Amy Johnson
Kristene Cheung
Danielle N. Naumann
Kate Salters

Amy Johnson
Juris Doctor Candidate 2015, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor BA (SDS), University of Waterloo.

Amy is a full-time law student entering her third year at the University of Windsor. As a survivor of abuse, she has become a driven advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves. She has accomplished this all while maintaining a home as a very active and involved single mother of six boys, ages 16, 14, 13, 11, 9, and 7.

Amy was born and raised on a farm in Manitoba. After high school she completed her Legal Assistance Diploma and worked as a legal secretary for several years. During that time she married and started her family. In 2008, after the birth of her last son, she began to pursue her dream of post-secondary education at the University of Waterloo. In 2012 she graduated on the dean’s honour list with her degree in Social Development Studies with a general diploma in Social Work before relocating her family to Windsor and starting law school that fall.

During Amy’s marriage, life became increasingly violent. She and her boys suffered years of physical, psychological and financial abuse at the hands of her husband and the children’s father. In 2009, after a final violent and life changing incident, Amy and her boys escaped 11 years of terror. Homeless and in hiding pending the outcome of criminal charges against her husband, Amy became even more determined to provide a better future for her family and began picking up the pieces of their broken lives.

Part of Amy’s passion for the law and working with disadvantaged women and children is derived from her very personal history and lived experience. She is devoted to improving the plight of women and children so they can reach equality in law and realize their full potential. By demonstrating the work ethic and desire to achieve her educational goals and contributing to the betterment of society through helping others, Amy inspires people to pursue their own dreams. She also uses her advocacy skills to speak in the community to debunk myths and stereotypes about abuse, women, children and poverty, opening the greater community to a better understanding of these issues, its lasting effect on women and children, and how every decision can have a lasting impact.

Amy continues to pursue her dreams and improve her skills through volunteering with Pro Bono Students Canada’s Family Law Project assisting self-represented litigants navigate a complex legal system with emotionally charged issues. She works at a poverty clinic, Legal Assistance of Windsor, advocating for lowincome clients in a variety of tribunal related matters. In 2013, Amy founded a Windsor based charity, Cuddles Clothing for Kids which collects and distributes free children’s clothes and other child-related items, to families in need. To date, the charity has assisted over 200 local families and continues to grow.

In the midst of Amy’s involvement in her law school, church and community she has remained an active and involved parent in every aspect of her children’s lives, which with 6 growing boys is a full-time job for any parent. Her boys are involved in the arts and sports. Amy can always be heard cheering them on from the audience or sidelines. She is well known at both the high school and grade school as a go-to parent. Amy has helped organize a high school career fair, fundraising events and a variety of other school and community related activities.

Amy is far greater than the sum of the misfortune that life has dealt her. She has chosen not to remain a victim but has become ignited in passion and inspired in spirit. Her life’s challenges have nurtured particular skills so that she can rise above and advocate for others less able to advocate for themselves. It is Amy’s hope that the stone of the negativity of the past, thrown into the pond, will create positive ripples in the lives of those whom she encounters. It is her dream that those who come behind her will find their lost or forgotten dreams and bring them back to life.

Kristene Cheung
MA Student, Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Manitoba

Kristene recently completed her first year of her Master’s Degree in the Clinical Psychology Training Program at the University of Manitoba. By enrolling in this program, she is able to combine her two main passions and interests; patient care and research. Her main research interests include family systems, attachment theory, childhood adversity, and developmental psychopathology. Kristene’s Master’s Thesis combines her interest in family systems and developmental psychopathology by examining the association between parental psychopathology in families of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

In addition to her thesis work, Kristene is actively involved in multiple research projects and attributes her strong interest in research to her two main research supervisors, Dr. Jennifer Theule (Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba) and Dr. Tracie Afifi (Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba). She has worked with Dr. Theule for the past two years as a research volunteer, a Student Research Assistant, and now as a Master’s graduate student. Under the direction of Dr. Theule, she is also the lab coordinator for the Family and Developmental Psychopathology Lab at the University of Manitoba. Within the lab, Kristene has acted as a mentor to the undergraduate students and will be supervising a Psychology undergraduate student’s Honour’s thesis in the upcoming academic year. She also works as a Student Research Assistant under the direction of Dr. Afifi in the Manitoba Population Mental Health Research Group. Recently, Kristene co-authored the first nationally representative study on child abuse in Canada, a project lead by Dr. Afifi.

While her passion for research in psychology and epidemiology has developed through academia, Kristene’s interest and overall passion for mental health and patient care originated from her volunteer experience at the Victoria General Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She currently volunteers in the recreation-based activity program within the Mental Health Program and has had the opportunity to work with two amazing Recreation Coordinators over the years, Vi Stoesz and Clayton Carriere. This program runs a variety of interactive activities, such as cooking, arts and crafts, bowling, bingo, and gardening in the summer. The hands-on experience she has obtained in this program has increased her interest and practical knowledge of mental health, which goes far beyond what is attainable in a classroom setting alone. Volunteering in this program has also provided her with a greater appreciation and understanding of mental health and she has since solidified her intention to pursue a career in this field. In addition to volunteering and assisting with research, she has also worked for the Attachment Network of Manitoba, the Department of Psychology as a Teaching Assistant, and as a Student Office Assistant at the Psychological Service Centre at the University of Manitoba.

As a future Clinical Psychologist, Kristene hopes to be involved in the community, as well as practice in a clinical setting. At the community level, she hopes to promote mental health within the community, to bring about public awareness of mental health issues, and to be a part of the movement to reduce the stigma surrounding mental disorders. She also hopes to be able to continue conducting research pertaining to women and family issues, as well as work with women and families by providing clinical services through the use of empirically based psychotherapeutic interventions. After the completion of her Master’s Degree, Kristene intends to continue in the program as a full-time PhD student. Upon graduation, she plans to spend the majority of her professional career in Canada.

Kristene would also like to thank Dr. Melanie Glenwright (Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba) for introducing her to research and Tamara Taillieu (Department of Applied Health Sciences, University of Manitoba) for her mentorship and support.

Danielle N. Naumann
PhD Candidate, School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen's University MSc(OT), School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen's University B.A. (H) MJM, Psychology, Global Development Studies, Queen's University

Danielle is an Occupational Therapist and PhD Candidate in Rehabilitation Science in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario. Her PhD research is focused on developing a Knowledge Translation (KT) tool on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) for use in the primary care environment, using the Actionable Nuggets™ strategy. Her other research interests include: Continuing Health Education (CHE), curriculum design, adult education, memory, Aboriginal issues, disability, and occupational therapy. She is a research assistant in the Office of Continuing Professional Development at Queen’s University, where she is collaborating on several projects pertaining to CHE. She is involved in academic instruction as a teaching assistant in the MSc Occupational Therapy program at Queen’s and teaches in the Occupational Therapist Assistant program at KLC College, having designed the Occupational Therapy portion of the curriculum. Danielle’s clinical specialization is in paediatric Occupational Therapy, with a special interest in the assessment of Autism, FASD, and sensory processing disorders.

Danielle completed her honours undergraduate degree from 2005-2009 in Psychology and Global Development Studies, enrolling as a mature part time student while working in developmental services and as an attendant porter at Hotel Dieu Hospital. Following successful completion of her undergraduate studies, she undertook a professional master's in Occupational Therapy between 2009-11, and began the Doctorate in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies in 2011. After nearly 9 years of academia as a mature student, Danielle’s story embodies the emerging non-traditional approaches to leadership at the level expected of Soroptimist Foundation Grant recipients. She is the eldest of 8 children, and the first of her family to pursue post-secondary education. She currently lives in Kingston, Ontario with her partner, Dave, and their three young children: Luca (7 years), Stella (3 years), and Lexi (6 months).

As a mature woman graduate student, Danielle is acutely aware of the many roles and responsibilities that women hold – and her research aims to help to alleviate some of the stresses that women face in the healthcare system. The outcomes of her research will be a knowledge translation tool that will be used in family physicians’ offices in order to educate doctors about the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy. Alcohol use during pregnancy results in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in affected offspring, a disorder that is currently estimated to affect nearly 5% of the Canadian school-aged population, but is largely missed or misdiagnosed in primary care. In 2009, 30% of Canadian women reported drinking during pregnancy – putting their babies at risk for FASD, and this can be attributed to the fact that 70% of family physicians report needing more knowledge about the effects of alcohol on pregnancy outcomes.

Danielle’s non-traditional background has provided her with opportunities for personal growth and leadership that few people in graduate research programs have experienced. As a result, she is well-prepared to pursue a field of research that will contribute to her dedicated service to the healthcare experience of Canadian women of child-bearing age who socially consume alcohol, and their children. As a scholar, she is committed to thoughtful reflection and the creation of new knowledge. As an occupational therapist, she is committed to putting that knowledge into action in order to enable change.

Kate Salters
PhD Student, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
MPH, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
B.A. (Honours), Department of Community Health Sciences, Brock University

Kate Salters began her PhD in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in September 2013. Her PhD project aims to examine the social, physical and environmental barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care among women living with HIV in Canada. Her project will be in collaboration with the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (study acronym: CHIWOS; study website: www.chiwos.ca), a multi-site, longitudinal, community-based research project enrolling over 1,500 women living with HIV in British Columbia, Ontario and Québec. Research has demonstrated that women living with HIV face gender barriers to HIV and other health care services and that many women may benefit from women-centred services that would more fully address their unique needs in a supportive, inclusive, and accessible manner. Kate will work closely with the CHIWOS team to look at contraceptive use, access to family planning services and other sexual and reproductive health outcomes among a sample of women living with HIV. Kate will use quantitative spatial epidemiological methods involving geographic information systems technology to answer her research questions. Her work is strongly grounded in Critical Feminist theory and guided by a Social Determinants of Health framework.

Kate completed her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at SFU as a means of building the knowledge and skills necessary to be an active contributor in the field of women’s sexual and reproductive health. Kate completed her MPH project in the southern-most point in Madagascar in a town called Fort Dauphin. Her work in Madagascar focused primarily on evaluating a peer-led HIV education program in collaboration with a local Malagasy non-governmental organization. Following this, Kate joined the Epidemiology and Population Health program at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) working on several qualitative and quantitative HIV research projects. She continues to work part-time at the BC-CfE during her doctoral studies. Her work has been published in 11 peer-reviewed journals and presented at multiple national and international conferences. She is a co-investigator of several ongoing epidemiological studies and works with several ongoing community projects including the Pacific AIDS Network Community-Based Research group and the Gathering of Spirits: Canadian Women, Trans People and Girls’ HIV Research Collaborative.

Kate intends to pursue a career in Canada specifically in the field of women's health and HIV/AIDS working for and with women. She hopes to create a program of meaningful research and practice that adequately and appropriately addresses the most pressing issues facing women in Canada in the field of sexual and reproductive health and HIV. In addition, she hopes to continue teaching and being an advocate for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Relevant recent publications include:

  1. Borwein, Salters, et al., High rates of lifetime and recent violence observed among harder-to-reach women living with HIV. AIDS Care, 2014. 26(5): p. 587-94.
  2. Puskas, Forrest, Parashar, Salters, et al., Women and vulnerability to HAART non-adherence: a literature review of treatment adherence by gender from 2000 to 2011. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep, 2011. 8(4): p. 277-87.
  3. Wang, Salters, et al., Women's Health Care Utilization among Harder-to-Reach HIV-Infected Women ever on Antiretroviral Therapy in British Columbia. AIDS Res Treat. 2012: p. 560361.

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