Executive DirectorRead Biography
- (306) 966-7256
Helen Kenyon comes to us originally from England. She graduated with a BSc in Applied Chemistry from the University of Greenwich and worked for several pharmaceutical companies, progressing her career from sales representative via international projects to healthcare management in areas of post-trial/pre-licensing and government affairs. Along the way, she attained a Master’s in Education from Liverpool and several management qualifications from Harvard. For the last 11 years, Helen has worked in a variety of leadership positions in Alberta health care, including Zone Clinical Department Manager of Internal Medicine for Alberta Health Services and in two Primary Care Networks, one in rural and one in urban Alberta as Executive Director.
Helen is a culture junkie and loves music, the arts, and travel. She enjoys hiking with her husband and her two Barbets (French water dogs).
Scientific DirectorRead Biography
- (306) 966-8243
Dr. King is a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. He completed a Ph.D. in polymer chemistry at McGill University in Montreal and fellowships at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and the Meakins-Christie Laboratories at McGill University. He has been a guest professor at several prestigious universities including the University of Freiburg (Germany), the University of São Paulo (Brazil), the University of Bern (Switzerland) and the University of Auckland (New Zealand).
He has held faculty positions at the University of Alberta, where he was an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Senior Scholar in the Pulmonary Medicine Division of the Department of Medicine. Recently, he had a faculty appointment at Simon Fraser University where he co-developed a course on Indigenous health in Canada, and supervised graduate students and other trainees in related endeavours. Dr. King also served as Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (CIHR-IAPH). He was instrumental in leading CIHR in the development of a national health research agenda aimed at improving wellness and achieving health equity for First Nations Peoples, Métis and Inuit in Canada.
His areas of research interest include respiratory health issues among Indigenous peoples, health service delivery to vulnerable populations, the interaction of education and health, airborne disease transmission and chronic obstructive lung diseases. He is the author of some 200 scientific papers and has supervised some 50 health research trainees. His international Indigenous health interests include improving Indigenous health through workforce development and provision of culturally appropriate care, and developing Indigenous health indicators to monitor progress in programs aimed at achieving wellness and health equity.
Dr. King was the national President of the Canadian Thoracic Society in 1999-2000, and served on the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research from 2000-2004. He received the Alberta Lung Association Lorraine Award of Excellence in Research and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Medical Research in March 1999, and in September 2003, the University of Alberta Board of Governors’ Award of Excellence. He was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2016.
In addition to his active research and teaching schedule, Dr. King contributes to numerous councils and boards that support health research and policy across Canada. He was an inaugural member of the CIHR Governing Council (appointed Jun’00, re-appointed Jul’01-Jun’04). Subsequently, he served on the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health Advisory Board (Chair 2005-2008). He also served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research from 2004 to 2016. In January 2017, he accepted the position of Chair of the Diabetes Action Canada Steering Council, a CIHR SPOR Network.
“We have an opportunity to bring the basic science community together with the public,” says Dr. King. “We have good practice examples not only from Indigenous research but also from citizen-engaged research in other areas. We can enrich health research and make it more relevant.”
Dr. King has three daughters (Canada and England). He is married to Dr. Alexandra King, who has recently been appointed as the Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health in the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. They look forward to their time in this fair province - “from many peoples, strength.”
Manager, Finance and AdministrationRead Biography
- (306) 966-8851
Ginger Appel completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Health Care Administration from the University of Saskatchewan in 1992. She went on to obtain an accounting designation, Chartered Professional Accountant (formerly Certified Management Accountant). Ginger has worked in various industries including banking, health care, construction, and mining, as well as education with the University of Saskatchewan in Budget Strategy. Ginger joined the SCPOR group November, 2017 as Manager, Finance and Administration, excited to be bringing together her education and experience.
Outside of the office, Ginger is blessed with an active family of children, grandchildren and pets.
Executive AssistantRead Biography
- (306) 966-8745
Tina Murdock has a Medical Secretarial Diploma from Saskatoon Business College. She began her career at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan before moving on to manage a highly diverse surgical practice where she worked closely with clinicians and patients for 17 years. Tina took great pride in having the opportunity to work with patients and their families and to this day cherishes many of the success stories and connections made over the years.
In 2011, Tina joined the University of Saskatchewan as Executive Assistant to the AVP Communications, where she worked closely with senior administrators, faculty, staff and students, as well as numerous other stakeholders of the institution. In July, 2016 Tina joined SCPOR as the Executive Assistant and is very pleased to be working in the area of health care once again.
Knowledge Translation Platform LeadRead Biography
- 306 966-8268
Christine graduated from the University of Alberta in 1986 with a Bachelor of Education with Distinction and has taught in The Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Alberta. Her background is in secondary education, however she has taught kindergarten to adult education classes and relishes the rich and varied teaching experiences she has had in very diverse settings. She graduated from the Master’s of Educational Studies program in 2008 and spent eight years as a tutorial assistant within the MES program while also working extensively as a University Facilitator with pre-service teachers during their practicum at the University of Alberta.
Christine recently completed her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership at the University of Calgary where her research addressed pre-service teacher mentorship and praxis. She has presented her findings both nationally and internationally.
Christine has also worked in the private sector where she was the Director of Education for the Edmonton Construction Association; an organization representing over 1200 companies and their employees in Alberta. One of her significant collaborative projects involved working with the Canada Research Council, AutoCAD/AutoDesk Seek, an international engineering firm and vested post-secondary institutions to design a Building Information Modelling curriculum.
On the home front, her household is replete with one husband, four children, a recently added son-in-law, and two Labrador retrievers who are notorious mischief makers.
Indigenous Research & Engagement Platform Co-LeadRead Biography
- (306) 966-1676
Kirstin Scansen-Isbister is a nehithaw (Woods Cree) woman from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band in northern Saskatchewan. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria.
Kirstin specializes in relationship building and collaboration with Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan and throughout Canada. She recently travelled to Iqaluit, Nunavut to conduct research on environmental sustainability and the incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in K-12 and post-secondary education on behalf of the Sustainability and Education Policy Network within the College of Education.
Support Unit SpecialistRead Biography
- (306) 966-1733
Barb Colvin attended the University of Saskatchewan where she received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. Following this she worked as a clinical dietitian for 8 years, then completed a Master of Arts degree at Carleton University in Ottawa. She worked in various positions in research and evaluation subsequent to this, and also worked for SEARCH Canada facilitating practice-based research for health professionals. On her return to Saskatchewan, she came back to the University of Saskatchewan to work in Research Ethics before moving to the SCPOR office.
Program FacilitatorRead Biography
- (306) 966-7656
Kate is the Program Facilitator at the Saskatchewan Center for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR). This position works closely with the SCPOR Platform Leads to provide support to patient-oriented research programs. Kate studied at McMaster University where she received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology and Health Studies. She then moved to Saskatoon to complete her Masters of Public Health from the University of Saskatchewan. Kate has also completed a Knowledge Translation Professional Certificate (KTPC) from the University of Toronto. Before coming to SCPOR, Kate worked at the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute as a Child Injury Prevention Program Coordinator for 2 1/2 years. In her spare time, Kate loves to dance and has studied ballet since she was 4. She also likes to cook.
Methods Platform Lead (currently on mat leave)Read Biography
- (306) 966-1362
Dr. Charlene Haver has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to her current role as the Methods Lead in SCPOR , Charlene has four years of experience as a Health Research Facilitator and Innovation Analyst in the Office of the Associate Vice-President Research-Health, University of Saskatchewan/Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation, Saskatoon Health Region and an additional five years of experience working in the health sciences from her graduate degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. Charlene’s education background is in clinical science, experimental designs, and randomized control trials. Her doctoral research focused on clinical work in Orthopedics, working with clinicians and patients to improve rehabilitation after injury. Charlene has a wealth of knowledge in various research methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative research design and data analysis; program evaluation; survey design; realist evaluation and synthesis; and systematic literature reviews. Charlene has experience in quality improvement, specifically focusing on improvement initiatives with the First Nations and Metis Health Service, Saskatoon Health Region. Charlene facilitated a project on data governance for Metis people funded by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, with the background work for this project recently published in the Journal of Evaluation Clinical Practice. Charlene also has a Project Management Certificate from York University and is published in a number of peer-reviewed academic journals.
Indigenous Research & Engagement Expertise Platform Lead (currently on maternity leave, returning Sept 2018)Read Biography
- (306) 537-2043
Cassandra J. Opikokew Wajuntah is from Canoe Lake Cree First Nation and was raised in Meadow Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. She graduated at the top of her class in 2009 from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (BAJ) and a Certificate in Indigenous Communication Arts (INCA). Upon completion of her journalism degree, she started law school but decided to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) to follow her research interests in Indigenous post-secondary education. In 2012, she finished her MPA after completing a social impact assessment of the federal funding program for First Nations post-secondary students where she advocated for maximum funding for student recipients of the program. Now, as a PhD candidate in her final year studying Indigenous health and education policy, she has been 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 Hawai’i to examine how self-determined Indigenous health policymaking models are more effective at improving the health of Indigenous people than Western colonial models. She was most recently a Visiting Scholar at the U of Hawai’i's John A. Burns School of Medicine in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health while she worked with her community partners throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Cassandra served in various roles at the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) from 2010-16 under the late Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, whom she credits as a pivotal mentor and influence in her work. During her time at IPHRC, Cassandra assisted Dr. Episkenew with the creation of the Indigenous Research and Engagement Platform (IREP) and the transition of IPHRC to the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. As the newly appointed Associate Director of IPHRC, she will also serve as the Platform Lead for the IREP where she will lead a team of Indigenous researchers tasked with providing support and expertise to SCPOR projects seeking to engage in meaningful and impactful research with Indigenous communities. As Indigenous Research and Engagement Platform Lead, Cassandra brings years of experience building research relationships with Indigenous communities and government, advocating for improved Indigenous health policies and building capacity in Indigenous health research in Canada. She currently resides in Regina, SK with her husband Justin, a member of Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation, and their two sons, Wakinyan and Mahihkan.