Kate is an Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Fraser Valley.
She is a mother, grandmother, nurse and educator. She identifies as a 2nd generation Canadian, and ally to Indigenous People, people who identify as BIPOC, and all people in the gender and sexual orientation spectrum. Her work experience in nursing includes direct patient care, education and leadership roles in perinatal, community health and women’s health contexts. Currently, she is a full-time nursing professor teaching childbearing family content and clinical practice. In addition, she works as a sexual health nurse in a clinic on a casual basis. She has lived and practiced as a nurse in British Columbia all of her career. Projects she has been privileged to work on include the Postpartum and Newborn Nursing Care Pathways produced by Perinatal Services of British Columbia (2011); the Best Beginnings Program in Fraser Health (guidelines for perinatal care in the community for public health nurses, 2009); the Prenatal Breastfeeding classes in Fraser Health (2011); and advocating for the Baby Friendly Initiative in her community of Chilliwack (2006 – 2010). Recently, she served as a member of the Community Health Nurses of Canada, and was the co-chair of their Research and Health Policy committee (2017 – 2019). She is committed to fostering excellence in equitable care to all childbearing families.
Janet has been a member of CAPWHN since its inception and was active in AWHONN Canada before that. She is currently completing my role on the Advocacy and Policy committee as the BC rep and previous co-chair. She has participated as a member of CAPWHN conference planning committees when the conference was held in BC or AB. She had the pleasure of being the co-chair of the 9th National Conference in 2019 held in Vancouver.
Her career has mainly been focused in Perinatal Care in British Columbia. The leadership positions she has held range from Program Coordinator to Manager of Antepartum Postpartum at BC Women’s Hospital. The opportunity to work at the provincial level lured her to work at Perinatal Services BC as the Provincial Director of Knowledge Transformation and Acute Care. Recognizing the need for coordination of fetal health surveillance in Canada, she established and was one of the first co-chairs of the Canadian Fetal Health Surveillance Committee. Her most recent role is Regional Director for the Maternal Child Program in Vancouver Coastal Health, a health authority in BC. She is responsible for planning and supporting perinatal and pediatric services across the health authority. She has been the RN representative on the SOGC Board and continues to be the representative on conference planning committees.
Catherine completed her undergraduate nursing studies at McGill University in 2010. Following her studies, she began her career at the Neonatal intensive care unit of the McGill University Health Center. After two years at the NICU Catherine transferred to the community health sector and specialized in perinatal health; giving prenatal classes, visiting new mothers in their home after delivery, working in a breastfeeding clinic and supporting new parents in their transition to parenthood. It is during this time that her passion for breastfeeding became evident and she further specialized in the breastfeeding field by becoming a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) in 2018.
In 2018, Catherine began her graduate studies in Nursing at l’Université du Québec en Outaouais where they offer a program specialized in advanced nursing practice in perinatal health. Catherine’s passion for perinatal health has always lead her career choices and today she works as a clinical nurse specialist for the obstetric-perinatal-neonatal-pediatric fields for the CISSS Montérégie-Est. She lives on the south shore of Montreal with her two children and pursues her graduate studies in hopes of completing them in the next two years.
She received a nursing and masters degree in nursing from York University, and a PhD in nursing from the University of Arizona. She has worked as a perinatal nurse for over 16 years and have been practicing as a Perinatal Clinical Practice Leader for over 10 years at the Scarborough Health Network. Within these leadership roles, she has been able to continually broaden her knowledge, strengthen her leadership capacity and enhance her teaching abilities through the use of creativity, innovation, and technology.
Her work has included creating and delivering staff education and orientation, policy development and implementation, mentoring staff while promoting clinical champions and best practice and developing and implementing quality improvement and safety initiatives. She is a certified Fetal Heart Surveillance and Neonatal Resuscitation Program instructor and most recently she has been enhancing her knowledge in simulation training and critical care.
She is a MOREOB core team member and administrator, and helps to facilitate annual goal identification and strategic planning, staff engagement and involvement, and annual education. She is also currently a System Manager for the electronic documentation system, and supports the work of a variety of committees.
Janet has been a member of CAPWHN since its inception and was active in AWHONN Canada before that. She is currently completing her role on the Advocacy and Policy committee as the BC rep and previous co-chair. She has participated as a member of CAPWHN conference planning committees when the conference was held in BC or AB. She had the pleasure of being the co-chair of the 9th National Conference in 2019 held in Vancouver.
Her career has mainly been focused in Perinatal Care in British Columbia. The leadership positions she has held range from Program Coordinator to Manager of Antepartum Postpartum at BC Women’s Hospital. The opportunity to work at the provincial level lured her to work at Perinatal Services BC as the Provincial Director of Knowledge Transformation and Acute Care. Recognizing the need for coordination of fetal health surveillance in Canada, she established and was one of the first co-chairs of the Canadian Fetal Health Surveillance Committee. Her most recent role is Regional Director for the Maternal Child Program in Vancouver Coastal Health, a health authority in BC. She is responsible for planning and supporting perinatal and pediatric services across the health authority. She have been the RN representative on the SOGC Board and continues to be the representative on conference planning committees.
Kelly Falzon is the Director of Women and Newborn’s Health at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). Kelly has a Nursing Diploma from Humber College, a Bachelor of Administrative Studies from York University and a Master’s degree in Health Science from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine. Kelly is a certified Canadian Health Care Executive (CHE) with the Canadian College of Health Leaders.
Kelly has worked in Women’s and Children’s Health for 38 years in various front line nursing and leadership roles. Prior to joining HHS Kelly was the Director of Women, Children and Seniors Health at William Osler Health System. Formerly Kelly was the Chief Nursing Executive and Senior Director, Rehabilitation and Complex Continuing Care at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, Ontario where she initiated a number of strategies to foster an environment that supports excellence in care delivery for children with disabilities and their families.
Over the years, Kelly’s career has taken her through a variety of front-line and executive roles at acute care pediatric environments and acute care community hospitals both in Canada and the United States. Kelly is also a standing board member for Hope Place Centres, a gender specific residential treatment centre for addictions.
Christina works part time as a Perinatal Consultant with the Champlain Maternal Newborn Regional Program. In this role, she contributes to the promotion of optimum perinatal care by sharing skills and knowledge with perinatal colleagues in eastern and southeastern Ontario and beyond. Perinatal substance use is the major focus of her work with partner organizations, promoting evidence-based care and adoption of best practice standards.
She has worked in a variety of perinatal settings including Mother-Baby Unit (2001-2008), Special Care Nursery (2008-2012), and High Risk Obstetrical Clinics (2011-2015). For many years, she taught prenatal classes for expectant families and she was a clinical and lab professor for the Maternal-Child Nursing Practicum Course (University of Ottawa). Nowadays she is a mentor and clinical advisor for students in the Masters in Nursing Program as well as regional colleagues who are new in their roles.
At the 8th National CAPWHN conference (Ottawa), she was delighted to chair the abstract review committee and she was invited to co-facilitate a specialty session on perinatal substance use with her colleague Lynn Newton. She recently started my PhD in Nursing degree at Queen’s University
Rita Assabgui is CAPWHN’s first full-time Executive Director and began her role in November 2011. Rita has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from McGill University, a Certificate in Public Administration from the University of Ottawa, and obtained her Certified Association Executive (CAE) professional designation from the Canadian Society of Association Executives in 2005.
Prior to joining CAPWHN, Rita worked for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for 12 years, managing multiple national medical specialist organizations and registered charities. During her tenure, Rita managed the Canadian Association of Medical Geneticists, the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and the Canadian Physiatrists Research and Development Foundation. Rita also worked with the professional associations for Medical Oncology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Pathology. In addition, Rita managed the Federation of National Specialty Societies of Canada, an umbrella organization of medical specialist associations.
Before pursuing a career in non-profit association management, Rita spent many years working in municipal government as an assistant for both Ottawa City Councillors and a past Mayor of Ottawa.
Fabienne is currently the unit manager of the Obstetrical Suite at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, Alberta. She brings over 25 years’ experience as a high risk obstetrical nurse as well as management experience of over 6 years.
She began her nursing journey in Lethbridge, Alberta, with enthusiasm, in 1990 by pursuing her passion of assisting women and families through the birthing process. She rode the wave of nursing cutbacks by moving to Texas to work in a newly opened facility utilizing the LDRP concept in 1994. This was an interesting transition with many changes in culture and process. She assisted anesthesia in implementing walking epidurals. She also assisted Obstetricians with the practice of intermittent auscultation in early labor. Because of the great distance from Texas to family, Fabienne moved to Whitefish, Montana to work in a rural hospital Obstetrical Unit. Great respect was learned for the demands placed on medical personnel in a busy rural resort hospital. Fabienne certified in Fetal Heart Monitoring with Michelle Murray in 1996. She then embarked on the adventure of a travel nurse and worked in California at UC Berkley, UC Stanford as well as many other Bay Area hospitals. She also completed several assignments in Arizona and Montana. She became a valued member of a team at all facilities. This experience provided Fabienne with the opportunity to meet wonderful nurses, midwives and physicians. Her appreciation grew for the consideration that multi-cultured patients should expect. The time then came to reclaim roots in Canada; she was met with great fortune when the demand for obstetrical nurses grew in Alberta. The next transition was into management. Fabienne became manager in 2009 of the Obstetrical Unit at Chinook Regional Hospital.
Fabienne has immense regard for Women’s Health. She is steadfast and focused in applying improvements, through evidence based practice. It is her personal standard that high quality care is provided to all families changing their life process through childbirth. Fabienne is tireless in providing leadership to improve obstetrical outcome. She understands the importance of logic when initiating change. She respects the knowledge and expertise of nurses working in obstetrics by utilizing their strengths. Fabienne supports dedication to a strong patient centered care environment. She knows that solutions are possible with consideration and dedication while also realizing time and patience are necessary to diminish resistance. CAPWHN provides resources and support to nurses to accomplish these standards.
A long-time resident of Nova Scotia, Cathy Sheffer lives in Bedford, a small community within Halifax Regional Municipality. Cathy currently teaches in the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University. Her employment history encompasses professional nursing practice in various perinatal settings (birth unit, postpartum care, prenatal care, fetal assessment, nursing education). Cathy made the move to full-time academia in 1999. As a course professor with clinical responsibilities, she is able to maintain one foot within the practice world. As a perinatal specialist educating the nurses of tomorrow, Cathy is committed to providing access to cutting edge research and information that can ensure these novices are fully prepared to excel in their practice while caring for women, newborns, and their families.
Cathy has served both locally and nationally on the governing boards of AWHONN Canada and CAPWHN. As the Secretary/Treasurer for AWHONN Canada and Treasurer for CAPWHN, she enjoyed the many challenges encountered in this role – dealing with accounting and budgetary procedures, dealing with GST and the Canadian government, as well as cross-border issues while under the umbrella of AWHONN. As a member of the governance team, Cathy learned much about working together to maintain an effective organization. Having completed doctoral studies in 2015, Cathy is once again in a position to provide time and energy to CAPWHN as a member of the Board of Directors. Her expertise as a nurse, educator and past board member will be tremendous assets allowing Cathy to fulfill the responsibilities of this role.
Nancy studied at Dalhousie for both BSCN (1998), and MN (2010). She began her nursing career at the IWK Health Centre in pediatrics in roles on the Pediatric Medical Unit, and Recovery Room. During this time Nancy also worked a part time role in the Chief of Nursing office focusing on Nursing Practice and Policy within the IWK. Later after completing her Masters she began a role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with Brain Injury and Rehabilitation. After 3 years as a CNS, Nancy was asked to complete an interim Operations Manager position for Rehabilitation Services. Following the term position, Nancy later accepted a position in Project management until she applied and was awarded a Management position with Prenatal Care Team and Inpatient Adult Surgery.
Nancy manages both Ambulatory Clinics for Prenatal Care and Fetal Ultrasound as well as inpatient unit that services both High Risk Antepartum patients and Inpatient Adult Surgery which includes gyne, urogyne and breast health patients.
Nancy has a passion for working with women and their families and especially loves moving nursing practice to match the needs of the women we serve, while looking at ways we can increase the ability of the health care system to be flexible.
Leanne MacKeen is a Dalhousie University School of Nursing graduate and has practiced nursing for over 28 years in a variety of roles at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. During that time her predominant area of focus has been in the speciality of perinatal and women’s health nursing. Her practice experience includes the care of women and families during various stages of reproductive health, including working in an obstetrics and gynecology ambulatory clinic; as a prenatal class facilitator; and within the Birth Unit setting. Additionally, Leanne has nursing experience with providing support to clinical teams through policy development and the provision of education for the purpose of ongoing professional development.
In 2015 Leanne returned to graduate school at Dalhousie University and successfully completed a Master’s degree in Nursing. Since 2016, she has practiced as a Perinatal Nurse Consultant at the Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia. She is deeply invested in her work and is passionate about supporting NS health care providers to advance their clinical practice in caring for women and newborns. In this role her involvement in provincial and national projects and committees has been valuable in strengthening existing leadership skills and building strong collaborative relationships.
She is excited to be part of the CAPWHN Board as a Regional Director and regards it a privilege to represent perinatal and women’s health nurses practicing within the Atlantic Provinces and Nunavut.
Jennifer is an advanced-practice nurse counsellor for the West Island of Montreal CIUSSS. Her mandate covers maternity care in both hospital and community settings as well as youth clinics and youth protection. Her interests in perinatal nursing encouraged her to pass her CNA certification exam and obtain her lactation consultant license in 2014 and to be part of the certification exam committee in 2017.
Jennifer obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Victoria, British Columbia in 2016 with a specialization in perinatal nursing, and a particular interest in late preterm infants admitted to postpartum units and increasing healthcare services available to this population.
During her 40-year career as a Registered Nurse, Roxanne has seen huge changes in how women’s health, maternal and newborn care is provided; this is a result of passionate nursing leaders, organizations such as CAPWHN and through women advocating for care that places the woman and the family at the center of decision making. Roxanne feels that the core values of accountability, commitment, collaboration, leadership, advocacy, education and research are more important than ever.
Roxanne has been a member of CAPWHN since 2011. In addition to presenting at the 2016 Conference in Calgary on the topic of the Perinatal Prevention Protocols for Saskatchewan, Roxanne served as a member of the Abstract Review Committee for the 2014 Conference in Regina. She has been a member of the CAPWHN Advocacy and Health Policy Committee since 2012.
As a perinatal educator, Roxanne is fortunate to meet passionate nurses who are committed to providing quality care, and is reminded of how organizations like CAPWHN work to advance the care of women and newborns and those that strive to provide exceptional care each and every day. Roxanne is delighted to have the opportunity to work with CAPWHN to continue this momentum that is shaping women’s health in Canada.
Sharon is an RN with advanced degrees in Education (M Ed), Nursing and Psychology (PhD). She has practiced Women’s Health nursing in community and hospitals (post partum, L&D and antenatal units) as a staff nurse and educator. Most recently, Sharon has worked at Hamilton Health Sciences as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (Advance Practice Nurse) responsible for L&D, the high-risk clinic, and the ante/post partum and gynecology units. Sharon is an Associate Clinical Professor in graduate and undergraduate programs in the School of Nursing and in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology McMaster University with responsibilities for education for students in graduate and neonatal nurse practitioner programs, medical students and obstetrical residents.
Sharon’s research interests as a primary and co-investigator have included clinical (e.g.: newborn cord care, postop CS nutrition, midwifery, staff & family attitudes) education (e.g. approaches to learning, evaluation) and quality assurance (electronic quality reviews). She has served on numerous provincial, national and international committees, has been invited as an educational/clinical consultant within Canada and internationally, and functioned as a medical legal expert. Sharon has been Canadian chair of AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses) and president of the Canadian Association of Advance Practice Nurses. She is a member of numerous SOGC committees /working groups and author of the pending SOGC FHS guideline (2019).