CHNIG is committed to act as a voice for community health nurses and the public we serve. As representatives of Ontario CHNs, we would like you to learn more about us.
May Tao RN, BScN, MSN, CCHN(C)
May is a Health Promotion Specialist at Toronto Public Health, currently coordinating for the RNAO Best Practice initiative to implement and evaluate best practice guidelines in her organization. May has a Bachelor degree in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing. She is also a certified in Community Health Nursing with the Canadian Nurses Association. She has a strong interest in evidence-informed practice, knowledge translation, and effective strategies for guideline implementation.
May has been participating in the RNAO Advanced Clinical Practice Fellowship building on leadership and youth engagement practice. May has also volunteered as an executive member of the Registered Nurses’ Foundation of Ontario and an active member of the CHNC Leadership Institute. She has coordinated medical teams to work with local communities in several countries, such as Belize, Greece, Ghana and Uganda. Her vision is to empower others to reach their potential, strive for excellence in public health practice and inspire organizations toward continuous quality improvement.
Contact the President at President@CHNIG.org
Susan Tam RN, BScN, MScN, CCHN(C)
Susan has a diverse background in public health with experience in immunizations, infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and reproductive and child health programs. She currently teaches at the undergraduate level for the Ryerson, Centennial, George Brown Collaborative Nursing Program and the University of New Brunswick/Humber College Collaborative Nursing Program.
She has been involved on the Board of the Community Health Nurses’ Initiatives Group (CHNIG) since 2010. She was previously a Co-Lead of the Research, Education, and Professional Development Committee, as well as the Communications Officer on both CHNIG and the Community Health Nurses of Canada (CHNC).
Susan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree from McMaster University and holds a Master of Science in Nursing (MScN) degree from D’Youville College. She is also certified in Community Health Nursing with the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and acts as a mentor to help nurses prepare for the exam and complete their continuous learning hours.
Her professional interests include immunizations, breastfeeding, vulnerable/at-risk populations, implementation of evidence-informed practice, community health nursing, and innovative teaching-learning strategies.
Susan is looking forward to continuing her involvement on CHNIG as the President!
Contact the Treasurer Director at Treasurer@CHNIG.org
Claire Alexander RN, BScN
Contact the Secretary at Secretary@CHNIG.org
Natalia Stovichek RN, BScN, CCHN(C)
She earned Bachelor of Science in Nursing from “York University”. Natalia obtained certification in Community Health Nursing with the CNA last year. She also has a special interest in mental health field and recently earned her “Certificate in Mental Health Nursing” from Durham College.
Natalia is looking forward to working with CHNIG team!
Contact the Member Benefits Director at MemberBenefits@CHNIG.org
Suzana Tavares RN, BN, CCRA, CCHN(C)
Suzana graduated with a Bachelor in Nursing (BN) degree from University of New Brunswick/Humber College Collaborative Program (2008). She worked in the community as a visiting nurse at VON (Victoria Order of Nurses). Then, she achieved a Certificate of Clinical Research Associate (CCRA) from Michener Institute and works as a Clinical Research coordinator since 2012 first at St. Michaels Hospital and currently at UHN (University Health Network). She worked in research for a few years in the cardiology field and is currently in endocrinology. She developed various skills over the years, and has a commitment to health promotion. She is currently working towards her Master degree in Nursing from Athabasca University. She is also certified in Community Health Nursing (CCHN) with the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA). She is very involved in the community in many aspects with the new-comers, especially immigrants from South America, developing ways to accommodate them in Canada in the best and healthy way.
She showed her interest to help and be involved with the Community Health Nurses’ Initiative Group (CHNIG) for a while, and she now accepted the position to be a treasurer of the Board of the Community Health Nurses’ Initiatives Group (CHNIG). She holds an enthusiastic attitude and is willing to collaborate in a positive and responsible way.
Felicia Kontopidis RN, BScN
Policy and Political Action
Felicia Kontopidis is a Registered Nurse with SE Health, formerly known as Saint Elizabeth. Felicia has worked in Toronto as a visiting nurse where she practiced direct patient care for over six years. Throughout the years, Felicia has supported and continues to support different roles where her nursing experience in Home and Community care continue to flourish. Working in different capacities, Felicia has demonstrated nursing leadership in roles such as Clinical Intake Nurse, Clinical Practice Coach, and Respiratory Nurse Champion. Felicia has been involved in new innovative supporting virtual care.
Recently, Felicia supported nurses nationally throughout the organization as a Clinical Practice Resource Nurse. In 2017, Felicia completed an RNAO AMS fellowship involving a self-directed learning project themed ‘Building Cultural Competence in Nursing to Enhance Patient Centred Care Amongst the Underserved and Disenfranchised’. Today Felicia works with the organization as a Clinical Solutions
Consultant, where she contributes her clinical experience in home and community care to support different teams in the planning, design, and implementation of new and innovative health care programs. Recently, Felicia and SE Health CEO, Shirlee Sharkey, were guests on the RBC series, “RBC Disruptors.” Together they were interviewed by award winning scholar John Stackhouse, where they shared, from the home health perspective, their experiences with technology, skills development, and how innovation is changing health care.
Contact the Policy and Political Action Director at PoliticalAction@CHNIG.org
Emily Belita, MN, RN, PhD (Student)
Research, Education & Professional Development Co-lead
Emily Belita is currently a PhD student in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. Her research interests involve exploring the advancement of evidence-informed decision-making and knowledge translation in public health. Through her doctoral work, she is developing a program of research focused on assessing competence in evidence-informed decision-making among public health nurses.
Professionally, Emily has had over a decade of experience working as a public health nurse in various public health units. Her portfolio has been varied and has included a focus on chronic disease prevention and school health. Emily has had the privilege of working alongside and collaborating with geographically and demographically diverse communities to promote health and well-being across the lifespan.
Emily has a keen interest in advancing the quality of practice for community health nurses, as evident in previous membership on Nursing Practice Councils, a health equity leadership committee, and currently, as an active member of Community Health Nurses of Canada.
Emily looks forward to applying her growing knowledge and skill set in research and education, as well as her frontline experience as a public health nurse in her new role as co-lead for Research, Education, and Professional Development.
Pragathi Mulbagel, MScN, RN
Research, Education & Professional Development Co-lead
Prag is a Registered Nurse, a graduate from the Master of Science in Nursing (MScN) at York University, Toronto Canada. Prag is the Learning & Development Manager at SE Health where she utilizes her knowledge and experience from Long-term care, Acute care and Community care to develop an educational framework, implement innovative learning approaches to enhance education standards, and monitors implementation and performance.
Prag leads the development and implementation of learning programs for two key SE Health initiatives with SE Global and SE Futures. Prag leads the projects designed with/for international partners (Kuwait, India, China, etc..). Prag also executes innovative approaches to supporting the learning and development of clinical staff, stakeholders, policy decision makers for the new innovative program, HOPE model of care, designed to disrupt home and community care.
Prior to joining Saint Elizabeth, Prag was the Clinical Practice Coach, where she designed and delivered education to all of the service delivery center on a wide range of organizational policy and discipline specific issues relevant to health care and client outcomes.
Prag’s career path includes Instructor, Bachelor of Nursing program at Humber College, Lead Clinical Practice Coach at Central West/Mississauga Halton SE Health, Charge Registered Nurse, Joseph Brant Hospital, Charge Registered Nurse, Rideaucrest Long Term Care, City of Kingston. Prag is also a member of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario since 2015 and member of the Community Health Nurses’ Initiatives Group (CHNIG), Provincial Nurse Educator Interest Group (PNEING).
Karen Parkinson RN, BScN, CCHN(C)
Professional Practice Public Health
Karen Parkinson is the Professional Practice Leader – Nursing and a Public Health Nurse at Toronto Public Health. She has worked in public health for over 18 years in a variety of programs in Child Health and Development. In addition, she has several years of experience as a Health Informatics PHN supporting nurses and other users of a community health information system.
She joined RNAO as a student and over the years has been a member of different interest groups. Her passion is in community health nursing and therefore she has been a long-standing member of CHNIG.
Karen completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ryerson University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Nursing from Athabasca University. Karen is certified in Community Health Nursing with the Canadian Nurses Association. She coordinates a certification study group twice yearly for nurses from both within her health unit and other health units as well as home health nurses.
Contact Professional Nursing Practice Director (Public Health) at PublicHealthPractice@CHNIG.org
Kay McGarvey RN, CCHN(C)
Professional Practice Home Health
Kay is currently employed by Saint Elizabeth Health Care as Nurse Facilitator Lead for the Telemedicine IMPACT Plus (TIP) program – a collaborative interdisciplinary model for medically complex patients in the community using video technology, funded by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network. Previously, she was a Clinical Resource Nurse for Saint Elizabeth.
Prior to entering the Home Care sector, Kay held the positions of Nursing unit manager of Neurosurgery, and Charge Nurse in the Emergency Department / Trauma unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. In the past, Kay has participated on the steering committee of the Community Ethics Network as well as the Toronto Palliative Care Network, Peritoneal Dialysis interest group and the Canadian Vascular Access Association.
Kay is proud to be one of the first nurses in Canada certified in the speciality of Community Nursing.
Contact Professional Nursing Practice Director (Home Health) at HomeHealthPractice@CHNIG.org
Cindy Baker-Barill RN, BScN
Cindy is a Program Manager of the Tobacco-free Living Program and the
Central East Tobacco Control Area Network at Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Key areas of focus include promoting smoke-free college and university campuses, preventing youth and young adults from starting to smoke via grassroots and online promotion, and improving the number of quit attempts for people who smoke. She has worked in Public Health for 32 years in a variety of roles ranging from a generalist PHN to focused programs by age; such as Healthy Child Adolescence and by issue; Substance Abuse and Injury Prevention. Cindy has previously participated on the CHNIG Board as Communications, President, and OPHA representatives.
Cindy has been active on many provincial committees related to tobacco control and participated in the development of the RNAO best practice guideline; Enhancing Healthy Adolescent Development. Cindy is very excited to be able to support the CHNIG board in finalizing all of the governance policies over the next 2 years.
Contact the Governance Director at Governance@CHNIG.org
Poonam Sharma RN, BScN, MN
Poonam comes from a diverse background in public health with experience in Family Health, Child Health, Communicable Diseases and most currently in Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, as a supervisor in the Oral Health Program. Poonam is also a part of the expert panel for the RNAO new best practice guideline for Oral Health. Her other passion for community health nursing is centered in women’s health and to this day she is a child birthing, newborn and breastfeeding educator.
Poonam has been actively involved in the RNAO and on the Peel Chapter executive team with many leadership positions since 2007. Poonam graduated from the University of New Brunswick/Humber College Collaborative Nursing Program with a Bachelor of Nursing degree. She is the past-president of the Nursing Students of Ontario – RNAO Interest Group. In 2013, she was recognized for her work with nursing students through the RNAO Provincial Leadership Award in Student Mentorship. Poonam has a Masters in Nursing from Ryerson University.
Poonam is excited to be a part of the CHING Board of Directors team as the OPHA Liaison.
Contact the OPHA (Member-at-Large) Director at OPHA@CHNIG.org
Austin White RN, BScN
Communications Director – Website
Austin is currently a Public Health Nurse at Niagara Region Public Health on the Healthy Schools Team. His focus and has been the development, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion programing across Ontario through his positions at Niagara Region Public Health and the Tobacco Control Area Network out of Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
Austin has been actively involved within the RNAO and CHNIG as a student, and Registered Nurse. He has used his leadership positions to not only advocate for student engagement in policy making, but the important role that community health nurses have within our health care system. He began his involvement with CHNIG as Keynote Speaker for the workshop: Exploring the World of Community Health Nursing.
Austin is interested in the use of graphics and marketing when delivering evidence-informed messaging to advocate for policy change. He is excited to use his skills to support the Board of Directors as Communications Director for the Website.
Contact the Website Director at Website@CHNIG.org
Kelly Huang RN, BScN
Communications Director – Social Media
Kelly discovered her passion for community health when she worked at the Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Health Care for a summer. This led her to further pursue opportunities at home and aboard to better understand social justice, health systems, and the nursing contributions in these areas. She has volunteered in May Pen, Jamaica to provide health services for an underserved community and finally, she chose to complete her consolidation on the Early Years Team at Southwestern Public Health Unit. Currently, Kelly works in the Child and Family program at VHA Home Healthcare. She is a Master of Nursing Candidate in the Health Systems Leadership and Administration program at the University of Toronto. She strives to leverage her competencies as a nursing leader to improve health outcomes of vulnerable populations through policies, programs, and partnerships on a local and global level.
Kelly believes in the power of creativity and storytelling through imagery. She hopes to use photography and other medium to communicate stories, create conversations, and increase understanding of community health issues to influence change
Contact the Social Media Director at SocialMedia@CHNIG.org
Janet Leung, Nursing Student
Janet Leung is a Second-Entry Nursing Student, who is expected to graduate from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Program at York University in October 2019. She received a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Occupational and Public Health with a major in Public Health and Safety from Ryerson University.
She is passionate in caring and supporting individuals and diverse communities to promote health and wellbeing, and to enhance health protection and safety. She strives to improve the health of vulnerable populations with the aim of advancing health access and equity.
She collaborated with her clinical practicum team and community stakeholders to conduct thorough assessments and develop an accepted proposal to support LGBTQ2+ individuals (residents and staff) at a long-term care organization. She and her team presented Strengthening Community Ties: Supporting LGBTQ2+ Client Centred Care for Older Adults, including strategies to support and protect LGBTQ2+ staff in the workplace, at the National Community Health Nursing Conference: Caring, Connecting and Leading for a Healthy Canada in June 2018, Regina, SK. As a member of the Community Health Nurses of Canada (CHNC), she collaborated with the LGBTQ2+ workgroup to develop a policy brief to inform the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA) report, The Health of LGBTQIA2 Communities in Canada.
Recently, she completed her consolidation at the Toronto Public Health Communicable Diseases Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Program.
As a RNAO Student Liaison and CHNIG Student Representative, she will contribute to advancing community health nursing and nursing student education.
Contact the Student Representative at Student@CHNIG.org