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Our Team

Dr. Julie Richer MD, FRCPC, FCCMG

Dr. Richer is a medical geneticist at CHEO and an associate professor at the University of Ottawa. Her clinical practice primarily consists of the care of patients with underlying connective tissue disorders such as familial thoracic aneurysms, and cardiogenetic disorders. In 2012, she founded a heritable connective tissue/arteriopathy clinic.  Since then, the clinic has grown tremendously and bridges the adult and pediatric worlds.


Dr. Richer's recent projects include spearheading the establishment of a monthly Virtual Trans-Canada Aortopathy Rounds – a virtual educational session for geneticists, genetic counsellors, cardiologists, vascular surgeons, with participants from coast to coast, and chaired a cardiac genetic testing improvement project to update the genetic tests for cardiomyopathies and for heritable aneurysms available to Ontario patients.  In May 2023, Dr. Richer became the lead for the Cardiogenetics Expert Group for Ontario Health. 


She is a member of the international ClinGen FBN1 variant curation expert panel, and has previously served on a number of committees, including on the CMA Ethics Committee, as the vice-chair of the specialty committee for Medical Genetics for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and as chair for the Ethics, Education and Public Policy committee of the CCMG.


Dr. Richer completed medical school at L'Université de Montreal, FRCPC in medical genetics at the University of Manitoba and a fellowship in medical ethics at Harvard University.


Julie Rutberg MSc, CGC​​

Julie Rutberg is the primary genetic counsellor in cardiogenetics at CHEO. She obtained her MSc in Genetic Counselling at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver in 1993. She worked as a genetic counsellor at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore from 1993 to 2002 and was the first genetic counsellor with the Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia Project at Johns Hopkins.


In 2002, she moved to the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and then joined the Ottawa Heart Institute in 2005. She has been part of the CHEO cardiogenetics team since 2015. She was president Canadian Association of Genetics Counsellors in 2013 and served on their board of directors from 2012 to 2015.  Indeed, Ms. Rutberg is one of the most experienced cardiac genetic counsellors in the country, with particular expertise in inherited arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies and sudden cardiac death

Christie Boswell-Patterson, MSc

Christie coordinates the connective tissue clinic and works as a research associate for the vascular genetics program.

She completed her undergraduate degree in Life Sciences and holds a Master’s degree in Experimental Medicine from Queen’s University, where her graduate work was in cardiovascular imaging.

A fun fact about Christie is that she was previously a high-level gymnast, and is a qualified competitive gymnastics coach. She also coached the Queen’s University Varsity Cheerleading team for a number of years. 


Aortopathy/Heritable Connective Tissue Disorders:

In addition to our national and

international partners...


  • Heart institute (heart function clinic, HCM clinic, Arrhythmia clinic)

  • Pediatric Cardiology (CHEO)

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