Team Members


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Kate Bishop-Williams, PhD Candidate David Borish, MSc Candidate Lindsay Day, MSc Candidate Sharon Edmunds-Potvin, PhD Student
jen-jones anna-manore-2 stephanie jacquie
Jen Jones, PhD Candidate Anna Manore, MSc Candidate Stephanie Masina, MSc Candidate Jacqueline Middleton, MSc Candidate
Biography Pic Nat Richards alex lj-weber
Mandy Nicholson, Undergraduate RA Natalie Richards, MSc Candidate Alexandra Sawatzky, PhD Student Laura Jane Weber, PhD Student

Kate Bishop-Williams, PhD Student (Population Medicine), University of Guelph | 2014 – Current

Kate is a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph in the Department of Population Medicine. She completed an Honours Bachelor degree at the University of Guelph in 2012 in Bio-Medical Science, and a Masters of Science in 2014 in Epidemiology. Kate’s undergraduate research focused primarily on gastrointestinal illnesses with a project on each of E. coli, Salmonella and the link between Johne’s disease in dairy cattle to Crohn’s disease. Kate’s MSc introduced her to EcoHealth. Her thesis was titled: The Impact of Heat Waves in Rural Southern Ontario on Dairy Cow Mortality and Human Emergency Room Visits. Using statistical and epidemiological skills learned in her Masters, Kate is working on a project in Bwindi, Uganda, identifying seasonal and temporal patterns in acute respiratory infections and access to healthcare. Kate is particularly interested in the ability of clinical data to represent vulnerable populations.

David Borish, MSc Candidate (Population Medicine), University of Guelph |  2016-Present

img_8202-copyDavid is currently pursuing his Master’s as an MSc student in the Department of Population Medicine. He graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in 2016 from the International Development program at the University of Guelph, winning the Excellence in International Development Studies Prize. On the side of his studies, he worked as a multimedia artist, producing video and photographic content that examined socio-economic and environmental issues. In 2016, he worked with WWF-Malaysia and other conservation groups to published a documentary film about tiger conservation relating to sustainable development in Malaysia. David is interested in continuing to produce research-based multimedia projects that address global health, socio-economic, and environmental issues. As part of his graduate thesis, David will be producing a research-based documentary film regarding the decline in the George-River Caribou Herd and the resulting effects on Indigenous health in Labrador. Under the supervision of Dr. Sherilee Harper and Ashlee Cunsolo, he will be working in collaboration with Indigenous peoples of Labrador to tell the story of caribou from the voices, perspectives, wisdom, and experiences of people throughout Labrador. The film will aim to stand as a testament of traditional knowledge and Indigenous science related to caribou in Labrador, and educate both research and policy regarding caribou conservation into the future.

Lindsay Day, MSc Candidate (Population Medicine), University of Guelph |  2014-Present


Lindsay is an MSc student at the University of Guelph in the Population Medicine Department. Her research interests are grounded in an ecohealth perspective that considers health within a socio-ecological context. She is currently involved with a Canadian Water Network project, “Indigenous and Western Knowledge: Integrating Both for Effective Water Management in Canada,” and plans to continue with related research for her thesis. Her interests also include methods and strategies for effective knowledge translation for community and environmental health, research and policy. Lindsay completed her Honours Bachelor degree at McGill University in 2001, with a joint major in Sociology and Anthropology. She has also worked in the horse industry for many years as an equine massage therapist and health and science writer. Listen to her Water Dialogues podcast here.

Jen Jones, PhD Candidate, Geography, University of Guelph |  2014-Present

jen-jonesJen makes her home in Yukon where she has worked and lived for over 20 years.  Her experience, both broad and diverse, includes working behind the scenes in theatre, with youth groups around the Territory, with Yukon First Nation health and social departments and more recently evaluating health impacts in the context of resource development projects.  Currently Jen is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph.  She is a 2015 Trudeau Scholar, and recipient of a SSHRC Graduate Scholarship. Jen’s work seeks to understand and address the impacts of colonization on Indigenous health and wellbeing in the governance of the extractive sector.

Anna Manore, MSc Candidate, Epidemiology, University of Guelph |  2015-Present

anna-manore-2Anna graduated from BSc program in Microbiology at the University of Guelph in 2015. During during her undergraduate degree, a co-op work term at the Public Health Agency of Canada sparked her interest in the effects of climate change on health, specifically in Indigenous populations. In September 2015, Anna began her MSc with the Harper Lab, working to understand the prevalence and sources of foodborne pathogens on retail and country foods in Iqaluit, and how these pathogens affect the burden of acute gastrointestinal illness in Inuit populations.



Stephanie Masina, MSc Candidate, Epidemiology, University of Guelph |  2015-Present

stephanieStephanie is a first-year MSc student in Epidemiology at the University of Guelph. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph where she started a research project with Dr. Sherilee Harper and Kate Bishop-Williams exploring the burden of chronic gastrointestinal illness in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut. Stephanie developed an interest in how climate change affects water resources during her undergraduate co-op positions. In these roles, she monitored water quality and was introduced to waterborne disease mitigation and public health. Her thesis project aims to determine the prevalence and sources of waterborne pathogens in Iqaluit, Nunavut to explore why the rates of acute gastrointestinal illness appear to be high in this community. This is part of a broader, collaborative project (the PAWS project) aiming to develop a participatory, community-based environmental surveillance system to better understand and monitor pathogens in Iqaluit.

Jacqueline Middleton, MSc Candidate, Epidemiology, University of Guelph |  2015-Present

jacquieJacqueline is an MSc student in Epidemiology at the University of Guelph. She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Life Sciences from the University of Toronto in 2014, where she completed a major in Human Biology and Psychology, and minored in Environmental Biology. This diverse academic background developed her curiosity in interactions between the physical environment and human health and has drawn her to the field of EcoHealth. In particular, Jacqueline’s time spent as a research assistant in Psychiatry has led to her interest in mental health and well-being in the context of climate change. Through her thesis research, she will contribute to the development of a community-based surveillance program that will monitor and respond to climate change impacts on Inuit health in Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada. This work will be done in collaboration with community partners and the Nunatsiavut Government, and will examine how changing weather and climate impact mental wellbeing outcomes and mental health care service provision.

Mandy Nicholson, BScN Candidate, Cape Breton University |  2015-Present

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Mandy completed a Bachelor of Science (Cape Breton University), and a degree in education (University of Maine at Fort Kent) before working as a teacher for several years. She realized her passion for health and the environment while working as an education coordinator at ACAP Cape Breton. In 2013, she enrolled in the BScN program at CBU, with aspirations to work in public health. Currently, Mandy is working to perform a systematic literature review on environment-related mental health issues of emergency and front line health personnel, and is conducting research on the health impacts of migrant work flows on workers and their families in Cape Breton and PEI.

Natalie Richards, MSc Candidate (Biology), McGill University |  2014-Present

Nat RichardsNatalie is a Master’s student in Biology at McGill University. Her research interests revolve around current sustainability issues in Canada, and investigation of how the country can transition to a more sustainable use and management of resources. Her research currently takes place in the context of the Sustainable Canada Dialogues/Dialogues pour un Canada Vert – a pan-Canadian initiative working to influence sustainability policy in a way that will encourage positive development and reflect the desires of people living in Canada. Currently, her work involves participatory techniques of visioning and designing pathways to help a range of Canadian communities articulate key characteristics they would like to build into the future, from the local to national scales.

Alexandra Sawatzky,  PhD Student, University of Guelph |  2015-Present

alexAlexandra is a PhD Student in Public Health at the University of Guelph, where she graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree in 2015. Broadly, she works at the intersection of environmental and human wellbeing. More specifically, her work involves the use of participatory, community-based approaches to develop deeper understandings of how changes in the environment impact various dimensions of wellbeing from the perspectives of Inuit living in Labrador. Working with Inuit community and government partners in Rigolet, Alexandra’s doctoral project involves the participatory development of a health- and environmental-monitoring and response program. Essentially, this program prioritizes the centrality of land-based relationships; indeed, for Inuit, wellbeing is ultimately rooted in deep, intrinsic, interconnected in order to inform the creation of adaptive pathways for dealing with environmental change that enhance wellbeing in innovative, culturally-safe, and community-centerer ways. The need for this program emerged from the many years this community has spent developing expertise in climate change research and strengthening relationships with members of the research team. Alexandra is honoured to be a part of this team and to be able to continue cultivating meaningful, lasting relationships – a process that necessarily involves stepping back, listening, and creating spaces that privilege Inuit voices and keep Inuit values at the heart of all conversations, decisions, and actions. In so doing, Alexandra hopes to engage in both research and community in ways that contribute to larger, ongoing processes of decolonization and reconciliation in Canada.

Laura Jane (LJ) Weber, PhD Student, University of Guelph |  2015-Present

lj-weberLaura Jane (LJ) Weber is currently pursuing a collaborative PhD in Population Medicine and International Development Studies at the University of Guelph. She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science in 2015. During her undergraduate degree, she worked on a mixed methods project that analyzed health-seeking behaviour in response to acute gastrointestinal illness among the Indigenous Batwa peoples in Uganda, a population that was recently forcibly evicted from their ancestral land. It was over the course of this project that she became interested in the importance of place to Indigenous peoples and its association with well-being. LJ’s doctoral research will involve learning about the centrality of place and connection to the land in Inuit conceptions of well-being, and how this may be associated with individuals’ experiences of healthcare provision.



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Shanondora Billiot, PhD Candidate Emily Budden, Undergraduate Thesis Sahar Fanian, MPH Practicum Cassidy McAuliffe, Visual Media Intern
 Joanna-website S&A  person  person
Joanna Petrasek MacDonald, MSc Candidate Amber Buchanan, Undergraduate RA Michelle Carrigan, Undergraduate Thesis Janine Christmas, Research Assistant

Shanondora Billiot, PhD Candidate (Social Work: start 2011), Washington University in St. Louis |  2015-Present

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Shanondora Billiot (United Houma Nation) is a doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis. She has most recently worked in Washington, D.C., as an international public health analyst for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Global Health Affairs. Ms. Billiot holds an MSW from the University of Michigan (2007) and undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Sociology (2005) from Louisiana State University. She is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Her dissertation will explore Indigenous-specific sensitivities to global environmental change exposure on health outcomes among Indigenous peoples along the Gulf Coast of southeast Louisiana.

Emily Budden, MSc/PhD Student (Nursing), Dalhousie University |  2015-Present
Email: emily_budden44 {at}

Emily graduated from the Bachelor of Science Nursing Honours student from Cape Breton University, and is an incoming graduate student in the Masters/PhD degree in Nursing at Dalhousie University. Her Honours research explored the challenges of remote health care provision within the context of a rapidly changing climate. As a component of a multi-year community-based research project situated in the Nunatsiavut region of Northern Labrador, Canada, her work highlighted the direct and indirect effects of climate change on the ‘three Ps’ – provision, providers, and patients – including the amplification of the already-present challenges in remote health care and the creation of additional challenges related to shifts in climate and environment. Emily has presented her work at several conferences, and currently has an article under peer review. She will be continuing her Arctic health research through Dalhousie University, focusing on Inuit determinants of health and wellbeing in Nunavut, starting in Fall 2015.

Sahar Fanian, MPH Candidate, University of Toronto |  2015
Email: lsahar.fanian{@}

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Sahar is currently finishing up her MPH at the University of Toronto in Health Promotion with a focus on Global Health and Indigenous Health. Broadly, her research interests involve understanding social, cultural and environmental determinants of community health and wellbeing. For her practicum last summer, she worked in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories looking at mental health resiliency and suicide prevention among Indigenous people across the circumpolar north. She also had the opportunity to design and pilot a creative arts and music workshop with the aim of using arts as an avenue for wellbeing and resiliency among Indigenous youth. For her Masters research project this summer, she is excited to be working on the Climate Change and Health Network (CCH-Net) project, exploring Inuit indicators of health and wellbeing as well as community-based climate-health adaptation strategies within the context of climate change in Nunatsiavut, Labrador. She is particularly passionate about using participatory and creative approaches, like digital storytelling and photography, to spark community discussions on the relationship between environment and health and to develop relevant and engaging knowledge-sharing strategies.

Cassidy McAuliffe, Environmental Visual Communications Student |  2015

Cassidy_PortraitCassidy McAuliffe was an Environmental Visual Communication student at Fleming College in partnership with the Royal Ontario Museum. She recently graduated from Laurentian University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Indigenous Studies. Cassidy is interested in positive environmental reform through the use of media and design, in order to connect environmental research to a broader audience. In addition, she hopes to reframe the dialogue surrounding First Nations and draw attention to the importance of Indigenous knowledge. Cassidy is looking forward to working with the Eskasoni First Nation to share their stories of resiliency, hope and perseverance through visual communication methods. She hopes this project will demonstrate the amazing work the Eskasoni, and First Nations in general, are carrying out within their communities.

Joanna Petrasek MacDonald, MSc (Geography), McGill University |  2013-2015
Email: joanna.petrasekmacdonald {at}

Joanna-websiteJoanna holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Science, Co-op with a major in Environmental Geography from the University of Guelph and completed her M.A. in Geography in 2015. Her Masters research explored youth resilience within a changing climate and applications for climate change adaptation. More specifically, her work focused on youth-identified protective factors that enhance mental health and well-being for Inuit youth in Nunatsiavut, Labrador. Part of this work involved doing a participatory video in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut working with students from the Northern Lights Academy, the ‘My Word’ Storytelling and Digital Media Lab, and Konek Productions. The video created as part of this project is available here. Joanna’s interest in youth and climate change issues stems from an experience outside of academia – in 2009 and 2010 she was part of the Canadian Youth Delegation to the UN Climate Change conferences (COP15 and COP16).

Amber Buchanan, Honour’s Student, Cape Breton University |  2013-2014

S&AAmber is a third year Political Science student at CBU minoring in Scottish Gaelic.  Her passions include language, culture, community living, Indigenous, human and women’s rights, travel, healthy living and eating, being outdoors and her family.  Her studies at CBU have allowed her to focus in on some of her passions including Latin America and Social Justice.  Amber has been teaching Gaelic across the province for the last eight years and has been organizing and facilitating the Nova Scotia Gaels Jams for the past three years.  In the summers, she works at the Highland Village Museum in Iona Cape Breton, singing Gaelic songs and telling stories.  She hopes one day to live in rural Cape Breton amongst Gaels where she can speak Gaelic more often than English.  She’s currently co-homeschooling her daughter with the help of her tiny community in South Bar, Nova Scotia.

Michelle Carrigan, Honour’s Student, Cape Breton University |  2013-2014

Michelle Carrigan is completing a Master’s in Criminal Justice and Public Policy at the University of Guelph. Before going to Guelph, Michelle worked as a research assistant with Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, working on a systematic literature review on community-based participatory health research. Michelle has a long interest in social justice issues and movements, with international experience in South America. Michelle is currently considering pursuing a law degree.

Janine Christmas, Honour’s Student, Cape Breton University |  2013-2014

Janine Christmas finished a a Bachelor of Community Studies at Cape Breton University. She is actively involved in her home community of Membertou, and has a deep interest in Indigenous identity, governance, and sovereignty.

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