Meet our Presenters - 2024 Conference

Katherine Breen


Dr. Breen is a family physician specializing in rural and remote emergency and wilderness medicine. She has lived and worked in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories since 2009 and currently works in the Emergency Department at the Stanton Territorial hospital. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine and a member of the Canadian Association of Wilderness Medicine. She enjoys an array of outdoor pursuits but particularly loves sailing around the East Arm of Great Slave Lake with her husband and two small children.


Brian Carriere


Over 30 years of experience in the healthcare and emergency services industry, focusing on emergency management, curriculum development, air medical transport and systems development. My true passion has been teaching wilderness medicine for multiple agencies, including the Canadian Armed Forces, St John Ambulance and most recently, the Red Cross. I have had the privilege of working with like-minded educators to create a community response program for remote indigenous communities modelled after wilderness medical principles. One of the highlights of my career was the opportunity to be a team leader with a FEMA Disaster Medical Assistant team with deployments to the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina. Here in Grande Prairie, I have participated in multiple interagency Search and Rescue missions as a SAR Manager and SAR team leader in Grande Prairie, where I am also a member of our Wilderness Medical Team.


Bridget Gibson


Dr. Bridget Gibson is a pediatrician who works in Yellowknife and at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. After completing her residency at the University of Alberta, she completed an Academic Fellowship in Pediatrics with a focus on outreach. She has an interest in Indigenous and Northern pediatrics, and her current research is focused on pediatric resident cultural competency. When she’s not working, she loves being outdoors with her husband.


Jessica Kirkwood


Jess joined PEER in in September 2019 as an Assistant Professor with the University of Alberta. She has been a family physician at the Boyle McCauley Health Centre since 2012, providing primary care to patients that are unhoused and experience mental illness and substance use disorders. She has also worked at the Edmonton Isolation Facility providing emergency shelter and medical care to unhoused Edmontonians during the COVID-19 pandemic and in both federal and provincial corrections. She is very passionate about helping educate primary care providers and learners to care for marginalized patients in a way that is empathic as well as evidence-based. She attended medical school and residency at the University of Alberta. She has 2 kids, a fluffy dog and a very patient partner.


Michael Kolber


Mike is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta. He practices in Peace River, Alberta using his additional skills training in gastroenterology.

He contributes to Tools for Practice, medical podcasts, CPD Roadshows, and academic detailing within Canada and enjoys presenting at local, provincial, national, and international events.

Mike also chairs the Practical Evidence for Informed Practice and Endoscopy Skills Day for Practicing Endoscopists conferences.

He is passionate about sports, coaches or has coached lacrosse, baseball and hockey. He enjoys the outdoors with his wife and three great (most times) teenagers.


Tina Korownyk


Tina is a Family Physician and Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta. She is the Director of PEER, an organization that seeks to empower primary care through the use of best evidence. She participates regularly in the development of Tools for Practice (one page evidence summaries), PEER Guidelines and other knowledge translation activities. She is a frequent speaker at provincial and national conferences and has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is the co-coordinator of the EBM program for Family Medicine residents at the University of Alberta and proud to be a part of the leadership team for Pragmatic Trials, searching to improve the care of patients through pragmatic randomized controlled trials. Tina is happily married with four active kids, and enjoys being in the outdoors.


Dorothy Kuk

MD, FRCPC, Psychiatry

Dorothy has been practicing adult psychiatry in the Yukon since 2019. Her work has centred on developing a complement of outpatient and inpatient psychiatric services while providing culturally integrative care. She co-initiated the biggest review to-date of Indigenous youth coroner’s records with deaths ruled as suicide; this research was done with cultural collaboration and blessings by Chiefs of Ontario. She is also a certified yoga teacher and yoga therapist, and was partnered with the University Health Network in Toronto to provide individualized yoga programs to people with concurrent Parkinson Disease and mood disorders.


Eric McNair-Landry


One of the youngest individuals to ski unsupported to the South Pole, Eric has kite-skied over 15,000 km on expeditions and has crossed the Greenland Icecap 6 times. He currently holds the record for the longest kite-skiing distance in 24 hours at 595 km! His dog sledding skills led him to embark on a two-month dog sledding expedition in the high arctic with legendary explorer Will Steger. He has crossed the Gobi desert, guided a kite-ski traverse across Antarctica, and recently kite-skied 3,300 km retracing the Northwest Passage. To add to this impressive list, Eric was nominated for National Geographic’s prestigious “Adventurer of the Year” award and received the Outdoor Idol Award in 2007.


Sarah Lesperance


Dr. Sarah Lespérance is a rural generalist physician practicing in Petitcodiac, NB, and the current President of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada. Prior to moving to New Brunswick, she worked for several years in northern Canada, first performing locums in the Yukon, Labrador and Nunavut. She then moved with her family to Happy Valley-Goose Bay Labrador, and then to Iqaluit, Nunavut, where her generalist practice expanded to include work as a TB program physician. Dr. Lespérance is a clinical associate professor with Dalhousie University, and actively involved in teaching LIC students and family medicine residents. She is involved in research in a variety of areas including rural physician wellness and resilience, latent tuberculosis treatment in Nunavut, curriculum for rural operative delivery, and factors impacting choice of maternity care provider. When she is not working, she can be found running, cycling, or heading out with her family hiking, cross-country skiing, or moving water canoeing.


Adrienne Lindblad


Adrienne Lindblad completed her pharmacy degree at the University of Saskatchewan, her hospital pharmacy residency in Halifax, and her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Toronto. In her current role as Clinical Evidence Expert Lead for the College of Family Physicians of Canada, Adrienne is the managing editor of Tools for Practice and the program manager and methodologist for PEER’s Simplified Guidelines program. She is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta, and is passionate about translating evidence-based medicine into practice.



Kara Livy


Kara Livy is both a clinician and healthcare leader who has spent more than 30 years influencing the delivery of patient care with a particular focus on remote and emergency/critical care in the Northern regions of Canada. For the past 16 years, Kara has served the residents of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut as the Vice President of Operations for Advanced Medical Solutions/Medic North Group of Companies. In this role, Kara provides overall operational and clinical leadership to the Air and Ground Ambulance, Community Paramedic, Remote Industrial Services, and Medical Education divisions. As a member of the executive team, Kara has broad leadership responsibilities for AMS and provides direction for the vision and strategic direction of the organization. Kara oversees the clinical operations in all divisions and is responsible to ensure the highest level of patient care and clinical expertise possible. Most importantly, Kara spends a significant portion of her time developing leaders and leadership within the company. Kara is an experienced educator and lecturer and in her spare time continues her Critical Care Nurse Practitioner practice with Alberta Health Services.


Sally MacDonald


My husband and I started in Inuvik in 1978 and loved our time for so many reasons. Since 1980 we have lived in Whitehorse with broad family medicine much like NWT. For the last several years I have just done Chemo and Hospital work which led us to early MAiD with cancer patients gunning for this. I have been involved with the national MAiD programme for several years. Finally, we have loved your canoeing in NWT these past few years!!


Lesley Paulette

Indigenous Midwife (RM, retired)

Lesley Paulette is a midwife of Haudenosaunee descent from the Upper Mohawk Nation of the Six Nations of the Grand River, living for the past forty years at Smith’s Landing First Nation in northern Alberta.

 She forged her own educational experience at a time when midwifery education programs did not exist in Canada. Guided by traditional Indigenous midwives, she pursued distance education, apprenticeship, and internship with contemporary midwives. First licensed to practice in Texas in 1992, she was among the first midwives to become registered in Alberta in 1998 and later one of two midwives first registered in the NWT in 2005. 

Lesley practiced midwifery in Fort Smith, NWT for 30 years, supporting women to reclaim the sacred life-cycle ceremonies of pregnancy and rebirth in their own community. This work was the catalyst for midwifery legislation and the introduction of funded services in the territory.  From 2017 through 2022, she worked for the NWT Department of Health as the Senior Midwifery Consultant. Now retired. she lends support to the further expansion of community-based midwifery and the education of a future generation of northern and Indigenous midwives and birthworkers.


Danielle Perry


Danielle received her degree in nursing from the University of Prince Edward Island in 2014 and her Masters of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Alberta in 2021. She has been a member of PEER for over five years, a group of primary care professionals who develop and present practical, evidence-based content, free from pharmaceutical influence, for primary care. In her spare time, she works as a correctional nurse at Edmonton Institution, experiments in the kitchen and travels back to Prince Edward Island for the beach and her family.


Hannah Shoichet


Dr. Hannah Shoichet is an emergency physician who has been a guest on Chief Drygeese Territory, the traditional land of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, for the past 10 years. She is the site co-director for the University of Alberta Rural Family Medicine – Yellowknife Site. Her interests in medicine include gamification of medical learning, team dynamics, and POCUS. She is a proud wife and mom to four young kids, and loves camping, canoeing, snowmobiling and other adventuring outdoors!


Danielle Stachiw


Dr. Stachiw completed medical and residency training at the University of Saskatchewan. She travelled to Australia and New Zealand for fellowship training in ACL surgery, arthroscopic shoulder surgery and upper extremity surgery. She has called Yellowknife home for the last 8.5 years. Dr. Stachiw takes pride in being a generalist orthopedic surgeon. She loves orthopedic care of all conditions and patients from all ages and backgrounds. She is particularly interested in the complexities of pain in relation to orthopedic injuries and how to maximize recovery from injury.


Betsy Thomas

BSc Pharm

Betsy Thomas graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Alberta in 1995. She practiced as a clinical pharmacist for over 20 years in the community and at a primary care network in Edmonton. She has been a member of the PEER team since 2017 and is currently employed as a Clinical Evidence Expert with the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Betsy’s role at CFPC includes working on systematic reviews, guidelines, and Tools for Practice. She is also the clinical project manager for the physician wellness initiatives at the College.


Jake Vermaak

FRCSC, FCS, MMed(Surg)

Dr Vermaak trained in General Surgery in South Africa and was admitted to the College of Surgeons of South Africa in 2010. He furthered his career by completing a Fellowship in Vascular Surgery in 2012 and earned a Master’s Degree in Surgery with a research thesis in breast cancer in 2013. Dr Vermaak moved to Newfoundland in 2013 and obtained the FRCSC credentials in 2018. He moved to Yellowknife in September 2021.


On the Land Teachings:
Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

Lila Erasmus

Naturally Dene

Lila holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Native Studies from the University of Lethbridge; Social Services Diploma; and various certificates in Business Management, Conflict Resolution and Project Management. Lila also holds as a Master or Arts degree in Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria, writing her thesis on how the Dene resolve disputes and work together to make decisions. Lila started her first business, Bows & Arrows Inc., in 2006 and her second, Naturally Dene, in 2010. Both offer support to our Dene/Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities by teaching culturally protocol that is respectful to our Elder’s and communities.

Felix J. Lockhart

Dene Elder

Cultural Advisor, Indigenous Wellness Program

Stanton Territorial Hospital
Former Chief of the Łutsel K’e Dene First Nation

Advisor, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research

Founding Chair of the Dene Cultural Institute

Rassi Nashalik

Inuk Elder

Co-founder of the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation

Elder-in-residence, U of A School of Public Health

Original host of CBC North News, Inuktitut

Alice Abel

Paul Andrew

Rosa Mantla

Berna Martin

Harriet Paul

Karen Wright -Fraser