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HPI Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leaders are undergraduate students, graduate students (MA, MSc, PhD, etc.) or post-doctoral fellows in Atlantic Canada with an academic interest and training in issues of population health and health equity.  They are engaged in research or knowledge translation activities relevant to population health and committed to the vision, mission, and values of HPI. Read about our Emerging Leaders below. 


Taylor Hill

Department of Psychology & Neuroscience

Faculty of Science, Dalhousie University

Taylor is a PhD student in Experimental Psychology at Dalhousie University, with methodological interest in quantitative analysis and knowledge synthesis. Her research interests surround measuring and promoting well-being through a social ecological perspective. Her doctoral research is on the psychological factors (e.g., personality, motives, psychological needs, values) that promote positive mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping, baking, and talking to cats

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Bright Huo

Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University

Clinically, Bright’s interests lie in surgical oncology and cardiothoracic surgery. His research interests include the use of low-dose CT (LDCT) screening for early lung cancer detection among light- or never-smokers, the optimal stop interval of anti-platelet agents before cardiac surgery, and various topics related to undergraduate medical education and interdisciplinary care.

Toni Goree

Faculty of Health,

Dalhousie University

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Toni is a proud descendant of Africville and Black Loyalists; sixth generation African Nova Scotian, Mi’kmaq and Maliseet. Toni is a two-spirited, Christian, great grandmother of one, grandmother of nine, and mother of six beautiful souls. Toni holds a B.A. in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University; a B.Ed. in Secondary Education from Mount Saint Vincent University; an M.Ed. in Education from York University. Currently, Toni is in year three of the PhD in Health program at Dalhousie University.Presently, Toni is coordinating a 5-year Canadian Institute Health Research (CIHR) and Research Nova Scotia (RNS) community-based research project “Pathways to Resilience and Health Equity. As the Pathways coordinator Toni is responsible for the ongoing development and facilitation of the project.

Julie is a PhD student in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. Her research interests include children’s play and movement behaviours and supportive environments in schools and communities while employing a social-ecological lens and mixed methods approach. Before starting her PhD at Dalhousie, she completed a BSc (Hons) in Kinesiology at the University of Prince Edward Island and an MSc in Kinesiology (Physical Activity Epidemiology) at Queen’s University. She is looking forward to contributing to meaningful and exciting population health projects within the Healthy Populations Institute.

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Julie Campbell
Faculty of Health,
Dalhousie University

Shirley is a recent graduate of the Master's in Health Administration program within the Faculty of Health, at Dalhousie University. She hails from Gibson Woods, a historically Black Loyalist community in rural Nova Scotia.Shirley has a personal connection to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community as both of her parents are Deaf. Shirley's academic journey has fostered a deep-rooted passion for tackling systemic racism and breaking down barriers faced by marginalized communities, specifically, the African Nova Scotian and Deaf communities. Her ultimate goal is to work within academia, utilizing her skills and knowledge to effect positive change management in public health policy. With a resolute commitment to social justice and equity, Shirley is determined to become a catalyst for transformative change in the healthcare industry, advocating for the needs of the underrepresented and underserved communities.

Shirley Hodder
Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University

Lindsay Van Dam is a PhD in Health student with the Faculty of Health. Her areas of research surround diversity and leadership in oral health, interprofessional health education and socialization and advancing equitable and collaborative health systems to better meet the needs of the population. Passionate about health education and improved population health outcomes, her interests and doctoral research involve the exploration and development of inclusive and interprofessional learning models within pre-licensure training that may better equip the collaborative capacity of our future health care workforce and leadership. A strong advocate for evidence-based research, in addition to her doctoral studies, Lindsay is currently serving as the on-site Clinical Research Coordinator at Dalhousie’s Faculty of Dentistry on a ground-breaking phase 2b clinical drug trial testing metformin, a commonly prescribed drug for Type II diabetes, as a treatment to prevent oral cancer development.

Lindsay Van Dam

Faculty of Health;

Faculty of Dentistry


Steve Machat
Interdisciplinary Studies
Dalhousie University

Steve is a PhD student in interdisciplinary studies, focused on health promotion, political science, and public administration with a research interest in healthy public policy and population-level indices and measures of well-being and quality of life. Steve has experience building public policy solutions within and outside of government on a range of areas of focus in tobacco control, climate change, education, healthy eating, physical activity, and the social determinants of health.  

Hannah Crouse
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Dalhousie University

Hannah (She/They) is a MA student in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University. Her research interests include 2S/LGBTQIA+ health, aging, education, pedagogy, and death, dying and bereavement. Hannah received her B.A. in Sociology from Mount Allison University, where she completed a thesis on the emancipatory power of gay-straight alliances in rural schools. Their master's research is concerned with how long-term care institutions can best support LGBT & Queer older adults. Hannah is passionate about participatory action research as a method for transformative social change.


Jennifer Splane
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Jennifer is a PhD student in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. She is a graduate Nurse Practitioner who works with at-risk populations and her research interests include improving healthcare delivery and health outcomes for Canadians by exploring and evaluating the role of nurse practitioners in this context. Prior to her graduate studies, Jennifer completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology/Psychology and Bachelor of Nursing at the University of New Brunswick. She is looking forward to discovering equitable solutions to healthcare delivery for Canadians and continuing meaningful work at the Healthy Populations Institute.


Julia Kontak
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Julia Kontak is a PhD in Health student at Dalhousie University. Julia’s research interests are broadly focused on how to create supportive environments for health and well-being using a socio-ecological lens to health. Specifically, her doctoral research will focus on the Health Promoting Schools model, youth engagement and knowledge translation.  She also is the Managing Editor of the Healthy Populations Journal – a student-led, peer-reviewed, open-access journal hosted by HPI, as well as a Research Assistant at UpLift, a School-Community-Partnership that aims to catalyze and support HPS efforts across Nova Scotia Canada. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Julia completed her MA in Health Promotion at Dalhousie University and worked at two leading health research organizations in Nova Scotia. Most recently, Julia held the position of the Knowledge Translation Coordinator at the Maritime SPOR Support Unit for four years. In her spare time, Julia enjoys staying active by teaching fitness and yoga classes and running throughout the city. 

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Reba McIver
Faculty of Medicine
Dalhousie University

Reba McIver is a first year medical student at Dalhousie Medical School. Prior to medical school her background was in in ecology and environmental science, with experience in the public sector and NGOs. She is passionate about health equity, and in particular how health professionals can contribute to improvements in planetary health. She is looking forward to engaging in and contributing to the impactful work of the Healthy Populations Institute.

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Brannon Senger
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Brannon is a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at Dalhousie University.  With a master's in public health, and experience working in public mental health, Brannon's research interests lie in the intersection between clinical psychology and public health.  Brannon is most interested in understanding how health systems can be improved so that services are more timely, easier to access, and foster collaboration between levels of care. Currently, Brannon's research focuses on improving early intervention programs for severe mental illnesses like psychosis. Brannon's clinical interests are broad, and he hopes to have his public health training shape his priorities in clinical practice.  He is looking forward to contributing to the impactful work of the Healthy Populations Institute and hopes to advocate for public health initiatives that consider mental health



Carlee MacNeill
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Carlee (she/her) is a M.Sc. student in the Faculty of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. Her research interests relate to health and social equity, measurement in health services, and healthy ageing. The population of interest for her master’s thesis is adults ageing with physical disabilities in long-term care. By joining the HPI, Carlee seeks to contribute to equity or sustainability-driven research projects and connect with other health professionals and advocates for social equity.

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Alexandra Del Favero-Campbell
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Alexandra is a PhD student within the LEAPH lab hoping to focus on physical environmental influences and their impacts on mental health outcomes. Originally from Hawaii, she takes a lot of inspiration from her diverse background and heritage. She hopes to use her academic training in conservation science, bioeconomics, and translational psychiatry to eventually be able to inspire innovative solutions to wicked problems and provide equitable interventions and planning for communities that are most in need.


Temitayo Sadunke
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Temitayo is a driven professional with proven skills in leadership, health advocacy and engagement, a PhD in Health student at the Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University. Her research interests include health promotion, reduced inequalities, mental health, and substance use services particularly with marginalized groups. She is an M.Sc. Public health graduate with over 6 years’ experience of impacting communities through project planning and implementation methods. Her work at the grassroot level is focused in several SDG areas including education, reduced inequalities, and health & wellbeing in Africa and internationally. Prior to her study at Dalhousie, her work experiences include - International Program Manager at Hope and Healing International, at the Canadian Redcross, a Program Coordinator (Health and Wellbeing) at Children's Aid Society of Hamilton Canada, and a Program Director at WeForGood International, Nigeria. Through these works she was recognized as the Sustainable person of the year at the University of East London. Her volunteer work over the years has been extensive and commendable in various organizations such as UNICEF UK, Well Child, Health Watch UK among others. In the area of health research, she has contributed to about five publications to date. Furthermore, she is passionate about photography and uses it to contribute to tackling challenges within health and non-health sectors. She is a recent graduate of the arts in medicine fellowship and continually explores ways to solve public health challenges across the globe.


Timi Idris
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University
Timi Idris is a PhD in Health student whose area of research interests is in social determinants of health, social problems and how it affects health and wellbeing. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Sociology and an MA in Criminology. Her MA thesis was on corruption in the government, and she considers social problems like food insecurity, unemployment, homelessness, etc. as crimes. She is the Manager of PLANS (Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians program) and works to increase the representation of Black people in the health professions.

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Sofia So
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Sofia (she/her) is a MA in Health Promotion student with the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University. Her research areas are mainly in pediatric rehabilitation. As a member of the Wheelchair Research Team at NSHA, she works specifically within wheelchair skills training programs for children with physical disabilities. She is also interested in all things related to improving accessibility in the community. She hopes to contribute to widely growing research about promoting health and accessibility in the community!

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Emilee Fackelmann
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Emilee Fackelmann is a PhD student in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. Her areas of interest surround disability and inclusion studies for children and youth, and collaborative health systems. Her research draws on critical disability theory and critical ethnography to be used to understand how social, cultural, relational, and political conditions shape disabled youth’s experiences of social inclusion and belonging and how these conditions reinforce and maintain social inequities. Emilee is a disability rights advocate living with Epilepsy and hearing impairments leading to double hearing aid use. Her passion for inclusion and disability studies stems from her personal experiences and struggles with disability. Prior to arriving at Dalhousie, Emilee completed her Professional Master’s of Education Degree at Queen’s University (Summa Cum Laude). In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her young son on nature walks.


Sarah Norris
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Sarah E. Norris (she/her) is a PhD in Health student. Sarah has over twenty years of experience working with children, students, and families within community, academic, and hospital settings. She has contributed to research projects related to women’s health, gender-based violence, trauma, disability, and climate justice. Sarah's Master of Social Work thesis explored the consequential impacts of ableism and exclusion in climate change policies and strategies. Her research highlighted the urgent need to reduce disproportionate harms disabled people face in a changing climate, as exacerbated by existing societal inequities. Sarah’s areas of interest include critical disability studies, social determinants of health, climate justice, and trauma-informed practice

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Simran Bhamra
Faculty of Health
Dalhousie University

Simran (she/her) is a MA (health promotion) student in the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University. Her research is focused on the promotion of health for vulnerable populations, such as BIPOC people, immigrants, older adults, and people living with disabilities. She has a BTR (Therapeutic Recreation) from Douglas College, where she completed an independent research study looking at the potential for therapeutic recreation to influence a culture change in long-term care. Her MA research is looking at the barriers and enablers to active transportation access for racialized children across Nova Scotia. Simran is also a co-chair for the Crossroads Interdisciplinary Health Research Conference for 2024 and works as a research assistant on the Communities on the Move project that falls within the HPI flagship of designing supportive environments for chronic disease prevention. 

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