Welcome Ruitong & Kyra!

This fall, two new graduate students join the Diabetes Prevention Research Group! We are thrilled to welcome Ruitong Gao and Kyra Braaten to the team!


Ruitong Gao joins the team as a visiting international research student from Jilin University, China, where is completing her PhD in Nursing. Ruitong’s research interests are in health behavior change of individuals with chronic diseases, especially self-management behavior of type 2 diabetes.

Ruitong says that she is so lucky to study here and experience the cultural differences of different countries. She is thrilled to join the DPRG team and can’t wait to walk around Okanagan Lake. She is looking forward to trying ice wines in wineries in the Okanagan and learning to ski. Ruitong also loves to cook!

Kyra Braaten joins the team from the small town of Abbey, Saskatchewan. She previously completed her undergraduate studies in Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan.

Kyra is grateful for the opportunity to be involved with the Small Steps for Big Changes study and join the DPRG team! While most of her experience promoting health has been with children, she look forward to working with adult and older adult populations during her time at UBCO.

Kyra lovea being outdoors and is excited to ski, wake board, and golf in the Okanagan. She is looking forward to meeting new people and exploring Kelowna and the surrounding area. Kyra has always wanted to try windsurfing and hopes to check it off her bucket list whilst living in BC!