Bridging the Divide Advisory Committee

The role of the Advisory Committee is to provide guidance to the Bridging the Divide project team on how best to increase awareness of the national mental health and nutrition research priorities and how to cultivate intersectoral partnerships to advance activities in these areas.

The Advisory Committee will be led by the core project team members: Scott Mitchell (CMHA Ontario), Karen Davison (Kwantlen Polytechnic University), and Pat Vanderkooy (Dietitians of Canada).


Karen Davison

Karen DavisonDr. Karen Davison is currently completing her postdoctoral studies in the UBC School of Nursing where she studied food insecurity, nutrition, mental health, addictions, incarceration, and men in trauma using mixed methodologies such as analysis of Canadian Community Health Survey data and critical ethnography methods. She has appointments in the Faculty of Science and Horticulture and Faculty of Health at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is a research affiliate with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, Social Justice Centre and Innovation Boulevard. She is currently the PI on for CIHR-funded Bridging the Divides project, Canadian Foundation of Dietetics Research-funded food insecurity and the transitioning from incarceration ethnographic investigation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-funded nutrigenomics study, and an examination of health behaviours of university students.


Scott Mitchell

Scott MitchellScott Mitchell is the Director of Knowledge Transfer at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division. He is the CMHA project lead for various collaborative initiatives focusing on the intersection of physical and mental health, including “Minding Our Bodies: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Mental Health,” “Mood Walks,” “Dietitians and Community Mental Health: Setting the Research Agenda” and “Bridging the Divides: Integrating Knowledge from a National Multi‐Stakeholder Consultation Identifying Nutrition and Mental Health Research Priorities.” Scott is a co-founder and coordinating committee member of the Canadian Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Community of Practice, and a board member for the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition.


Pat Vanderkooy

Pat VanderkooyPat Vanderkooy, MSc, RD is the Manager, Public Affairs with Dietitians of Canada (DC). In her current work, Pat coordinates and develops position and role papers for DC and represents DC in federal consultations and advocacy. Pat has extensive experience as a clinical and community dietitian, in Home Care, Public Health, hospital and research. She is a past chair of the Guelph Chapter of the Ontario Schizophrenia Society and worked with the Diabetes Prevention Program in Schizophrenia [DPPS]. Pat advocates for community-based integrated physical and mental health care, with access to dietitians in community settings.


Cassandra Wajuntah

Cassandra WajuntahCassandra is from Canoe Lake Cree First Nation and was raised in Meadow Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. As a PhD candidate at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy studying Indigenous health and education policy, she is the recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Doctoral Research Award worth $108,000 over three years for her dissertation entitled “The Indian Solution to the Policy Problem: Developing an Indigenous Policymaking Model to Address First Nations Health Disparities.” Cassandra is working with Indigenous health organizations in Saskatchewan and Hawaii to examine how self-determined Indigenous health policymaking models are more effective at improving the health of Indigenous people than Western colonial models. In 2016-17, she will be a Visiting Scholar at the U of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health while she works with her community partners throughout the Hawaiian Islands. After serving as Associate Director and Director at the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) from 2010-16, Cassandra has experience building research relationships with Indigenous communities and government, advocating for improved Indigenous health policies and building capacity in Indigenous health research in Saskatchewan. She currently resides in Regina with her husband and their two sons.


Joanne Arcand

Joanne ArcandJoanne Arcand, Assistant Professor University of Ontario Institute of Technology, has clinical and population health expertise in nutritional and cardiovascular sciences, public health policy and knowledge translation. Much of her research work has focused on dietary sodium and trans fat, which has been published in high-impact nutrition, cardiology and medical journals. She has presented to federal and provincial governments, non-governmental organizations and the food industry at national and international conferences. Several of her studies have also received broad media coverage. She was awarded a Notable Achievement Award from the World Hypertension League for the impact of her work in hypertension prevention and recently received an Emerging Research Leaders Initiative award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.


Joyce Slater

Joyce SlaterDr. Slater’s research interests include: Community food and nutrition security; Role of food literacy in well-being and human ecology; Nutrition surveillance; Socio-environmental influences on food choice; Utilization-focused evaluation methods in community nutrition.


Laura Gougeon

Laura GougeonDr. Gougeon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University. Her research interests revolves around the topics of food literacy, mental health, and health promotion with a focus on high-priority populations and community development.


Kelly Matheson

Kelly MathesonKelly is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Education at CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. Kelly’s professional experience has spanned across many areas of Dietetics, including: public health, research, community homecare and Family Health Teams. Kelly has been working as an inpatient clinical Dietitian CAMH for 4 years. The complexity of her clients with significant mental illness has allowed her to develop a unique understanding of the role nutrition plays in mental health.


Debbie MacLellan

Debbie MacLellanPast-Chair for the Dietitians of Canada, leads a research program that works to understand factors influencing nutrition knowledge and eating behaviours in adolescents and adults. She also conducts research in the area of professional standards and dietetic education.


Katie Rand

Katie RandKatie Rand is a Registered Dietitian completing a Masters of Health Promotion at Dalhousie University focused on weight bias and weight-based victimization of youth. The title of her Master’s thesis is, “Weight-based teasing in recreational sports in Halifax.” In her professional practice as a dietitian, Katie focuses on weight management and sports nutrition for both recreational and competitive athletes.


Sarah Dash

Sarah DashSarah Dash is a PhD Candidate within the School of Medicine at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and is studying the biological mediators of the diet-depression relationship. Sarah’s background is in nutrition and psychology, and her research interests include nutritional epidemiology, mental health, prevention, public health and science communication. She is an active member and administrator for the International Society of Nutritional Psychiatric Research (ISNPR), and a recipient of an Australian Government Collaborative Research Centre for Mental Health student scholarship. The aim of her research is to better understand the biological pathways through which diet may exert its effects on mental health in order to develop targeted prevention and treatment strategies.


Elliot Goldner

Elliot GoldnerDr. Goldner’s research activities are focused toward the advancement of mental health and addiction services at the population level. He has worked closely with government ministries, particularly with the Ministry of Health in British Columbia, to provide research information that can support evidence-based decision making and assist in the development of an improved system of service delivery.


Glenda MacQueen

Glenda MacQueenDr. MacQueen studies factors that are associated with outcomes in mood disorders, particularly following a first onset of illness. In addition to the clinical dimensions of outcomes, she examines cognitive function, structural and functional brain changes and physical health in patients with unipolar or bipolar disorder. She is also interested in understanding whether the cognitive and brain changes that occur in major depression and bipolar disorder can be prevented or reversed with various treatment approaches.