Brian Dokis – Chief Executive Officer
Brian is a member of Dokis First Nation and has been the Executive Director at SOAHAC since October, 2000. Prior to this, he was the Executive Director at Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre in Sudbury. Throughout this time he has demonstrated his commitment to the provision of effective health care in general and more specifically the provision of the effective health care that is culturally appropriate and acceptable to First Nations people. Brian has also been active in the areas of First Nations health research.
Shannon Marchand – Chief Financial Officer
Shannon has been with SOAHAC since March 2003. She brings with her 20+ years of experience working for non-profit organizations. As part of the leadership team, Shannon has taken part in SOAHAC’s growth and development. Shannon is proud to be part of SOAHAC’s team while balancing a personal life as a wife and mother of 2 children.
Sylvie Guenther — Regional Director, Erie St. Clair Region
Sylvie spent most of her life in Northern Ontario (Timmins), and moved to Windsor in 2016 when she started working with SOAHAC. She has had a variety of amazing experiences throughout her career, each preparing her for this new role: these range from mental health and addiction support, health promotion, system design and change, as well as work with the Local Health Integration Network. Sylvie also graduated as a Master (MA) in Leadership in 2015. She enjoys her work at SOAHAC, and is excited to take this next step on her journey and to continue to grow with the organization.
Deanna Guernsey, RN, BScN, MSc – Regional Director, London-Middlesex
Deanna earned her Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University and her Master of Science – Neonatal Nurse Practitioner from the State University of New York. She is a veteran health care provider with over 20 years of clinical practice and progressive leadership experience in multiple health care sectors. For the past five years, she has been supporting the advancement of high quality community care through various positions at the South West CCAC/LHIN. Viewed as a practice expert and leader with successful experiences across the life span, Deanna has a proven ability to foster relationships at all levels of the health care system to advance quality of care initiatives. Deanna is a strengths based leader, always seeking to recognize, mobilize and optimize the strengths within a team to promote health and facilitate healing.
Danielle Wilson, BSc, MPH – Regional Director, Grey-Bruce Region
Danielle is a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and is from the Masso and Frank families. She is mother to 3 and has been married for 16 years. Danielle has worked for Interior Health in British Columbia as a Health Lead in Aboriginal Health Program since 2011, having worked with First Nation Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada for 12 years prior to this. She has a BSc from University of Victoria, Bachelor of Technology in Environmental and Public Health from British Columbia Institute of Technology and Master in Public Health from University of Waterloo.
Etta Beeswax – Executive Assistant (Management Team)
Etta is a member of Oneida Nation of the Thames, Bear Clan. She has been with SOAHAC since 2011, starting out on placement as a recent graduate looking for experience. She has started out as a Medical Administrator and is now Executive Assistant. She is proud to be apart of SOAHAC’s leadership team while balancing her personal life as a student, wife and mother of 5 children.
Marianne Hebb – Executive Coordinator (Leadership)
Marisa Kennedy — Program Coordinator
Marisa Kennedy (Ka Ya’ Nahawe “She’s on a path”) is turtle clan and a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames. She has been working in an administrative/human resource role for a Pre-Mandated First Nations Child Welfare agency for the past 10 years. She holds a diploma in Business Administration- Human Resources through Algonquin College, and is currently working towards her Bachelors of Human Resource/Labour Relations degree. Marisa is passionate about helping culturally based businesses make the most of their resources towards community development in the social and health service sectors of First Nation communities; in particular the rebuilding, revitalizing and preservation of strong families and Nations. Her life experience, academic and personal development brings a unique perspective to culturally based development in cultural revitalization in First Nation communities.
Anna-Marie Evans – Human Resources Manager
Anna-Marie joined SOAHAC in August 2015 as the Human Resources Manager. Prior to this role, she worked with Ontario Lottery and Gaming for over 16 years in Operations and Human Resources (HR). She has also spent 5 years in the Naval Reserves as a Naval Officer. Anna-Marie returned to school to complete Human Resources Management and received her Certified Human Resources Leader designation. She brings over 20 years of management experience in various capacities.
Anna-Marie devotes much of her spare time within the community and is thankful to be a part of SOAHAC.
Catharine Campbell – Data Management Coordinator
Catharine Campbell joined the SOAHAC team in 2014 to work with the staff on our Electronic Medical Record – Nightingale on Demand. Catharine brings 20+ years of experience in the design, development and application of computer-based information systems with particular emphasis in health care. Catharine specializes in supporting staff through all phases of the implementation, workflow and optimization of the EMR to support the delivery of care to our communities. Over the last 10 years Catharine has spent time in London working with all levels of health care – the larger hospitals as well as the solo family practitioners as they adopt EMRs. Catharine brings her broader health care sector experience uniquely positioning her to understand the challenges and concerns of our staff and clients having worked with the various partners and funding bodies; eHealth Ontario, South West LHIN and OntarioMD as well as the regional hospitals in Southwestern Ontario.
Arlene McIntyre – Bookkeeper
Arlene is a member of the Oneida of the Thames First Nation. She began working at SOAHAC in 2009 through a work placement. After its completion in 2010, she was brought on under contract to work as bookkeeper and administrative assistant. Now she is the fulltime bookkeeper for SOAHAC. Over the years, Arlene has worked with several Native organizations in London, including N’Amerind Friendship Centre, AIAI, and At^Lohsa.
Amber Liang – Accountant
Amber Liang started her career as a staff accountant in 2005. She has worked in different business sectors; both profit and non-profit, gaining tremendous strength from these progressive working experiences in the past 13 years. Amber became a CPA, CMA in 2014. Amber loves working in the public service.
Cassandra Harris – Communications Coordinator
Cassandra is a settler of mixed European ancestry. She has a BA(hon), majoring in Religious Studies and in English Language & Literature from King’s University College and a post-graduate certificate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations from Fanshawe College. Cassandra has been working in non-profit and community health in the field of Communications since 2012, and has provided communications support to SOAHAC since 2013. She is passionate about communication, about humanity’s relationship with Mother Earth, and about spiritual health and wellness.
CHIPPEWA SITE INTEGRATED CARE TEAM
Jan Martin – Integrated Care Manager
Jan is a proud member of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation (formally known as Chippewas of Sarnia), a community of about 2300 Chippewa (Ojibwe), 850 if whom live on reserve. Jan is a seasoned senior leader and has honed her skills as an innovator, top notch communicator and a positive motivator. She has spent her entire career advancing the health and wellbeing of First Nations people. Jan began her career with the Union of Ontario Indians, during which time she was a member of the UOI delegation London, England in the early 1980s that successfully advocated with British Parliament to not remove Aboriginal rights from the constitution. She has also worked with the Federal Government within the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs in various roles including Personnel Management, Financial Management, and Policy. Jan was the Executive Director of the Chiefs of Ontario, collaborating with 134 First Nations Chiefs across the province and assisting the Ontario Regional Chief and National Chief to advance First Nations’ priorities. She has also worked as Health Director for the Delaware First Nation. She believes that we must understand our history to continue to affect positive change.
Dr. Anne-Pascale Bartleman, MD – Family Physician
Anne-Pascale is a family doctor who completed her medical training and residency at the University of Ottawa. After finishing her studies, she spent time as a locum in Eastern Ontario and served as the family physician for a fly-in First Nation Reserve in Northwestern Ontario. The arrival of her third child put an end to her fly-in days and she took on a job at a local Community Health Centre in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Anne-Pascale has recently moved with her family to the London area. She is a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation.
Paula Cousins – Nurse Practitioner
Paula joined SOAHAC in December, 2011. She achieved her RN designation from Fanshawe College before working in both northern Manitoba and Ontario for over 10 years. In 1998, Paula achieved her Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner certificate, then worked in a Community Health Centre in Southwestern Ontario until 2010. Paula currently works for Health Canada and offers clinics for SOAHAC clients on a part-time basis.
Kelly Doxtator – Medical Administrator
Farley Eagle Speaker – Resident Elder
Lainie Gardner, CYW – Tele-Mental Health Coordinator
Lainie is a member of Oneida Nation of the Thames. For the last 17 years she has been employed by the ministry. Her work experience is with youth justice, child and youth mental health and social services. For the last ten years Lainie has been a caseworker for the Ontario Disability support program and working as the Indigenous case worker over the last few years. She is the mother of two young children and is excited about her role at SOAHAC.
Laura Kime, BScN, NP-PHC – Nurse Practitioner
Laura graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a BSc in Nursing and Psychology and Physiology. As a student, she volunteered in Tanzania, Africa for a summer. Laura worked as an RN in cardiology for almost a year and the ICU for over 6 years. During her Nurse Practitioner training, she felt fortunate to have her first placement at the London SOAHAC site. Laura graduated from the University of Windsor in 2013 and started working as a Nurse Practitioner in Ilderton at a Family Health Team. Most recently, she co-created a Patients First initiative called the Complex Care Team.
Mandy Morrison, RD, CDE – Dietitian/Diabetes Educator
Mandy is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She has been working with Aboriginal people since 2007, through her previous position as Community Dietitian with Oneida Nation of the Thames. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition from Western University.
Pam Plain – Children’s Mental Health/Addictions Facilitator
Pam Plain, spirit name “White Cedar Bark Woman” comes from Aamjiwnaang First Nation. She is of the turtle and eagle clans, of Oneida and Ojibwe ancestry. Pam graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with her Master’s of Social Work; Aboriginal Field of Study in 2013. She has been working in the social work field since 2006 in the areas of healing; child welfare, protection and prevention; and recently children/youth mental health and addictions. In her early years her main focus was on child development, as an Early Childhood Educator for 17 years.
Pam currently assists families and clients with mental health and addictions issues, utilizing a wholistic approach to healing and helping. Based on Indigenous world view and premise that our cultural ways of helping and knowing are at the core of an individual’s healing journey. Pam has had many opportunities to learn from elders and cultural teachers in many forms and utilizes these epistemologies in her field of practice.
Miriam Racine – Chiropodist
Miriam graduated from Chiropody in 1984 and set up a clinic at Victoria Hospital. In 1985, Miriam moved over to Parkwood Hospital and set up a Chiropody clinic there and worked at that clinic until 2000 when they closed the clinic due to funding. She has been in private practice since 2000 with a clinic in London.
Alex Timofte, RN, BScN – Diabetes Nurse Educator
Alex has a Bachelor of Nursing from the University of New Brunswick, and has spent much of his career working with patients, families, healthcare professionals, and pharmaceutical companies to address the multiple challenges of life with diabetes. He aims to bring compassion, education, and knowledge to all clients so that they can live active, healthy, and connected lives, bringing them happiness and well-being. Alex is especially invested in helping people with diabetes to manage their disease, and he is committed to promoting wholistic healthcare services, which respect and utilize both traditional Indigenous and western health practices. Alex immigrated to Canada in the late 1990’s. He experienced both the challenges and rewards that life can present for individuals who may face difficulties in accessing the services and resources that they require. Alex is proud to become a part of a healthcare organization that so values its clients, staff, and the larger community. He currently lives in Southwestern Ontario by Lake Erie where he enjoys the beauty of rural life in the company of his wife, two dogs, three cats, and three parrots.
Tarik Towfeq, NP-PHC – Nurse Practitioner
Tarik is an Arabic name which means bright star. He is originally from the Middle East and immigrated to Canada after living in England for several years. He brings an extensive experience as a clinician, leader, and educator. Tarik graduated from Ryerson University as a primary health care nurse practitioner in 1999. He has been privileged and honored to have worked within First Nations communities for 13 years; first as community health nurse with Health Canada on Garden Hill reserve in Northern Manitoba and for 10 years as nurse practitioner at Anishnawbe Health Toronto. Tarik was also the cofounder of Emery-Keelesdale Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic in Toronto and served as the Lead Nurse Practitioner from 2010 to 2013. In 2015, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master of Nursing program specializing in aging, palliative and end-of-life care. His most recent positions have been in community palliative care as a nurse practitioner in Central East and Central LHINs. Tarik has also taught at York University nursing department as a clinical course director since 2006. He is passionate about health and particularly the intersection between spiritualty and well-being.
LONDON INTEGRATED CARE TEAM
Bonnie Smith – Integrated Care Manager
Bonnie is a member of Aamjiwnaang First Nation, (formerly known as Chippewas of Sarnia) Turtle Clan. She joined the SOAHAC team in December 2008 and has fulfilled different roles during her employment here, including Diabetes Coordinator, Seniors’ Health Advocate and Aboriginal Patient Navigator. Having worked as a front line health care worker within Indigenous communities on and off reserve for over 25 years, Bonnie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. She has always been a strong advocate for improving Indigenous health and well-being by ensuring that culturally appropriate health care needs are being met. Bonnie is a proud mother of 4 and grandmother of 6, which continues to grow.
Danielle Alcock MA – Aboriginal Patient Navigator
Danielle is Anishanaabe kwe and is a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. She completed her MA in socio-cultural anthropology at Western University in 2014 focused on First Nations families navigating the health care system. She has an Honours BA in Anthropology and History from York University completed in 2011. She brings 5 years of experience working in community organizations in Southwestern Ontario and experience in public health working on projects focused on cultural safety and Indigenous health issues in Canada.
Joe Antone MSW, BSW, RSW – Addictions Strategy Coordinator/ Addictions Counsellor
Joe is from the Oneida Nation of the Thames. He is a registered social worker and holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Social Work. Joe has several years of direct addictions practice and writes academically in the field of addictions. Other areas of expertise include youth leadership, community development, and research. Joe is also passionate about facilitating connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous service organizations in the hope of building a well-connected and highly diverse community of care for the people he works with.
Pamela Bridgen, RN(EC), NP-PHC, MN – Nurse Practitioner
Pamela joined the SOAHAC team in September, 2009. She achieved her BScN at Western University, and afterward began working in general surgery at University Hospital in London, Ontario. In 2008, Pamela decided to return to school to pursue her goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner. She received her Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner certificate from the University of Windsor in August, 2009 and her Master’s in Nursing from the University of Windsor in April, 2010. Pamela enjoys working on the Primary Health Care team and looks forward to continuing to work with clients as they pursue their personal health goals.
Nancy Buchanan – Family Social Worker
Nancy Buchanan is a member of M’Chigeeng First Nation. She holds a BA (Hons) from University of Western Ontario, BSW from Dalhousie University, and a MSW from University of Western Ontario. Nancy has worked with a wide range of clients including 3 years with youth at Nimkee NupiGawagan Healing Centre, 2 years with St. Joseph’s Hospital in both the Forensic outreach program and the Veteran’s Care program. Most recently, Nancy has been working with Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) clients as an outreach/community social worker. Nancy has two huskies which she loves dearly and enjoys horseback riding in her spare time.
Sue Cheechoo – Medical Administrator
Sue is a Cree woman, originally from the little Island of Moose Factory in the James Bay area. She joined the SOAHAC staff as Clinical Support Worker in April, 2004 and thoroughly enjoys working with the staff and clientele of this area. There have been many changes made at SOAHAC over her years with the organization, making it great learning experience. Sue particularly loves the southern weather and enjoys spending her time off with her sweet grandchildren.
Chanda Doxtator – Traditional Healing Liaison
Chanda’s Ukwehuwe name is Kahnekiyostha, meaning to Purify Water. She is Bear Clan, from Oneida Nation of the Thames and a mother of two handsome boys. For the past few years, Chanda has been learning in a Traditional Medicine Practitioner program and doing some work in the Chippewa, Munsee and Oneida area. She has been working with medicines and mentors, learning what she can to help with wholistic healing.
Ramona Lee Dunn, RN, BScN (Hons) – Diabetes Nurse Educator
Ramona’s spirit name “Yellow Hawk Woman” is a member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation. She is Wolf Clan. Ramona graduated from Seneca College School of Nursing a number of years ago. After working for many years as an RN in various roles, she returned to school at Ryerson University and obtained her BScN with Honors in 2004. Her specialty is Diabetes Education and she was instrumental in starting a diabetes education program at a previous Aboriginal place of employment. Ramona is a proud mother and Kookum. She considers it an honour and a privilege to be working within her community again.
Charlie Elijah – Seniors’ Health Advocate
Charlie Elijah is a member of the Bear Clan from Oneida Nation of the Thames. She has a Social Service Worker diploma with combined courses in the Traditional Healing Methods program. Charlie brings her work experience as an SSW, working with youth and families at the Traditional Healing Lodge, and as a women’s advocate, dealing with family violence and crisis situations. Charlie completed her practicum under the guidance of SOAHAC’s Traditional Healing program team. She’s excited to join SOAHAC as an advocate for Seniors and Elders.
Eileen Hagar, MA – Mental Health Counsellor
Eileen is a member of Batchewana First Nation. She has been part of the SOAHAC team since November, 2009. She has a Master of Arts Degree (Psychology). Eileen has been working within the First Nation Community, both on and off reserve for over 20 years, providing front line counseling and clinical support. She looks forward to contributing her sharing, as well as continuing her learning at SOAHAC.
Trista Hill – Aboriginal Midwife
Trista is a graduate of the Aboriginal Midwifery Training Program at Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha Ona:grahsta (Six Nations Birthing Centre). She is Wolf Clan from the Mohawk Nation, and was born and raised on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Trista has 2 wonderful children. She looks forward to working; bringing birth back to our own territory, in the comfort of your own home. She is deeply grateful to the strong, beautiful and empowering Aboriginal Midwives who have already started to pave the road ahead of the newer Aboriginal Midwives.
Brennan Ireland – Addictions Counsellor
Brennan is Bear Clan from the Oneida Nation. He has been working in the Addictions/Wellness Field both on and off reserve for several years. Through training from the White Bison Inc, Brennan facilitates wholistic wellness circles and workshops that provide Indigenous teachings for wellness and recovery. He is an Indigenous Certified Addictions Specialist, and recently achieved the position of Canadian Certified Addictions Counsellor.
Joanne Jackson – Traditional Healing Manager
Joanne Jackson is Eagle Clan from the Kettle & Stony Point First Nation. Joanne has sat with various elders and healers for over twenty-five years where she obtained her valuable Indigenous Knowledge. She had helped, observed and gained hands-on experience through the healing approaches and guidance of elders and healers that inform her practice today. Joanne has been entrusted to conduct Traditional Doctoring, various healing ceremonies such as sweatlodges, and she provides cultural teachings to guide people on their own journey. Joanne knows that her own life-long journey toward healing and wellness are not yet over. What she learns along the way she brings home to share with her Nation. In addition, Joanne has a very good knowledge of alternative methods of moving toward healing and wellness that she might incorporate into her practice. Joanne has also obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She integrates all of these modalities with her personal gifts to create a wholistic approach to healing. Joanne respects individual diversity and adjusts her healing style to meet these personal needs. She has worked in many First Nations and Native organizations over the past 20 years.
Peggy Martin, MSW – Family Social Worker
Peggy is from the Cree nation of James Bay. She graduated from Lake Superior State University with a Bachelor’s in Human Services, then graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Master’s in Social Work. She has three adult children and has grandchildren; two girls and five boys. Peggy has years of experience working in a treatment setting. She was a Program Coordinator at Sagashawao Healing lodge for Adults; Nimkee NupiGawagan Healing Lodge, working with Youth with addictions and I also worked at Southwest Regional Healing Lodge with Families. In her personal time, Peggy loves to garden, sew, go to pow-wows, fish, travel and spend time with family.
Phil McCabe, MD – Physician
Dr. McCabe achieved his Medical Degree at the University of Ottawa, his Certificate College of Family Practice at McMaster University, and his Masters of Applied Science Occupational Health and Epidemiology at McGill University. He is a Fellow on the Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine.
Chris McDonald, NP – Nurse Practitioner
Chris has worked with SOAHAC since November, 2011. She is a Nurse Practitioner and Facilitator for the SASH program at the London site. Her area of focus is Aboriginal Seniors aged 55+.
Jacqueline Morrissey, M. Ed, OATR, CCC, RP – Mental Health Counsellor
Jacqui has been part of the SOAHAC team since 2003. She has a Master’s in Education (Counselling), certification in the Canadian Counselling Association and a Registered Art Therapist, and Registered as a Psychotherapist in the new College of Ontario Psychotherapists and Mental Health Therapists. Her professional development and training has focused in the areas of grief, trauma, depression, stress and anxiety management. Jacqui has been working with Aboriginal people both urban and rural settings since 1996 and has become an advocate for improving Aboriginal health and wellness. In addition to some front line clinical work, she is also involved in collaborating with other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community agencies to improve services and resources for the Indigenous people we serve.
Melodie Smith — Aboriginal Midwife
Melodie is a member of the Cayuga Nation Wolf Clan of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She began her journey with Aboriginal Midwifery in 1996 as one of the first clients of the Six Nations Maternal and Child Centre, having both a Registered Midwife and Aboriginal Midwifery students assist in the delivery of her first son at home. She began the Aboriginal Midwifery Training Program in 2009 at Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha Ona:grahsta following 3 successful home births of her own children. Melodie graduated with Honours in 2013 and has practiced as an Aboriginal Midwife at Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha Ona:grahsta’ since that time. Her vision is “an Aboriginal Midwife in every Aboriginal community”.
Madeleine Stoney, RN — Registered Nurse (Palliative Care Team)
Madeleine Stoney is a Registered Nurse and a member of Wasaho Cree Nation. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014 at Western University. Madeleine is currently taking online graduate studies with the Michener Institute of Education with UHN. She has experience working with Indigenous communities in Ontario and is committed to improving Indigenous health through advocacy and reducing health disparities.
Katrina Thibert, RN(EC), NP-PHC, MN – Nurse Practitioner (Palliative Care Team)
Katrina graduated from Western University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and began working as a Registered Nurse in various areas including general surgery, cardiac and intensive care. After the birth of her daughter, she decided to pursue further nursing education and completed a Masters of Nursing Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner degree from Western University in 2016. During her schooling she had the opportunity to complete two clinical rotations with SOAHAC at both the London and Chippewas of the Thames sites. She thoroughly enjoys working with the clients and delivering wholistic care to help them achieve and maintain well-being.
Tiffany Zub – Medical Administrative Assistant
Tiffany is from Northwestern Ontario and a Member of Couchiching First Nation, Lynx Clan. She has a Medical Administrative Assistant Diploma, a Native Child and Family Community Worker Diploma, and a Native Counsellor Certificate, and has almost 25 years of experience working in the human services field. Her work has included support work for persons with disabilities, advocacy, developmental services, Aboriginal child protection, patient bed allocation and administrative support. Tiffany is passionate about health, wellness in all aspects, and in helping others. She loves to learn, meet new people and be a part of a team.
Jocelyn Zurbrigg RD, CDE – Dietitian
Jocelyn joined the SOAHAC team in 2007 and has taken on a role with the Diabetes Education team. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Nutrition from the University of Guelph. Since completing the Northern Internship with a First Nation Focus in 2005, she has worked in several settings including community health, long term care and home care. Her professional development and personal interest is in diabetes education, which led her to become certified as a Diabetes Educator.
Kiona Greene – Aboriginal Patient Navigator (on leave)
Laura Mennen – Registered Practical Nurse
Rachele (Sissy) Miller – Medical Administrative Assistant
Alex Poulette – Maintenance
Tisha Summers – Child and Youth Worker
Sandra Walker – FASD Educator
Mary-Ann Wisenberg – Nurse Practitioner
SOAHAC DENTAL CLINIC TEAM
Bonnie Smith – Integrated Care Manager (see London for bio)
Dr. Suman Lata Dhir, BDS, DDS — Dentist
Dr. Suman Dhir graduated in 1973, obtaining her DDS degree from the faculty of dentistry at the University of Toronto Ontario. After graduation she and her family moved to London Ontario. She accepted a job opportunity within public health at the Middlesex London Health Unit. She is an active member of the Ontario Dental Association and London District Dental Society. Dr. Suman Dhir feels very privileged to have been able to care for diverse clientele within her community for forty-five years, and she is excited for this new opportunity to serve and care for SOAHAC clients.
Alicia Doxtator, CDA II — Dental Assistant
Alicia is Mi’kmaq belonging to Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia. She was born and raised in London, Ontario. Alicia is a Certified Level 2 Dental Assistant and completed the dental assistant program at Medix College. Prior to becoming a dental assistant, Alicia worked with Indigenous children and youth, as a Child and Youth Worker with a First Nations foster care agency. She is a mother of three boys and enjoys beading, attending cultural events, and spending time with her husband and children.
OWEN SOUND INTEGRATED CARE TEAM
Lisa George, BA, MEd – Integrated Care Manager
Lisa is a member of the Saugeen First Nation and joined the SOAHAC team in October, 2011. She holds a BA from Brock University and is a graduate of the University of Victoria with a M.Ed (Counselling in Indigenous Communities). Lisa brings to her position 25 years of experience working with Indigenous families and communities in the areas of trauma, child welfare and health. She considers it an honour to be working in her traditional territories again and to raise her son in their home community.
Robin Antone – Harm Reduction Outreach Support Worker
Robin is from Oneida of the Thames. He has a lot of experience in social work; from addictions to child welfare, and has worked as Mental Health & Addictions Case Manager in downtown Toronto for many years. Robin loves helping people to empower themselves, so that they are able to live a healthy lifestyle, through cultural awareness, language promotion, and wholistic well-being.
Gillian Elmes, NP-PHC – Nurse Practitioner
Gillian Elmes is a primary health care nurse practitioner, teacher, writer and entrepreneur. In 2017, she founded NursEd, a company that aims to transform nursing and education by helping nurses do meaningful work and improve health care for the people they care for. Gillian lives in Clarksburg, Ontario with her husband and daughter.
Karen Garvin, BScN, RN, CDE – Primary Care Nurse
Karen grew up in rural Alberta and completed her BScN at the University of Alberta in 1995. Nursing has provided her with diverse experiences from acute care to home care, and has taken her to England, the Northwest Territories, and the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Since settling on the Bruce Peninsula over 10 years ago, Karen has worked in both hospital and primary care settings. She has a passion for helping people to optimize their own healthy lifestyle while preventing and managing chronic diseases, and has specialized experience as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Karen loves exploring wild places with her partner, Jeff, and daughter, Aven.
Charmaine Jenner – Traditional Healing Liaison
Charmaine is from Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation, formerly known as Cape Croker. She is Ojibway and Oneida, and her clans are the Otter and Turtle. Charmaine was raised by her grandparents in Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation, brought up knowing her Anishnaabe way of life which included ceremonies, and culture being integrated in her everyday life. For the past five years, Charmaine has been working the Kina Waa Noojmojig Nanaweing Wellness Centre in Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation. Her role was frontline worker, including administrative duties and community support, advocacy and triage to the Wellness Team, as well as, other resources. She has enjoyed getting to know her community through regular programming, and ceremonial events such as Sweats, Ceremonies, and Cultural Workshops. Charmaine acknowledges that Healing is about taking care of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Lynda Quesnel, BN, RN(EC), MScN, NP-PHC – Nurse Practitioner
Lynda joined the SOAHAC team in August, 2013. She became a Registered Nurse in 1994 and began working on various units in the hospital. In 2000, Lynda accepted an opportunity to work Mbale, Uganda helping to start a new Pediatric Surgical Hospital by supervising and mentoring the nursing staff. In 2002, Lynda returned to Canada and started working in isolated First Nations communities in Northern Ontario with Health Canada. She completed her Nurse Practitioner certification at McMaster University in 2009. Since that time she has continued to work in Northern Ontario and at a Family Health Team as a Nurse Practitioner. She has also worked hard to achieve her Masters degree in the Science of Nursing (MScN) all while working full time and caring for her busy family. Lynda is an integral member of the SOAHAC team as the Nurse Practitioner in Owen Sound.
Shannon Paul – Medical Administrative Assistant
Dominique-Michelle Legacy, OT Reg. (Ont.) – Transitional Case Manager
Dominique-Michelle Legacy is a member of the Elsipogtog First Nation from New-Brunswick. She has been part of the SOAHAC team since September, 2013. She holds a Master in Health Science (Occupational therapy) from University of Ottawa and a Bachelor in Psychology from University of Moncton. Dominique is looking forward to continuing to work with clients as they pursue their physical, spiritual, emotional and mental goals towards a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Kathy Lloyd – Therapist
Lara Longo MSW, RSW – Transitional Case Manager
Lara joined the SOAHAC team in 2015; she is a registered social worker, art therapist and certified hatha yoga instructor. Lara’s journey as a psychotherapist began in 2003. Over the course of her career, she has worked in a variety of settings including: residential treatment facilities, shelters with youth experiencing homelessness, addictions treatment and within a harm reduction health centre. Lara eventually came to specialize in holistic psychotherapy in the treatment of trauma and addictions with adults. Her approach is somatically based, attachment-oriented and integrates psychodynamic and cognitive therapy, mindfulness, neuroscience, arts-based methods and ancient wisdom teachings. Lara has worked alongside Indigenous community since 2007 as a helper, counsellor and ally. Her approach to counselling and psychotherapy has been strongly influenced by these collaborations. Lara is a passionate advocate of personal change and awareness; this intention forms the foundation of her work with clients and community.
Natasha Lubimiv, MSW, BSW, HBA – Social Worker
Natasha is on a journey to fulfill her practice hours as a Play Therapist. Originally from Petawawa, Ontario, she has been living in Saugeen Shores for the past 4 years. During this time, she has had the pleasure to work within Saugeen First Nation as the Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children Coordinator and was involved with various Band initiatives such as the Light Up Your Nation Run, where she presently sits as a committee member. In partnership with a dear friend, Natasha operates a small private counselling practice in Southampton called Sacred Tree Services for Children and Families offering specializations in play and attachment interventions. Natasha spends her time outdoors mountain biking, running, scuba diving, hiking or kiteboarding. Indoors, she loves to upholster and refinish furniture, sing, read and is a self-proclaimed musical theatre nerd.
Nadia McCormick RPN — Registered Practical Nurse (RPN)
Nadia has been a Registered Practical Nurse since 2004. After graduating, she spent about five years working in a long term care facility. Nadia made the transition to family practice nurse and enjoyed over ten years working with multiple physicians in different offices throughout London, Ontario. Her family relocated to the Bruce Grey area in May of 2015. After spending some time as a stay at home parent, she is happy to be working as a nurse again, especially participating in client care that really addresses the whole person. In her free time Nadia is typically spending time with her family and pets.
Sarah Newton, BScN, MPH, NP-PHC – Nurse Practitioner
Sarah completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at McMaster University in 1998. She spent several years working as a Registered Nurse in Acute Paediatrics in Toronto and in Oxford, England. During this time, she obtained her Masters of Science in Public Health (2004). In 2005, Sarah travelled for an extended period of time prior to returning to Canada and had the opportunity to work and volunteer as a Nurse in Switzerland, Nepal and New Zealand. On returning to Canada in 2006, Sarah began working as a Public Health Nurse and completed the Primary Care NP Program in 2011. Since that time, she has worked at a rural Community Health Centre. In addition to providing care to clients of all ages, her practice has focused on Adolescent Health, Mental Health, Addictions and Harm Reduction Programs.
Roberta Scharuda – Child & Youth Worker
Roberta is a member of the Upper Nicola First Nation, located in the Okanagan Territory of British Columbia. Roberta has worked within the Indigenous community for over 14 years, both in Ontario and BC. She has extensive experience working with families and assisting them on their healing journey. She has acquired knowledge and experience working with such organizations as The Barrie Area Advisory Circle, Enaahtig Healing Lodge, White Buffalo Aboriginal and Métis Health Centre, Cknucwentn First Nations Court in Kamploops, BC and the Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions FNMI unit. Roberta is the proud mother of 2 children.
Vallee Trudeau — Aboriginal Patient Navigator
Vallee is Anishnaabe kwe and proud member of Serpent River First Nation. Vallee graduated from Trent University in 2001 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies. She also holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management, graduating from Lambton College in 2002. In 2008, Vallee obtained a Bachelor of Education degree from Queen’s University. Most of Vallee’s work experience has been in the field of education and she has had many years of experience working with and for Indigenous people. Vallee presently resides in Saugeen Shores with her husband, two sons and basset hound.
Renée Young, RD – Community Dietitian
Renée is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal. She has been working in the NGO sector, coordinating territorial research in the Yukon for the last year. She has also completed a certificate of Food security at Ryerson University. The wholistic approach to health care that SOAHAC prioritizes is something that Renee has always been passionate about, and which she incorporates into her practice.
WINDSOR INTEGRATED CARE TEAM
Elayne Isaacs – Integrated Care Manager
Elayne is from the Oneida Nation and Turtle Clan. She was raised in London, Ontario, and now calls Windsor her home, where she has raised her family; her husband Robert and 2 children. Elayne graduated from Cambrian College Native Child and Family Service Worker Diploma with Honours and has been serving and enriching the lives of the native communities ever since. She is highly experienced in the Aboriginal Services field, bringing 30 years of experience servicing native families in urban settings; recently as the past Director of Operations at At^lohsa Native Family Healing Services and 20 years at Can-Am Urban Native Homes as the Tenant Liaison. Elayne is a strong advocate for family wellness and understands the importance of providing culturally appropriate, wholistic services. She is passionate to enhance the quality of life for the Indigenous community of Windsor.
Elayne is a spiritual woman that attends longhouse ceremonies, Medewiwin ceremonies, sweat lodges and sun dances. She is proud of her cultural ways and always enjoys learning from the Elders. Elayne adores the pow wow circle and has danced various pow wow styles since 6 years of age. She has been a jingle dress dancer for over 20 years. Elayne is a certified yoga instructor and practices yoga as part of her personal wellness care. She often offers free yoga classes to the native community. Elayne is also an avid gardener and beader in her spare time. She loves to travel and when she is not working, you will usually catch her at a pow wow, round dance ceremonies or fishing across Turtle Island.
Katie Baltzer, MSW, RSW – Children and Youth Outreach Social Worker
Katie is a Métis Nation of Ontario citizen. She was born and raised in Windsor and many of her ancestors come from the Great Lakes region. Katie loves to bead and job and she is currently learning how to finger weave. She likes to read, travel and spend time with her puppy, Daisy. Katie has her Bachelor of Social Work and Women’s Studies, and her Master of Social Work, completing both degrees at the University of Windsor. She is very passionate about social justice and protecting the environment.
Connie Leslie – Executive Assistant
Connie Leslie (nee Penasse) was raised on Nipissing First Nation near North Bay, Ontario. Prior to working for SOAHAC, she held several positions in Finance and Payroll Administration in Toronto, Ontario for 20 years. In 2005, Connie and her family opened up a Coffee Time franchise on Nipissing First Nation. In 2013, she moved to Queretaro, Mexico for 4 years before making Windsor her home in April, 2017.
Lacey George – Traditional Healing Liaison
Lacey is an Ojibwe Bodewatomi AnishnaabeKwe from Bkejwanong First Nation but also has family ties to Aazhoodena. Her spirit name is GiizhgadnungKwe and she is currently being carried by Eagle clan. She began her career in the health care sector as a Certified Level II Dental Assistant but had a deeper motivation to work more closely with her Anishnaabeg people and their healing journeys. So, after staying home and raising her four children and working on herself and her own healing journey, she received a Community Service Worker Diploma and began working in the Windsor area. She is an Indigenous Artist and beadwork enthusiast and enjoys sharing her talent with the community through beading classes & workshops. Lacey is eager to learn more Anishnaabemowin and what it takes to live the good life while walking the red road.
Shelley Price, MScN, NP-PHC – Nurse Practitioner
Shelley was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. She was influenced to become a nurse from her grandfather and uncle who were both firefighters, and taught her the value of helping and healing others. After 20 years of experience as a Registered Nurse (RN), during which she also completed her baccalaureate degree, Shelley returned to school for her Masters in Nursing and became a Nurse Practitioner in 2013. Shelley has worked in the United States in an acute care hospital focusing on pediatrics and oncology. She has also worked at the South West Detention Centre, focusing in the areas of women’s health and mental health and addictions, and has experience working at a rural nursing station.
Sabrina Puente, MSW, RSW – Mental Health Counsellor
Sabrina joined SOAHAC in March 2016 as a Mental Health and Addictions Counsellor in Delaware First Nation at Moraviantown. Prior to this role, she had over 10 years of experience working with individuals and families in different capacities, most notably as an Elementary Teacher and foster parent in a remote Inuit community; as a clinical intern and subsequently a Child and Youth Counselor (Relief) at a residential mental health facility for youth; and most recently as a Family Service Worker with Brant FACS – Native Service Branch. After 2 years in that role she realized that her heart still truly lied in the field of mental health and addictions services. Sabrina grew up in Nova Scotia where she completed her Bachelor of Arts (2006) and Bachelor of Education (2008) degrees at Acadia University. She later went on to complete her Master of Social Work (2013) at Wilfrid Laurier University. Throughout her personal, academic, and professional experiences, Sabrina has remained passionate about working alongside Indigenous individuals and families.
Andrea Racette — Registered Practical Nurse (RPN)
Andrea is a Métis woman who grew up in Duck Lake Saskatchewan, a small Métis community about 6.2km from Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nations Band in Central Saskatchewan. She has been blessed with two beautiful children and a career she loves. Andrea graduated as Valedictorian of the Aboriginal Nursing Program from Bow Valley College in Calgary Alberta in 2004. She has worked in the fields of geriatrics, complex medical care and inpatient rehabilitation in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Andrea is passionate about the well-being of the spiritual, mental and physical health of all Indigenous people; and she believes this is the path to healing.
Dr. Chintan Shah, MD, CCFP – Family Physician
Dr. Shah obtained his medical degree from Windsor University in St.Kitts & Nevis. With a passion for primary care, he went on to complete his Family Medicine training at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa (USA). He has been
certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. He currently holds membership with the College of Family Physicians of Canada as well as an independent license with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Dr. Shah has special interests in the areas of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and adolescent medicine among many. He is a strong advocate for preventative medicine.
Melissa Thomas, MSW – Family Social Worker
Melissa is a Métis ∞ woman who was born and raised in Windsor. She is a mother, and a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and auntie. Melissa is a Social Work and Women’s Studies graduate from the University of Windsor. She graduated in 2013 and began working in Detroit, Michigan as an addictions counselor at a residential treatment centre. Since 2013, Melissa worked at Can Am Indian Friendship Centre in Windsor as the Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Worker, gaining knowledge and experience in both traditional and western practices. She has an immense amount of experience working with individuals and families in various areas of mental health and addiction, a strong passion for working with individuals and families, and for being a strong advocate in the community.
Stephanie Williams – Medical Administrative Assistant
Stephanie is Ojibway kwe from Bkejwanong Territory. She was born and raised on reserve (Walpole Island First Nation), where she has lived all her life. Stephanie is a daughter, grand-daughter, sister, auntie, cousin and most importantly mother of two beautiful children. She brings a great deal of experience through her professional career and life experiences. She worked as an Administrative Assistant for eight years at Three Fires Ezhignowenmindwaa Women’s Shelter on Walpole Island and has experience working with Chatham-Kent Community Health Centre as a Medical Receptionist. Most recently, she worked at Sarnia Lambton Children’s Aid Society within the Administration Department. Stephanie enjoys working with people and loves being a helper. She believes in wholistic and traditional healing, along with promoting healthy balanced daily living.
ONTARIO INDIGENOUS CULTURAL SAFETY (ICS) PROGRAM
Diane Smylie – Provincial Director
Diane is Métis with early roots in settlements in Manitoba and later in Alberta. Her Mother and Grandmother spent most of their lives in Saskatchewan and her father was born and raised in northern Ontario. She has lived in Ontario for most of her life except for the last 6 years when she enjoyed living on Coast Salish Territory in Vancouver, B.C.. She worked in community-based substance use services as a clinician/counsellor and a manager for many years before becoming more involved in program evaluation, program development, system planning, community engagement and knowledge exchange initiatives. She has educational backgrounds in both nursing and social work. More recently, she has been working as a Substance Use Knowledge Exchange Leader with the Provincial Health Services Authority in B.C. on initiatives to strengthen trauma-informed practice, Indigenous cultural safety and compassion; inclusion and engagement. Diane brings her personal commitment to improving health equity to all of her work and is looking forward to focusing her work on improving cultural safety for Indigenous people across health and social service systems in Ontario. She will soon be living in Toronto with her partner Rob and son, Andreas.
Jessa Bear, BA, BEd, Cert., MEd – ICS Online Facilitator
Jessa is an Anishnabe kwe who has been with SOAHAC since February, 2014. She has earned her Bachelor of Sociology and minor in Psychology in 2009 and Bachelor of Education in 2011, both from the University of Windsor. She continued towards a Certificate of Autism and Behavioural Science from St. Clair College in 2010 and a Masters in Education from Lakehead University in 2014. Her background working with learners from infant to elder, as well as those with different abilities, has prepared her to support all her participants. As an ICS facilitator, she facilitates and supports participants as they explore the impacts of colonization, reflect on their own stereotypes or assumptions and discuss the health disparities that Indigenous people may face.
Leresha Lickers – Registration and Data Coordinator
Leresha is a member of the Seneca Nation, Wolf Clan; raised on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a graduate of Western University. Leresha’s children, family and Indigenous community fuel her continuous desire to learn and be a positive contribution for future generations.
Leila Monib – Provincial Practice Lead
Leila is a settler-Canadian of diverse ancestry (African, Middle Eastern and European) who was born, lives and works on the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (Toronto Purchase, 2010), within the territory of the “Dish With One Spoon” Treaty. Leila is a Provincial Practice Lead with the Ontario Indigenous Cultural Safety Program and is currently on a Leave of Absence from Toronto Public Health’s Access and Equity Team where she worked with the Toronto Indigenous Health Advisory Circle to develop and implement Toronto’s first Indigenous Health Strategy. She has also worked as the Youth Program Manager at the Rexdale Community Health Centre. Leila has a Master’s degree in International Development from the University of kwaZulu Natal in South Africa and attended McMaster University where she completed an Honours BA in Political Science/Women’s Studies with a minor in Human Rights and International Justice. Leila is passionate about exploring the roles/responsibilities of Settler Canadians in examining implicit bias and colonial narratives while honouring treaties and international law to improve health outcomes for diverse Indigenous communities.
Michèle Parent – Manager, Research, Evaluation and Monitoring
Michèle is originally from the Outaouais region in Québec. After working throughout Canada, she chose to settle on the French River in Northern Ontario by the Dokis First Nation. For many years she has been teaching in universities and colleges across the country. Since 2013, under the umbrella of her independent practice she has been providing research and education services to universities, colleges, health professions’ associations, and government across the country and beyond. She is a mentor to health professional students across the country and advisor to researchers and policy-makers on Indigenous health, community engagement, education, policy development, and research conduct with Indigenous People. She is Adjunct Professor at Laurentian University, which is on the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg. Over the past twenty years, her work in outposts, research, education and program evaluation has focussed on tuberculosis management, Indigenous health, consensus building, and creating ideal post-secondary education for Indigenous Peoples. She is bilingual (French and English) and her roots in the Algonquin culture and family influence her practice on a day-to-day basis. She is a registered nurse and she has completed Master’s and PhD education.
Jocelyn Raikes – Registration and Data Coordinator
Jocelyn was born and raised in London, Ontario. She attended the University of Western Ontario and completed a double major in Sociology and Criminology in 2009. In 2014, Jocelyn moved to the United Kingdom and spent the following two years immersing herself in different cultures. While in the UK, Jocelyn became a Registrar in the hospitality industry. She has a passion for learning and is excited to extend this passion to others in her role with the Ontario ICS Program.
Randi Ray – Provincial Practice Lead
Randi is a thinker, leader, and achiever. A proud Anishinaabe Kwe from Flying Post First Nation, she grew up as the daughter of a First Nations Chief, gaining the perspective and wisdom required to not only serve one’s community but, at the same time, improve it – together. She is an emerging leader in the Indigenous community, a respected professional and an academic who believes in lifelong learning. Randi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and a Master’s degree in Human Kinetics at Laurentian University. She is also pursuing a PhD in Education focusing on sustainable First Nations Leadership development from Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario. Before accepting this role with the Ontario Cultural Safety Program, she worked to develop an Indigenous Cultural Safety lab with Health Sciences North Research Institute while also supporting Dr. Bourassa in her role as Scientific Director of the Institute for Indigenous Peoples Health. Randi developed reciprocal relationships as the Community outreach and Liaison Coordinator for Laurentian University. In this role, she was required to act as an expert lobbyist and advocate, developing strategies that engage an extensive network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous political leaders, institutions, and community organizations. As well, she was created space for Indigenous Knowledge translation at the University. Randi’s passion for Indigenous health outcomes flourished during her time at the Sudbury and District Health unit as a Health Promoter. There, she led the implementation and evaluation of public health programs, formative research, literature reviews, data collection and analysis. Randi is an active member of her community having had the opportunity to lead and contribute to community development via a multitude of board appointments, volunteerism, sport, drum circles and mentorship programming. Most importantly, she is truly grounded by her partner and step-daughter who are her inspiration each and every day.
Dana Wesley, MA – Provincial Practice Lead
Dana is originally from Moosonee/Moose Factory and is a member of Moose Cree First Nation. She completed her undergraduate and Master’s degree in Gender Studies at Queen’s University. Dana’s graduate thesis highlighted the lived experiences of urban Two-Spirit youth and community building. As a Two-Spirit woman, Dana is also dedicated to Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ resurgence and access to traditional cultural spaces and ceremonies. Her work in post-secondary education focused on Aboriginal student transitions and wellness. This mainly consisted of building a successful orientation and mentorship program for Aboriginal students that supported them culturally in the first year of their academic journeys through Aboriginal teaching and healing. It was in this setting that Dana discovered her passion for cultural teaching and education for both Aboriginal people and allies. In her last position at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Dana worked as the Aboriginal Engagement Lead and built relationships and collaborative partnerships, coordinated training to support workforce development, advanced culturally relevant system initiatives, and improved practice through knowledge exchange.
SOAHAC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Our Board of Directors includes representatives from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida of the Thames First Nation, N’Amerind Friendship Centre, At^Lohsa Native Family Healing Services Inc., Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, the Canadian Métis Council and community members.
Leo Hopkins, President
Diane P Sullivan, Treasurer
Laurel Day, Secretary
Martha Albert, Elder
Olive Elm, Director
Diane George, Director