Kimberley Allen
Candace Brunette
Michele Murphy
Lauren Payne

Kimberley Allen, R.N., M.N. PhD Student
Lawrence S. Bloomberg, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, ON

Kimberley is a Registered Nurse and a 3rd year PhD student at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at University of Toronto (U of T). During her Master of Nursing studies, Kimberley focused on issues pertaining to nursing care of pregnant and postpartum women. Kimberley co-authored a Cochrane Systematic Review evaluating treatments for antenatal depression. Kimberley has co-authored a Cochrane Review evaluating treatments for nipple pain among breastfeeding women and is currently coauthoring another review evaluating prevention strategies to decrease pain associated with breastfeeding. For her PhD dissertation, Kimberley is proposing to conduct a three-armed, multi-centre randomized controlled trial evaluating common interventions to treat nipple pain for breastfeeding mothers. Her study will fill a research gap pertaining to appropriate, evidenced-based care for new mothers with difficulty breastfeeding, with the potential to affect post-partum care both nationally and internationally. Through her research, Kimberley endeavours to enhance the experience of pregnancy and childbirth for all women.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Kimberley is an active member of the Canadian Pain Society (CPS), an executive member of the U of T Graduate Nursing Students’ Society, a peer reviewer for the CPS Scientific Committee, and an active member of the Childbirth Nurses’ Interest Group for the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. Most importantly, Kimberley is a single mother of two daughters. Kimberley hopes her success as a clinician and researcher in women’s health will serve as a positive role model for her girls, as they have given her inspiration to improve the experience of pregnant and post-partum women during what should be a beautiful, and memorable time of life.

Candace Brunette BA, MA student
University of Toronto

Candace Brunette is a 30-year old Omushkego Cree woman of both Cree and French heritage. Born and raised in Cochrane in Northern Ontario, Candace believes that her intimate connection to land is a central source of inspiration in her artistic, scholarly and community work, which primarily revolves around working with young women and Elders.

As an Indigenous female artist (playwright, poet and performer) Candace carries the stories of her ancestors and a complex narrative of self. Candace is a proud graduate of the Aboriginal Studies Program at the University of Toronto; where she is completing a Master of Arts in Education. Her graduate research is documenting a personal and collaborative performing art project entitled ‘Omushkego Water Stories’.

Candace is also an emerging movement educator with over 7-years of teaching experience in wellness and theatre training contexts. Candace enjoys working with Aboriginal woman and youth; in particular, teaching embodied forms writing, movement, stress/energy management as well as pre/post natal classes. Candace’s lifelong passion for understanding the subtleties of human movement began through the practices of Yoga, Breathing, Meditation and Pilates. Her style of teaching has evolved to taking a more somatic approach to movement. Candace’s teaching philosophy is founded on facilitating conscious awareness of the body and breath interconnections through movement to support Aboriginal women in experiencing the body from within. This approach also raises consciousness of the ways that historical trauma and oppression are encoded in the body, and can cause people to disassociate from our bodies, thus reinforcing disembodied habitual and unconscious patterns of being and moving through space, and in relation to each other. Candace’s approach to teaching movement understands the body on multiple levels; wholistically, sociologically, and psychologically/neurologically. By ensuring that Aboriginal women have a safe space to get back into their bodies and experience, dissect and explore movement at its core basis, Candace aims to contribute to the growing discourse in ‘decolonizing the body’ from an Aboriginal perspective. Candace is currently working toward a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) certification with the Laban/Bartenieff & Somatic Studies International Program. Her vision is to complete a PhD and to document this transformative learning approach, which strives to move Aboriginal women experientially and holistically, individually and collectively, from colonial subjugation to embodied ‘self-inrelation’.

Michele Murphy BEd, BA, Ma Student
University of British Columbia

Michele Murphy is a Master’s student at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of British Columbia. She also holds a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Arts from Trent University. Michele has combined her experience as a teacher, social activist, and graduate scholar into a career path aimed at helping women actively resist violence, recover from trauma and addiction, and live empowered lives.

While teaching at a school in Nunavut, Michele became interested in Inuit women’s organizing and activism to resist violence. More broadly she wants to expand feminist understandings of what constitutes resistance to violence in different contexts. She is also interested in how interlocking forms of oppression influence women’s diverse experiences of violence, addiction, and trauma, as well as in feminist approaches to activism and recovery that acknowledge difference and the realities of women’s lived experiences.

Michele has connected her graduate research to her work as a volunteer in the Community Outreach Program at Vancouver’s Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre. After completing her Master’s degree, Michele hopes to work with women in Vancouver, advocating on behalf of survivors of violence and trauma, helping to make their voices heard, and speaking out on the issue of violence against women through feminist outreach and public education.

Lauren Payne, BASc, MPH student
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia

Lauren spent her youth in Hamilton, Ontario, completing her undergraduate degree in the Arts and Science Program at McMaster University. Her undergraduate thesis involved a process evaluation of a Well Women clinic catering to immigrant and refugee women’s health, identifying changes in the clinic that could lead to improved access to reproductive health care for the women involved. It is from this academic environment that her interest in women’s health arose.

Lauren’s extracurricular experiences with the McMaster Student Health Education Center, volunteer experiences in Kenya, and involvement with the Vancouver Native Health Society in the Downtown Eastside of the city have all helped her become a more culturally aware, collaborative, and socially engaged researcher. She is currently a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) student at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia where she has had the opportunity to learn from experts in the field.

Lauren hopes to continue to conduct research involving women’s reproductive health service provision in marginalized populations in Canada; aiming to understand the facilitators and barriers to providing effective and efficient care to women. Specifically, she plans to concentrate on the development, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs and engage in participatory action research in order to improve the reproductive health of women who face cultural barriers to care. Her research focus involves both immigrant and refugee women in Canada, as well as aboriginal Canadian women. She strongly believes a key component to eliminating poverty and inequity both across the globe and in Canada is to promote the right of women to access essential and appropriate reproductive health care.

This summer she is in Northern Ontario working out of the Meno Ya Win Health Centre to better understand and incorporate traditional First Nations birthing beliefs and practices into the centre’s maternity care program with the ultimate goal of improving birth outcomes in the First Nations population.

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