Team Members & Collaborators

Sharon Rudderham (Co-Principal Investigator)
Sharon Rudderham is the Director of Health Transformation at Tajikeimɨk Mi’kmaw Health and Wellness and the former Health Director of the Eskasoni Community Health Centre on Cape Breton Island. Sharon was a member of the Nova Scotia Tribal Council and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, and has been involved with the Assembly of First Nations. She served as a member of the Nova Scotia Provincial Health Council, and has been instrumental in the development of the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Client Linkage Registry (a collaborative health care database for the Mi’kmaq communities of Nova Scotia). She is responsible for all aspects of the ACHH Initiative, and provides leadership from an Indigenous knowledge perspective.

Dr. Margot Latimer RN, PhD (Co-Principal Investigator)
Dr. Margot Latimer is a Professor in the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and is cross-appointed in the Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University. She is the CIHR Nursing Chair in Indigenous Health Research at Dalhousie University and holds a scientific appointment at the IWK Health Centre, in addition to being faculty in the IWK Centre for Pediatric Pain Research. She works closely with communities and students to mobilize Indigenous knowledge and operates from a Two-Eyed Seeing perspective which aims to incorporate the best of both Indigenous and Western ways.

Dr. G. Allen Finley, MD FRCPC FAAP (Co-Investigator)
Dr. Allen Finley is a pediatric anesthesiologist and an internationally-recognized expert in pediatric pain research and culturally-diverse environments. Dr. Finley holds the Dr. Stewart Wenning Chair Endowed Chair in Pediatric Pain Management at the IWK Health, is the Director of the IWK Complex Pain Clinic and is a Professor of Anesthesia and Psychology at Dalhousie University. His research interests are pain management and treatment for children both nationally and internationally. Dr. Finley participates in the qualitative analysis and interpretation in the ACHH Initiative and provides the team with expert knowledge on pediatric pain management.

Daphne Hutt-MacLeod (Co-Investigator)
Daphne Hutt-MacLeod is a registered psychologist and the Mental Health Director for the Eskasoni Community Health Centre. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her Master of Arts in School Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University. Daphne has worked with First Nation children and youth for over 25 years and volunteers with many community projects and committees including the Eskasoni Health Advisory Board and the Nova Scotia Mental Health Strategic Planning Committee. Daphne contributes to the implementation of community-based data collection, analysis and facilitation of the knowledge sharing strategies within the ACHH Initiative.

Kara PaulKara Paul (Co-Investigator)
Kara Paul is from Eskasoni First Nation. Kara completed her undergraduate Biology degree at Acadia University before enrolling in the Aboriginal Health Enrichment Pilot at Dalhousie University. She graduated in 2009 and continued to work at Dalhousie University as the Director of the Aboriginal Health Sciences Initiative Program.  She has extensive experience working with Indigenous youth interested in choosing health sciences careers. Kara will be invaluable in the analysis of the ACHH Initiative stories and art qualitative data, and the development of the web-based learning modules for pre-and post licensure clinicians.

Alan Syliboy (Collaborator)
Alan Syliboy is an internationally recognized Mi’kmaq artist from the Millbrook First Nation in Nova Scotia. He attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) and studied under Maliseet artist, Shirley Bear. Mr. Syliboy has illustrated books, developed a coin for the Canadian Mint and developed a 30-metre long mural for the Vancouver Olympic Committee. Alan is also a musician and the owner of “Red Crane Studios” in Truro, NS.

Alan is a collaborator on this project and facilitated the pain and hurt art sessions in each of the participating communities. Click here to see Alan’s website, including an online gallery of his work.

Dale Sheppard (Collaborator)
Dale Sheppard is the Curator of Education and Public Programs at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Dale is a Collaborator on this project and has provided the team with expertise and guidance on materials, children’s programming and art exhibiting.


John R Sylliboy (Community Research Project Coordinator)
John R Sylliboy is the Community Research Program Coordinator for the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative. John is from Millbrook Mi’kmaw Community and resides in Halifax. He graduated in International Relations from Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica. John worked over 15  years in Costa Rica, Washington, DC, and Colombia in education, youth leadership and community development.

In 2007, John returned to Mi’kma’ki to work with Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Secretariat (APCFNC) as coordinator of Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI) to develop strategies to promote health human resources in health care and post-secondary education in Atlantic Canada. In addition he has worked for Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program (AAEDIRP) as well as Mount Saint Vincent University. John graduated Mount Saint Vincent University in MAEd in Educational Foundations and is currently enrolled in McGill University as a PhD candidate.

Emily MacLeod (Research Program Manager)
Emily MacLeod is the Research Program Manager for the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative. She has worked in the coordination and management of various research studies at IWK Health for over 10 years. She has worked on studies across a variety of healthcare sectors including NICUs, Public Health Nursing, patient advocacy and Indigenous focused healthcare needs. Originally from Cape Breton, Emily completed her undergraduate Psychology degree at Cape Breton University (2002) and continued her graduate schooling at Mount Saint Vincent University, completing her Master of Arts (Child & Youth Study) degree in 2007. Emily is responsible for the coordination and administration of all ACHH Initiative projects and grants.

Courtney Pennell (Research Nurse/Project Coordinator)
Courtney Pennell is a Registered Nurse (RN, BScN) of mixed Mi’kmaq ancestry of Acadia First Nation. Courtney is the Indigenous Health Consultant for IWK Health and also began conducted research in February of 2020 after her passion for improving Indigenous health care was recognized while attending a research summit.

For her research, Courtney consults with Indigenous children and youth to find out why their health concerns are statistically under-addressed in the healthcare system, specifically about their experience with treating pain and hurt. Courtney coordinates this project with the ACHH Initiative and translates the knowledge found into meaningful ways that IWK Health can better serve these populations.

Courtney’s current research has reignited her passion to help Indigenous communities. As of May 2020, she is now also studying to obtain her Masters of Science in Nursing, a move that she believes will help maximize her potential in creating meaningful is what keeps her devoted and driven.

Tara Hatfield (Research Nurse/Project Coordinator)
Tara is a Research Nurse Coordinator at IWK Health with a career spanning more than three decades and encompassing both clinical and research roles. Her professional journey has been dedicated to children’s health issues and an unwavering commitment to discovering optimal care practices through evidence-based research.

Tara’s has worked with the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing (ACHH) team since its inception working on a range of projects with varying, invaluable, behind-the scenes roles and administrative support. Tara considers it an honor to work alongside ACHH’s collective group of Indigenous health researchers who continuously advocate for enhanced healthcare services for Indigenous children.

Julie Francis (Community Research Nurse & MN Student)
Julie Francis is a Registered Nurse from Eskasoni First Nation. Julie completed her nursing education at Saint Francis Xavier University and now works as the Community Health Nurse at Eskasoni Community Health Centre. She is also the Community Research Nurse for the ACHH Initiative. Currently, Julie is enrolled as a part-time student in the Nursing Program, Master of Science at Dalhousie University. Julie provides the project with expertise regarding the health care needs of First Nations children and youth as well as the training needs of health care professionals working with First Nations families. Check out Julie’s Nurse’s To Know article in Canadian Nurse.

Athanasius Sylliboy, “Tanas” (Community Nurse Research Assistant)
Athanasius Sylliboy “Tanas” is a Mi’kmaq Registered Nurse from Eskasoni First Nation. Tanas received his nursing education at Cape Breton University becoming one of the first two Mi’kmaq male graduates to complete their program. Tanas’ primary nursing background is both adult and pediatric emergency / critical care in various departments across Nova Scotia.

Tanas is currently working as a Clinical Researcher for the ACHH Initiative. His area of interest includes bridging gaps in healthcare for marginalized populations through health advocacy and collaboration. He provides the team with knowledge of working with pediatric patients and First Nation populations in both acute care and primary care settings. Tanas is currently enrolled in the Master of Nursing: Nurse Practitioner program at Dalhousie University.

Leah Carrier (Doctoral Student)
Leah Carrier is a Niitsítapi (Blackfoot) Registered Nurse and Research Assistant with the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Saint Francis Xavier University in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Dalhousie University in 2018. She is currently enrolled in the PhD in Nursing program at Dalhousie University. Her research and clinical interests include Indigenous child and youth health, pain, mental health, and the educational and professional development experiences of Indigenous nurses.

Katie Gloade (Doctoral Student)
Katie Gloade is a second year PhD Health student at Dalhousie University and originally from Millbrook First Nation. She completed a Bachelor of Science at Saint Francis Xavier University before completing a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education and a Master of Education in Educational Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University. Katie has worked in the public school system at the high school level both in the classroom and as a school counsellor for over a decade. She completed a Master of Education in Counselling in 2015 and has an interest in the effects of Intergenerational Trauma. Katie’s research interests include Mi’kmaq children’s experiences in their early years of schooling, specifically the ways in which they are assessed and how chronic pain conditions affect their ability to learn.

Carolyn P. Gaspar (PhD Candidate)
Carolyn is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. She completed a Master of Science in Health Sciences from the University of Saskatchewan and an Honors Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Specialized Honors from Lakehead University.

Her research areas span healthy system improvement/design, health equity, co-development of youth empowerment programs, community-driven research, system changes, and community development through authentic engagement. She primarily focuses on Indigenous health and social issues in Canada in collaboration with and driven by Indigenous communities/youth. She is currently working in measuring the effectiveness of anti-oppression education on non-Indigenous Canadians’ attitudes and casual beliefs towards Indigenous Peoples in Canada to inform the development of health professionals curriculum, addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.

Dawn Googoo (Registered Nurse)
Dawn is a Registered Nurse, wife, and mother. She is a Mi’kmaq woman from U’nama’kik (Cape Breton). Her community is We’koqma’q First Nation. Dawn is also a veteran that served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 15 years as a Med Tech. She graduated nursing from St. Francis Xavier University with a BScN. She has always had a passion to help others succeed and has mentored many students while in school. As a nurse, she quickly realized the need to increase knowledge about our culture in the health profession and its institute. Also, that there is a great need for more Indigenous nurses. She is currently doing her Master of Nursing, working towards learning the gaps and how to support and engage others into the nursing profession.

Clare Heggie (Research Assistant)
Clare Heggie is currently working as a Research Assistant for the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt & Healing Initiative. She completed an MA in Health Promotion at Dalhousie University in 2020 and has since worked as a health promoter at Public Health and IWK Health. As a researcher, she has been involved a number of projects on the sexual and reproductive health of people incarcerated in prisons for women in Canada. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of New Brunswick.

Destiny Mercredi (Researcher)
Destiny Mercredi is an Indigenous, Two-Spirit Woman from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. Destiny has both a social work diploma from Mount Royal University and a Bachelor of social work from Dalhousie University. She is currently residing in Kjipuktuk while completing her Master of social work also from Dalhousie University, where her focus is on Decolonizing and Indigenizing social work education and practice. Destiny has experience working in the areas of Decolonizing and Indigenizing education, violence against women, and 2SLGBTQ+ youth more broadly.

Past Contributors/Trainees

Lorraine Bear (Collaborators), Elizabeth Paul (Collaborators), Dr. Brett Taylor (Collaborators), Dr. Donald Julien (Collaborators), Roseanne Sark (Collaborators), Dr. Sam Wong (Collaborators), Jim Hepworth (Collaborators), Anita MacKinnon (Co-Investigators), Katherine Harman (Co-Investigators), Lisa Perley-Dutcher (Co-Investigators), June Lewis (Elder Council), Imelda Perley (Elder Council), Gilander Unders (Research Manager)


Allie Turner (2017), Shanté Blackmore (2016-2017), Brent Young (2016-2017), Angie Acquin (2016), Karlee Johnson (2015-2017), Judie Acquin-Miksovsky (2015), Serge Francis (2015), Clarissa Sylliboy (2015), Vanessa Nickerson (2014), Kayla Rudderham (2013-2015)