Previous Speakers

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Become A SpeakerRegister

Ongoing Call for
Speakers

This is your opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with other industry professionals.

Please email us at info@sparkconferences.com to receive more information.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Ainslie Heasman

Psychologist, Sexual Behaviours Clinic, CAMH

Dr. Ainslie Heasman is a registered forensic/correctional and clinical psychologist in Ontario with over 17 years of experience engaging in the assessment and treatment of adults who have caused sexual harm and/or who have atypical sexual interests. She is employed full-time at the Sexual Behaviours Clinic at the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health in Toronto as well as part-time in private practice. She recently co-led the development of Canada’s first national and federally funded child sexual abuse perpetration prevention program, Talking for Change, housed at CAMH.

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She is a member of the Canadian Psychological Association, the Ontario Psychological Association and is President-Elect with the Association for the Treatment & Prevention of Sexual Abuse (ATSA).

Andrew Lodge

Medical Director, Klinic Community Health (Winnipeg)

Andrew is Medical Director at Klinic Community Health, a community health centre in downtown Winnipeg.  He has a general practice, with a special interest in addiction medicine. He also works in remote communities in Northern Manitoba two weeks out of each month. He has worked in Indigenous communities for most of his career and has also worked in numerous different locations overseas with refugee populations.   In addition to his medical training, he has Masters degrees in Public Health, Adult Education and Community Development, and Infectious Diseases. 

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 He is currently finishing a Masters in Law with a focus on human rights.  He loves teaching and has a position as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba’s medical faculty, and also spent a year teaching at a medical school in Nepal.  When he is not working, he enjoys being out on the land with his 10-year-old son.

Kelly Surbey

Program Coordinator, Counsellor, Klinic Community Health (Winnipeg)

Kelly Surbey is the current program coordinator and addiction counsellor with the Mobile Withdrawal Management Services at Klinic Community Health in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Biography coming soon…

Tara Gomes

Principal Investigator, Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN)

Tara Gomes is a Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, Scientific Director of Urban and Community Health at Unity Health Toronto, and Program Director of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network, a provincial network of researchers with expertise in pharmaceutical utilization, outcomes and policy who rapidly conduct research for drug decision-makers across Canada. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and holds a Canada Research Chair in Drug Policy Research and Evaluation. 

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Throughout her research program, Dr. Gomes works closely with government regulators at the provincial and national level to develop evidence to inform drug policy, with a particular focus on developing evidence to inform policies that address the ongoing drug toxicity crisis across Canada, while integrating perspectives of impacted communities. 

Jennifer Eyford

Director, Mental Health, Addictions & Outreach, The Alex Community Health Centre (Calgary)

As the Associate Director of Mental Health, Addictions, and Outreach at The Alex, Jennifer brings her 20+ years of leadership, mental health and addiction experience to her role. With a strong background in clinical program development, Jennifer has built several successful programs such as The Alex Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic. Strongly believing in advancing community health, Jennifer has worked at the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Distress Centre and – for the past 13 years – The Alex.

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As a nurse first and foremost, Jennifer also brings her compassion and expertise to several Alberta Health Services programs such as the Supervised Consumption Site and the Opioid Dependency Program. Jennifer has spoken at many conferences, sharing her knowledge about subjects including addiction medicine, the benefits of peer support and health system improvement. She received her education at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois, and Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.

Glen Holmgren

Peer Support Worker, The Alex Community Health Centre (Calgary)

My name is Glen and I am a Peer Support Worker with The Alex Street Team. I have worked in the Mental Health and Addictions field for the past 5 years. As an individual with lived experience in homelessness and addiction, I bring a unique perspective to working with people on their healing journeys. I have had to access resources and can support others with navigating the complexities of our systems. I support individuals in their recovery, however that looks for them. I am an advocate for removing barriers and streamlining access to necessary services.

Daniel Wyzynski

Clinical & Organizational Ethicist, Office of Health Ethics, London Health Sciences Centre

Daniel Wyzynski works as an Ethicist with the London Health Sciences Centre, supporting values based decision making across the hospital. Daniel maintains ongoing certification as a Healthcare Ethics Consultant with the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, he is also an Adjunct Research Professor with the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western University, and serves as a Research Ethics Board Member. He is currently completing his PhD at Western University, where he is investigating the ethical and legal nuances of patient and family centred care for children admitted to hospital in need of mental health treatment.

Dr. Claudine Cousins

Chief Executive Officer, Empower Simcoe

Dr. Claudine Cousins is the Chief Executive Officer of Empower Simcoe, a human services organization in the broader health sector, and part-time teacher in the School of Business at Georgian College. Dr. Cousins has over twenty-five years of leadership experience with various Ministries within the Ontario Public Service and the not-for-profit and profit sectors, including banking and investment. She brings expertise from an operations, governance, EDI, and human resources leadership lens within unionized and non-unionized organizations.

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Dr. Cousins holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, specializing in Human Resources, a Master of Arts in Leadership, a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and a doctorate in Health Sciences with research interests in vicarious trauma, the support provided by employers, and the quality of life of employees.

Dr. Cousins is also a member of Lakehead University’s Board of Governors, a Rotarian, People and Culture Peer Group Captain for the Sandbox, a hub for shared innovation and entrepreneurship, and volunteers on the Human Resource Professionals Association’s Regulatory Committee. In her role of advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion, she participates on several committees, councils and task groups, and is a very sought after speaker and panelist. Dr. Cousins is the recipient of the 2020 Woman of the Year Visionary Award at the Barrie Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards and the Social Change Award: Regional Impact at the 2022 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards.

Lyndall Schumann

Clinical Director, Strategy and Innovation, Canadian Mental Health Association York Region South Simcoe

Dr. Lyndall Schumann (Ph.D., C. Psych.) has 13 years of experience in academia, hospital, and private practice settings. She is currently a clinical director and clinical lead at the Canadian Mental Health Association York Region South Simcoe Network Lead Organization as part of the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy program. Her area of focus is strategy and innovation to provide faster access to better mental health services to Ontarians through the use of low and high-intensity treatments. She obtained her Ph.D. at Queen’s University in clinical psychology in 2017.

Brian Rush

Emeritus Scientist, CAMH
Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Brian worked for over 45 years as a substance use/mental health services researcher affiliated with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) where he remains appointed as Scientist Emeritus within the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research. Brian is a Full Professor at the University of Toronto in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Dept. of Psychiatry. His work spans population health, needs-based planning and evaluation of mental health and substance use health treatment services and systems, including those focused on alternative and traditional medicine.

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Brian is currently the Project Leader for the Ayahuasca Treatment Outcome Project (ATOP) and Co-Principal Investigator for the spin-off Entheogen Treatment Outcome Project (ENTOP) currently focused on outcomes for Indigenous populations in Central and North America. He is also active in facilitating the collaboration among Canadian researchers, clinicians, students, and policy makers interested in psychedelic science, including traditional plant-based medicine.

Olivia Marcus

Post-doctoral Fellow, New York University, Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Olivia Marcus (she/her) completed her Phd in Medical Anthropology from the University of Connecticut and an MPH in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (5T32 DA007233), where she is conducting mixed-methods research on the design and evaluation of complex interventions to address addiction recovery and mental health issues in Indigenous/First Nations communities in Mexico and Canada.

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She is also working to co-develop a survey on integration practices among people who drink ayahuasca in the US and Canada. For the past few years, she has led the qualitative component of the mixed-methods Ayahuasca Treatment Outcome Project to assess outcomes for addiction recovery in an all-male therapeutic community in Peru. Olivia conducted her doctoral fieldwork in the upper Peruvian Amazon, where she investigated perceptions of mental wellness and healing among mestizo curanderos (i.e., vegetalistas) and their clientele.

Ningwakwe George

Research Coordinator, First Nations Wellness Initiative
Knowledge Holder and Community Elder, Member of the Saugeen First Nation

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Biography coming soon…

Sarah Irving

Provincial Manager of Independent Rights Advice Service, CMHA

Sarah Irving is a valued professional in the field of mental health and substance use, currently serving as the Provincial Manager of the Independent Rights Advice Service at CMHA BC. With over 13 years of dedicated experience, Sarah has made a profound impact within various non-profit and health authority settings, providing invaluable support to individuals of all ages, from youth to adults and families.

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Beginning her journey as a Peer Support Worker, she holds a Master of Social Work and has made a significant impact on both adults and youth struggling with substance use and navigating their mental health journey. Sarah is deeply committed to empowering those with lived experience and expertise, actively contributing to transformative systemic change.

Naomi Ennis

Clinical Psychologist, Regional Clinical, Training Lead for the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Session, CarePoint Health

Dr. Naomi Ennis is a clinical psychologist at CarePoint Health. She serves as the Regional Clinical and Training lead for the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy program in the Brampton, Halton and Mississauga region. She received her Masters and PhD degrees in Psychology (Clinical) from the Department of Psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). She completed her predoctoral internship at the Medical University of South Carolina where she specialized in traumatic stress studies.

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Dr. Ennis completed a CIHR-funded postdoctoral fellowship within the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Centre at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Dr. Ennis’ research focuses on enhancing access to and effectiveness of evidence-based treatments for mental health concerns, with a focus on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her research spans from identification of risk factors for posttraumatic psychopathology, to ways to culturally-adapt trauma-focused interventions and leverage technology to meet the needs of diverse populations. She has 22 peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters, and over 40 presentations at national and international conferences.

Jonny Morris

CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association BC

Jonathan (Jonny) Morris, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA BC), is a visionary leader with over two decades of experience in community mental health care. He has held key roles in advocating for mental health and system transformation in suicide prevention, early intervention, and addictions programs. Jonny’s profound commitment to mental health advocacy extends beyond his role at CMHA BC.

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He is a sought-after speaker, thought leader, and advocate for policy changes at the local, provincial, and national levels, tirelessly pushing for a more inclusive and empathetic approach to mental health in Canada. Jonny’s comes to this work with his own lived and living experience, with a background in research and practice in suicide prevention, combined with his experience as a counselor, professor, and facilitator. He played a crucial part in shaping the new Provincial portfolio of the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and currently leads CMHA BC, focusing on advocacy, community-led programs, stigma reduction, and leadership education across the Province.

Kaye Phillips

PhD, Executive Director of Global Programs, Health Standards Organization

A collaborative leader at heart, Kaye has been dedicated to partnering for people-centered, quality healthcare services improvement and innovation for over 15 years. As Executive Director, Global Programs, at Health Standards Organization (HSO), Kaye and her team lead and foster the experience and expertise of people, families, health professionals, specialists and policymakers from across Canada and around the world – to develop evidence-based standards, assessments and quality improvement tools to achieve safer, equitable and higher quality care locally and globally.

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Kaye holds a PhD from the University of Toronto’s School of Social and Administrative Pharmacy and co-chairs the LTC-Infection and Prevention & Control Advisory Committee and serves on the Simulation Canada Network (Board of Directors), Creating a Sustainable Canadian Health System in a Climate Crisis (CASCADES – Advisory Committee Member) and National Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU – Steering Committee Member)

Tara Hastoo

Senior Program Officer, Strategic Partnerships, Disability, Indigenous, and Benefits Outreach Services Directorate, Canada Revenue Agency

Tara Hastoo is a Senior Program officer with Strategic Partnerships in the Disability, Indigenous, and Benefits Outreach Services Directorate at Canada Revenue Agency, she has had a diverse career at the Canada Revenue Agency, spanning over 22 years. Her experience in various areas, from assisting the public with tax inquiries to collaborating with community organizations, has taken pride in contributed significantly to the agency’s mission of serving the public and ensuring people receive the benefits and credits they are entitled to.

Maiko Schneider

Head of Service, Mood Disorders Treatment & Research Clinic, Anxiety Treatment & Research Clinic, Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, Eating Disorders, Youth Wellness Centre, St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
Professor, McMaster University

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Biography coming soon…

Andrea Waddell

Medical Director, Clinical Informatics & Quality Standards, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health

Andrea Waddell is a psychiatrist and the Medical Director of Clinical Informatics and Quality Standards at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health. She completed her undergraduate studies in Life Sciences at Queen’s University and completed her medical training at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. As a clinician scientist specialty trainee, she completed her Master’s in Education in Theory and Policy Studies concurrently with training as a psychiatrist. She is a certified specialist physician with Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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She is an assistant professor at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and an award winning teaching in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education settings. She has a long-standing interest in quality improvement, completing the IDEAS Advanced Learning Program in Quality Improvement through Health Quality Ontario in 2014 and obtaining her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from San Diego State University in 2018. She is the co-lead of the Quality Innovation and Safety Hub at the Department of Psychiatry at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and one of the lead faculty for postgraduate training in quality improvement. She has supervised trainees from a range of backgrounds in both quality improvement and experience-based co-design projects. As a patient safety researcher, Andrea is interested in understanding patient harm arising during acute care and has grant funded projects using novel methods to detect incidents and prevent harm.

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