Robert Petrella, MD, PhD

Professor Emeritus Family Medicine Western University  
Professor Kinesiology Western University

Professor and Head (Chair) Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia
Professor School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia

Office: PHFM 2102
Phone: 519.661.2111 X22119

Dr. Robert 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 Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Clinic in the Chan Gunn Pavillion at UBC.  Dr. Petrella is Professor Emeritus at the Center for Studies in Family Medicine and Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Western University, Scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute, Scientist with the Bone and Joint Institute at Western University and staff physician with St. Joseph’s Family Medical Center in London, Ontario.   

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, as well as Program Leader for the former Aging, Rehabilitation, and Geriatric Care Program of Lawson Health Research Institute (now referred to as the Parkwood Institute) 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 HealtheStepsTM 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, Hockey Fans in Training® (Hockey FIT) is currently 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 38 sites across Canada to study the impact of group based healthy eating and physical activity 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 Osteporosis.