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Advisory board and expert writers

Thank you to the many advisors and authors who have made this website possible.

Dr. Catriona Aparicio works in the Pain and Symptom Management and Palliative Care Service at the BC Cancer Agency. She is also an attending physician at the Vancouver Hospice Society. She teaches medical students and residents, family physicians and community palliative-care staff. Dr. Aparicio originates from the United Kingdom and received her medical degree from Oxford University. She worked in the UK for 10 years as a family physician before emigrating to Canada a decade ago.

Suzanne Banyard has over twenty five years’ experience as a vocational rehabilitation consultant administering vocational assessments, conducting job placement, providing rehabilitation counselling and coordinating vocational rehabilitation programs. She completed a graduate degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling from the University of British Columbia with an undergraduate degree in Community Rehabilitation & Disability Studies from the University of Calgary. She was one of the few graduates from the Vocational Rehabilitation Worker program from Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto from 1987. Sue holds a Certificate Vocational Professional – Fellowship (CVP-F) with the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals and has been a licensed rehabilitation counsellor since 2013 with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). Suzanne is the owner/operator of Monarch Counselling & Vocational Rehabilitation Inc. founded in 1993.

Dr. Alan Bates finished a PhD focused on neuroimaging at the University of Nottingham before completing his MD and Psychiatry residency at UBC. He has also completed a fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine and Psycho-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. Dr. Bates has published peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from brain imaging to delirium to palliative care and has a special interest in incorporating physical fitness and teamwork into treatment for psychiatric illness. His volunteer work has been recognized through honours including a Queen Elizatbeth II Diamond Jubilee medal and participation in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. Dr. Bates is also the Provincial Practice Leader for Psychiatry at the BC Cancer Agency and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UBC.

Ms. Jocelyn Beairsto, MPA, CCDP, is a professional career coach and career development consultant based in Vancouver, BC. She has coached numerous clients from diverse backgrounds to navigate successful career transitions and find meaningful and sustainable work. In addition, she has extensive research and writing experience with the Province of British Columbia. She brings passion to helping people find and access the resources they need.

Ms. Laura Bergstrom received her undergraduate degree in health sciences from Simon Fraser University in 2009 and her MSc. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alberta in 2015. In 2015, she obtained the Assistive Technology Professional designation through the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). As an occupational therapist in the Solutions Department of the Neil Squire Society, Ms. Bergstrom specializes in workplace accommodations and provides a variety of services, including assistive technology and ergonomic assessments, worksite assessments, and education for organizations. Her practice is centered on assisting clients through a collaborative and interactive process to participate meaningfully in their everyday occupations.

Ms. Christy Brissette, MSc, RD is a registered dietitian and nutrition communications expert specializing in cancer survivorship. She is the President of 80 Twenty Nutrition, a nutrition and food media and consulting company. Christy is a TV personality, spokesperson, writer and blogger and is regularly interviewed by the media about nutrition and health.

Ms. Allison Buchanan is an associate lawyer at Robinson Heeney LLP in Toronto and practices in all areas of employment law. She graduated from the University of Kent and was called to the bar in 2015. Following a summer spent at a leading boutique employment firm and her articling term at a litigation firm, Ms. Buchanan joined Robinson Heeney. She provides advice and representation to both employers and employees on a wide range of labour and employment issues. These include wrongful dismissals, employment standards, employment contracts, human rights and accommodation, and related court litigation. Ms. Buchanan’s practise also includes workplace investigations.

Ms. Rosemary Cashman is a nurse practitioner at the BC Cancer Agency and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of British Columbia. Her professional experience includes the care of lymphoma, lung cancer and brain cancer patients. She co-chairs the Patient and Family Advisory Council, which guides the brain tumour care program at the BC Cancer Agency. She has authored book chapters and articles related to the care of brain tumour patients and their families. Ms. Cashman was involved in developing and implementing a rapid-access radiotherapy clinic for the palliative treatment of lung cancer and she continues to work in this clinic.

Dr. Christine Courbasson, a registered psychologist, is Director of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectic Behavioural Therapy, and Humanistic Therapy Centre in Toronto. Over her career, she developed cognitive behavioural treatments for substance use, eating disorders and social anxiety. Dr. Courbasson also developed residential, day treatment and outpatient services, and she participated in cognitive behavioural interventions for coping with cancer. She has held various positions at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, been Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, and Adjunct Faculty at universities and professional schools in North America and Europe. She has given worldwide workshops for professionals, authored numerous scientific articles and book chapters, lectured on many topics, and appeared on television and radio.

Dr. Genevieve Chaput is an attending physician at the McGill University Health Centre. She is head of the MUHC Cancer Survivorship Program, which includes both clinical and educational interventions to optimize the care of people with a cancer history. Dr. Chaput has pioneered MAINPRO-accredited sessions to educate community primary care providers on survivorship issues and surveillance needs. She is also actively involved in improving patient awareness through educational activities.

Ms. Sandra Dudych is a breast cancer survivor and patient advisor to Manitoba’s 5-year initiative, In Sixty, which aims to reduce wait times for cancer treatment to under 60 days, from suspicion to first treatment. She is also a peer volunteer with CancerCare Manitoba’s Breast and Gyne Cancer Centre of Hope and a patient representative to the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s Cancer Control Council, Breast Cancer Screening Network, Survivorship and Transitions in Care Study Project Expert Panel, and Return to Work project. In 2015, Ms. Dudych received the Great West Life-CancerCare Manitoba Award of Distinction for her volunteer work to improve the lives of cancer patients.

Ms. Melanie Dufour is Disability Manager at Sun Life Financial, Melanie is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of Short term disability and long term disability absences, Melanie has knowledge of disability operations and insurance terminology, including adherence to any special requirements of group and or individual insurance policy. She is also responsible for ensuring consistent execution of our disability best practices and processes, processing claims through a team of Abilities Case Manager, implementing and reviewing Return to Work plans and many more aspects of Disability. Melanie has 6 years’ experience in managing group benefit employees, Melanie is also an expert in Client Experience Management expert. She has lead large teams of customer service group for large clients. Melanie studied Psychology at Concordia University and uses her experience to help with claims of mental health nature.

Ms. Nancy Elliott is a partner in Stockton Maxwell & Elliott, a Halifax law that practices mostly in worker-side labour and employment law. She has a journalism degree from the University of King’s College, a law degree from Dalhousie University, and is working toward a master of laws in dispute resolution at Osgoode Law School in Toronto. For more than 20 years, Ms. Elliott has assisted both public and private sector unions with all aspects of union and workplace issues, including union governance and policy, organizing and other labour board matters, collective bargaining and contract administration, employee performance, attendance and leave issues, human rights, privacy rights, disability issues, and health and safety.

Dr. Michael Feuerstein. Over the past 14 years Dr. Feuerstein’s research and that of his students has focused on the needs of cancer patients following primary treatment for cancer; particularly, as it relates to cancer survivorship and work. He is involved in the development of practical approaches to identifying non- medical problems often experienced by cancer survivors. After diagnosed and treated for a malignant brain tumor in 2003, he became active as an advocate for cancer survivors with many different types of cancers and published a book for Cancer Survivors and their families (The Handbook of Cancer Survivorship). He has also edited three textbooks (Handbook of Cancer Survivorship, Work and Cancer and Quality Health Care for Cancer Survivors) for health care providers to learn about the challenges experienced by these patients and therefore improve the care they receive. In 2007, he launched a peer- reviewed multidisciplinary journal (The Journal of Cancer Survivorship: Research and Practice) whose mission is to improve evidence- based health care in those living following cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Ms. Meghan Fitz-James is a vocational rehabilitation consultant who completed a Master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling at the University of British Columbia in 2009, including an 8-month practicum in vocational and clinical counselling at the BC Cancer Agency. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks into her new job. Ms. Fitz-James remained at work for 7 months during treatment until her fatigue was too great. She gained first-hand experience in disclosing disability stemming from cancer in order to secure workplace accommodations and is now 5 years post-diagnosis and working full time.

Ms. Ella Forbes-Chilibeck, of Forbes Chilibeck Employment Law, advises clients on all the areas of employment law, human rights, and disability-related issues. She received a BSc. (Honours) from University of Victoria in 1989 and an LL.B Cum Laude from University of Ottawa in 2005. She ‎was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2006 and Nunavut in 2010‎. ‎Ms. Forbes-Chilibeck is a certified Workplace Investigator. Before attending law school, she enjoyed a successful career as a behavioural consultant, having received a diploma in Rehabilitation from then Grant McEwan Community College in 1983.

Ms. Anne Harvey is the Vice-President of Employee Engagement (Human Resources) at Vancouver Coastal Health and is responsible for the return to work and accommodation of ill and injured employees of the Health Authority as well as providing Wellness Programs and Employee and Family Assistance programs.

Ms. Pippa Hawley, B.Med., FRCPC, started the BC Cancer Agency Pain & Symptom Management/Palliative Care Program (PSMPC) in 1997 and remains its Medical Leader, as well as leader of the Vancouver Centre team. She is also the head of the University of British Columbia’s Division of Palliative Care, and is active at a national level with the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and Pallium Canada. Ms. Hawley has a general internal medicine background and has a busy clinical practice at the BC Cancer Agency. She also carries out clinical research and is a frequent teacher at multiple levels with all medical disciplines.

Ms. Faith Hayman graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, in 1983. She represents clients pursuing primarily personal-injury actions and disability-insurance claims. Ms. Hayman was on the executive of the BC Trial Lawyers’ Association for 10 years and, for the last several years, has chaired the Rules Committee. She serves on the Board of Governors of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia and is also a member of the Ethics Committee of the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. Ms. Hayman has argued court cases at all levels, including the Fidler v. Sun Life decision in the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mr. James Heeney is a partner at Robinson Heeney LLP and specializes in employment law. He graduated from Queen’s University and was called to the bar in 2004. Mr. Heeney provides advice to both employers and employees on all areas of employment law. His areas of expertise include employment agreements and contracts, restrictive covenants, executive compensation, terminations and human rights. Mr. Heeney has performed investigations in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces. He has written numerous articles for several employment law forums and for CBC News and was named by the Canadian HR Reporter as a leading employment lawyer in Toronto.

Ms. Brenda Hockley is Manager, Health Management Services, Group Disability Western Region with Sun Life Financial. She received her BSc. (Honours) in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo in 1986. At The Canadian Back Institute, she grew the company from one to fourteen clinics. In 1992 she entered the field of vocational rehabilitation and served the short- and long-term disability-insurance communities in Ontario and BC with Crawford Canada. She then moved to RBC Insurance in the short- and long-term disability markets. Ms. Hockley is on the Board of Directors of the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of BC and is a Registered Rehabilitation Professional and Certified Vocational Consultant.

Ms. Kyla Johnson, M.Sc.A., originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Kyla Johnson works as an Occupational Therapist at the Segal Cancer Center of the Jewish General Hospital. She holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from McGill University. Her goal as a rehabilitation professional in Oncology is to enable people with cancer to be able to do what they want and need to do, in all stages of their cancer experience. Kyla helps develop strategies and accommodations to facilitate a return to meaningful life roles, including work. She is specialized in cancer-related cognitive dysfunction and runs a weekly group teaching strategies to improve daily cognitive functioning. Kyla also leads a volunteer yoga class for young adults with cancer. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Dr. Mark Katz is the Provincial Head for Psychosocial Oncology (PSO) at Cancer Care Ontario and Co-Medical Director for the Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care Program at Stronach Regional Cancer Centre in Newmarket, Ontario. He is a Staff Psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Psychiatric Consult Liaison Service at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, and is the founder and Director of the Rapid Assessment for Psychopharmacologic Treatment (RAPT) Clinic at Southlake. His academic and clinical interests have included depression in cancer, psychosocial aspects of head and neck cancer, depression in the medically ill, and mood disorders in general. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Lucie Kocum is an Associate Professor in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary’s University. Dr. Kocum is also a member of the CN Centre for Occupational Health. At Saint Mary’s University, she teaches graduate research methods and statistics and supervises Honours, Masters, and Doctoral trainees in occupational health psychology, applied health services research, knowledge translation, and industrial psychology (namely personnel measurement). Her mixed-methods quantitative and qualitative research programs in return to work interventions, psychosocial oncology, and occupational health psychology are funded through grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.

Mr. Anastasios Kouros is a business attorney broadly grounded in commercial transactions at the global and national levels. With over 13 years of experience, he drafts and negotiates commercial agreements (notably supply chain and information-technology agreements). Mr. Kouros also performs risk assessments and business analyses, develops and implements policies. He drafts agreements for research and development and intellectual property and manages internal and external lawyers in different jurisdictions for global projects.

Dr. Amanda K. LaMarre, R. Psych, is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist who currently works in the Department of Psychiatry at the Royal Columbian Hospital and the Asante Centre, near Vancouver, British Columbia. She previously worked as an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). This position entailed neuropsychological assessment of individuals with a variety of diagnoses including primary brain tumours, primary CNS lymphoma, “chemo brain” and metastatic brain disease. She also worked closely with the UCSF Neuro-Oncology Caregiver Program to provide education and support for families of those living with loved ones with primary brain tumours. Her research involved investigating the psychological and cognitive effects of whole brain radiation therapy vs. targeted radiosurgery on individuals with metastatic brain disease. She has also previously worked at Back In Motion Rehab Inc. where she conducted psychological-vocational assessments for individuals with a variety of physical, psychological and cognitive challenges.

Mrs. Chantal LeBlanc has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Social Sciences from Concordia University as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from McGill University. She received a Master’s degree in Social Work from McGill University in 2009. Mrs. LeBlanc has been a professional social worker for 22 years, including 3 years in a clinical supervisory role. Her clinical practice has encompassed the areas of home care for elderly people as well as adults with physical and intellectual impairments. For the past 6 years, she has practiced in the field of oncology at the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal.

Ms. Tammy Lee has a Master’s degree in counselling psychology and is a Canadian Certified Counsellor. She is a vocational rehabilitation counsellor and clinical practice leader at G. F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. The Strong Centre is well known for providing specialized vocational rehabilitation services to clients with physical, neuromuscular, and cognitive disabilities resulting from health conditions or injuries. It offers vocational counselling and assessment to improve clients’ employment prospects by exploring realistic job options, developing return-to-work strategies, and determining any needed work accommodations. Ms. Lee serves on the Board of Directors of the BC Chapter, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

Ms. Jayme Martell, BScOT(c), Occupational Therapist. Jayme graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2008. She has worked at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, AB since 2011. She works with cancer patients in a variety of settings, including inpatients, outpatients, clinics, and the Energize education session regarding cancer related fatigue.

Ms. Melanie McDonald, MSW, RSW is a social worker at the BC Cancer Agency. She works to support patients and families cope with cancer from diagnosis to post-treatment. She facilitates numerous group programs including mindfulness-based stress reduction, relaxation a children/family group. She has previously worked in university and hospice settings.

Dr. Michael McKenzie, MD is a radiation oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA), Vancouver Cancer Centre, and a Clinical Professor in the Division of Radiation Oncology and Developmental Radiotherapeutics at University of British Columbia. He works with patients with genitourinary cancers and brain tumours. He has served as Chair of BCCA’s Palliative Care Network and is currently a member of BCCA’s Advance Care Planning Working Group. Dr. McKenzie has been Principal Investigator for numerous studies of symptom management and other aspects of palliative oncology. He is a member of the Symptom Control and Clinical Trials Committees of the National Cancer Institute of Canada’s Clinical Trials Group.

Ms. Jo-Anna Mcloughlin has worked in human resources and disability management since 2003. She received her Certified Disability Management Professional (CDMP) designation from the National Institute of Disability Management and Research (now affiliated with Pacific Coast University in Port Alberni, BC) in 2006. Recovering from illness brings with it so many obstacles, but concern over reintegrating into the workplace need not be one of them. With this approach, Ms. Mcloughlin encourages clients to embrace their abilities in returning to work after illness. She has had the opportunity to help a group of wonderful cancer survivors regain their lives after treatment.

Ms. Maria Milioto obtained a Bachelor of Physical Therapy degree from McGill University in 1995 and a Master of Business Administration degree from HEC Montreal in 2003. She implemented an innovative program on return to work following cancer called Vitality. She was a lecturer in physiotherapy at University of Montreal from 2004 to 2011 and has participated in research on disability in collaboration with Dr. Michael Sullivan, McGill University. Ms. Milioto is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fédération des cliniques privées de physiothérapie du Québec, the Coalition Priorité Cancer au Québec and the Association of Occupational Health Professionals.

Ms. Shirley A. Nelson, M.A., retired from 26 years in the health care industry. She has held executive positions in the British Columbia Ministry of Health, Houston Health Centre (a rural ambulatory care centre), Ashcroft and District General Hospital, and Yaletown House (a long-term care facility). During her career Ms. Nelson was appointed to a myriad of advisory committees in organizations including the BC Health Association, Health Administrators’ Association of BC, BC Long Term Care Association, and the Health Labour Relations Association of BC. She designed and taught a healthcare leadership course through Vancouver Community College. She now volunteers as a presenter with the City of Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program.

Dr. Douglas Ozier holds a PhD in Counselling Psychology from the University of Alberta. He is a clinician and researcher at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. In his research, he develops psycho-social interventions designed to enhance quality of life for brain tumour survivors and their loved ones.

Lisa Redmond is the Manager Pension & Benefits at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) the BC provincial Crown providing universal auto insurance to BC residents where she is responsible for the development and administration of pension, benefit and relocation programs for ICBC’s 5,400 employees and 2,000 retirees. She has more than 25 years in the pension and benefits industry including oversight of the wellness and return to work programs for employees. Lisa is a graduate of Queen’s University. She has achieved her Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation and ATMS. Lisa is a past member of the national Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey Advisory Board and the education committee for the Pacific chapter of the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute. Lisa is also a breast cancer survivor having gone through a year of treatment in 2014 returning successfully to her role in 2015. She passionately shares her personal experience of her treatment to employees in her organization facing work challenges due to cancer treatment and recently as a speaker at the 2016 Employer Cancer Care Summit. She is an active volunteer in her community supporting seniors and cancer and mental health awareness.

Dr. Daniel Santa Mina completed his PhD at York University, Toronto and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He is a Registered Kinesiologist and Certified Exercise Physiologist with specialization in oncology. Dr. Santa Mina is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, at the University of Toronto and a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, where he leads the Wellness and Exercise for Cancer Survivors Program. His research focuses on the physiological, functional, and psychosocial effects of exercise for cancer survivors as well as knowledge-translation strategies for integrating exercise programming into oncology standards of care.

Ms. Kathy Scalzo is a Vancouver-based consultant. As an occupational therapist, she developed rehabilitation programs in acute care, long-term care, and mental health. She later obtained a Master’s degree in organizational development. For the past 20 years, she has helped individuals, groups, and organizations initiate, plan for, and adapt to change. Ms. Scalzo authored two reports that served as the foundation for cancer survivorship programs across Canada, was the first Chair of Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s National Survivorship Committee, and co-authored the book “Picking up the Pieces: Moving Forward AFTER Cancer.” When not working on her PhD, she currently assists cancer-support organizations to address survivorship issues.

Ms. Jill Taylor-Brown, MSW, RSW recently retired from her position as Director of Patient and Family Support Services, CancerCare Manitoba. Ms. Taylor-Brown worked in psychosocial oncology for over 35 years. In addition to her administrative, teaching, and research activities, she counselled individuals, couples, and families. She also developed and facilitated support groups and programs for children whose parents have cancer, for younger women with breast cancer, for women with advanced breast cancer, and online support groups. Her initiatives for the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology included leading development of ‘Start the Talk: Supporting Children and Teens When a Family Member Has Cancer – A Guide for Educators and Health Care Professionals’ (

Ms. Bonnie Tompkins was the sole caregiver to her late partner, who passed away from cancer in May 2014. She recently graduated in public health from Brock University and now works with her local hospice to help increase access to needed assistance for patient and their caregivers. She is especially interested in caregivers, as she suffered caregiver burnout. Her passion is to use her late partner’s and her own experiences to help people in similar situations, hopefully lessening their stress.

Dr. Margaret Tompson, PhD, FCAOT, is a retired occupational therapist. She taught patient-education methods to student physiotherapists, coordinated research and education for a psycho-geriatric unit in Alberta, and monitored Saskatchewan clinical placements of student occupational therapists from Manitoba. She was involved in the early development of a province-wide workplace-safety program focused on lifting, transferring and repositioning patients. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, Dr. Tompson became a board member for a Saskatchewan breast-cancer group and responsible for educational activities. Later, following a diagnosis and treatment for Leukemia, she helped found STEM: The Saskatchewan Stem Cell Transplant Advocacy Group, Inc. She has been involved in the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s National Survivorship Working Group and its Survivorship Guideline Multidisciplinary Expert Panel.

Ms. Pam White has over 30 years’ experience in human resource management and educational administration. Equipped with an MBA and training in labour relations, human resource management, human rights, public administration, she has played a key role in developing and implementing collaborative return-to-work policies and processes that include impacted employees, union representatives, supervisors, managers, and colleagues. Ms. White takes a strategic and practical approach, always sensitive to individual and collective rights, privacy considerations, and mutual interests. She is a past Board director and active member of the BC Human Resources Management Association. Now retired, she volunteers with various organizations concerned with creating inclusive and healthy communities.

Ms. Janice Yurick is currently the Manager of Supportive Care at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta. She oversees the delivery of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, psychology, social work and spiritual care. Janice has over 30 years of experience as a practicing physiotherapist, with 24 of those being exclusively in cancer rehabilitation. She is passionate about the contributing role Supportive Care plays in the healthcare of those who have or have had cancer. She served as a co-chair to CancerControl Alberta’s provincial advisory Supportive Care Council for the past 3 years and has been instrumental in the development of CancerControl Alberta’s Supportive Care Framework.