Kristine Russell's fascination with medicine started with her aunt, who was a Critical Care Nurse. In 2014 that fascination became a reality for her and her family. After the birth of her third child, a daughter named Ellie, Ellie and Kristine developed septic shock from Group A Streptococcus. This severe illness required life saving measures for both her and Ellie, including being airlifted from the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital to the Foothills Medical Center in Calgary Alberta. It also resulted in repeated medical trauma from long-term health sequelae for both Ellie and Kristine. With little to no research around long-term implication from sepsis or severe infection at birth, Kristine dove headfirst into the world of health research, patient quality improvement and patient engagement in a healthcare setting and beyond.
She has been a Patient and Family Advisor with Alberta Health Services for almost 3 years and has consulted on several projects within their organization including the Post Covid Rehabilitation Response Framework and is currently co-Chair on the Diversity and Engagement Strategic Clinical Network. In 2020, Kristine also became a Patient Partner with Sepsis Canada, and is currently a Steering Committee Member, Training Committee Member and Chair of their Communications Working Group. In the fall of 2021, she was hired full time as their Marketing and Communications Program Manager. She is also one of 5 patient partners who developed and will be facilitating the Sepsis Canada Interdisciplinary Training Program.
As a Patient Advisor with Action on Sepsis, Kristine and Ellie had the opportunity to travel (pre-pandemic) to share their lived experience with over 300 medical students at the University of British Columbia in 2020. She is also the host of the patient-led Podcast Series.