CONTACT USGET INVOLVED
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.
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 President at President@CHNIG.org
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 Standing Committee. 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 Past President at PastPresident@CHNIG.org
Claire Alexander RN, BScN
Claire graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the York University Collaborative Program with Georgian College. Claire is currently working as a Public Health Nurse in the Smoke-Free Program at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. As a Public Health Nurse, she uses health promotion, policy development, and advocacy to encourage the reduction of commercial tobacco consumption and vaping. She thoroughly enjoys working with young adults and providing health education to students. She is very excited to begin her role as secretary for CHNIG.
Contact the Secretary at Secretary@CHNIG.org
Natalia Stovichek RN, BScN, CCHN(C)
Natalia realized her interest in the community early on in her nursing career. She has been working in the community setting for over 5 years in different roles including shift nursing, visiting mental health nursing and flu clinics. Currently she holds a position of Health Services Supervisor at “SE Health”.
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, MN, CCHN(C), CCRA
Suzana has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in nursing. She is also a certified in Community Health Nursing with the Canadian Nurses Association. 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 since 2015 at UHN (University Health Network). She worked in research for a few years in the cardiology field and is currently in endocrinology with focus on diabetes and obesity. She developed various skills over the years and has a commitment to health promotion. 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 in 2019 she 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.
Contact the Treasurer Director at Treasurer@CHNIG.org
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 a Public Health Nurse and former Professional Practice Leader of Nursing at Toronto Public Health. Karen has worked in public health for over 20 years in a variety of programs in Child Health and Development. In addition, she has several years of experience as a Health Informatics PHN.
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 completed her Master of Nursing with a Leadership Focus at Athabasca University. Karen is certified in Community Health Nursing with the Canadian Nurses Association.
Contact Professional Nursing Practice Director (Public Health) at ProfessionalPractice@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 ProfessionalPractice@CHNIG.org
Cindy Baker-Barill RN, BScN
Cindy is a Program Manager of the Smoke-Free Program, which includes 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 and vape via grassroots and online promotion, and improving the number of quit attempts for people who smoke. Currently, Cindy also supports various communication roles related to COVID-19. She has worked in Public Health for 34 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
Kerrianne Thompson RN, BScN, MN, CHNC (C)
Kerrianne brings her knowledge as a patient, previous family caregiver, and a Public Health Nurse to this role. She has practiced as a Registered Nurse for over 14 years and is certified in Community Health Nursing through the Canadian Nurses Association.
She has a nursing diploma from Durham College, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Ryerson University, and a Master of Nursing degree (with Teaching Focus) from Athabasca University. Her nursing experience includes both hospital (Medicine and Telemetry) and public health nursing (Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Chronic Disease Prevention, and Substance Use Prevention). Kerrianne recently gained experience with Trent University as a marker for their Critical Perspectives on Aging course. She is currently employed as a Public Health Nurse working in School Health and Youth Engagement, and is a Youth Engagement Coordinator for the Regional Municipality of Durham.
Kerrianne currently volunteers as a workplace liaison for the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, a Patient and Family Experience Advisor for Lakeridge Health, and a Patient and Family Advisory Committee member for the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). In addition, she volunteers with the Program Advisory Committee for Practical Nursing, Personal Support Worker and Critical Care at Durham College, is a mentor for the Canadian Public Health Association, a Bargaining Unit Representative for ONA Local 51, Association Management Committee and a mentee in the Community Health Nurses Leadership Mentoring Program. Kerrianne has held previous volunteer roles at Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre, and as a nursing preceptor assisting various post-secondary institutions. Kerrianne is a Whitby resident, and has resided there for the last 14 years.
Contact the OPHA Director at OPHA@CHNIG.org
Kelly Huang RN, BScN
Communications – Social Media
Kelly Huang is a new graduate nurse from Western University’s Western-Fanshawe Collaborative Program. Kelly has been involved with CHNIG since 2017 as a student, and is excited to continue to contribute to CHNIG as the Social Media Director!
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 Communications@CHNIG.org
Janet Leung BASc, BScN
Communications – Website
Janet Leung is a new graduate nurse 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 well-being, 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.
Contact the Website Director at Communications@CHNIG.org
Shannon Kemp is a 4th year nursing student at Ontario Tech University (OTU) and one of our Student Representatives on the Board of Directors. Shannon is dedicated to community and mental health nursing, with a passion for public health promotion and upstream prevention. She is a Registered Massage Therapist (for over 14 years) and Recipient of OTU’s 2020 Undergraduate Research Award for her project Connections & Possibilities: Homelessness, Addictions and Mental Health in Rural Communities. She advocates for historically marginalized populations and community outreach (volunteering with the Aids Committee of Durham Region, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Oshawa’s Coldest Night of the Year and Durham Region’s In and Out of the Crisis (IOTC) Emergency Shelter. Shannon is dedicated to the provision of the SDOH and believes in the cultivation of cohesive communities through capacity building and Asset Based Community Development. She hopes to dedicate her time in office to connecting fellow students with peers and community outreach.
“The nurses of tomorrow share a collective voice that is incredibly powerful. We are ideally situated to empathize and understand the social and healthcare needs of our community. Let’s grow a cohort of future nurses that prioritize social and political engagement; innovation; collaboration; and population health initiatives.”
For more information, please contact Student@CHNIG.org
Sarah is going into fourth year BScN at Sault College/Laurentian University. She has been active with RNAO since 2017, and is passionate about public health. Sarah has been involved with the Nursing Students of Ontario group, as well as the Canadian Nursing Student Association, and enjoys advocacy and policy work related to nursing. Sarah is excited to be a student representative for CHNIG and hopes to pursue a career in public health.