Brian Dokis – Chief Executive Officer
Brian Dokis is Ojibway and a member of Dokis First Nation. Prior to coming to SOAHAC in 2000, Brian 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; more specifically, the provision of effective health care that is culturally appropriate and acceptable to First Nations people. Brian was active in the area of First Nations Health research at the local level, as well as a past member of the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy (AHWS), a research and evaluation working group that oversaw and managed all AHWS related research, evaluation and review activities, as directed by Joint Management Committee- AHWS.
Brian served on the Board of the Alliance for Healthier Communities (formerly known as Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) from 2000 – 2002, serving as Treasurer, Member of Finance Committee and Chair of Membership Secretariat Committee. He is also a former Board Member of Community Organizational Health Inc. (COHI), which is committed to fostering quality, innovation and learning within health and social services organizations. COHI owned and administered the quality improvement and accreditation program called Building Healthier Organizations (BHO). He is presently a member of the South West LHIN and Erie St Clair LHIN Indigenous Health Committees, which identifies and, where possible, implements practical approaches to improving health of Indigenous people living across these regions.
Brian is currently the Secretariat for the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC), which formed in the last two years. The IPHCC is an Indigenous-governed and informed, culture-based organization, created through a collaboration from the Aboriginal Health Access Centre (AHAC) Executive Directors Circle and Alliance for Healthier Communities. To date, some of the collaborative work of the Council has been identifying placement criteria and design of 14 new Inter-professional Care Teams as well as the establishment of the Ontario Indigenous Primary Care Engagement Table.
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.
Deanna Guernsey, RN, BScN, MSc – Director, Strategy & Planning
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.
Jan Martin – Director, Indigenous Relations
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.
David Remy, RN, BScN, MScN – Director, Client Care
David is a Registered Nurse with over 15 years’ experience. He originally graduated with a Nursing Diploma in 2003 and subsequently earned a Bachelor of Nursing (Western, 2011) and Master of Nursing (York 2013), along with many other certifications. David is an academic and life-long learner, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Nursing at Western University. He is an expert of Professional Practice and Regulatory affairs within Health Care and served as a two-term appointed member of the College of Nurses Fitness to Practice Committee. Dave has a leadership history of Quality Improvement (QI), Risk Management, and Patient Experience, and is skilled in leading teams through both large and small QI projects.
Stephanie Vandevenne RN, COHN, MScN – Director, Quality & Accountability
Stephanie is Mi-Kmaq from Nova Scotia and is actively working towards finding her roots and community connections. She is a Registered Nurse with almost 20 years of experience. She is also certified in occupational health and has a Master’s degree in Nursing with a specialization in Executive Leadership & Management.
Her professional background includes nursing in the emergency department and palliative care, on construction sites, in occupational health, and in the community setting. As a leader, she has held formal leadership roles at VON, formally the CCAC, and at Bluewater Health hospital.
Some of Stephanie’s accomplishments include numerous projects that improved the quality of care for clients and patients including developing the Chronic Pain Management, Assessment & Referral Program for the VON. Also, she has assisted in the development of a Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Best Practice Guideline call Care Transitions. Stephanie has also worked with Lambton and Chatham County’s First Nations communities alongside the hospital’s Indigenous Patient Navigator to improve transitions in care across the complex healthcare system. For the hospital, part of her role was managing the Alternate Level of Care data and reporting to the province which also included data quality and decision-making. Special projects and programming is also one of Stephanie’s strengths as she has led several quality improvement programs in various roles during her career.
Some of Stephanie’s greatest leadership strengths are integrity, transparency, and empathy. These values are true to her and with them, she is able to forge strong and trusting relationships with her teams both internally and, externally with community partners and funders across the healthcare system. She is extremely passionate about working with First Nations communities and ensuring equitable, holistic, and culturally safe care is provided.
Stephanie is honored to be a part of the SOAHAC team and to help make a positive difference for those who are served.
Etta Beeswax – Client Care Coordinator
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 Client Care Coordinator. She is proud to be apart of SOAHAC’s leadership team while balancing her personal life as a student, wife and mother of 6 children.
Lisa George, BA, MEd – Mental Health Educator
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.
Marianne Hebb – Governance, Operations and Procurement Coordinator
Marisa Kennedy – Indigenous Relations Coordinator
Marisa Kennedy (Ka Ya’ Nahawe “She’s on a path”) is turtle clan and a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames. Before joining SOAHAC, she worked in an administrative/human resource role for a Pre-Mandated First Nations Child Welfare agency for 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, CHRL – 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. She was also a Naval Officer with the Royal Canadian Navy. 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 is passionate about giving back to the community through volunteering opportunities with non-profit and charitable organizations. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Community Habitat of London for the past 8 years, as well as, an advocate with Compassion Canada and Sunshine Foundation of Canada.
Jennifer Williams, CHRP – Human Resources Administrator
Jennifer gained over 10 years of experience working and volunteering within non-profit organizations before joining SOAHAC in 2020. Her experience includes administration, human resources, client services, writing, and graphic design. She loves helping others and appreciates the richness of different cultures and traditions. She has studied French and Spanish (BA) and Immigration (MA) and later returned to school to complete education in Human Resources Management.
PRACTICE AND QUALITY SUPPORT TEAM
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.
Eric George – EMR Support Specialist
Eric grew up in Ajax, Ontario and graduated from Durham College with diplomas in accounting and human resources. After moving to London, Eric worked for five years as an editorial assistant at Stroke Medical Journal with the American Heart and Stroke Association. He then transitioned to the position of office manager for Dr. Miranda Sheppard’s practice for eight years before joining SOAHAC. In that role, Eric took an active role in providing exceptional patient care while overseeing the daily operation of the practice. In his spare time Eric enjoys curling, reading, baking, and spending time with family and friends.
Brittni Fournier – Data Support Specialist
Brittni graduated Medix College in 2014 as a Medical Laboratory Assistant Technician. Prior to graduation, she did a placement at a walk-in clinic who ended up hiring Brittni on when she graduated. Brittni enjoys working in the medical field, particularly assisting and helping with patient care. She believes every person deserves the best care in life. Outside of work, Brittni enjoys photography and spending time with her family as a mother and a spouse.
Dustin Delegarde, CPA, CA – Finance Manager
Dustin is a CPA who started his audit career here in Southwestern Ontario before relocating overseas to New Zealand, where he worked primarily with non-profit clients in the health, education and conservation sectors.
Recently, he has held finance roles with the South West CCAC, the London InterCommunity Health Centre, and St Joseph’s Health Care London. Dustin is passionate about improving access to interdisciplinary care in our communities, and is excited to spend more time travelling throughout the South West.
In his spare time, Dustin enjoys going to the movies and the theatre with his partner of 19 years, and watching baseball with their year old kittens.
Arlene McIntyre – Financial Administrator
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 a bookkeeper and administrative assistant, then becoming full time . Over the years, Arlene worked with several Indigenous organizations in London, including N’Amerind Friendship Centre, AIAI, and At^Lohsa.
Hayley Daynes – Financial Administrator
Hayley graduated from the Fanshawe College Business Accounting program in 2006. She has worked in the accounting field in various positions, and is a mother to two beautiful girls.
CHIPPEWA SITE INTEGRATED CARE TEAM
Christi-Ann Poulette – Integrated Care Manager
Christi is part of the wolf clan and is a registered member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames. Her maternal family is from Oneida and her paternal family are Mi’kmaq from Membertou First Nation. She is a proud mother of two young adult daughters. Christi obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Laurentian University and is currently a Master’s candidate in Leadership and Community Engagement with York University. Prior to her career in nursing, Christi spent eight years as a constable for the Ontario Provincial Police. Christi has worked for 15 years as the Nurse-in-Charge for an Indigenous community health centre where she promoted a wholistic approach to health care. Her practice was inclusive of Indigenous beliefs, culture, language and ways of knowing. Christi has proven leadership skills and a strong commitment to ethical and professional standards. The act of caring is an attribute that Christi values and uses caring to create supportive, culturally safe working environments.
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.
Kelly Doxtator – Traditional Healing Liaison
Bev Elijah – Medical Administrative Assistant
Bev is a member of the Oneida Nation of Thames, Bear clan. Previous to working at SOAHAC, she took a pre-nursing course with St. Clair College through Anishinabek Education Institute. Bev received her Medical Administration diploma in 2012 and has been with SOAHAC as a Medical Administrative Assistant since October 2013. She enjoys her job, helping our clients and loves being part of the team. Bev’s most rewarding job is being a mother to her son and spending time with her partner & family, travelling and making lasting memories.
Morgan French, RPN – Registered Practical Nurse
Morgan French is a member of the Chippewa First Nation community. She has been working full time as a Registered Practical Nurse since 2018. She has had experiences working in many different hospitals and long term care homes but ultimately she has always had a special interest in working within the community. After working in a local long term care centre, she joined SOAHAC early 2021. In Morgan’s free time she enjoys spending time with her French bulldog.
Sarah Girty, NP-PHC – Nurse Practitioner
Sarah grew up on a family farm outside of Blenheim on the shores of Lake Erie. She loves spending time outdoors enjoying the natural world here and abroad. In the rest of her spare time, Sarah pursues all things artistic. She worked as a farm labourer and as a health care aide while doing her bachelor’s of nursing at Western, graduating in 2005. As an RN, she worked in acute care medicine and home care in London. Sarah then moved back to her home community of Chatham where she worked in disability adjudication and long-term care. She completed the nurse practitioner program in 2018 through University of Windsor. Sarah had been practising as an NP at Kettle & Stony Point First Nation before taking a position with SOAHAC. Sarah is proud to be a descendant of Simon Girty, a Loyalist and ally to the First Nations during the American revolution. This connection has fostered her respect for Indigenous history and culture.
Lainie Antone-Gardner, CYW – Tele-Mental Health Coordinator
Lainie is a member of Oneida Nation of the Thames. For 17 years she has been employed by the ministry before joining SOAHAC. 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.
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.
Carla Jones – Child & Youth Navigator
Carla is Anishinaabekwe from Deshkan Ziibiing (Chippewas of the Thames First Nation). She has provided direct clinical care as a Registered Nurse in Michigan, Washington and New Mexico states. Carla approaches her advocacy work with compassion and firsthand experience.
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.
Rose McKenna – Physiotherapist
Rose was born and raised in Northern Ireland. She completed her Bachelor of Science, with Honors in Physiotherapy at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Soon after, she emigrated to Canada and worked in hospitals in Toronto and Peterborough. Her family moved to the London area in 1997 to raise 3 children. Since then, Rose has worked in community health care, including on Family Health Teams, in schools, in workplaces, and in clients’ homes. Rose joined the SOAHAC team in November 2015.
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.
Tolu Nelly Ayoku, MScN, NP-PHC- Nurse Practitioner
Tolu graduated from Laurentian University with a BSc in Nursing and a certificate in Gerontology in 2014. She also completed an advanced leadership training program in Toronto organized by the Toronto Regional Geriatric Program. While in nursing school, she worked as a PSW in Long Term Care (LTC) Homes and volunteered in the local ER in Parry Sound. Upon graduation, she worked as a float RN with a specialization in ICU/ER and as a Charge Nurse/Nurse Manager in LTC homes for over 6 years. She also worked as a rural/remote nurse for 3 years in Indigenous communities of the James Bay region. She returned to school and graduated from Laurentian University with an MSc in Nursing, Nurse Practitioner certificate in 2019 and started working as a Nurse Practitioner at the COVID Assessment Centre before returning to primary care at a Family Health Team. She is originally from Parry Sound but recently moved to London, ON. Tolu is passionate about health care and working in rural/remote Indigenous communities. She enjoys volunteering, travelling and exploring different cultures and languages.
Mackenzie Taylor, RN – Registered Nurse
Mackenzie graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree. As a member of the Eeluaapéewi Lahkéewiit (Delaware Nation) community, Mackenzie found passion in helping other Indigenous families and she completed her final placement as a student at the Wulamaliswiikan Delaware Nation Health Centre. Mackenzie also has experience working on an acute medical floor.
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.
Madeleine Stoney, RN – Registered Nurse (Palliative Care)
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.
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.
Jenn Beer – Nurse Practitioner
Jenn has been working as a registered nurse for over 15 years and is a new graduate of the Primary Healthcare Nurse Practitioner Program. She has a vast background in emergency, critical care, and out post nursing. Her career in the Medical-Surgical and Neuro-Trauma Intensive Care Units at St. Michael’s hospital, completing the critical care program at George Brown College as well as her BScN at Ryerson University, while working full-time. In 2007, She transitioned to London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), University Campus, in the Medical-Surgical and Cardiovascular Intensive Care units before joining the Critical Care Outreach Team (CCOT) in 2008. This team is dedicated to responding to all in-hospital medical emergencies as well as a consultation service to manage more complex patients. Jenn has also taught at Western University in the undergraduate nursing program, as well as in the Critical Care Program at Conestoga College. She has also worked as an outpost nurse in Northern Ontario, providing care to First Nations people in the James Bay, Sioux, and Thunder Bay regions. More recently, she has joined the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) team, providing care and support to patients and families to achieve desired end of life goals.
Dr. Ruth Benn, MD, FCFP, MTS, CTH – Family Physician
Ruth completed her medical degree and residency in Family Medicine at the University of Western Ontario (1989, 1991) and her MTS at Heritage Theological Seminary (1994). She has years of experience in family medicine and has travelled extensively doing volunteer work. She is committed to preventative health care and enjoys working as part of a team to provide comprehensive care, meeting the needs of the whole person. She has been married to her husband for 26 years and they have 2 teenagers.
Shelbey Bernard, RN – Registered Nurse
Shelbey grew up in the remote Northern community of Geraldton, Ontario and moved to London in 2011 to attend the Pre-Health Sciences program at Fanshawe College. She received her Bachelor in Science of Nursing degree from Western University in 2017 and worked as a float nurse at LHSC after graduating, gaining experience in many areas and caring for people in all stages of life. In her spare time, Shelbey loves baking, playing with her dogs, travelling and doing yoga!
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.
Justice Doxtator – Child & Youth Worker
Justice is from Oneida Nation of the Thames. She graduated from the Child and Youth work program, Advanced Diploma, at Fanshawe College in August of 2018. She worked in child and youth positions throughout her schooling and prior to her post-secondary education. Justice has a passion for working with First Nations, Metis and Inuit youth and communities and have always found it extremely fulfilling work. She was recently employed, working with children and youth in the mental health and addiction field and is excited to use her skillset at SOAHAC.
Krista Doxtator – Seniors’ Health Advocate
Krista is Turtle Clan from Oneida Nation. She studied Nursing at Anishinabek Educational Institute in partnership with St Clair College from 2009-2011. Krista has worked for ParaMed Home Health as a Full Time Visiting Nurse since 2011, and has also worked with Anishinabek Educational Institute on a part-time basis for many years as their Clinical Instructor and Health Programs Liaison. She has provided care to people of all ages and she has experience in many areas of health care, including End of Life Care. Krista is a proud mother of two and she enjoys spending as much time with her family as she can.
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 – Child and Youth Navigator
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.
Kiona Greene – Patient Navigator
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.
Laura Mennen – Registered Practical Nurse
Laura’s native name is Tiqbeque (Spring Water) and she is Turtle Clan from Kettle and Stony Point. She completed her Pre-Health Sciences program at Fanshawe College in 2012, and continued her education to become a Registered Practical Nurse in Hamilton Ontario at Mohawk College with coordination of McMaster University in 2014. Laura has been practicing as an RPN at SOAHAC for 5 years and takes pride in working with our communities. She loves seeing our clients with smiling faces and a healthy outlook on what our future has in store.
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.
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. Miranda Sheppard, MD, CCFP – Family Physician
Dr. Sheppard completed her undergraduate and postgraduate education at Western University and her medical education at the University of Ottawa. She completed her residency in Family Medicine at Western University and has been working in a community-based family medicine practice providing comprehensive care in London since 2009. She is an adjunct professor at Western University an most recently has left the position of Enhanced Skills Site Director for the Obstetrics and Women’s Health Program in London to join SOAHAC. Dr. Sheppard puts an emphasis on patient-centered care, with a goal to improve health outcomes, and a dedication to preventative health care.
June Smith – Medical Administrative Assistant
June is Pike Clan from Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation. She has a college diploma in Medical Office Administration, and prior experience working in a physician’s office, as well as in a walk-in setting. She has been part of a health care expansion where she assisted in setting up two medical offices. Though she loves working, June’s favorite and most rewarding job is as mother to two beautiful children.
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”.
Katrina Thibert, RN(EC), NP-PHC, MN – Nurse Practitioner
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 – Mental Health Counsellor
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.
SOAHAC DENTAL CLINIC TEAM
Christi-Ann Poulette –Integrated Care Manager (see Chippewa for bio)
Dr. John Arapura Daniel – Dentist
Dr. John Arapura Daniel graduated as the second-highest ranking student from dental school in 1999 and completed his Masters in Periodontics in 2002 from India. He is a member of the faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons ( MFDS RCPS) of Glasgow and a member of the Joint Dental Faculties at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (MJDF RCS Eng). He has been a fully licensed General Dental Practitioner in Canada since 2015.
From a young age, John was inspired by his grandparents who were both dentists. He is passionate about delivering individualized patient-centred care, and has a consistent track record in providing evidence-based diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive dental care. In order to enhance the array of services offered, he has kept abreast with the current advances in the field by completing various continuing professional development courses including completion of an intensive one year Dental Implant Maxicourse and is an accredited member of AAID (American Academy of Implant Dentistry). He has completed certification in Oral and Nitrous (happy gas) sedation at the University of Toronto. He is also an accredited Orthodontic Invisalign provider.
John’s multinational experience has enabled him to be better sensitized and equipped to meet the needs and expectations of dental patients from diverse backgrounds. Effective communication with his patients is further enhanced by his fluency in five languages. He believes that dental care should be as pain and stress free as possible and is an integral part of the wholistic wellbeing of an individual. His friendly personality has aided both children and adult patients to feel at ease in the dental chair.
Dr.Daniel has participated in charity dental camps and has enjoyed giving back to the community. He is currently settled with his family in London, Ontario and enjoys music, sports and spending time with his family and friends when away from work.
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.
Aleksandra Dorakovska – Dental Hygienist
Aleksandra’s career path in oral health started 20 years ago. She is an internationally trained dentist, specialist in Orthodontics, who recently moved from Macedonia with her family. Continuing in the dental field here, Aleksandra completed the Dental Hygienist Program at the Southern Ontario Dental College. She has more than 6 years of progressive clinical experience in all areas of dentistry and a strong passion for patient care, oral health promotion, and advocacy in general dentistry and preventative care environments.
OWEN SOUND INTEGRATED CARE TEAM
Dominique-Michelle Legacy, OT Reg. (Ont.) – Integrated Care 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.
Carrie Burke – Medical Administrative Assistant
Carrie is Anishinaabe from Serpent River First Nation and currently resides in Southampton. In 2011, a local Family Physician moved his practice to a smaller office location in the community and hired Carrie as the Medical Administrator. Through the years, the office grew and also became the practice of another Family Physician, and it was there, that she gained most of her medical admin experience. Carrie is passionate about helping others, health; both wholistic and western medicine, and being of service whenever she can. She is a certified Yoga Teacher and is committed to a life long journey of learning her Traditional Ojibway culture and healing knowledge.
Stacey Elder – Registered Practical Nurse (RPN)
Stacey graduated from the RPN program at Georgian College in 2009. She spent three years working in long term care, six and a half years in primary care, and most recently as Clinical Placement Staff teaching PSWs and RPNs at Georgian College. Stacey lives in Owen Sound with her husband and two sons.
Fran Elliott, MSW, RSW – Social Worker
Fran has over 30 years’ experience working with children, youth and families as a Social Worker. She obtained her Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. During the past 30 years, she has worked with First Nations on and off reserve. Fran has extensive experience working with youth within the criminal justice system. She utilizes a variety of treatment modalities such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, trauma informed treatment, attachment and grief and loss. Much of her work has been with youth with dual diagnosis – mental health and addiction. Fran has been a strong advocate for client’s rights within organizations and within the community. She relocated to the Bruce Peninsula in September 2018, loves the outdoors, communing with nature, and is active within the community.
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 – Chronic Disease and Harm Reduction 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.
Dr. Andrew Jeffery – Family Physician
Dr. Andrew is a 5thgeneration settler of Scottish and English descent. He grew up on Manitoulin Island (Mnidoo Mnis), traditional Anishinaabe – Ojibwe lands, and is incredibly grateful to have called such a wonderful place home. He now lives in part of the Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibwe Territory, in the town of Southampton, with his partner Katelin, a physiotherapist and their dog Addie (Adirondack). Dr. Andrew went to high school in M’Chigeeng on the Island, then took Kinesiology at Waterloo University. He attended Medical School in Victoria BC through the University of British Columbia where he worked in an after school program with Tsawout First Nation. He then returned to complete Family Medicine training in Peterborough and worked intermittently up in a clinic on Wahta Mohawk First Nations. Dr. Andrew also completed Emergency Medicine training in Kingston, Ontario. He loves the Owen Sound area for the lakes and shorelines, the woods and hills and the opportunities that they provide. As an active outdoors person, he enjoys canoe/kayaking and biking when the weather is right and Nordic skiing and snowshoeing when the snow comes.
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.
Joann Lameck – Mental Health Counsellor, Nawash
Joann was born and raised in Windsor Ontario. She has a B.A. in Theology as well and a Master’s degree in Counselling. In addition to working for the Naval Reserves for 12 years, she has had many experiences in Mental Health including attending crisis situations including a month in New York City during the 911 crisis. She also has extensive experience in social services including in addiction services, homelessness and family counselling. She has also worked as an ED of 3 shelters and a transitional housing for single parents. In addition, she has taught Psychology and Sociology as well as adult-ed classes. Before joining SOAHAC, she was the Mental Health Counselor on the Witset Reserve in BC. In this capacity she learned learn about Indigenous Traditional Healing and wellness and to worked alongside Indigenous healers, learning about their culture and traditions.
Kelsey Leighton – Transitional Case Manager
Kelsey graduated from the University of Guelph with a bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. From there she became a TESOL qualified teacher and taught English in Italy and South Korea. Kelsey then went back to school and got a diploma in Mental Health and Addictions Worker from Fleming College. Kelsey has previous experience working in the mental health field with children and is excited to expand her scope of practice. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys reading, skating, and spending time with friends and family.
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 – Patient Navigator
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.
Kasandra Smart, RPN – Registered Practical Nurse
Kasandra has been a registered practical nurse since 2006. She has worked previously in geriatrics, addictions and family health teams. In her down time, Kasandra enjoys the company of her husband Brent and trying to keep up with her two daughters who are very spirited.
Karin Stockwell – FASD Coordinator
Karin is a teacher, a nurse, and the mother of two grown sons. She obtained her Bachelor of Science with a focus in two areas: Developmental Biology and Microbiology. She then went on to obtain her Bachelor of Education with additional qualifications in Special Education and has taught students of all ages and abilities, including adults returning to school and young people with learning challenges. In 2011, she went back to school herself, graduating from the RPN program at Georgian College. She has worked as a program nurse in chronic disease management and as a community supports coordinator connecting people with services to empower them to thrive. Together with her education and professional training, she brings compassion and personal experience to her role as FASD Coordinator, supporting individuals with FASD and their families as they navigate this journey.
Vallee Trudeau – 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. She presently resides in Saugeen Shores with her husband, two sons and basset hound.
Tracey Urquhart – Mental Health Counsellor
Tracey brings over 18 years of experience helping people with mental health and addiction concerns, and continues to be inspired by people’s stories and the innate capacity for healing in each of us. She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology, a Bachelor of Education Degree, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Art Therapy. In addition, she completed the Addiction Care worker Diploma through McMaster University. She is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Tracey aims to provide a safe and supportive space for individuals to share their stories, identify personal recovery goals, uncover core values, and improve life balance and wellness. She has expertise in the areas of addictions, mental health, trauma, loss and grief, and stress management. Tracey also enjoys spending time outside with her family and pets.
Elaine Watts, RD, CDE – Dietitian
Elaine is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator holding two Bachelor of Science degrees from University of Guelph and University of Prince Edward Island. After completing her dietetic internship in PEI, Elaine’s light and adventurous spirit took her from one Canadian coast to the other. Elaine has worked in various roles across British Columbia for the past five years. She passionately teaches about the power of food and enjoys supporting people on their journey for wellness. She grew up in Bruce county and feels grateful to return to her roots, family, and friends in Owen Sound area.
Kelsey Young – Nurse Practitioner
Kelsey Young has been working in nursing since 2008 after she graduated from University of Ottawa with a BScN. She worked primarily in forensic psychiatry in Ottawa until she pursued her MN through Athabasca University, where she graduated in March 2017. She has spent the last 3.5 years working in primary care in a rural community setting, including a community funded walk in clinic. She also was responsible for creating and servicing primary care and sexual health care clinics for the Haliburton Youth Wellness Hub. She also has varied experiences in work settings including long term care and home care nursing. In her spare time she enjoys learning new songs on her ukulele, singing and spending time enjoying nature.
WINDSOR INTEGRATED CARE TEAM
Robert Wolfe, EMCA, AEMCA, CEMC – Integrated Care Manager
Robert is a member of the Sagamok First Nation that is located on the north shore of Lake Huron. After completing a 30-year career in paramedicine, 16 years as a Paramedic Chief, he has pivoted and chosen a new career path by joining SOAHAC. Robert operates from a set of core values that align with his personal definition of success, professionalism, and ethical standards. He is passionate about promoting health, safety, and well-being for all persons, especially those who are facing racism and discrimination in the healthcare system. Robert has a strong background in leadership, establishing high standards, developing, implementing and influencing quality assurance initiatives, and improving health care outcomes for people accessing an assortment of medical resources.
Shannon Armstrong, MSW, RSW – Mental Health Counsellor
Shannon Armstrong is a Cree and French belonging to Chapleau Cree First Nation is Northern Ontario. She grew up in the Sudbury region, but has called Windsor home for the last 20 years. Pursuing her Bachelors of Social Work at the University of Windsor, Shannon gained insight required to recognize her gifts and identity as a Cree woman walking in two worlds – and continues to discover her path as an urban native with strong connections to rural native life. Empowered, Shannon participated in advocacy for decolonization of the post-secondary academia systems, encouraged opportunities to create space and recognition of indigenous ways of learning, and for Indigenous representation among leaders within the School of Social Work. While continuing to balance parenting two daughters, Shannon pursued her Master of Social Work at the University of Windsor and is now a registered Social Worker. Shannon is a strong advocate for wholistic mental health supports and enjoys contributing to SOAHAC, an agency whose purpose and mission aligns with her own professional values. Shannon enjoys traveling, learning, and beading.
Connie Leslie – Medical Administrative 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.
Carolyn Lesperance – Medical Administrative Assistant
Carolyn has over ten years’ experience working as a Medical Administrative Assistant in the Windsor-Chatham Kent region. Throughout her career, Carolyn has supported individuals and families across the spectrum of health to meet their wholistic healthcare needs. She has a passion for helping others navigate the health care system and for ensuring clients have a positive health care experience. In her spare time, Carolyn enjoys spending time with her family and being active outdoors.
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.
Mikayla Robertson – Outreach Social Worker for Children and Youth
Mikayla is a Chippewa Woman who grew up in a small town named Sutton, in Northern Ontario. She moved to Windsor in 2015 to attend St. Clair College and obtained a diploma in Child and Youth Care. She recently graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelors degree in Social Work. She has worked with the YMCA of Windsor and Essex for many years as a children’s dance teacher and in a daycare providing support to children in need.
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, BSW, RSW – Family Social Worker
Melissa is a Métis woman who was born and raised in Windsor. She is a mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and auntie. Melissa is a Social Work and Women’s Studies graduate from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating in 2013, she 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.
Sara Williams, RN – Indigenous Transition Facilitator
Sara (Tibjii Ahnkwut – Rolling Clouds) is AnishinaabeKwe from Aamjwnaang First Nation and is from the Fish clan. She is a Master’s prepared Registered Nurse and will be starting her PhD in the fall with a research focus on Indigenous-led health care initiatives at the University of Windsor. She has led the Indigenous vaccination roll-out and administration in partnership with Windsor Regional Hospital and SOAHAC, which has been Federally recognized. Prior to returning to Windsor, Sara worked at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit on the high-risk labour and delivery unit. She has 8 years of experience working with the Indigenous population and is passionate about providing culturally aware care and advocating for health care equity. In her free time she enjoys exercising, meditating and being outdoors with her spouse and 2 German shepherds.
Carlene Wisdom, BEd, BSc, RPN – Registered Practical Nurse
Carlene is a graduate of the University of Windsor, where she obtained degrees in both science and education. She began her teaching career in Windsor Ontario, employed by the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board. In later years, Carlene earned her college diploma as a Registered Practical Nurse, and has been employed in both long-term care and physical rehabilitation settings. She is honoured to begin this new phase of her career at SOAHAC, where she can combine her passions for education and health promotion, in the spirit of wholistic healing.
Brooke Wuerch, NP-PHC – Nurse Practitioner
Brooke has been a Nurse Practitioner with SOAHAC since December 2017. She graduated from the University of Windsor in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and began working as a Registered Nurse in various areas such as neurology, neurosurgery, intensive care and the post anesthetic care unit as well as helping out on all other units when needed. She was also certified as an instructor for the Emergency Nurses Association to teach the Trauma Nursing Care Course to other ICU and ER nurses within Ontario. Brooke decided to return to the University of Windsor to pursue further nursing education and completed a Masters of Nursing – Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner degree, graduating in October 2017.
WATERLOO-WELLINGTON INDIGENOUS HEALTH & WELLNESS INTEGRATED CARE TEAM
Charisse Sayer – Integrated Care Manager
Charisse Sayer (Mashk’ode “Strong Heart”) is Ojibwe Potawatomi Anishinaabe, Marten Clan from Beausoleil First Nation (Christian Island). She is strongly rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing and being and the recovering of Indigenous healing practices, such as language, ancestral knowledge, and land- based teachings. She shares her love for Anishinaabe with her children and grandchild by attending to ceremonies and participating in pow wows and round dances as a family.
Most recent, Charisse worked with Atlohsa Family Healing Services as the Director of Programs. She provided Indigenous-led, strength-based and trauma informed leadership support to the crisis and outreach teams and worked to strengthen community through wholistic healing and wellness programs and services. She has a strong work ethic and strives to establish a supportive and safe working environment for her team. Charisse also worked in a post-secondary environment for many years, coordinating programming for Indigenous graduate-level social work practitioners.
Charisse obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University as well as a Human Resource Management Post-Diploma and Office Administration Diploma from Conestoga College. She is currently a graduate student in the Indigenous Field of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University with intentions to graduate October 2021.
Charisse was born and raised in the Wellington-Waterloo region. She has volunteered and worked for Indigenous urban community agencies in the Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph areas for over 25 years, as well as with her First Nation community on Christian Island. She brings strong leadership and facilitation skills, Indigenous programming knowledge and a passion for community-based development. She is excited for the opportunity to work with the SOAHAC team in her community and strongly believes access to integrated health care will complement the existing supports in the Wellington-Waterloo region for the First Nation, Inuit, and Metis community.
Carrie is 5th generation settler of Scottish, Irish, English, and Welsh descent. She leads with her heart and walks with a deep respect for Indigenous ways of seeing and knowing. She brings more than 20 years of community-based experience working with youth and families. She is grateful for the many teachers who have guided her within her role as a helper. Over the course of many years of dedicated learning, Carrie has established a unique skill set for offering wholistic, trauma informed, mindfulness practices in a variety of spaces. Carrie is a Registered Social Worker with a Master’s degree in Social Work, in an Indigenous Field of Study, from Wilfrid Laurier University. Carrie completed her post graduate studies on Manitoulin Island, M’Chigeeng First Nation. Her passion for social justice and anti-oppressive ideology motivates her not only as a Social Worker, but also as a mother. Carrie feels most happy and connected when she is spending time with her family outdoors. She is honoured to be a part of the SOAHAC team.
Tamie Coleman Dell – Systems Navigation Worker
Tamie comes from a mixed heritage of Aniyvwiya, Catawba, and Irish. Her graduate work was in an effort to become a part of healing solutions for the Original peoples in the local regions. Tamie’s graduate research was inspired by the Idle No More efforts where she concentrated on Contemporary Indigenous resistance allowing her to reveal how Indigenous laws guide resistance and how modern resistance has brought about a return to women’s traditional roles as community leaders before colonization. She is a drum carrier and believes strongly in the drums ability to bring healing to the Original people of Turtle Island. As a drum carrier she feels the responsibility to strongly advocate for the protection of the lands and waters of Turtle Island so that these resources will be available for the next seven generations.
Tamie’s experience includes working with Original people of Turtle Island involved in the criminal justice system, as well as those facing homelessness, addictions, mental health challenges, and physical health concerns. Her work history also includes court advocacy for families that have children with complex medical needs involved with child protective services in both the United States and Canada. Tamie also dedicates much time to volunteering for matters that she is passionate about and are important to her.
Kim Hanlon – Medical Administrative Assistant
Kim graduated from the Social Services program at Conestoga College. She has spent over 15 years providing street level outreach support to individuals experiencing homelessness, addiction, mental and physical health issues in the Waterloo Region. Kim is an intersectional feminist who is passionate about making meaningful connections with community, harm reduction, inclusion, resiliency, anti-oppressive practices and low barrier access to health care. She enjoys dancing, music, connecting with nature, playing bass, spending time with her kids and cooking.
Rachel Radyk – Patient Navigator
Rachel is a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island and joined the SOAHAC team in February 2021. Rachel is a Registered Practical Nurse and obtained her diploma from Conestoga College. She holds a BA in communications from Carleton University, and her BScN from Ontario Tech University. Rachel has been working as a Registered Practical Nurse since 2018. She has experience working in both the hospital and community settings. Rachel has a passion for Indigenous health and working within Indigenous communities. On Rachel’s spare time she presents webinars on various health topics to provide health teaching and health promotion to Indigenous populations.
DELAWARE NATION AT MORAVIANTOWN (Outreach Services)
Dr. Chintan Shah – Physician
Brooke Wuerch – Nurse Practitioner
Rhonda Doxtator – Mental Health Counsellor
Rhonda is a counsellor with over 20 years’ experience, supporting Oneida students both on and off-reserve. Over her career, she has facilitated groups and various programs for children, young adults, individuals and families. Respect, trust and empathy are the foundation of her practice. Rhonda is a devoted mother to six children.
AAMJIWNAANG (Outreach Services)
Jessica Szmiett, RN – Registered Nurse
SOAHAC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Our Board of Directors includes representatives from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Delaware First Nation at Moraviantown, Oneida Nation of the Thames, Saugeen First Nation, Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, N’Amerind Friendship Centre, Atlohsa Family Healing Services, Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, the Canadian Métis Council and community members.
Leo Hopkins, Chair
Diane Sullivan, Treasurer
Laurel Day, Secretary
Martha Albert, Elder Shirley Honyust, Director Kim Fisher, Director