Who We Are - Management Team and Research Staff

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Managing Director

Janis Geary, PhD
Managing Director

Janis joined the team as a research assistant in November 2007. Her first project, funded by a Northern Scientific Training Grant, aimed to identify effective strategies for communication between the research team and project participants. She coordinated the production of "Never Say Die: The Aklavik H. pylori Project Documentary". Janis became the CANHelp Working Group's first project manager, and she played a fundamental role in developing the CANHelp research program, cultivating collaborative links with community partners, organizing databases, applying for grants and directing student projects. At present she oversees our overall research management, and directs the development of research agreements with community partners. She holds a BSc Honors in Microbiology from the University of Manitoba, a MSc in Global Health from the University of Alberta, and completed her PhD in Public Health Sciences at the School of Public Health under the supervision of Drs. Tania Bubela and Cindy Jardine, focusing on science policy.

Born in Winnipeg, Janis grew up in Sanford, Manitoba.
 

Management Leads

Hsiu-Ju Chang, MSc
Research Management Lead

Hsiu-Ju joined the team in March 2011 as data manager. She currently directs the administrative and data management dimensions of our research. Hsiu-Ju completed undergraduate degrees in Public Health and Life Sciences at the National Taiwan University. She holds a MSc in Epidemiology from the University of Alberta School of Public Health. Born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, Hsiu-Ju moved to Canada in 2007. Since then, she has been learning about the very different weather, landscapes, and cultures in North America and having fun just exploring.
 
Laura Aplin

Laura McAlpine, MSc
Community Projects Lead

Since joining the team in March 2010, Laura has had varied responsibilities, including data cleaning and analysis, data collection in Aklavik and Old Crow, and coordinating field work in Old Crow, Tuktoyaktuk and Fort McPherson. She helped launch the Old Crow project, starting with community input workshops. Laura enjoyed living and working in Old Crow in 2011, and is thrilled that residents of Old Crow were so enthusiastic about the work that is being done there. In her words, “It was an absolute privilege to live and work in Old Crow during that time. I couldn’t have asked for a better job than the one I have with the CANHelp Working Group." Laura was our Fieldwork Management Lead in 2012, when she traveled to Fort McPherson for the launch of the Fort McPherson project. In 2013, her role expanded to Community Projects Lead. Laura holds a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia and a MSc in Global Health from the University of Alberta. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Laura moved numerous times while growing up but was primarily raised in Nanaimo (Vancouver Island), British Columbia.
 
Amy-Colquhoun

Amy Colquhoun, MSc
Knowledge Translation Lead

Amy began working on her PhD in Epidemiology at the School of Public Health under Dr. Goodman's supervision in September 2010. She has taken on a variety of roles within the team and now directs our knowledge translation work. Amy earned a 2012 Vanier Graduate Scholarship to conduct dissertation research on whether conventional epidemiologic measures of disease burden match how those affected by the diseases in question experience this burden. She holds an MSc in Physiology from Queen’s University and has professional experience in public health surveillance, including work with the Cancer Surveillance Department of Alberta Health Services and with Epidemiology and Surveillance of Alberta Health. She was born and raised in southern Ontario and spent a few years working and travelling throughout Asia. In her spare time, Amy is usually found outside--running, hiking, snowboarding, or cross-country skiing. 
 

Emily Walker, MSc
Data Dissemination Lead

Emily began working on her MSc in Epidemiology at the School of Public Health in 2010. She joined the team in July 2011, as a student under Dr. Goodman's supervision. In 2011 and 2012, she was awarded a MSc studentship from the Nasivvik Centre for Inuit Health and Changing Environments and a Northern Scientific Training Grant to support her fieldwork. She completed the MSc and began PhD studies in the Department of Medicine in 2013. Emily was Fieldwork Coordinator for the ISR H. pylori Project in Tuktoyaktuk and traveled to Fort McPherson for the project launch there. Currently, she directs the dissemination of CANHelp Working Group research results. Emily received her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in the fields of Anthropology, Biology, and Health Studies. During summers she worked as a tree planter in northern Canada with Sydney, her Australian Shepherd. Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, she loves to hike, especially in the mountains whenever she can, and enjoys camping. She also loves playing the piano, which she does with exceptional talent.
 

Katharine Fagan-Garcia, MSc
Data Quality Lead

Katharine joined the team as a research assistant in August 2010. She is currently working to ensure all data for the CANHelp Working Group is accurate and complete, and carries out various data analyses. She has presented at conferences, and has participated in field work in Tuktoyaktuk. Katharine holds an Honours Bachelor of Medical Science from the University of Western Ontario, a MSc in Virology from the University of Alberta, and has recently completed her MSc in Epidemiology via distance studies with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Born in Toronto, she lived in Calgary and Vancouver during most of her childhood, then moved back to Toronto, from where she currently telecommutes. Katharine has travelled extensively in Central America and the Caribbean, and she has also visited Asia and Africa. When not working, Katharine's two energetic young children keep her very busy.
 

Sally Carraher, PhD 
Ethnographic Fieldwork Lead

Sally joined the team in 2010, as a research trainee and a PhD candidate in Health Anthropology at McMaster Univerity. She conducted her dissertation research in Aklavik, NWT during September 2011-June, 2012. During that time, she worked daily with the Aklavik Health Committee, local nurses and health centre staff, and members of the community to conduct a follow-up study of H. pylori infection and re-infection in project participants, and ethnographic research on local perceptions of H. pylori, stomach cancer, and risk. Sally became our Ethnographic Fieldwork Lead in 2013, a position she hopes will get her back “in the field” often, working directly with community members, as that is her favorite part of the job! Sally now oversees the planning and implementation of ethnographic research in CANHelp Working Group projects, instructing research trainees and field researchers hired from communities in qualitative research methods, and working with the other Management Leads to develop culturally-appropriate knowledge translation and data dissemination materials. When she’s not working, Sally is usually hiking, biking, berry-picking, or skiing in the Chugach mountains near her home in Anchorage, Alaska.
 
Amy-Colquhoun

Arianna Waye, PhD
Policy Analysis Lead

Arianna joined the team as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2013. She holds a PhD in Medicine, specializing in Health Economics, from the University of Alberta. As Policy Lead for the CANHelp working group, she will be working alongside governments in both the NWT and the Yukon to examine the cost and health benefits of treatment aimed at eliminating H. pylori, along with helping identify potentially cost-effective policy alternatives for management of this infection. While working with the CANHelp team, Arianna also works as a Health Economist at the Institute of Health Economics where she conducts economic analyses for healthcare policy makers and industry. 
 
Amy-Colquhoun

Ali Assi, MD MPH
Community Engagement Lead

Ali joined the team in September 2015 as Acting Community Projects Lead. In November 2016, Ali acquired the role of Community Engagement Lead, working with a diverse group of collaborators, including northern community representatives, community governance leaders, health care providers and health officials, to facilitate the engagement of all stakeholders in the research program. Ali earned his doctor of medicine in 2013, and in 2015, he graduated with a master of public health in global health from the University of Alberta. Previously, he has extensively volunteered with a number of non-governmental organizations and social groups, including the Red Cross, Student Health Initiative for the Needs of Edmonton, and iHuman Youth Society. During his time at the university, Ali co-founded the UAlberta Jericho Project, an initiative that promotes the importance of mental well-being in student health at the School of Public Health. Ali's research and work interests lie in the dynamics of health and its social determinants among marginalized communities and those experiencing barriers to resources including refugees and immigrants. Ali likes to sing, travel, and learn new languages (he is currently proficient in English, French, Arabic and Russian). 
 

Megan Highet, PhD
Qualitative Research Lead

Upon completing her Ph.D. in Anthropology with a focus on the social construction of community and wellbeing in Northern boomtowns in January 2015, Megan joined the team in August of the same year as a postdoctoral fellow. Megan will be contributing a medical anthropological perspective to exploring the relationship between water, culture, and health in the North, specifically exploring how social patterns of water use and consumption impact health outcomes from H. pylori infection in the Canadian North. Megan was raised in Edmonton but fell in love with the North during her master’s research (completed at the University of Manitoba), which gave her the opportunity to spend several weeks in the Yukon Territory carrying out archival-based research on differential morbidity and mortality trends from infectious diseases among the Klondike Gold Rushers. Megan also teaches as an instructor within the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. When she is not working, her hobbies include; traveling as often as possible, working on stained and blown glass craft projects, skiing with her family, and playing roller derby.

 

Doug Quilty, PhD
Lab Sciences Lead

Northern Health Research Consultant

Kathy Gilmore NP, MN

Kathy Gilmore NP, MN

Kathy has worked on the front line of healthcare in the North for almost 20 years, most recently as a Nurse Practitioner in Inuvik. She completed her Masters in Nursing in Yellowknife, through Dalhousie University. Joining the team in October 2015, Kathy looks forward to being the on-the-ground person in new and ongoing H. pylori projects in the Beaufort-Delta communities. When not working, she can be seen skiing, paddling, and playing the ukelele.  
 

Research Partnership Coordinator

Spencer Edelman

Spencer was born and raised in the Yukon and currently is employed by the Yukon Government to help facilitate H. pylori work in the Territory. Spencer holds a MSC in Health Sciences for his thesis - The Residential School Settlement with Yukon First Nation Survivors: A Positive Form of Relationship Renewal? As a cancer survivor, Spencer was previously employed by the Council of Yukon First Nations where he helped lead a cancer project to help Yukon First Nation in their cancer journey through education, tool and resource development etc. In his free time, Spencer enjoys spending time with his family, participating in canoe races and fishing
 

Research Activity Coordinators 

 

Amrit Passi

Amrit joined the CANHelp Working Group in 2016 when he began his MSc in Clinical Epidemiology at the School of Public Health under the supervision of Dr. Karen Goodman and Dr. Nicholas Ashbolt. He coordinates activities for laboratory-based projects, including a validation study of histopathology stains for detecting H. pylori. In collaboration with Dr. Ashbolt’s laboratory group, his thesis project aims to investigate whether H. pylori form part of biofilms present in household plumbing. He holds a BSc in Medical Laboratory Science from the University of Alberta and is excited to bring his past experience as an apprentice plumber to his research. Amrit is an avid long distance runner and has taken the plunge into ultramarathon running since joining the group.
 

Data Analysts

Lab Techs

 

Homun Yee

Homun is a research assistant in Dr. Keelan's laboratory. He joined the CANHelp Working group in the summer of 2014 as a summer research student, where he investigated the antimicrobial properties of liposomes towards H. pylori. Homun is currently optimizing PCR conditions to determine the lowest limit of detection of H. pylori in water samples.
 

Research Assistants

Laura Aplin

Skye Russell

Skye is currently in her second year at the University of Alberta pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology and a minor in Psychology. Skye joined the team in May 2015 as a summer student working on a literature review with Amy Colquhoun. The literature review investigated the use of participatory art projects in community-driven research for engagement and education. Currently, Skye is a research assistant analyzing breath samples and working on data entry for the urea breath test validation study. As a member of the University of Alberta Cross Country and Track & Field teams, Skye spends her time training and traveling across the country to compete in inter-university sport. 

Laura Aplin

Shelly Jun

Shelly joined the team as a summer student in 2015. As part of her work with the team, Shelly travelled to Tuktoyaktuk, NT to complete medical chart reviews in May-June 2015. Her summer research project will supplement the development of cost-effective healthcare policy recommendations. Having just finished her undergraduate studies majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Arts Psychology, Shelly is currently pursuing a MSc in Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. Shelly has a deep passion for global outreach, and has dedicated her past summers travelling to Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Haiti, and Guyana.
 
Laura Aplin

 

Taylor Cromarty

Taylor began working on her MSc in Epidemiology under Dr. Goodman's supervision in 2016, and joined the team as a research assistant shortly afterward. Her research project will investigate the effect of food security on the outcomes of H. pylori infection in participating CANHelp community projects. Born and raised in Edmonton, Taylor graduated from the University of Alberta in 2015 with a BSc in Biology and a minor in English on the Dean's honour roll. In her spare time, she enjoys sketching and reading on the deck in the company of her gentle old cat, Mia. 
 

Administrative Assistant

Nuha Soliman

Nuha Soliman

Nuha is in her final year at the University of Alberta School of Business, pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce, with a major in Human Resources Management. She recently began working as an administrative assistant for the CANHelp Working Group this May 2016 where she overlooks and manages various financial, travel, and management aspects of the group. Nuha is passionate about community involvement both on and off campus and is currently involved in several student clubs, serving on the executive teams of the Alberta Energy Challenge, Enactus, Sponsoring Orphans Worldwide, and Islamic Relief's UofA chapter.

Fieldwork Staff

Aklavik

Charmane Elanik
Joanna Hartley
Sally Kasook
Trevor McNutt
Kiera Smith
Heather Stewart
Evelyn Wilson

Old Crow

Christine Creyke
Crystal Frost
Brandy Tizya

Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Christine Creyke
Maricon Higalgo
Moritz Schmidt

Fort McPherson

Mariah Koe-Peterson
Donna Koe
Dorothy Koe
Ruby Koe
Robilee Koe

Endoscopy Crew

Aklavik Endoscopy Crew, 2008

Alberta endoscopists: Robert Bailey; Justin Cheung; Richard Fedorak; Sander van Zanten; Mario Millan
NWT endoscopists: John Morse; Tom Guzowski
Inuvik clinical personnel: Leah Seaman; Louie Goose
UA Hospital nurses: Leanne Ellis (charge nurse); Cinnamon Landhausser; Paula Ledsham; Louise Steffan
Royal Alexandra Hospital nurses: Brenda Holowaty (manager); Jennifer Antonio; Sheila Berrisford; Kathy Korner
UAH/RAH endoscopy service aids: Tamara Bangs; Tammy Church; Shada Naidu; Austin Babb
Olympus technical support team: Peter Bresee; Dale Kennedy

Old Crow Endoscopy Crew, 2012

Endoscopists: Sander van Zanten; John Morse; Amy Morse
Misericordia Hospital nurses: Lucie Greffard-Aubin
Royal Alexandra Hospital nurses: Jennifer Antonio; Sheila Berrisford
UAH/RAH endoscopy service aids: Michael Venables; Shada Naidu; Erasmo Sousa
Olympus technical support team: Peter Bresee

Fort McPherson Endoscopy Crew, 2013

Endoscopists: Sander van Zanten; Amy Morse; Adriana Lazarescu
Misericordia Hospital nurses: Mandi Johnson
Royal Alexandra Hospital nurses: Mandy Durant; Louise Roeleveld
UAH/RAH endoscopy service aids: Michael Venables; Shada Naidu; Darryl Kaluzniak
Olympus technical support team: Peter Bresee

Aklavik Endoscopy Crew, 2017

Endoscopists: Sander van Zanten; Amy Morse; John Morse; Mark Prins; Ryan Falk;
Aklavik nurse practitioner: Rachel Munday
UAH/RAH nurses: Sheila Berrisford, Alexis Fisher, Dan Marlow
Reprocessing technicians: Darryl Kaluzniak; Michael Venables

Former Staff

Katie Tweedie, MPH
Research Assistant, 2008-2011

Katie joined the team as a summer student in 2008. In August 2008 she enjoyed a short visit to Aklavik to perform the initial round of chart reviews after creating our chart review instrument. Later, while completing her MPH degree at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, she performed a demographic analysis of the study population, and carried out her MPH capstone project on an analysis of associations between diet and H. pylori infection in Aklavik. At present, she is a Research Associate in Women's Health for the Fraser Health Authority in Vancouver.

Ashley Wynne, MSc
Fieldwork Coordinator, 2010-2012

Ashley joined the team in January 2010 and spent several weeks conducting field work in Aklavik during the summers of 2010 and 2011. Ashley helped train the field team for the pilot project in Tuktoyaktuk, where she helped the field team weather a blizzard while supervising the project launch. She was awarded a Northern Scientific Training Grant to carry out a project focused on the development of a form for collecting accurate data from health centre records. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science from McGill University with a major in Biology and minors in Anthropology and French and a MSc in Global Health from the University of Alberta. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, with extended visits with family in Ireland, Ashley loves outdoor sports like canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and rock climbing. She has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. At present, she is a medical student at McGill University in Montreal

Megan Lefebvre, MSc
Administration Coordinator, 2010-2012

Megan joined the team as accounts coordinator and data analyst in August 2010. She has carried out analyses of dietary risk factors for severe gastritis in Aklavik, and was awarded a Northern Scientific Training Grant for a project focused on H. pylori treatment. She holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia, a MSc in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Alberta, and is currently a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at the School of Public Health. Born in Vancouver, Megan was raised in White Rock, British Columbia. She has lived abroad for 1 year each in Wollongong, Australia and Taipei, Taiwan. A competitive swimmer at the national level from ages 13-17, she was a member of the varsity cross-country running team during her undergrad years at UBC and is currently a competitive 1/2 marathon and marathon road runner. At present, she is a PhD-Epidemiology candidate in the University of Alberta Department of Public Health Sciences.

Monica Sierra, PhD
Fieldwork Coordinator, 2012

Monica began her postdoctoral fellowship with the team in May 2012. She traveled to the NWT in June 2012 to assist with the launch of the Fort McPherson H. pylori Project. Monica studied Biology at the University of Cauca in Colombia. She completed MS and PhD degrees in Epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. Her PhD thesis focused on the association of H. pylori infection with diarrheal and parasitic diseases in a cohort of children in the Andean region of Colombia. Monical grew up near the equator (far from the circumpolar north) in Colombia, born in Cali and raised in Popayan. Monica is a competitive marathon runner. At present, she is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

Kristina Lea
Research Assistant, 2012-2013

Kristina is currently completing her third year of her undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Science, majoring in biological sciences and minoring in science psychology. She has spent the past two years as a summer student for the CANHelp Working Group. In this time she has also worked in Dr. Monika Keelan's microbiology lab running susceptibility tests. Last summer she enjoyed the experience of travelling to Fort McPherson, NWT to collect urea breath test samples for her research project, which examined the ideal wait time for sampling. Kristina likes to spend her free time crafting, playing sports and spending time with friends and family. 

Laura Aplin

Megan Burlet
Lab Technologist, 2008-2014

Megan joined the team in 2008 as a summer student under the supervision of CANHelp Working Group microbiologist Monika Keelan, performing antimicrobial susceptibility testing of H. pylori isolated from Aklavik project participants. In 2009, she worked on another summer student project involving the molecular typing of virulence genes of Aklavik H. pylori isolates. From 2010-2011 she completed an Honours in Research project focused on molecular DNA typing of Aklavik H. pylori isolates. Following this, she graduated from the University of Alberta in 2011 with a BSc in Medical Laboratory Science with Distinction and Honours in Research. She spent an additional summer after graduation working on the urease activity of Aklavik H. pylori isolates. Megan resumed her work with the CANHelp Working Group when she became a PhD student in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in January 2013. 

Laura Aplin

Maysoon Mahmoud, PhD
Lab Technologist, 2008-2015

Maysoon is a PhD graduate from the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. She began her program in September 2008 supervised by Dr. Keelan. Her background includes her BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences which she completed in 1999 and her MSc in Microbiology which she completed in 2004. Her PhD work included investigation of genotypic features of Aklavik H. pylori isolates and exploring new treatment strategies for H. pylori eradication.
Laura Aplin

Mikaela Burgos, MSc
Research Assistant, 2015-2016

Mikaela joined the team upon entering her PhD in Counselling Psychology in September 2015 at the University of Alberta. She currently works as a research assistant investigating current health care practices and patterns of care pertaining to H. pylori infection and related disease in the Northwest Territories and Yukon. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at York University and her Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of Western Ontario. In her spare time, Mikaela enjoys martial arts and hiking through trails.  

Laura Aplin

Hamna Tariq
Administrative Assistant, 2012-2016

Hamna is currently in her second year of pursuing a Bachelor of Science in the Department of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences with a major in nutrition. She first began working with the CANHelp Working Group in 2011 and 2012 as a summer research student and became an admin assistant in September 2012. She overlooks and manages various financial and management aspects of the group. When not preoccupied with work or school, she loves to spend her time with family and friends, traveling and dabbling in photography.
Laura Aplin

Jenny Ma
Research Assistant, 2014-2016

Jenny is currently in her third year at the University of Alberta pursuing a Bachelor of Science with specialization in Cell Biology. She joined the team in May 2014 as a summer student. That summer, she worked on a literature review to estimate the burden of gastric cancer and travelled to two northern Aboriginal communities for fieldwork. Currently, Jenny works as a research assistant for the urea breath test validation study. She aims to confirm study protocols by determining the accuracy of reduced urea dose and optimal breath sample collection time.
 

Laura Aplin

Megan Lukasewich, MSc
Fieldwork Coordinator, 2015-2016

Upon completing her MSc in Health Promotion at the School of Public Health, Megan joined the team in March 2015. For her masters work she partnered with Indigenous high school aged youth to explore the impact of community based participatory research processes for the youth. She is particularly interested in how to engage Indigneous youth to become change agents and health promoters in their communities. She also has experience working in primary care and chronic disease prevention and screening in the Northwest Territories and has worked with Indigneous populations in the areas of nutritional epidemiology and food security. She has an undergraduate degree in Physical Education with a specialization in activity and nutrition from the University of Alberta. When Megan is not busy working away on the computer she enjoys yoga and partaking in outdoors activities such as hiking or mountain biking. One of her greatest passions is travelling to meet people and explore new places and cultures.

 

Sabrina Lakhani
Community Partnerships Coordinator, NWT, 2014-2016

Laura Aplin

Kate Williams, MSc
Data Analyst, 2010-2017

Kate began her MSc in Epidemiology under Dr. Goodman’s supervision at the School of Public Health in September 2013 and graduated in September 2016. She first joined the team during the summer of 2011 when she completed a co-op requirement for her undergraduate degree under both Dr. Keelan’s and Dr. Goodman’s supervision. She returned in May 2013 to complete a undergraduate research project before begining her graduate studies in the fall of that year. Her MSc project aimed to investigate the effect of antibiotic exposure on the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant H. pylori infection and the incidence of anti-H. pylori treatment failure among participants of CANHelp community projects. In her spare time, Kate enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding and playing the guitar.
Laura Aplin

Richelle Redekop, MSc MLT
Lab Sciences Lead, 2014-2017

Richelle joined the CANHelp Working Group in 2014 as Laboratory Manager after completing her MSc in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology from the University of Alberta. Initially trained as a Medical Laboratory Technologist (BSc 2010) she also works in transfusion medicine at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and has previously worked in clinical microbiology, molecular microbiology and molecular pathology laboratories. She has recently developed an interest in bioinformatics and is currently working on expanding her knowledge in the field. She was born and raised on a farm in south-central Alberta and still prefers the rural lifestyle. In her spare time, Richelle enjoys riding her motorcycle, snowboarding, Muay Thai, hiking, and entertaining her exceptionally needy great pyrenees. Now that she has completed her degree she hopes to spend a lot more time traveling.