Gaya Arasaratnam, Concordia University
Director, Campus Wellness & Support Services
Gaya Arasaratnam is the inaugural director of Concordia University’s Campus Wellness and Support Services where she oversees three units: Health Services, Counselling & Psychological Services and the Access Centre for Students with Disabilities. She holds an MBA in Health Industry Management and is a Certified Health Executive.
Verity Turpin, Dalhousie University
Assistant Vice-Provost, Student Affairs
Verity Turpin’s education is as varied as her career background. She holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University (1993), a Master of Electronic Commerce from Dalhousie (2008) and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (2013). Verity’s career in post-secondary education began in 1999 and her passion for business, strategy and leading progressive change and transition led her to working in Student Affairs where, most recently, she has held positions as Director, Finance and Administration; Executive Direction, Student Wellness and was appointed AVP, Student Affairs in 2016.
Over the last four years, Verity has led a team to develop Dalhousie’s first Student Wellness Strategy and has transformed how Dalhousie delivers primary and mental health support to students leading the new mandate in shifting to an inter-professional collaborative healthcare model.
Verity has a 15-year old daughter and her greatest joys are watching her grow up to be an intelligent young woman as well as watch her play volleyball.
Emily Huner, Dalhousie University
Director, Professional Practice and Quality Assurance Health & Wellness
Emily Huner Emily has worked at Dalhousie since October 2013 beginning with the role of Manager, Finance & Admin for Athletics & Recreation, then Operations Manager for Student Health Services, and now as Director – Operations, Student Health & Wellness. Her education includes an MBA, the CPA accounting designation, and a career spanning 17 years within marketing, finance and HR. She is active on the Board for the regulatory College of Registered Nurses Nova Scotia as well as its Transition Governance Committee for the future merger with the College of Licensed Practical Nurses Nova Scotia.
Ann Tierney, Queen’s University
Vice Provost & Dean of Student Affairs
Ann Tierney leads the Division of Student Affairs at Queen’s University, which provides a comprehensive range of services for undergraduate and graduate students from the time they apply through to graduation.
She graduated from Queen’s Faculty of Law in 1989. After practising in Toronto and Kingston, she worked at the Faculty of Law from 1997 to 2003 and completed a Masters of Public Administration. She has held positions as Dean of Students and Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Support Services at Carleton University and as Vice Provost (Students) at the University of Calgary before returning to Queen’s in 2011.
Among other enrolment and student service initiatives, Ann has established a range of new transition programs for incoming students at Queen’s focused on their academic and personal success and has been focused on overall student health and wellness. She was a member of the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health, chairs the Health and Wellness Steering Committee, the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and has introduce new mental health education tools to help faculty and staff identify and respond to students in distress. Ann is also a member of the Council of Ontario Universities Reference Group on Sexual Violence.
Dr. Peter Cornish, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Associate Professor & Director University Counselling Centre
The SWCC is an academic and service unit with a focus on inter-professional wellness programming, training and research. Programming includes primary medical care, psychiatric consultation, counselling and a wide range of other mental health supports and programs, healthy campus development activities, academic teaching and training in the faculties of Medicine and Science. His clinical and research interests include online mental health, stepped care programming, mental health service innovations, change management, inter-professional team functioning and group dynamics.
Brenda Whiteside, University of Guelph
Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs
Brenda Whiteside has been Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs at the University Guelph for 18 years. Her portfolio includes all the academic support programs and services including Counselling, Accessibility Services; Student Health Services, Wellness Education, Student Housing Services and the Office of Intercultural Affairs. She is presently chair of the Executive Committee for the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health.
Dr. Sharon Mitchell, University at Buffalo | Association for University & College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD)
Senior Director, Counseling, Health & Wellness | President
Dr. Sharon Mitchell is the Senior Director of Counseling, Health, and Wellness at the University at Buffalo. She has worked as a counseling center administrator, staff psychologist and faculty in higher education institutions for more than 25 years. She is the current President of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. Dr. Mitchell has presented at professional conferences and published research on group counseling, racial identity development, interpersonal violence, eating disorders, suicide prevention, emerging adulthood, and working with international college students. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of College Student Psychotherapy. She has also served on the editorial board of the Journal of College Student Development. She utilizes feminist, cognitive-behavioral and systems-oriented theoretical perspectives in her work with clients.
Cara Wehkamp, University of Guelph
Special Advisor to the Provost on Aboriginal Initiatives
Cara Wehkamp is an Anishinaabe kwe, bear clan and a member of the Antoine First Nation. She is the Special Advisor to the Provost on Aboriginal Initiatives at the University of Guelph and was co-lead on the project, Enhancing Mental Health and Wellness Outcomes for Aboriginal Learners. Cara is dedicated to supporting the educational goals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis learners, promoting greater understanding of Indigenous cultures and worldviews and building bridges between Indigenous and western science knowledge systems.
Tenniel Rock, George Brown College
Manager, Counselling & Student Well-Being
Tenniel Rock is the Manager of Counselling and Student Well-Being at George Brown College, where she leads an interdisciplinary team of counsellors, student success specialists, a health promoter and peer coaches. For over 15 years, Tenniel Rock has been working collaboratively with diverse communities applying innovative and holistic tools to transform the impact of mental health and substance use concerns.
Susan Toews, George Brown College
Director, Academic Support & Student Affairs
Susan Toews is the Director of Student Affairs at George Brown College, providing leadership for a range of accessibility, career development, mental health and peer support services to enhance student well-being and success. Over Susan’s 30 year career, she has held various positions in education in post-secondary, community, and non-profit sectors: as Academic Chair for GBC’s School of Work and College Preparation, which included programs designed for students dealing with complex mental health concerns and substance use issues and academic preparatory programs for Deaf learners; as an ESL and academic upgrading teacher in community-based workforce retraining and college programs; and as a curriculum, resources, assessment and program developer for non-profits serving literacy programs across the province.
Susan has spent the last five years in student services, encouraging the adoption of Universal Design across the college for both services and academic programming, as well as holistic healthy campus approaches to student development and support. As coordinator of GBC’s annual mental health conference since 2008, Susan has worked to widen the student success conversation at George Brown to include a whole student/whole campus understanding, embedding mental health in overall health, and recognizing the impact of the college experience on well-being. Susan has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Trent University, a Master of Education degree from OISE/University of Toronto, and multiple professional certificates, including Alternative Dispute Resolution and Coaching.
Chris McGrath, George Brown College
Vice-President, Student Success
As Vice-President, Student Success, Chris McGrath ensures George Brown College provides a best-in-class academic experience and excellent student services and supports. He works to cultivate an environment on campus that promotes lifelong learning and leadership as students prepare for their future careers.
Before joining George Brown, Chris was Associate Vice-President, Student Experience and Registrar, at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, where his team boosted student retention and success with student-centred service models and strategies. Previously, he was Dean of Students at Seneca College where he oversaw athletics and recreation, career services, Aboriginal student programs, student life, health and accessibility and student judicial affairs. Earlier in his career, Chris was Director, Student Housing and Residence Life at the University of Toronto Mississauga, before becoming Assistant Dean, Student Affairs.
Chris earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in French Studies from the University of Waterloo. He also has a Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Vermont. Chris also attained certificates in Human Rights Theory and Practice, and Adjudication for Administrative Tribunals from the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.
Maria Gergin, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Maria Gergin is a senior associate in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. She practises labour and employment law, human rights law and education law. One of the focuses of Maria’s practice is mental health in the workplace, including legal issues relating to the promotion of psychological health in the workplace, and the accommodation of mental health conditions. Maria is a certified Canadian Mental Health Association Psychological Health and Safety Advisor.
Dr. Sandra Yuen, University of Toronto
Director, Professional Practice and Quality Assurance, Health & Wellness
Dr. Sandra Yuen is the Director, Professional Practice & Quality Assurance at Health & Wellness, Student Life Programs and Services, University of Toronto. She has 18 years’ experience in post-secondary student mental health as an administrator, manager, program evaluator, and clinical psychologist. She oversees a team of psychologists and social workers, who are part of a larger interdisciplinary team consisting of primary care and mental health professionals. Dr. Yuen is actively involved in program development of clinical services, including a mental health stepped care model, group therapy and workshop services, embedded counselling services, and the clinical psychology residency program (in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). Her research activities include overseeing program evaluation of mental health, primary care, and health promotion. More recently, she has partnered with McGill University and Queen’s University to develop a national consortium focused on best practices in student mental health services and programs. Dr Yuen’s clinical interests are in the provision of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for depression and anxiety disorders. She is a certified cognitive therapist holding Diplomate status with the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. She is particularly interested in interpersonal process, attachment, and metacognitive aspects of cognitive therapy. She has a private practice and enjoys teaching and supervising clinical psychology and psychiatry residents.
Janine Robb, University of Toronto | Ontario University & College Health Association
Executive Director, Health & Wellness | President
Janine Robb joined the University of Toronto as the Executive Director of Health and Wellness in 2009. Health & Wellness is a resource for students that includes primary health care, counselling and psychological services, and health education and promotion, serving a population of more than 55,000 students. As Director, Janine actively pursues a broad health and mental health agenda, leading initiatives that have included campus-wide anti-stigma campaigns and health/mental health education programs for student leaders, staff and faculty. Janine also leads work aimed at increasing access to health and mental health services through building strategic partnerships and collaborative programming across the campus and with other stakeholders. Janine oversaw the establishment of a Mental Health Advisory Committee that developed a mental health strategy for the University. Janine is frequently called upon to support efforts to better understand developments in student mental health on university campuses. She was a President of the Canadian Organization of University College Health (COUCH) and the first Co-Chair of the Student Health Community of Practice, Canadian Association College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and currently the President of the Ontario University and College Health Association (OUCHA). Janine has been involved with the National College Health Assessment survey since 2009, was active in the national uptake in 2013 and saw the University of Toronto centralize their institutions participation in 2016.
Prior to joining U of T, Janine held an administrative directorship roles at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) where she initiated the Early Intervention Program in Mood Disorders, a collaborative project with the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Ben Bridgstock, Algonquin College
Manager, Counsellling Services
Ben Bridgstock has a BA in Counselling, and an MSc in Psychology. He has extensive training in counselling and psychotherapy modalities including; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Gestalt, Transactional Analysis, Couples Counselling, Family Therapy and Clinical Supervision.
Ben is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, he is an internationally certified addictions counsellor and clinical supervisor with the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation. In addition, Ben is a certified Community Reinforcement Therapist, a certified SMART facilitator and Mental Health First Aid facilitator. Ben has extensive training in substance abuse, addiction and mental health.
For over 15 years Ben has worked extensively in the substance use and mental health field, both in England and in Canada. He has worked as a counsellor, clinical supervisor, manager and director within several not-for profit agencies. In his working life Ben has instigated and overseen significant system and process changes, expansions and modernization, and clinical and theoretical changes so that treatment reflects established best practices.
Currently, Ben is the Manager of Counselling Services, First Generation & Crown Ward Services and the Spiritual Centre at Algonquin College, where he is also the Co-Chair of the Colleges Mental Health Steering Committee, Chair of the Tragic Events Response Team and manages the Colleges Harm Reduction and Sexual Violence & Harm Reduction Prevention projects.
Ben is the author of three books, and is currently working on his forth, a harm reduction guide for post-secondary institutions. Ben and his wife Lucy have four children and live in Ontario, Canada, having emigrated from England in 2010. When he isn’t busy with his family or working Ben enjoys running, cycling, kayaking, reading and writing.
Lynn Connell, Bow Valley College
Vice-President, Student Success
Lynn Connell (B.Sc., M.A.) is the Director, Learner Success Services at Bow Valley College. Her career in student services has spanned 20 years, and has included domestic/international admissions and recruitment, registrarial services, counselling, health and wellness, accessibility, financial aid, scholarships and awards, career services, student affairs, student conduct, Indigenous student services, academic support and library services.