Dr. Helena Piccinini

Associate professor, Research lead, Department of Family Medicine, IWK

DFM_Dr Piccinini

Email: helena.piccinini@dal.ca
Phone: (902) 473-4700
Mailing Address: 
Department of Family Medicine Dalhousie University 6960 Mumford Road Suite 0265 Halifax, NS B3L 4P1


  • BSc, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • MSc, Dalhousie University
  • PhD (Family Medicine) Western University 
  • MD, Dalhousie University
  • CCFP
  • FCFP

Research Interests

Dr. Piccinini's research interests are about patient-centredness, particularly as it relates to challenging conversations that clinicians have with patients pertaining to issues such as excess weight. Her focus is primarily around patient-centredness in the context of excess gestational weight gain.

Additionally, Dr. Piccinini was awarded the "CIHR Strategic Training Fellow in Interdisciplinary Primary Health Care Research 2014 - 2015.” 

Selected Publications

  1. Sean Wharton MD, David C.W. Lau MD PhD, Michael Vallis PhD RPsych, Arya M. Sharma MD PhD, Laurent Biertho MD, Denise Campbell-Scherer MD PhD, Kristi Adamo PhD, Angela Alberga PhD, Rhonda Bell PhD, Normand Boulé PhD, Elaine Boyling PhD, Jennifer Brown RD MSc, Betty Calam MD, Carol Clarke RD MHSc, Lindsay Crowshoe MD, Dennis Divalentino MD, Mary Forhan OT PhD, Yoni Freedhoff MD, Michel Gagner MD, Stephen Glazer MD, Cindy Grand MPH, Michael Green MD MPH, Margaret Hahn MD PhD, Raed Hawa MD MSc, Rita Henderson PhD, Dennis Hong MD, Pam Hung MScOT BSc, Ian Janssen PhD, Kristen Jacklin PhD, Carlene Johnson-Stoklossa RD MSc, Amy Kemp BKin BA, Sara Kirk PhD, Jennifer Kuk PhD, Marie-France Langlois MD, Scott Lear PhD, Ashley McInnes PhD, David Macklin MD, Leen Naji MD, Priya Manjoo MD, Marie-Philippe Morin MD, Kara Nerenberg MD MSc, Ian Patton PhD, Sue Pedersen MD, Leticia Pereira PhD, Helena Piccinini-Vallis MD PhD, Megha Poddar MD, Paul Poirier MD, Denis Prud’homme MD MSc, Ximena Ramos Salas PhD, Christian Rueda-Clausen MD PhD, Shelly Russell-Mayhew PhD RPsych, Judy Shiau MD, Diana Sherifali RN PhD, John Sievenpiper MD PhD, Sanjeev Sockalingam MD MHPE, Valerie Taylor MD PhD, Ellen Toth MD, Laurie Twells PhD, Richard Tytus MD, ShahebinaWalji MD, LeahWalker BA RCT, Sonja Wicklum MD, Obesity in Adults: a clinical practice guideline; CMAJ Vol. 192, Issue 31, Aug 4 2020
  2. Silva DF, Coutinho SS, Piccinini-Vallis H, Queiroga MR. Educação física na atenção primária à saúde: relato de ações interativas em disciplina de graduação. Revista Brasileira de Atividade Física & Saúde. In press.
  3. Piccinini-Vallis H, Vallis M. Curbing excess gestational weight gain in primary care: using a point of care tool based on behaviour change theory. International Journal of Women’s Health. 2018;10:609-615.
  4. Abidi S, Vallis M, Piccinini-Vallis H, Imran S. Ali,Abidi SSR. Diabetes-Related Behavior Change Knowledge Transfer to Primary Care Practitioners and Patients:Implementation and Evaluation of a Digital Health Platform. JMIR Med Inform. 2018;vol6;e25
  5. Samina Abidi, Michael Vallis, Helena Piccinini-Vallis, Syed Ali Imran, Syed Sibte Raza Abidi. Diabetes-Related Behavior Change Knowledge Transfer to Primary Care Practitioners and Patients: Implementation and Evaluation of a Digital Health Platform. JMIR Med Inform. 2018;vol6;e25.
  6. Morris J, Nikolopoulos H, Berry T, Jain V, Vallis M, Piccinini-Vallis H, Bell RC. Health care providers’ gestational weight gain counselling practices and the influence of knowledge and attitudes:  A cross-sectional mixed methods study. BMJ Open 2017;7:e018527. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018527.
  7. Piccinini-Vallis H. Clinician Self-Efficacy Pertaining to Initiating Discussions About Gestational Weight Gain. Canadian Family Physician. Canadian Family Physician. 2017;63(7):e341-e349.
  8. Stewart, M., and M. Fortin for the PACE in MM team (Piccinini-Vallis, H., team member and co-author) "Patient-Centred Innovations for Persons with Multimorbidity: funded evaluation protocol." CMAJ open 5.2 (2017): E365-E372.
  9. Abidi S, Vallis M, Piccinini-Vallis H, Imran SA, Abidi SSR. A Digital Framework to Support Providers and Patients in Diabetes Related Behavior Modification. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;235:589-593.
  10. Rand, K, Vallis M, Aston M, Price S, Piccinini-Vallis H, Rehman L, Kirk SFL. It is Not the Diet; it is the Mental Part We Need Help with. A Multilevel Analysis of Psychological, Emotional, and Social Well-being in Obesity. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health & Well-being. 2017;12(1) 1306421, DOI: 10.1080/17482631.2017.1306421.
  11. Piccinini-Vallis H, Lee-Baggley D, Stewart M, Ryan BL. Gestational weight gain trajectories in Nova Scotia primary care. Canadian Family Physician 2016;62:e407-14.
  12. Woolcott C, Dodds L, Ashley-Martin J, Piccinini-Vallis H. Distribution of pregnancy-related weight measures in Nova Scotia, 2003-2013. Canadian Family Physician. 2016;62:e400-6.
  13. Kuhle S, Doucette R, Piccinini-Vallis H, Kirk SFL. (2015) Successful childhood obesity management in primary care in Canada: what are the odds? PeerJ 3:e1327 https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1327
  14. Woolcott C, Dodds L, Ashley-Martin J, Piccinini-Vallis H. Distribution of pregnancy-related weight measures in Nova Scotia, 2003-2013. Canadian Family Physician (in press) Manuscript ID 2014-09-CFP-0275.R1
  15. Abidi S, Vallis M, Abidi SR, Piccinini-Vallis H, Imran A. D-WISE: Diabetes Web-Centric Information and Support Environment-Conceptual Specification and Proposed Evaluation. Canadian Journal of Diabetes 2014;38(3):205-211.
  16. Piccinini-Vallis H. A Very Special Lady. Family Medicine 2014;46(4):306-307.
  17. Kirk S, Aston M, Price S, Penney T, Piccinini-Vallis H, Vallis M. Blame, shame and lack of support: A Multilevel Study on Obesity Management. Qualitative Health Research 2014; 24(6):790-800.
  18. Piccinini-Vallis H. Obesity Management: More Than Just Numbers. The Canadian Journal of Diagnosis 2013;30(7):39-4. Invited submission.
  19. Vallis M, Piccinini-Vallis H, Freedhoff Y, Sharma A. A Modified 5 As Minimal Intervention For Obesity Counselling in Primary Care. Canadian Family Physician 2013;59:27-31.
  20. Piccinini-Vallis H. Addressing Excess Weight in Type 2 Diabetes.  The Diabetes Communicator. Autumn 2011; 4-5. Invited submission.
  21. Piccinini-Vallis H. Diagnosis and Management of Obesity: a Survey of General Practitioners’ Awareness of and Familiarity with the 2006 Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines. Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 2011;35(3):269-273.

Selected Presentations

  1. Current Evidence for the Management of Gestational Weight Gain for Women with Obesity. Piccinini-Vallis H. 6th Canadian Obesity Summit April 23-26, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario. Invited presentation.
  2. How Our “Words” Affect Our Patients. Piccinini-Vallis H. SOGC Annual Clinical and Scientific Conference June 11-14, 2019 Halifax Convention Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Invited presentation.
  3. The Association Between Women’s Gestational Weight Gain Concordance With Guidelines And Their Children’s Body Mass Index Trajectories. Dr. Ian McWhinney Lecture Series. Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, 2018. Invited presentation.
  4. Management of Gestational Weight Gain in Primary Care. Canadian Obesity Summit.  Toronto, May 2015. Invited plenary keynote presentation.
  5. Patient-Centredness in Addressing Obesity in Primary Care. Congresso Internacional de Tratamento da Obesidade. Maringa’ (Brazil), October 2014. Invited presentation.
  6. A Patient-Centred Minimal Intervention Method for Addressing Gestational Weight Gain. Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia. Halifax, October 2014. Invited presentation.
  7. The Role of Primary Care Providers in Attenuating Excessive Pregnancy-Associated Weight Gain. Workshop. Canadian Obesity Summit. Vancouver, 2013. Invited presentation.
  8. Obesity Management. Dalhousie Annual Refresher. Halifax, December 2012.
  9. Pediatric Obesity Management in Primary Care: Whither? Family Practice Nurses Association of Nova Scotia Annual Conference. Halifax, October 2012. Invited presentation.