Team Members & Collaborators

Team Members and Collaborators

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 for NS and holds a scientific appointment at IWK Health where she co-leads the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative (ACHH).

John R Sylliboy (Co-Principal Investigator)
John R Sylliboy serves as the Community Research Program Coordinator for the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative. Hailing from the Millbrook Mi’kmaw Community, he now resides in Halifax. John holds a degree in International Relations from Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica. With over 15 years of experience in education, youth leadership, and community development, John has worked in Costa Rica, Washington, DC, and Colombia.

In 2007, John returned to Mi’kma’ki to join the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Secretariat (APCFNC) as the coordinator of the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI). In this role, he focused on developing strategies to promote health human resources in healthcare and post-secondary education in Atlantic Canada. He has also contributed to the Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program (AAEDIRP) and Mount Saint Vincent University. John holds a Master of Arts in Education from Mount Saint Vincent University and is currently pursuing a PhD at McGill University.

Sharon Rudderham (Original 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 provides leadership from an Indigenous knowledge perspective.

Julie Francis (CBU Indigenous Chair in Health)
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.

Emily MacLeod (Research Program Manager)
Emily MacLeod is the Research Program Manager for the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative. Emily 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 BScN/RN, MScN
Courtney Pennell is a proud Mi’kmaw Registered Nurse (RN, BScN) of Wasoqopa’q First Nation. Courtney is the Indigenous Health Consultant for IWK Health and also began conducting 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. As of May 2020, she started 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.

Katharine Gloade, MEd, CCC, PhD(c) (Co-Investigator)
Katie Gloade is a PhD Health candidate at Dalhousie University and originally from Millbrook First Nation. She completed a Bachelor of Science at Saint Francis Xavier University before doing a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education and began teaching at the high school level in 2008. During her time as a classroom teacher, she completed a Master of Education in Educational Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University and a Master of Education in Counselling at Acadia. Katie has been a school counsellor since 2016, is a Certified Canadian Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and has a certification in Intergenerational Trauma Treatment. Katie is an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie and is the lead instructor for the Interprofessional course “Introduction to Cultural Safety in Healthcare for Indigenous Peoples”, a mandatory course for all first-year students in the schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Dental Hygiene and Nursing. 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.

Elias B. Habib, MSc (Research Coordinator)
Elias Habib recently completed his Master of Science in the Department of Pathology, focusing on understanding chemotherapy resistance in cancer pathways. Originally from Lebanon, Elias has a strong passion for supporting immigrant youth from the Middle East. During his undergraduate studies, Elias resonated with the objectives of the Interprofessional course “Introduction to Cultural Safety in Healthcare for Indigenous Peoples,” which is mandatory for first-year students in various healthcare fields. He served as a Teaching Assistant for the course, learning from Indigenous scholars and the community.

After finishing his Master’s degree, Elias pursued his interest in cultural safety education by becoming the Research Coordinator for the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative (ACHH). His first project involved designing a research ethics module to assist clinicians and researchers in conducting ethical research in collaboration with Indigenous communities or involving Indigenous peoples. Elias considers this opportunity a privilege and recognizes the responsibility it entails. Additionally, Elias took on the role of Course Coordinator for the Interprofessional Education (IPE) course.

Dawn Googoo (Registered Nurse)
Dawn is a Registered Nurse, wife, and mother. She is a Mi’kmaw 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 14 years as a Med Tech. She graduated nursing from St. Francis Xavier University with a BScN. She has always had a passion for helping others succeed and has mentored many students in the nursing program. As a nurse, she quickly realized the need to increase knowledge about our culture in the health professions and its institutions. Also, the great need for more Indigenous nurses. She has completed her Master of Nursing and is working towards creating the L’nu Nursing Office. This office will focus on the recruitment and retention of Indigenous nursing students in all of the Schools of Nursing in Nova Scotia.

Destiny Mercredi (Collaborator)
Destiny Mercredi is a Two-Spirit Métis lesbian from Thebacha (Fort Smith), Northwest Territories, in Treaty 8 territory. She completed her Masters in Social Work at Dalhousie University in 2023, focusing on Decolonizing and Indigenizing health education and practice. Destiny specializes in Indigenous Relationality, Two-Eyed Seeing, Decolonizing and Indigenizing Social Work education, and 2SLGBTQ+ youth work. She collaborates and conducts research for the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing (ACHH) Initiative. Destiny plays a key role in their interprofessional course “Introduction to Cultural Safety in Healthcare for Indigenous Peoples,” which is mandatory for all first-year students in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Dental Hygiene, and Nursing at Dalhousie University. She is also involved in the Mi’kmaq MSW development committee and teaches courses for the School of Social Work.

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.

Athanasius Sylliboy, “Tanas” (Nurse Practitioner/MD Candidate)
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.

Carolyn P. Gaspar (PhD Collaborator)
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.

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.

Past Contributors

Dr. G. Allen Finley (Co-Investigator), Daphne Hutt-MacLeod (Co-Investigator), Kara Paul (Co-Investigator), Dale Sheppard (Collaborator), Leah Carrier (Doctoral Student), Dr. Carolyn P. Gaspar (Collaborator), Clare Heggie (Research Assistant), Lorraine Bear (Collaborator), Elizabeth Paul (Collaborator), Dr. Brett Taylor (Collaborator), Dr. Donald Julien (Collaborator), Roseanne Sark (Collaborator), Dr. Sam Wong (Collaborator), Jim Hepworth (Collaborator), Anita MacKinnon (Co-Investigator), Katherine Harman (Co-Investigator), Lisa Perley-Dutcher (Co-Investigator), June Lewis (Elder Council), Imelda Perley (Elder Council), Gilander Ungar (Research Manager)


Lainee Johnson (2024), Athanasius Sylliboy (2019-Current), Leah Carrier (2019-2024), Rachel VanEvery (2017-2024), Julie Francis (2011-Current), Courtney Pennell (2018-Current), 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)