Speakers

 

Overview | February 8 (Pre-Conference) | February 9-10 (Main Conference) | Speakers

Pre-Conference Presenters

Dr. Jon Korfmacher
Associate Professor, Erikson Institute

Jon Korfmacher, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development in Chicago, Illinois. His research examines the implementation and outcome of early childhood interventions, with an emphasis on family engagement, quality measurement, and workforce training. He has worked on numerous research studies focused on home visiting programs and other early childhood interventions, and consults nationally and internationally on the topic. Dr. Korfmacher is also a member of the management team of the Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC), a national home visiting research network in the United States.

Pierre Harrison, M.Sc., OCT/EAO
PLAYLearnThink

Pierre grandit dans le Nord de l’Ontario ou il jouit d’une vie en forêt pleine d’émerveillement et d’aventure. Il est un enseignant agréé en Ontario, spécialiste en apprentissage par le jeu et défenseur du droit au jeu de l’enfant. Depuis 1985, Pierre a travaillé dans le domaine de l’éducation non-formelle et a occupé des postes d’éducateur avec des centres d’éducation en Amérique du Nord et l’Europe. En 2003, il lança PLAYLearnThink, une entreprise sociale qui s’engage à promouvoir l’importance du jeu comme pierre de gué menant à une vie saine et enrichissante. Pierre à animé des formations pour enseignant(e)s, éducatrices, parents et pourvoyeur de service en santé et en loisir. Ses formations permettent une meilleure compréhension du jeu et son rôle dans le développement sain de l’enfant. Pierre a aussi présenté sur l’apprentissage et le jeu pour des auditoires divers au Canada, aux États-Unis et en Europe. En 2014, Pierre a fait une tournée de la province avec le Ministère de l’éducation de l’Ontario pour animer une formation sur l’importance du jeu pour les équipes pédagogiques PAJE de tous les conseils scolaires francophones. Pierre est le président du volet Canadien de l’Association international pour le jeu. Il vit dans une maison construite de ballots de paille avec sa conjointe Susanne et leurs fils Tom (7 ans) de qui il apprend beaucoup.

Lyn Lacey, RN, BScN
Public Health Nurse, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Lyn is a Public Health Nurse at Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health. She graduated from McGill University, worked in hospital and community settings, and has 29 years of experience in public health. Lyn is currently a co-lead for a research study involving the development of My Health eSnapshot, a preconception health e-tool for patient-use in primary care settings. Her reproductive health work also includes program development and research on FASD as part of the WDG Alcohol Strategy. Lyn has a special interest in how preconception health positively affects multiple births as her two youngest children are fraternal twins.

Sheila Marcinyshyn
Health Programs Lead, FASD Outreach & Child Development Worker, Anishnawbe Mushkiki

Sheila Marcinyshyn is an Ojibway woman belonging to the Pegius First Nation in Manitoba. Sheila has been married for 19 years and has 3 amazing children, 2 sons and I daughter ages 20, 18 and 15 years and currently lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Growing up in Eriksdale, Manitoba, (the Interlake) as a teenager she worked with youth and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. This paved the way to her work in the social services field. In 1993 Sheila graduated with a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Red River Community College. After completing her diploma she started working in school age and infant day cares. Sheila also worked for Keewatin Tribal Council as a Day Care Coordinator providing assistance and support to 11 First Nation Communities to develop and sustain day care facilities.

In 2000 Sheila’s family moved to Thunder Bay and she gave birth to her 3rd child as well as working part time for the Anishnawbe Education Institute as an instructor with the Native Early Childhood and Natal, Maternal Child Health Programs. Currently Sheila works at Anishnawbe Mushkiki, an Aboriginal Health Centre as the Health Program Coordinator and Program Lead providing support for the Health Programs. She provides prenatal/postnatal support, birth doula support, parenting, nutrition and FASD education, advocacy and outreach. She has gained a lot of experience and training over the years in motivational interviewing, addictions, resiliency, childhood trauma, FASD and recently became a certified Life Skills Coach. Sheila strongly believes in supporting Indigenous people through strength based approaches, engaging the whole family, Cultural Teachings, education, prevention and health promotion. She is passionate about empowering and advocating for the well-being of Indigenous people as well as supporting families to live a healthy balanced life and have healthy babies.

Cynthia Montanaro, RN, BScN
Public Health Nurse, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Cynthia is a Public Health Nurse at Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. Cynthia graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and has been working in public health for 18 years. Cynthia is currently a co-lead for a research study involving the development of My Health eSnapshot, a preconception health e-tool for patient-use in primary care settings. Cynthia was actively involved with the OPHA Preconception Health Task Group in writing the OPHA’s SHIFT paper, and co-authored a preconception health commentary published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. Cynthia’s passion for preconception health strengthened after experiencing the preterm birth of her young daughter.

Sherry Pelletier, RN
Coordinator, Pre/postnatal Program, Beendigen Inc.

Ms. Sherry Pelletier has been active in working with at risk women for close to 20 years now. Prior to this Sherry worked in a General Hospital in several areas including a lengthy time in Emergency and Trauma. After devoting 20 plus years to General Duty Sherry decided it was time to broaden the horizons and perhaps seek work with Indigenous Women. Sherry worked part time instructing at Confederation College for several years, graduating three classes of Community Health Representatives who worked in the remote North. Sherry found her calling at Beendigen Inc. She has coordinated, and facilitated the  program since its infancy and it is a very successful program well known throughout the city today. Sherry is known for her advocacy and vast knowledge in the areas of pregnancy and parenting, especially with the families whom she works with that need this type of support. Sherry is active in the city of Thunder Bay and networks with various organizations who work with women and children. Sherry is of Ojibway heritage, an active member of Fort William First Nation, and has been on the Band Council for several terms. She is a wife, mother and grandmother known for her dedication to her family. Aside from all of this Sherry understands the importance of self care which she says one must practice and often recommends to others.

Erica Phipps
Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment / Centre for Environmental Health Equity, Queen’s University

Since 2008, Erica Phipps has served as Executive Director for the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE), a national collaboration of organizations that work together to advance children’s environmental health protection (www.healthyenvironmentforkids.ca). Erica has a master's degree in public health and has worked on environmental health and toxics issues for more than 25 years, both domestically and internationally. She is also currently a Vanier scholar at Queen’s University where she is pursuing doctoral studies on intersectoral approaches to environmental health inequities through participatory research conducted within the CPCHE-led RentSafe initiative.

Dr. Nancy Poole
Director, BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health; Prevention Lead, CanFASD Research Network

Nancy is the Director of the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health and the Prevention Lead for the CanFASD Research Network. Nancy is known for her collaborative work towards improving policy and service provision related to girls and women’s health, and promoting gender equity, with governments and organizations in Canada, and internationally.

Melissa Potwarka
Interim Manager, Family Health Promotion Team, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Melissa Potwarka has worked for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health for the past 7 years. Melissa began in public health as a Health Promotion Specialist with the Health Analytics team. In that role Melissa has provided leadership to several community collaborations that have resulted in comprehensive publications on the health and well-begin of children in WDG, the implementation of a Grade 7 and 10 Youth survey in all three school boards and the development of a comprehensive evidence-based mental health and substance use prevention program for grade 7-8 students. This is Melissa’s second year as the Interim Manager with the Family Health Promotion team. As part of this role she has provided leadership to staff on innovative health promotion and research projects, including a division-wide social media and health care provider outreach strategy, and the implementation and evaluation of an electronic Preconception Health Screening Tool. Melissa finds it very rewarding to work with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, where there is mutual contribution, support and benefit among the members to achieve successful outcomes.

Erica Zarins, RN, BScN, CHNC(c) and Jennifer Eastman, RN, BScN
Public Health Nurses, Reproductive Health Team, Middlesex-London Health Unit

Erica Zarins and Jennifer Eastman are Public Health Nurses on the Reproductive Health Team at the Middlesex-London Health Unit. Both have experience working in tertiary care perinatal centres caring for women and their families. Erica has additional experience in the areas of sexual health and the neonatal intensive care. The Got a Plan workshop was initially developed in 1996 as a 1-1/2 hour hospital tour and has evolved into a full day education session focused on highlighting the impacts of preconception health with high school students.

Keynote Speakers

Alice Ordean, MD, CCFP, MHSc, FCFP, DABAM
Medical Director, Toronto Centre for Substance Use in Pregnancy (T-CUP), St. Joseph’s Health Centre; Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Dr. Alice Ordean is the Medical Director of the Toronto Centre for Substance Use in Pregnancy (T-CUP) at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. She has been a principal investigator in numerous research projects including the development of a comprehensive reference guide for health care providers and national data collection relating to methadone maintenance during pregnancy. She has also contributed to international, national and provincial guidelines on the management of problematic substance use in pregnancy, perinatal opioid dependence and smoking cessation during pregnancy. 

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis
Pediatrician and Medical Officer of Health, Eastern Ontario Health Unit

Pediatrician and Medical Officer of Health of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis (AKA Dr. Paul) is a passionate supporter of early child development through the life-course perspective. He is the founder/former director of the Montreal Children's Hospital’s Asthma and Pediatric Consultation Centers and Multi-Format Health Communications at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Paul also holds a Masters of Public Health Degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where he is an Associate faculty member and is an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at McGill University. In January 2014, he was appointed to the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health.

Using his expertise in the professional music recording and broadcast industry, Dr. Paul has oriented his career towards the development of multiformat health educational programs. Considered a health communications pioneer, he has created hundreds of projects on a variety of health issues. His web site, (www.drpaul.com), the first of its kind in the world and his health educational programs have been used by millions worldwide. Endorsed by the UN, his highly acclaimed groundbreaking book focusing on the importance of the first 18 months of life, BABY COME HOME, was released early in 2015.

Linda Young, MScN, EdD
Director, Maternal Newborn Child Mental Health, Interprofessional Practice and Organizational Learning

Linda Young developed her knowledge and expertise with breastfeeding as a clinical nurse specialist at Women’s College where she focused on enhancing breastfeeding and family-centered care.  Linda has worked in Director roles across the GTA for over 20 years and has been the Director of Maternal Newborn Child, Mental Health, Interprofessional Practice and Organizational Learning at Michael Garron Hospital for the past six years, during which MGH became re-designated as a Baby Friendly Hospital.

Concurrent Session Speakers

Candace Aqui, MPH, RD
Program Consultant, Nutrition Resource Centre

Candace Aqui is a Registered Dietitian and Program Consultant for the NRC. Her primary responsibilities include overseeing program and resource development, building and maintaining communication strategies, conducting research projects and supporting communities of practice. Previously, she has worked for Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, as well as for Cancer Care Ontario in research/coordinator roles. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto, BASc in Nutrition and Food from Ryerson University, and BSc in Psychology from the University of Waterloo.

Ann Batisse
Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group

Ann Batisse is a transformational leader and mentor who has applied her significant level of expertise to strengthening the social and economic capacity of First Nations communities so they can self-determine their future. She is a member of Matachewan First Nation and has been elected to serve a number of terms as a member of the Council.

Ann obtained a Masters of Arts in Leadership through Royal Roads University. Aside from her expertise in the field of community and economic development, Ann has practiced in addictions counselling, group facilitation, proposal and program development as well as evaluation and research.

Dr. Jean M. Clinton BMus MD FRCP(C)
Clinical Professor McMaster University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences

Dr Jean Clinton is a Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster, division of Child Psychiatry. She is on staff at McMaster Children’s Hospital with cross appointments in Pediatrics and Family Medicine, and an Associate in the Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Toronto and Sick Children’s Hospital. She is also a senior scientist at the INCH (Infant Child Health) Lab at McMaster University. In addition she is a Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy. She has been a consultant to children and youth mental health programs, child welfare, and primary care for almost 30 years. Dr. Clinton was recently appointed as an education advisor to the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education.

Dr. Clinton is renowned locally, provincially, nationally, and more recently internationally as an advocate for children’s issues. Her special interest lies in brain development, and the crucial role relationships and connectedness play therein. Jean champions the development of a national, comprehensive child well-being strategy including a system of early learning and care for all young children and their families. She is equally committed to ensuring that children’s and youths’ needs and voices are heard and respected.

Maple Cardona
Health Promotion Specialist, City of Toronto Child Health and Development Directorate

Maple has spent her career working with families with young children in programs such as Healthy Babies Healthy Children, Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program and the Incredible Years.  Currently Maple is in the Early Years Stream promoting initiatives on early learning and child development.

Dr. Judith A. Colbert
Author, Welcoming Newcomer Children and Child Health Across Cultures

Judith A. Colbert PhD is a consultant and frequent conference presenter based in Guelph, Ontario. She focuses on the settlement and health of immigrant and refugee children. She is principal author of requirements for the operation of child care support funded by the Government of Canada for newcomer children whose parents are receiving language and settlement services. Her books, Welcoming Newcomer Children and Child Health Across Cultures, as well as related e-learning modules, are resources for professionals with an interest in supporting the settlement of immigrant and refugee children. Her website is www.welcomingchildren.ca

Dr. Malini Dave
Paediatrician with a special focus on Social Paediatrics and Pediatric Advocacy

In addition to practicing paediatrics in the community, she is a Consultant Paediatrician at Black Creek Community Health Centre.  She runs the School Based Health Clinic at Yorkwoods School in Northwest Toronto. She is on the Steering Committee of the Infant Mental Health Promotion and on the Health Committee of the Toronto Child and Family Network.  As part of the faculty at the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto, she is involved in teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Erin Colburn, MHSc, RD
Program Coordinator, Nutrition Resource Centre

Erin is a Registered Dietitian and has recently reprised her role as Program Coordinator for the Nutrition Resource Centre (NRC). In her previous incarnation, she oversaw the provincial Eat Smart!® School and Workplace Programs, developing and dissemination program materials and providing consultative support. Currently, her responsibilities include stakeholder engagement, knowledge translation, and resource and program development. Prior to joining the NRC, Erin worked at the Canadian Sugar Institute as Coordinator of Communications. She has also worked for many years as a nutrition consultant, with a focus on childcare menu evaluation. Erin holds a Master of Health Science degree in Community Nutrition from the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. She also obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Food and Nutrition from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis
Professor, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Canada Research Chair, Perinatal Community Health; Women’s Health Research Chair, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis is a Professor in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Community Health and was recently appointed the Women’s Health Research Chair at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital. She is currently the principal investigator of six large, multi-site studies and is a co-investigator on twenty-one other research projects concerning maternal, paternal, and infant health outcomes with a focus on breastfeeding and perinatal mental health.

Janet Fox
Life Skills Coach and Trainer

Janet Fox is a life skills coach and trainer and a mother of 4 and a proud grandmother of 8. Janet shares her journey about the lack of parenting skills in her family system which stems from colonization and lack of identity as she attended residential school. She understands the effects from the years and speaks about the lack of bonding and attachment. Janet has been on a mission to end generational cycles in her family and has pursued the knowledge of how our Ancestors raised their children, which today is called by the western world 'the most profound child psychology'. She has taken training with the Native American Fatherhood Association, National Indian Child Welfare Association and the Native Wellness Institute.

Pierre Harrison, M.Sc., OCT/EAO
PLAYLearnThink

Pierre grew up in the vast forest wonderland of Northern Ontario where he enjoyed a playful childhood filled with wonder and adventure. He is a certified teacher in the province of Ontario and a play advocate and specialist. Since 1985, Pierre has been involved in non-formal learning and has worked at various education centres in North America and Europe. In 2003, Pierre launched PLAYLearnThink, a social enterprise focused on promoting the importance of play as an essential stepping-stone towards a healthy and fulfilling life. He has trained teachers, educators, recreation leaders, health care service providers, parents/caregivers and the general public on the importance of unstructured play in the healthy development of children. He has also spoken on the topic of play and learning for various audiences in Canada, the USA and Europe.  In 2014 Pierre toured the province with the Ministère de l’éducation de l’Ontario training kindergarten teachers/educators on the importance of play. Pierre is the current president of the Canadian branch of the International Play Association. He lives in an off-grid, straw bale house in Northern Ontario with his partner Susanne and their 7 year old son Tom, from whom he learns much.

Jody Kroeplin
FASD ONE Prevention Action Group

Jody Kroeplin has been a Public Health Nurse with the Grey Bruce Health Unit for 11 years. Currently she is a home visiting nurse in the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program while also having a leadership role in the Substance Misuse Program in the field of FASD prevention. Jody is the lead nurse for the Prevention Subcommittee of the local FASD Leadership Team in Grey Bruce as well has been a member with the FASD ONE Prevention Action Group for the past year.

Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn
Director of Communications, Multiple Births Canada

Carolyn holds several roles in the multiple births community. Carolyn is the Director of Communications of Multiple Births Canada (MBC), is the Chair of MBC's Preterm Birth Support Network, and works in her local affiliate chapter K-W Parents of Multiple Births Association as Director of Peer Health and Family Support. Carolyn strives to ensure each expectant and new parent of multiple births knows they are not alone in this unique parenting experience. Carolyn is the mother of identical twin boys (6) and a singleton (8), all born preterm.

Catharine Lowes
Public Health Nurse, Niagara Region Public Health

Catharine Lowes is a public health nurse from Niagara Region Public Health. Catharine has been an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant since 1997 and has worked with families in hospital and community settings. Catharine has held the position of Baby-Friendly Initiative Coordinator for Niagara, assisting her team to become designated in 2014. Catharine has being working for the BFI strategy for Ontario in the past year supporting healthcare facilities across Ontario in their BFI work. Catharine was a previous co-chair of the OPHA breastfeeding promotion network and was instrumental in writing the informed decision making position paper released in 2014.

Greg Lubimiv
Executive Director, Phoenix Centre for Children and Families

Greg Lubimiv graduated from Laurentian University with his B.S.W. and Later University of Toronto with his M.S.W. and is a certified Supervisor with the Canadian Association of Child and Play Therapy.

Greg has been Executive Director of The Phoenix Centre, a children’s mental health centre, situated in Pembroke, Ontario since 1981 and is well known in the field as an innovative and passionate clinician and administrator.

Greg is considered one of Canada’s leading expert in many topic areas, including Play Therapy, Family Therapy, Temperament, Vicarious Trauma, Reflective Practice, and Trauma. The Phoenix Centre is well known as a creative mental health centre which has been a leader in exploring new models of intervention and implementing evidence based practices. Greg has been involved in the development and implementation of local strategies to improve wellbeing as well as national and international strategies, including the Imagination Library, Welcome to Parenting and the Friends and Neighbours Club Puppet program. Greg has been a passionate advocate for support and enhancement of mental health services and programs, the elimination of poverty and its effects on Canadians and the support of parents in raising children.

Greg is a well-known as an international presenter/trainer and audiences appreciate his passion, humour, energy and ability to translate research and theory into simple and practical models, tools and strategies.

Liz Lull, CD(DONA), LCCE, BDT(DONA), IBCLC
Founder, Enlightened Mama

Liz is a DONA certified birth doula & doula trainer, a Lamaze®-Certified Childbirth Educator & trainer, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and an instructor of lactation studies University of California, San Diego. She is the founder of Enlightened Mama, providing education and support to families in her area, along with professional training across the world. She lives in St. Paul, MN with her incredibly supportive wife and four fabulous children, who inspire and humble her on a daily basis. Find more at www.enlightenedmama.com.

Sandy Maxwell, BASc, RD
School Health Team, Niagara Region Public Health

Sandy is a Registered Dietitian on the School Health Team at Niagara Region Public Health and an active member of the Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health. She co-created You’re the Chef (a healthy cooking program for ages 10 and up) in 2005 and continues to train school and community agency volunteers to run this innovative cooking program across Niagara. She sits on a variety of local and provincial committees and currently chairs the provincial BrightBites team which participants will learn more about in her session. She is passionate about inspiring school communities to set the best example for kids by creating a culture that values and celebrates ‘real’ food.

Maureen McDonald
Manager, Health Nexus

Maureen currently manages the comprehensive, bilingual core health promotion services through Health Nexus and HC Link. With 25 years’ experience designing and leading complex child and family health and social support service systems, she promotes healthy communities through the cultivation and development of multi-sectorial partnership initiatives and projects. Maureen’s work, both within Toronto and across the province, reflects the need to develop innovative and responsive solutions to address the upstream health needs of diverse populations in a wide variety of community settings.

Jennifer Moodie, BSc (Hons), MAN, RD
Family Health Division, Niagara Region Public Health

Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian in the Family Health Division at Niagara Region Public Health (NRPH). Jennifer provides dietetic expertise and support to the Healthy Babies Healthy Children, Child Health and Reproductive Health Programs at NRPH. She also works closely with educators, parents, child care centres, primary health care and other community agencies to promote and support optimal nutrition for young children and their families. Jennifer is passionate about starting all kids on the path to good health and inspiring the love of cooking and eating together. Prior to public health, Jennifer spent nearly a decade working as a dietitian in the primary health care and private sector. Jennifer also enjoys being mom to three busy “learning eaters” under the age of six!

Mary Mueller
FASD ONE Prevention Action Group

Mary Mueller has worked in public health for 29 years in various areas such as: reproductive health, women’s health, nutrition and prevention of substance use in pregnancy. Her work has included the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) for over 15 years. Mary joined the FASD Ontario Network of Expertise (FASD ONE) Prevention Action Group in 2011. Mary was a contributor to the “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A Call to Action in Ontario” that was submitted to the government in 2014. She has been active with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) advocating for an Integrated Strategy to Address FASD in Ontario, and offering webinars and presentations regarding best practices to prevent or decrease the use of substance use in pregnancy.  In 2015, Mary was honoured to receive the RNAO Leadership Award in Political Action for her work on FASD. Mary is passionate about her work with women at risk of substance use in pregnancy and the need to do this in an evidence based manner which includes advocating for an integrated strategy to address FASD in Ontario and the need for supportive alcohol policy.

Kristina Niedra, MA
Project Manager, BFI Strategy for Ontario and Manager, Organizational Learning, Change and Library Services

Kristina Niedra has an MA in Public Policy and Administration from Ryerson University. She has worked at Michael Garron Hospital for the past six years in various roles, most recently as the Project Manager for the BFI Strategy for Ontario. In this role, Kristina has facilitated workshops across Ontario and supported hospitals and community health services with coaching support as they implement BFI best practices.

Devon Physick, BA, RECE
Canadian Mothercraft Society; Acting Manager, CityKids

Devon is currently the Acting Manager of CityKids, a service navigation program for families of children with extra support needs who require specialized services and/or community based programs in Toronto. Devon has been a member of the CityKids team since its inception in 2008 and has extensive knowledge of early intervention best practices and how to support parents through the early identification process. Devon has also worked as a Resource Teacher within an Ontario Early Years Centre and is actively involved in local planning activities to develop a city-wide approach to integrated rehab services as part of Ontario’s Special Needs Strategy. Devon has delivered the Special Needs course at Mothercraft College and regularly delivers workshop presentations to the early years and special needs sector in Toronto.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis
Pediatrician and Medical Officer of Health, Eastern Ontario Health Unit

Pediatrician and Medical Officer of Health of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis (AKA Dr. Paul) is a passionate supporter of early child development through the life-course perspective. He is the founder/former director of the Montreal Children's Hospital’s Asthma and Pediatric Consultation Centers and Multi-Format Health Communications at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Paul also holds a Masters of Public Health Degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where he is an Associate faculty member and is an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at McGill University. In January 2014, he was appointed to the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health.

Using his expertise in the professional music recording and broadcast industry, Dr. Paul has oriented his career towards the development of multiformat health educational programs. Considered a health communications pioneer, he has created hundreds of projects on a variety of health issues. His web site, (www.drpaul.com), the first of its kind in the world and his health educational programs have been used by millions worldwide. Endorsed by the UN, his highly acclaimed groundbreaking book focusing on the importance of the first 18 months of life, BABY COME HOME, was released early in 2015.

Maritza Sanchez
Executive Director, Jessie’s Centre

Maritza Sanchez is an effective leader and passionate advocate for young mothers. She has more than 20 years of management experience working in high priority neighbourhoods in Toronto in community health and the social service sector. Maritza started at Jessie’s in 1996, and has held the position of Executive Director since 2007. She holds a degree in social work from Mount Royal University in Calgary and has an extensive background in counselling, working as a mental health counsellor with disadvantaged youth. Her personal experience as a teenage mother, and as a young immigrant who fled her native Chile in 1974 due to political unrest, has shaped her professional life in a profound and meaningful way. First and foremost, she is a social justice activist dedicated to ensuring adequate social and family supports for young parents so they may succeed despite the challenges and inequalities they face.

Dr. Robyn Stremler, RN, PhD
Associate Professor and Director, PhD Program, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

Robyn Stremler, RN, PhD is Associate Professor and Director, PhD Program in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, and Adjunct Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). Dr. Stremler's program of research focuses on improving sleep and related health outcomes for children and parents, across a range of developmental stages and health conditions.

Linda Young, MScN, EdD
Director, Maternal Newborn Child Mental Health, Interprofessional Practice and Organizational Learning

Linda Young developed her knowledge and expertise with breastfeeding as a clinical nurse specialist at Women’s College where she focused on enhancing breastfeeding and family-centered care.  Linda has worked in Director roles across the GTA for over 20 years and has been the Director of Maternal Newborn Child, Mental Health, Interprofessional Practice and Organizational Learning at Michael Garron Hospital for the past six years, during which MGH became re-designated as a Baby Friendly Hospital.