About Kristen

Dr. Kristen Barton, MD, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), CEP

My passion for leadership in the area of health, specifically disease and injury prevention, took root at a young age.

A competitive athlete in my youth, I sustained my share of injuries. Over the course of my elite soccer career, I underwent several knee surgeries including two ligament reconstructions and three meniscal repairs. Recognizing that these injuries could lead to chronic pain and suffering in my later years, I became motivated to explore a career in orthopaedic medicine, specializing in exercise programming and post-traumatic osteoarthritis. I was on a mission.

As a part of the University of Calgary’s JointEffort Program, I love watching my clients overcome their hesitation to exercise with a program customized to their specific pain management needs. My combination of personal experience and scientific knowledge allows me to take a unique approach to exercise not found among other health care providers or personal trainers.

From young adults suffering with athletic injuries to older adults dealing with joint damage and replacement, I identify ways to help my clients move past the limitations of their disease. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing a dedicated client experience functional improvements and mitigate pain in as little as six weeks after beginning the program!

Professional Background

I have previously completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Kinesiology (Exercise and Health Physiology) and a MSc degree in Kinesiology (Biomechanics). I was also a part of the “Accelerated 4+1 BSc/MSc Program” in the Faculty in Kinesiology, where I completed both degrees within five years. My MSc thesis focused on alterations in cartilage lubrication after knee injury in pre-clinical models of osteoarthritis.

Further, I completed my Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologist Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP) designation in 2013.

As a combined MD/PhD student, I was part of the “Leaders in Medicine” program in the Cumming School of Medicine. I completed my PhD in 2016, studying in vivo knee joint biomechanics and the use of a glucocorticoid to mitigate post-traumatic osteoarthritis development in a pre-clinical model. I then went on to complete my MD in 2019.

Currently, I am an orthopaedic surgery resident in the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University, as I continue to pursue my passion for strong leadership in the field of health promotion, and both disease and injury prevention.

I love being in the laboratory and applying what I learn in the clinic, and vice versa. My research has specifically focused on understanding the impact sports injuries have on disease progression. I also have training as an exercise physiologist, where I’ve helped osteoarthritis patients better manage their pain through exercise programming and lifestyle modification.

Link to my full CV.

Recent research funding,
awards & honours


  • Canadian Institute of Health Research Patient-Oriented Research Collaboration Grant (2018-2019)
  • Cancer Strategic Clinical Network Cancer Control Alberta Seed Grant (2018-2019)
  • McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health Encore Catalyst Operating Grant (2017-2019)
  • Alberta Innovates Accelerating Innovations into Care Grant (2017-2019)
  • Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada Student Grant (2017)
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2014-2017); Online Story 
  • Alberta Innovates Health Solutions MD/PhD Clinician Researcher Student Scholarship (2013-2019)

awards &

  • University of Calgary President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership (2019); University of Calgary UToday Online Story 
  • Surgeon’s Day Research Symposium Best Poster in Basic Science Research (2018)
  • Dr. Peter Cruse Memorial Award Honourable Mention (2018)
  • 2017 ASTech Foundation Leaders of Tomorrow Award Winner (2017); ASTech Winners and Finalists Online Story; ASTech Online Story; University of Calgary UToday Online Story; Metro News 
  • Alberta Health Services Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network Obesity Workshop Poster Presentation Award (2017)
  • Canadian Residency Matching Service Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership (2017); Online Story
  • Dr. Peter Cruse Memorial Award (2017)
  • Canadian Federation of Medical Students MD Financial Student Leadership Award (2017)
  • Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network Student Competition Winner: Arthroplasty for Patients with Obesity (2017); Online Story 
  • Dr. Lydia Sikora Memorial Award (2017)

group project awards

  • The Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurship Project Grant (2017)
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies Student Career & Professional Development Curriculum Grant (2017)
  • Canadian Residency Matching Service Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership (2017); Online Story
  • Graduate Students’ Association Academic Project Support Grant (2017)
  • Leadership and Student Engagement Student Activities Fund Award (2017)