Scientist, Vancouver Coastal Research Institute

Dr. Petrella is currently Professor and Head (Chair) of the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he is also Professor of Kinesiology and sports medicine physician with the UBC Sport and Exercise Medicine Clinic in the Chan Gunn Pavillion.

Dr. Petrella was the Medical Director of the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at Western University from 2000-2015, and President of Blood Pressure Canada from 2003-2006 and from 2005-2015. From 2005-2015, Dr. Petrella was the Inaugural Beryl and Richard Ivey Research Chair in Aging and Rehabilitation at Western University 2005-2015 at Western University and Assistant Director of the Lawson Health Research Institute. Dr. Petrella is a Fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (with Certificates of added competence in Care of the Elderly and Sport and Exercise Medicine), a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, and is a Clinical Specialist in Hypertension with the American Society of Hypertension.

Dr. Petrella’s research is focused on lifestyle interventions for chronic disease prevention and management. His research is dedicated to furthering multi and inter-disciplinary team research on lifestyle management, physical activity, chronic diseases, and innovative technologies to improve the lives of all Canadians, with a specific focus on vulnerable populations (i.e., men, older adults with cognitive or mobility decline, and those living in rural and remote regions).  From 2007-2013, Dr. Petrella was Nominated Principal Investigator (PI) for a Canada-Finland international team investigating the Cardiovascular Complications (CVCs) of diabetes funded by a CIHR/HSFC/CDA/Tekes/Pfizer Team Grant which launched the HealtheSteps TM research platform as the signature program of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Diabetes Strategy (2013-2017). In 2014, with seed funding from the Movember Foundation’s Chronic Disease Innovation Challenge, Dr. Petrella has been investigating the growing inequity of men’s health related to preventable lifestyle factors. Using a novel “power of sport” approach,

Dr. Petrella is the Founder and Principal Investigator with the Hockey Fans in Training® (Hockey FIT) program funded through a public/private partnership including CIHR and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s “Multi-sectoral partnerships to promote healthy living and prevent chronic disease program” (2018-2023) among over 40 sites across Canada and the US to study the impact of group based lifestyle coaching on health outcomes among overweight or obese men who are fans of their local hockey team.

Dr. Petrella has supervised over 70 graduate, postgraduate and undergraduate students at Western and UBC in many disciplines including Family Medicine, Kinesiology, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Health Promotion.  Dr. Petrella has authored over 400 published papers and abstracts and led or participated in Canadian Guidelines processes in Hypertension, Diabetes, Osteoarthritis, Exercise and Osteoporosis.

To learn more about Dr. Petrella’s research and projects, please visit: Lifestyle Research Team

Western University, BSc Hons., Biology
Western University, MA, Exercise Physiology
University of Calgary, MD, Primary Care
Western University, PhD, Exercise Physiology
American College of Sports Medicine, FACSM, Fellow
College of Family Physicians of Canada, FCFP, Fellow

Professional Highlights
Inaugural Beryl and Richard Ivey Research Chair
Nominated Principal Investigator (PI) for a Canada-Finland international team investigating the Cardiovascular Complications (CVCs) of diabetes