Board of Directors & Staff
Leadership Team - Managed by Brian Dokis
- Brian Dokis - Executive Director
Brian is a member of Dokis First Nation and has been the Executive Director at Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre since October 2000. Prior to this, he was the Executive Director at Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre in Sudbury. Throughout this time he has demonstrated his commitment to the provision of effective health care in general and more specifically the provision of the effective health care that is culturally appropriate and acceptable to First Nations people. Brian has also been active in the area of First Nations Health research.
- Barb Chrysler - Primary Care Manager
Barb began working at SOAHAC August 2011. She is of European and Aboriginal heritage. Her passion to contribute to improving health programs lead her to pursue a M.A. in Community Psychology and six years of PhD studies focused on evaluation and funding of social programs. She has held a variety of positions mainly in the areas of mental health, addictions, homelessness and primary care. She has merged traditional healing approaches into various programs and academic teaching throughout her career.
- Doug George - Health Services Manager
Doug is from the Anishnaabe community of Wiikwedong (Kettle Point). He began working for SOAHAC in 1998 through program development and service delivery across various programs such as Mental Health and Traditional Healing. Doug obtained his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario in London and his M.S.W. from Wilfrid Laurier University in Kitchener-Waterloo. In addition, he has obtained valuable life-long community experience grounded in Traditional Knowledge from Indigenous teachers and elders from various communities throughout Ontario.
- Shannon Marchand - Operations Manager
Shannon has been Operations Manager at SOAHAC since March 2011. Prior to this, Shannon was managing day to day finances at SOAHAC since March 2003. She brings with her 20 years experience working for non-profit organizations.
Health Services Team - Managed by Doug George
- Bev Anderson - Foot Care Nurse
- Carlene Mennen, RN, CDE - Diabetes Educator - Diabetes Education Team
Carlene is a member of the Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation. Carlene graduated as a Registered Nurse from Fanshawe College in 1992. Since then, Carlene has had many, many, many, many years of experience in working with our local First Nations. Diabetes can affect every aspect of life and Carlene is here to work as a team member and empower our communities to engage pro-actively with Diabetes.
- Guy Hagar - Cultural Safety Trainer - Traditional Healing
Guy is a member of the Upper Cayuga tribe (Guyohkohnyoh), meaning the People of the Great Swamp, of the Six Nations of the Grand River. He has worked for many years as a facilitator and trainer within First Nation’s organizations and communities. Guy develops and delivers workshops and information packages that will assist in educating community health care providers about Status, Non-Status, Inuit and Métis culture and traditional health practices. The workshops reflect the history, diversity and unique worldview of our communities. Guy looks forward to establishing relationships with Hospitals, Physicians, Administrators, Community Care Access Centres and Long-Term Care Facilities throughout the Southwest Local Health Integration Network area. Guy looks forward to working with organizations to further our goal of culturally safe care.
- Joanne Jackson - Fetal Alcohol Awareness Educator
- Jocelyn Shutt, RD, CDE - Diabetes Education Team Facilitator
Jocelyn Shutt joined the SOAHAC staff in 2007 and has recently taking on a new 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 and continues to be certified as a Diabetes Educator.
- Lin Yuan, MSc, RD - Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles Program
Lin completed her Masters Program at the University of Western Ontario April, 2011. She is very excited to start her new role at SOAHAC. Lin is from China, and her parents and family live overseas. She has lived in Canada since 2004, and in London since 2006. Lin loves the dietitian profession, and is very glad to have made it so far to become a Registered Dietitian. She loves food also, which is another reason Lin picked this profession.
Lin also has a strong interest in fitness. Combining nutrition education and fitness together is her professional goal.
- Liz Akiwenzie - Traditional Healing Coordinator
Liz Akiwenzie: Ojibway name: Understanding women Oneida name: She who reasons and she who see both sides
Ojibway(Anishnabe) and Oneida (Onyota’a:ka) I am of the Turtle Clan , as I follow my mother’s clan.
I have been in the helping flied for over 25 years and I have gain skills and knowledge to become a helper to the people.
I have been active in ceremonies, teachings for my own wellness, which in turn have become a traditional educator, ceremonial conductor and trainer of trainers.
I have a understanding of holistic wellness, using the natural way of the universe, mother earth, to balance out the heart, mind, body and spirit.
My journey has taken to me to empower the people in the education system, health system, social service systems, correctional services in provincial and federal system. Through this I have gain skills to assist the people into seeing, feeling and knowledge who they are as a positive and productive human being and the experience of life on Mother Earth.
I enjoy life to the fullest.
- Melanie Knott, BA - Diabetes Prevention Worker
Melanie is a member of Curve Lake First Nation. She has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from Western University. In February 2012, Melanie joined the SOAHAC team as a Diabetes Prevention Worker. Much of this program focuses on providing healthy eating workshops, opportunities to participate in physical activities and Wholistic and Traditional healing to prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Nikki George - Maternal & Child Health
Nikki is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in community nutrition. She is from Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. Nikki became a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario after completion of a nutrition degree from Brescia College, Western University and successful completion of a dietetic internship with London Health Sciences Centre. Nikki came on board with SOAHAC in 1999 after working with Health Canada, FNIHB-Ontario Region for a short term. Nikki has a passion for promoting health and family wellness to young Aboriginal families. She brings valuable knowledge and experience to her role as team lead with the Maternal Child Health Nutrition Program.
Primary Care Team - Managed by Barb Chrysler
- Alisha Smith RN (EC), NP-PHC, NP_Adult, MN, BScN, BHSc - Nurse Practitioner
Alisha joined the SOAHAC team in June 2011. She received her BScN from the University of Western Ontario in June 2005, and began working in Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery. She obtained her BHSc while working as a RN and returned to school in 2007 to pursue her goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Alisha graduated with her Master's in Nursing and Nurse Practitioner Certificate in May 2010 from D'youville College in Buffalo NY. She enjoys working as an integral part of SOAHAC's Primary Health Care Team and is looking forward to continuing to work with the clients and their families.
- Bonnie Doxtator - Supporting Aboriginal Seniors at Home - Aboriginal Patient Navigator
Bonnie is a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, Turtle Clan, and her family roots are from Aamjiwnaang First Nation. She joined the SOAHAC team in December 2008. Bonnie has been working within the First Nation Community, both on and off reserve, since 1992 as a front line health care worker. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience.
- Chris McDonald, Nurse Practitioner - Primary Health Care - Supporting Aboriginal Seniors at Home(London)
Chris has been with SOAHAC since November, 2011. She is the Nurse Practitioner and Facilitator for the SASH program at the London site. Her area of focus is aboriginal seniors aged 55+.
- Darlene Riley - Medical Receptionist
Darlene Riley if from the Chippewa's of the Thames First Nation and belongs to the Bear totem. She joined the SOAHAC team in March 2011. Darlene graduated from the Office Administration Medical 2 year diploma program at Fanshawe College, London. She did her work placement at SOAHAC in March 2011 which was completed in April 2011. Darlene worked as a summer student at SOAHAC which was sponsored by Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Employment and Training. She also has her Personal Support worker Certificate. Over the years Darlene has worked in silk screen production, Office Manager for Anishinaabe Kendaaswin Plublishing, Homemaker Coordinator, Finance relief staff, Social Assistance receptionist, all for Chippewa of the Thames First Nation. Darlene decided to return to school in September 2011 and is currently enrolled at AEI, Munsee Delaware Campus, St. Clair College in the Traditional Aboriginal Healing Methods, diploma program. She is currently on the scholars role and will be graduating in June 2013. Darlene currently works part time relief staff at SOAHAC Chippewa site. Combining the Medical education with the Traditional healing practices is something Darlene has always wanted to do, gaining a positive perspective from both Western and Traditional practices. Darlene is very proud to be working for her community; implementing health care practices for them.
- Diondra Chrisjohn - Registered Nurse
- Dr. Mike Vreugdenhil(Chippewa)
Dr. Vreugdenhil started with SOAHAC in 2003.
Medical Degree - McMaster University.
Member - Canadian College of Family Physicians.
Fellow in the Canadian College of Family Physicians.
- Dr. Phil McCabe(Part time)
Medical Degree - University of Ottawa.
Certificate College of Family Practice - McMaster University.
Masters Applied Science Occupational Health and Epidemiology - McGill University.
Fellow Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine.
- Eileen Hagar, M.A. - Mental Health Counselor (London)
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 in Psychology. Eileen has been working within the First Nation Community, both on and off Reserve since 1989, providing front line counseling and clinical support. She looks forward to contributing her sharing, as well as continuing her learning at SOAHAC.
- Etta Beeswax - Medical Receptionist
- Jacqueline Morrissey, M.Ed., O.A.T.R., CCC - Mental Health Team Facilitator(London)
Jacqueline is the Mental Health Team Coordinator for SOAHAC. She has been here since 2003. She has a Masters in Education (Counseling), certification in the Canadian Counseling Association and is a Registered Art Therapist. Her professional development and training has focused in the areas of grief, trauma, depression and anxiety management. Jacqui has been working with the aboriginal people in 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.
- Kari Jussila - Physicians Assistant
Kari joined SOAHAC in January 2012. He is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant, from the University of Toronto Physician Assistant Program. Kari also has a BSc in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. Kari has worked in cardiovascular research in the past, and currently enjoys providing services to the patients of SOAHAC through the Primary Care Team in London.
- Lisa George - Seniors Health Advocate
Lisa George is a member of the Saugeen First Nation and is part of the Supporting Seniors at Home Program as the Seniors Health Advocate. She is a graduate of Brock University and recently received her Masters of Education (Counselling) from the University of Victoria. Lisa brings over 20 years of experience working with Aboriginal families and community to SOAHAC and has been with us since October of 2011.
- Mary-Ann Wisenberg - Nurse Practitioner (Chippewa)
Mary-Ann joined the SOAHAC team in the summer of 2005 after receiving her Nurse Practitioner certificate from the University of Western Ontario. Born and raised in the Sarnia area, Mary-Ann is the oldest of 7 children. She has been educated and lived most of her life in the London area but did spend several years living in Boston. After many years working at St. Joseph’s Health Center and LHSC primarily in cardiology Mary-Ann returned to school to become a nurse practitioner. She is a proud wife, mother of 2 grown children, step mother to 4 children and the proud grandmother of little Betty.
- Miranda Hill - Registered Nurse
Miranda is a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames and has been with SOAHAC since June 2007. She began her employment with SOAHAC as a nursing student job placement during the summer of her first year of undergrad. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario with her BScN, in 2010. Miranda has evolved into several positions while employed at SOAHAC such as, clinical assistant, EMR Health Lead, and Registered Nurse. Currently, Miranda is part-time as she is pursuing her goal to become a Nurse Practitioner at the University of Windsor and will continue to work with SOAHAC in the SASH program, serving on-reserve clients once she is completed.
- Pamela Bridgen, RN(EC), NP-PHC, MN - Nurse Practitioner(London)
Pamela joined the S.O.A.H.A.C. team in September 2009. She received her BScN from the University of Western Ontario 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 Masters in Nursing from the University of Windsor in April 2010. Pamela enjoys working as a Nurse Practitioner on S.O.A.H.A.C.’s primary health care team and looks forward to continuing to work with clients as they pursue their personal health goals.
- Paula Cousins - Nurse Practitioner
Paula Joined SOAHAC December 2011. She received her RN from Fanshawe College and worked in both northern Manitoba and Ontario for more than 10 years. She received her Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner certificate in 1998 and worked in a Community Health Centre in South Western Ontario until 2010. She currently works for Health Canada but works on saturday mornings to offer clinic appointments to SOAHAC clients.
- Samantha Boshart - Medical Resident
- Stephanie Trudeau - Secretary/Receptionist
Stephanie Trudeau is a member of M’Chigeeng First Nation (formerly West Bay), Manitoulin Island, Ontario and a member of the Wolf clan. She joined the staff at SOAHAC in April 2007. Throughout her time here she has learned a lot about utilization and implementing health care practices into helping the Anishinabek people of the Southwestern Ontario First Nations. Health care is a field that has always interested Stephanie, helping the Anishinabek people is what she takes pride in.
- Sue Cheechoo - Clinical Support Worker
Sue Cheechoo is a Cree originally from the little Island of Moose Factory in the James Bay area. She joined the SOAHAC staff as Clinical Support Worker in April 2004 and thoroughly enjoys working with the staff and clientele of this area. There have been many changes made at SOAHAC over the years making this a great learning experience.
Sue particularly loves the southern weather; and enjoys spending her off time with her sweet grandchildren.
- Theresa Goulais - Executive Administrator
Theresa is a member of Nipissing First Nation, and has been an integral part of the SOAHAC team since July 2002. She has been in the administration field for about 15 years, finding it both challenging and enjoyable. She has many skills that she has learned over the years and continues to learn. Presently Theresa holds the position of Program Manager. She is a proud mother and grandmother of 3 children and 2 beautiful grandchildren.
Operations Team - Managed by Shannon Marchand
- Arlene McIntyre - Bookkeeper
Arlene is a member of the Oneida of the Thames First Nation. She began working at SOAHAC in 2009 through a work placement. After completing her placement in 2010, she was brought on under contract to work as bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant. Arlene now works as the Bookkeeper for SOAHAC. Over the years, Arlene has worked with several Native organizations in London including N’Amerind Friendship Centre, AIAI, and At^lohsa.
- William Kicknosway BSc - Information Technology
William's background comes from Bkejwanong (Walpole Island First Nation). He became the Information Technology and Data Management Coordinator for SOAHAC in October of 2011. William is a technology enthusiast prompting him to complete a degree in Computer Science at The University of Western Ontario. William loves the day-to-day operations of the IT world because each day brings with it new problems to figure out and puzzles to solve; this creates an ideal balance of helping others while learning new things each and every day.
Board of Directors
- Leo Hopkins - President, Community Representative
- Laurel Day - N'Amerind Friendship Centre
- Myeengun Henry - Board Member, Chippewas of the Thames
- Diane Sullivan - Treasurer, Canadian Métis Council
- Janet George - Secretary, Kettle & Stoney Point First Nation
- Christi Poulette, Oneida Nation of the Thames
- Gloria Alvernaz-Mulcahy - Vice President, At^lohsa Representative