Little Warriors would not be what it is today without the hard work and compassion of our dedicated board, clinical team, clinical oversight committee and staff.

Supported by our precious donors, volunteers and supporters, our tight-knit team makes it possible for children, adolescents and their families to get the treatment and support they need to cope with the effects of child sexual abuse, as well as teach adults how to prevent child sexual abuse.

Our board

Glori Meldrum, B.Comm

Founder & Chair

Founding Little Warriors has been a life long dream for Glori Meldrum – she just didn’t know it. Her “Ah-Ha” moment occurred nearly 24 years after being abused. Glori had a dream to do something to help prevent child sexual abuse, and Little Warriors is the realization of that dream.

Glori is a successful entrepreneur, and it is her business knowledge, strong vision, and willingness to take risks and dedication to self-improvement that makes Glori an asset to the Little Warriors Board of Directors.

In addition to being a Little Warrior herself, Glori is a business owner, mother, wife and philanthropist. She owns and operates a successful advertising agency and web development company. Glori is also involved in a number of projects for local not-for-profit organizations including The Good Samaritan Society, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Glori’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Glori was among the top 18 finalist from 6400 nominees for the 2017 RBC Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Social Change for her work with Little Warriors.  She was the recipient of the 2011 Canadian Living Me to We Award – Social Action category; Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Social Entrepreneur category; the 2009 Rotary Integrity Award; a 2008 Global Woman of Vision award; a 2005 YWCA Woman of Distinction award; was named one of Caldwell Partners’ 2010 “Top 40 Canadians Under 40”; and she became the first female president of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) of Edmonton.

Jason Pincock

Vice Chair

Jason is currently the Chief Executive Officer of DynaLIFEDx, one of Alberta’s largest private healthcare organizations.  At over 1100 employees DynaLIFEDx is Canada’s most regarded multidisciplinary clinical laboratory organization and is recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. DynaLIFEDx provides clinical diagnostics to support physicians, patients, hospitals and other health providers from central Alberta through the Territories. DynaLIFEDx is internationally accredited for quality and is routinely listed as one of Albert’s Best Workplaces.  Its dedication to the community includes sponsorships and fundraising for a variety of charities and paid days off for all employees to participate in community/charity events.

Jason is a Certified Management Accountant, a graduate of the Queens Executive Program and a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Jason works with an ownership board, including Borealis Infrastructure (OMERS) and Laboratory Corporation of America (publicly traded) as well as a board of senior policy advisors. With a decade of experience at the executive level his background includes roles such Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Business Development/Government Relations. Although his professional background is financial, he is regarded for his transparent and accountable leadership style, as a creator and driver of innovation and strategy, and a trusted and supportive partner to both government and industry. Jason participates in various bio-tech related industry groups, works with Economic Development and on various community committees and serves on the Board of the Bissell Centre.

On a personal level, Jason lives in St. Albert with a family that includes six active children. In between work and kids he is an active outdoorsman with passions from sailing to skiing, motorbikes to mountains, and loves to spend time with his family or behind the boat at their cabin near Athabasca.

Dwayne Stang, CA, CFP


Dwayne Stang is the Managing Partner of a local accounting firm, Stang LLP Chartered Accounts.  Dwayne graduated from the University of Alberta with Distinction in December 1999 and received his designation as a Chartered Accountant in October 2002. During his professional career Dwayne has focussed his attention on providing services to owner managed companies and not-for-profit organizations.

Tim Kirby


Tim practices in all areas of taxation law with an emphasis on estate/succession planning, corporate and personal tax planning and purchases and sales of businesses.

Tim is a graduate of the University of Alberta where he received numerous academic awards including the Canadian Petroleum Tax Society Award for the highest mark in Corporate Taxation and the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association Prize for excellence in Evidence. Tim is an active author and lecturer with organizations such as the Canadian Tax Foundation, Canadian Bar Association, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta and the Federated Press. He is presently a Director of KidSport Edmonton, a non-profit organization promoting organized sport participation.

Tim is married and has 2 beautiful daughters. He is a past board member of KidSport Edmonton, avid rugby fan and former avid rugby player.

Guy Mersereau


Guy is currently Director Communication and Business Relations for Stream-Flo Group of Companies, a family-owned Edmonton founded and based manufacturer of wellheads, chokes and pipeline valves serving global and North American markets. Guy retired as President of Vallen, a national distributor of safety and industrial MRO products following a long career in pipe, valve and fittings business with Westlund, Newman Hattersley and Crane. Guy is a highly motivated, creative and versatile executive with significant skills in developing solutions over 45 plus years.  He is especially adept at internal and external communication, training and inspiring leadership to deliver on results. He has proven senior-level strategic business planning, policy direction and decision-making. Guy is currently the Co- Chair of the Cross Cancer Golf Tournament and has a long history of leadership roles with volunteer organizations including International Oilman’s Golf, Greenfield Community League and Associated Canadian Travelers.

Marcie Kiziak


Marcie Kiziak joined Alcanna in February 2018 as the Senior Vice President, Human Resources as well as Managing Director, Cannabis. Most recently Marcie was the Vice President of Human Resources and Safety for Corrosion and Abrasion Solutions Ltd. from 2013 until 2017 which included a secondment into Operations to lead a business transformation. Prior to joining Alcanna, Marcie spent 15 years in the oil and gas and construction sectors focused on senior HR Leadership, M&A and Integration.

Currently, Marcie is the past Chair of the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (Alberta) Board of Directors as well as is a Board Director and HR Committee Chair for both Little Warriors and the Safety Codes Council.

Marcie holds a Bachelor of Management Degree with a Major in Human Resources and is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources.

Kevin Brosseau


As the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), Safety and Security, for Transport Canada, Kevin Brosseau is responsible for leading the development of regulations and standards to support safety and security in air, marine, rail, and road transportation. He is also responsible for the implementation of programs — monitoring, testing, and inspection — to enforce the regulations and standards.

Prior to his appointment to Transport Canada, Mr. Brosseau was a senior leader with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) where he was most recently the Deputy Commissioner, Contract and Indigenous Policing. Mr. Brosseau spent most of his career with the RCMP and practising law in both Canada and the United States. After working as a police officer for ten years starting in 1988, he rose to high-ranking positions, including Assistant Commissioner, Contract and Indigenous Policing, and Commanding Officer of the Manitoba Division, before being promoted to Deputy Commissioner in 2016.

Mr. Brosseau was granted a Masters of Laws degree by the Harvard Law School in 2003, and is a former Fulbright Scholar. He is originally from Bonnyville, Alberta and is of Metis descent. He is married to Krista Brosseau, and they are proud parents of their son, Nicholas.

Eman Oliver


Eman Oliver is currently enjoying the early stages of retirement, as she was with Scotiabank for over 40 years. During her time at Scotiabank she mentored many Bank Managers and developed many long-standing relationships with clients over the years. In her charitable work with many organizations in the Edmonton area, she has helped to raise well over a million dollars. She is a post board member for the WIN House. Eman married her high school sweetheart and they have 2 beautiful grown children. She enjoys gardening, travelling and most of all cooking.

Kirsten Hayne


Kirsten is an experienced labour and employment lawyer with Brownlee LLP where she works with employers of all sizes and structures, including private/public corporations, not-for-profit organizations and school boards.  Prior to returning to private practice, Kirsten served as the Vice President of People Services & General Counsel for Northlands, where she oversaw over 3,500 dynamic staff and volunteers in addition to the legal, governance and regulatory matters.  Kirsten believes strongly in volunteering within her community, and instills these values in her three children.

Lee Funke


Over a 30-year professional career, Lee has worked in a number of senior positions advising Premiers, Ministers, Mayors, and CEOs on public policy and media issues.

Lee resumed his consulting practice after spending several years as an advocate for Alberta’s oil sands industry as the Interim Executive Director of the Oil Sands Community Alliance (OSCA) and the National Communications Director, Oil Sands for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

Lee also served as the most senior communications professional in the Alberta government for three years. In the role of Managing Director of the Public Affairs Bureau, Lee was as a member of Executive Council and provided strategic media relations counsel to all Deputy Ministers, Cabinet members as well as Premiers Ed Stelmach and Alison Redford on public policy issues.

Prior to his role in government, Lee spent 10 years as a successful government relations and public relations consultant. He worked on a wide-range of issues including land use planning, environmental management, infrastructure, public health and education. As a consultant Lee worked with Alberta Pork and provincial health officials on the detection of H1N1 in Alberta’s swine herd – the first known case of the virus transferring from humans to swine. Lee assisted Alberta Pork address worldwide media attention from international broadcasters including BBC, CNN, and Reuters.

Early in his career, Lee was the Communications Director for Alberta Environmental Protection and spent eight years with the department. He was the primary spokesperson for the department and conducted media interviews on a wide range of issues including employee fatalities, enforcement actions, regulatory approvals and environmental emergencies.

Lee is a committed business and community volunteer. Lee has served as Chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s Federal-Provincial Finance Committee. In addition to the Little Warriors board, he is on the board of St. Mary’s University in Calgary. Lee has also served as a member of Strathcona County’s Community Health Council and served on the local Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

Samantha Kernahan


Samantha Kernahan is Associate Counsel at the Edmonton office of DLA Piper (Canada) LLP (formerly Davis LLP) where she specializes in corporate/commercial law with a sub-specialty in intellectual property and information technology law.

Before returning to private practice seven years ago, Samantha served as in-house counsel at two post-secondary institutions in Alberta, where her mandates included governance and decision-making, policy drafting, public procurement and management of intellectual property.

Currently Samantha advises both private and public sector clients with respect to corporate organization and governance, commercial matters and intellectual property protection. Samantha has long advised clients on sound decision-making in accordance with policy frameworks and the rules and theory of administrative law.

Alita Murowchuk


An explorer and adventurer at heart, Alita was immersed into her culture and language at a young age through her mother’s work with First Nations and Métis communities, organizations and People in the Dawson Creek, BC area. It wasn’t until she was a young adult living in Calgary that she experienced a profound sense of belonging during her first sweat lodge ceremony in Bragg Creek. Enriched through ceremony and traditional knowledge and teachings she set her sails towards a career working in community. Ms. Murowchuk’s passion to engender positive change and bring benefit to Indigenous communities was heightened through her career in Heart Lake First Nation. Young, eager and willing to do anything to increase awareness and understanding Alita sought further knowledge through the Indigenous Community and Industry Relations program offered at the University of Alberta. It was there that she found allies, mentors, knowledge keepers and friends that validated her understanding and strength in knowing that anything is possible when we work to together; also known as the “collective lift”. She learned early that ethical space needs to be created in order to understand how Industry and First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities can achieve prosperity and well-being; in part by working collaboratively to realize the equity and change that Canada desperately needs in 2019.

Alita’s experience working in community and the non-profit, corporate and volunteer sectors has enabled multiple connections and a vast network and has increased her personal and professional capacity. Reflection and connection help to ground Ms. Murowchuk on her journey towards better understanding what Indigenous peoples need today, and how she can share and provide tools towards impactful positive community driven change.

Ben Dutton, MBA


Ben is a Civil Engineer with an MBA.  He is married (Brandy – married 20 years) with two children; he is a member of YPO Alberta and active in the Edmonton / Alberta community with professional organizations (NAIOP) and charities (Stollery).

Ben currently serves as the COO for Pangman Development Corp, working with Kevin McKee and John Day to enhance the City of Edmonton’s built environment by delivering first-class real estate development projects.

Prior to joining Pangman, Ben moved from Phoenix, Arizona to take over as President and CEO of the Casman Group of Companies, an industrial and commercial contractor based in Fort McMurray, delivering services to Oil Sands producers, commercial / residential developers and municipalities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the Edmonton Metro area, the Calgary Metro area and Victoria, BC.  Ben and his family lived in Fort McMurray from 2011 to 2015, moving to Edmonton in June 2015 to grow Casman’s presence outside of Fort McMurray. While in Fort McMurray, Ben served in various roles (including President of the Board) for United Way of Fort McMurray, as well as serving on the boards of UDI and the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce.

Ben and his family lived in Phoenix from 1997 to 2011.  He began his career as a Civil Engineer designing heavy civil infrastructure for State and Municipal DOTs, before gaining his MBA and joining the Pulte Homes Land Development team.  Ben directly led Pulte / Del Webb’s Master Planned Community Development projects (including individual projects up to 5,000 acres), ultimately assuming leadership for all of Pulte Del Webb’s land development activity in Phoenix (delivering 7,500 lots per year).  Outside of Pulte / Del Webb, Ben was active in the community, participating in professional organizations, serving on municipal advisory boards (including development impact fee and design standards), and sponsoring text amendments to County / City standards.

Ben completed his undergraduate degree in the UK, and served in the Army reserves whilst attending University in Leeds.  He graduated in 1996 and emigrated to the United States, having met his wife, Brandy, in Leeds.

David Wilson


Originally from Renfrew Ontario,  David graduated with his degree in social work from Laurentian University in Sudbury. David came to Alberta in 1982 and worked for the Alberta Government in children’s services until his retirement in September 2018. David worked in many different, progressively more senior roles throughout his career in child intervention, which included 4 years with Saskatchewan Social Services as Family Services Program Manager in Saskatoon. David served as a Governor with the Portage College in Lac La Biche as well as other volunteer activities that served families and children.

Included in his career was being Chief Executive Officer of the former Region 5 (East Central Alberta) Child and Family Services Authority, Senior Project Manger implementing a new provincial practice model and the Provincial Director of the Child, Youth & Family Enhancement Act. David retired from Children’s Services after 36 years with his last position in the Edmonton Region as Associate Director for Service Delivery. In retirement David has set up his own consulting business and is working part time as Executive Director for a child group care agency in Edmonton, HF Resources. In his spare time David enjoys yoga and meditation and travel.

Our clinical team

Our clinical team is comprised of staff with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including psychology, social work, early childhood development, expressive art therapy and recreation therapy.

Dr. Wanda Polzin, MA, RSW, EdD

Clinical Director, Be Brave Ranch

Dr. Wanda Polzin has over 25 years of counselling and clinical experience working with children, youth and families across various domains including Health/Mental Health and Addictions, Children and Family Services, as well as Education.

Dr. Polzin has a Doctorate of Education (Ed. D) in Counselling Psychology, a Masters Degree (MA) in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Social Worker.  Dr. Polzin’s clinical training is multi-faceted, with specialization in Attachment, Trauma, EMDR, AAT, Neurobiofeedback, Family Therapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Concurrent Addiction and Mental Health interventions. She has a deep passion and energy for working with children and caregivers, particularly in the area of attachment-based caregiving, trauma and trauma-informed care, family systems, complex case needs (dual diagnosis), evidence-based practices, supporting resiliency, and promoting wellness.

Melanie Jonkman, M.Ed

Trauma Therapist - Registered Psychologist

Melanie is a Registered Psychologist specializing in Child Trauma and Attachment. She is a certified Hakomi Therapist and TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention) trainer. She has previously worked in children’s mental health at CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health as the Clinical Lead for the Trauma Program and Trauma and Attachment Group Program.

Allison Boudreau, M.Ed

Trauma Therapist - Registered Psychologist

Allison has a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alberta and is a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists. She has received extensive training in Self Regulation Therapy (SRT) which is a psychophysiological approach aimed at diminishing dysregulation in the nervous system resulting from traumatic events.

Allison has previously worked at the Edmonton Young Offender Centre, AHS Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health, and CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health. Allison has a special interest in working with children and adolescents with concerns related to abuse and other traumas. She employs principles and techniques of SRT in working with issues of stress, depression, anxiety, anger, and parenting and relationship issues.

Yona McGinnis

Art Therapist - MA Psychotherapy and Spirituality (Specialization in Art Therapy)

Yona is a professional art therapist who focuses on using creative exploration and expression techniques to help people heal from a wide range of traumas, including child sexual abuse. As a professional art therapist accredited by the Canadian Art Therapy Association, Yona contributes 8 years of valuable counselling experience to the Be Brave Ranch clinical team.

Yona’s passion for strengthening individuals’ resilience in the face of trauma extends beyond her role as art therapist at the Be Brave Ranch to her work as a yoga teacher. In this capacity, Yona blends the teachings of yoga with fluid exploration of the arts to help students overcome emotional challenges.

Yona is also part of the Northland Family Counselling team and a member of the Yoga Association of Alberta.

Deborah Johansson

Registered Psychologist

Deb is a Registered Psychologist and a Masters trained Marital and Family Therapist. She has over 30 years of experience in the helping professions, all of it working with children, youth, and their families. She works from a Bowenian Family Systems perspective, but brings in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness, and other pertinent interventions as required given the nature of the difficulties experienced by clients.

Deb has a special interest in working in the areas of trauma including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, grief and loss, work-related stress including vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout.

Eileen Bona, M.Ed.

Equine Therapist - Registered Psychologist - Owner and Founder of Dreamcatcher Association

Eileen is a registered psychologist and the owner/founder of Dreamcatcher Association, who provides equine therapy to children attending the Be Brave Ranch. Her goal is to provide a fun, therapeutic setting in which people are supported to heal through the unconditional love of animals.

Eileen has been formally working with people with disabilities, behavioral concerns and mental health issues since 1988 but, having grown up with a brain-injured brother, she is able to draw on a lifetime of personal experience and valuable learning to support individuals in need and their families.

Prior to founding Dreamcatcher in 2003, Eileen spent many years studying horses and training with equine facilitated counselling professionals to eventually become an internationally recognized expert in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).

Over the years, Eileen has been instrumental in the design of Western Canada’s first college-accredited course in AAT, while also having contributed to the development of the first-ever master’s level certificate in AAT. She currently chairs the national task force for developing standards and certification for AAT in Canada, and regularly teaches the concepts and techniques of AAT to organizations worldwide.


We are so lucky to have Rugby on our Clinical team as our facility trauma dog at the Be Brave Ranch.  As co-therapist, Rugby supports individual therapy, group therapy, as well as family sessions. He enhances our Trauma-Informed healing environment through providing relational supports, sensing and supporting positive emotional regulation, providing healthy touch and therapeutic play opportunities. 

A sincere thank you to Champion Petfoods, Orijen, and ANCANA for supplying Rugby with all of his food and treats.

Champion Petfoods

Our clinical oversight committee

The Clinical Oversight Committee is a standing committee established by the Board of Directors of Little Warriors to provide assurance to the Board that appropriate and effective clinical governance systems are in place throughout the organization.

The Committee’s directive is to advise and provide oversight to the Board of Directors on clinical matters pertaining to Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch programming. The Clinical Oversight Committee ensures that staff and programs operate in accordance with clinical best practices and all applicable regulations.

Dr. Peter Silverstone


Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Alberta

Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Business

Dr. Silverstone trained in psychiatry at the prestigious Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry in London, UK, and then at Oxford University, where he completed his Doctoral Fellowship. He then joined the University of Alberta in 1992. He is an active researcher and teacher, having published over 130 peer-reviewed articles and has given more than 200 national and international presentations. He was independently funded by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) for the period 1994 – 2013, as well as receiving funding from multiple national and international agencies for his research.

His current research focus is on prevention of mental health disorders, particularly in children and youth, and has carried out two successful programs in Alberta involving approximately 10,000 students in Grades 6 – 12.

Previous major research interests focused on mood disorders, psychopharmacology (drugs and the brain), and the use of brain imaging studies to better understand mood disorders. He also recently completed a program to help police forces and other first responders improve their interactions with individuals who have mental health issues, and to improve the mental health of police and other first responders.

He also has a diverse range of other interests, having previously worked in business, including being a Senior Vice-President at a billion dollar pharmaceutical company, starting several health-care companies, and serving as the inaugural Scientific Director for the Strategic Clinical Network for Addiction and Mental Health within Alberta Health Services. He is has also been active as a board member of multiple organizations in a wide range of areas.

Dr. Andrew Greenshaw

Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of Alberta

Currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Alberta and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Dr. Andy Greenshaw trained in Europe and Canada. He joined the University of Alberta in 1986 as a Heritage Medical Research Scholar.

A Fellow of the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CCNP), for which he served as President from 2000-2002, and a Fellow of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum (CINP), Andy has served as University of Alberta Associate Vice President (Research) and has served on national and international boards including the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, the Institute of Health Economics and The University of the Arctic. From 2006 until 2015 he served as founding Co-Chair of the Alberta Addictions and Mental Health Research Partnership Committee.

Andy is the Research Director for the APEC Digital Hub for Best Practices in Mental Health, a digital hub that will serve the combined APEC population of 2.7 Billion people in the Pacific Rim, including indigenous stakeholders.

With extensive experience on Canadian Medical Research Council and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant panels since 1989, Andy was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the CIHR Institute of Neuroscience Mental Health & Addiction from 2012-2016. He is the director of the Alberta-based node of the national Canadian Depression & Research Intervention Network (CDRIN), which focusses on engagement of people with lived experience of mental disorders as partners in patient-oriented research, he is also Chair of the CDRIN Depression Hubs National Advisory Panel and a member of the CDRIN Board. Andy is also a member or the Scientific Advisory Board of The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research in Ottawa and of the Research Advisory Board for Little Warriors, a national organization committed to the awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.

With broad interests in biological and psychosocial areas in biological psychiatry and behavioural neuroscience, his active research includes the application of machine learning and data-mining to prediction of differential diagnosis and treatment responses in mental disorders. He is part of a collaborative computational psychiatry group that includes researchers from the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and the IBM Centre for Advanced Study at UAlberta, the IBM TJ Watson Centre in New York, West Sichuan Hospital in Chengdu and NIMHANS in Bangalore.

Dr. Vincent Agyapong

Clinical Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta

Edmonton Zone Clinical Section Chief for Community Mental Health

Dr. Agyapong is an expert in Global Mental Health. He is currently a Clinical Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Zone Clinical Section Chief for Community Mental Health. His research and leadership roles are primarily focused on expanding access to quality mental health services. Utilizing collaborative approaches to identify barriers to access, safety and quality care as they relate particularly to human resources, organizational changes, and analyzing reform and restructuring in healthcare to identify learning and effect transformational change are the main focus of his research and leadership.

He won Alberta Health Services’ Spirit of Excellence Award in 2016 and the EZMSA 2018 Physician Innovator of the Year Award for the development of the Text4Mood program, a daily supportive text message system for patients with depression and anxiety which currently has about 20,000 subscribers across Alberta. The program has been recognized by WHO’s Mental Health Innovations Network.

Dr. Agyapong founded the annual inter-medical school public speaking competition in Ghana to promote psychiatry as a fulfilling career option for Ghanaian medical students. Currently in its eighth year, the competition which has ongoing sponsorship from St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Dublin and has offered fully sponsored elective placements to nineteen Ghanaian medical students at two leading Irish mental health institutions.

In addition, Dr. Agyapong has been involved in extensive mental health advocacy in Ghana for more than a decade and played a strategic role in the advocacy that led to the passage of Ghana’s mental health law in 2012. Between 2010 and 2012, he was the country lead in Ireland of a 5 country multi-center project funded by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Program of the European Commission that explored innovative ways to reduce racism and discrimination against migrant women living in Europe. He has over 70 publications in peer reviewed journals and has made over 50 research presentations at national and international conferences in 16 countries across four continents.

Dr. Gary Hnatko, MD, FRCPC

Consulting Psychiatrist

Dr. Hnatko obtained his medical degree and psychiatric training at the University of Alberta.   He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Hospital for Sick Children in 1986.  He was the Program Director for General Psychiatry for 10 years following which he served as both the Division Head and Program Director for Child Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. He was promoted to Full Professor in 2005.

Dr. Hnatko has consulted at Child and Adolescent Services for over 30 years and was the Co-CEO from 1993-1994 and Medical Director until 2017. He has provided consulting child psychiatric services to mental health clinics in Sherwood Park, Vegreville and Camrose and for 17 years travelled monthly to the Yellowknife to provide psychiatric service. He also consulted to the Learning and Development clinics in Edmonton.

Dr. Hnatko has contributed to numerous local, provincial and national planning and advisory committees including Past Chair of the Specialty Committee in Psychiatry for the Royal College and member of the Committee on Specialties.  He currently is the Chair of the Specialty Committee for Child Psychiatry RCPSC and a member of the Examination Board.  He was founding President of the AMA Section of Child Psychiatry and Past President of the Alberta Psychiatric Association.

Amongst other awards he was awarded the title of Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association for his contributions to education redesign in Canada which led to formal recognition of Child Psychiatry as a distinct subspecialty of the RCPSC. He was co-editor of a book on Psychiatric Education.  In September 2013, he was awarded the Lieutenant Governors True Compassion Award for Mental Health.

Dr. Yifeng Wei, MA, PhD

Dr. Wei has worked as a researcher and school mental health lead with the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health team at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre since 2008. She is currently the assistant professor with the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University and the interim director of the Chair team. Her research interest has focused on promoting mental health literacy in schools (both secondary and post-secondary settings) to help students achieve better understanding about mental health and mental disorders, reduce stigma against mental illness, obtain and maintain good mental health and enhance help-seeking behaviors. She has played a key role in school mental health research and program development, and has made significant contributions to the work of the team. Dr. Wei has received funding from various agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, RBC Foundation, Medavie Foundation, Carthy Foundation and MaxBell Foundation.

Dr. Wei has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and one book on school mental health. She has lead/co-led more than 30 school mental health projects, locally, nationally and internationally. She has also presented at the local, regional, national and international scientific meetings and conferences. Dr. Wei was awarded the Canadian Institute of Health Research Doctoral Research Award in 2011and the Dalhousie University President’s award in 2011 and 2012.

Dr. Hannah Pazderka, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta

Dr. Hannah Pazderka received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta in 2004, looking at indices of drug and alcohol craving. Since then, she has worked in a number of roles, including creation of public policy, research, and advocacy. Her primary research interests are in the regulation of impulsive and risk-taking behaviour via the frontal lobes and subcortical reward structures. She has worked with a number of different methodologies, including structural equation modeling, electrophysiology (ERPs and skin conductance), neuropsychological assessment, and epidemiology.

She is currently consulting with the PAXIS Institute out of Tucson, Arizona, helping validate a program designed to improve the resiliency and self-regulation of school-aged children. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. Dr. Pazderka is a local business owner, and is currently working on a nonfiction book about the neuroscience of aesthetics.

Matthew Reeson, B.Sc.

Matthew Reeson received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) from the University of Alberta and is currently a PhD student in the Department of Psychiatry. Matthew has spent the last four years researching ways to improve mental health outcomes for youth, with a particular interest in the effect that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and early-life trauma have on the developing mind. His current research aims to develop a more thorough and efficient way to assess treatment response in youth psychiatric treatment programs, as well as developing an enhanced understanding of the factors that predict successful outcomes and promote resilience. Long-term, Matthew intends on becoming a registered psychologist with a specialty in trauma-focused care.

Our staff


Clinical Director, Be Brave Ranch:


Prevent It! Program Coordinator (Northern Alberta, BC, SK, MB, ON):

Prevent It! Program Coordinator (Calgary and Southern Alberta):

Prevent It! Program Coordinator (Edmonton) and Volunteer Coordinator:

Operations Support:

Administration Coordinator:


For Be Brave Ranch information and intake, contact