Melinda holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Simon Fraser University where her graduate work focused on the contribution mental health promotion can make to social justice as well as the importance of community inclusion for people experiencing homelessness and mental illness. She has considerable experience working in community-based, participatory and peer-led health research as a Program Evaluator with the Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education at the University of British Columbia, and as a member of the national qualitative research team with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Melinda strongly believes that collaboration, innovation and collective impact can make our communities better places to live – where all people have a chance to thrive.
Janine’s heritage is of Orkney and English descent. She has raised her daughter, worked and played in the unceded and occupied territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) people for the past 29 years.
Janine was with the BCCDC as a street nurse for 16 years throughout BC and in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside during which she worked with street youth, sex workers and people who struggle with addiction. She has been involved in creating and teaching workshops for public health nurses and healthcare professionals and peers regarding sexual health, harm reduction and addiction throughout BC including First Nation communities for over 2 decades. Most recently, Janine was at the First Nations Health Authority in the role of the STBBI and Harm Reduction CDC Nurse Specialist, manager of the Indigenous Wellness Team and Lead for the Compassion, Inclusion and Engagement Team (CIE), a FNHA & BCCDC initiative. The teams were part of the FNHA response to the overdose crisis throughout the province.
These days when not at work, during Covid times she and her partner enjoy biking, gardening and spoiling their cat, Tom.
As the Grants and Community Funding Manager, Mira is responsible for providing analytical data support for CAI’s grant funding, training and capacity building programs to help convey the impact CAI has on a provincial-scale. Mira holds a Bachelor of Science from Simon Fraser University in the public health discipline and is keen on better understanding and reporting on the needs and gaps of individuals and families experiencing mental health and substance use challenges within the community sector.
Andrea Derban is a seasoned Public Health Nurse with over 30 years of experience in 3 of BC’s 5 Regional Health Authorities, BCCDC, FNHA and the Ministry of Health. Driven by a passion for social justice, Andrea is a dedicated team member striving for systemic changes required to better serve people who use substances. Andrea is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a baccalaureate degree in nursing and has been working towards a Masters degree in Theology at Regent College. When not at home in Coal Harbour, Andrea is walking the seawall with her partner or hiking with her puppy in the mountains.
Jennifer is responsible for leading, planning and implementing research and evaluation projects at CAI. Jennifer brings a background rich in in program evaluation and policy research gained from experience with federal and territorial departments, and non-profit organizations. Born and raised in the Lower Mainland and educated in public policy at the Masters level in Ottawa, Jennifer works to generate knowledge and research about the community sector to help inform CAI’s grant funding, training and capacity building programs. Jennifer is grateful to be working closely with communities in developing unique ideas and creative solutions to local concerns.
Prairie is responsible for the management and support of special CAI granting initiatives activating community-based organizations across BC to tackle mental health/substance use issues through collaborative and innovative projects. Prairie earned her Masters of Social Work degree from Smith College in Northampton, MA, and spent 7 plus years providing psychotherapy to diverse clients in community mental health settings. Most recently, Prairie worked in Seattle, WA as Equity and Inclusion Project Manager for a non-profit mental health agency. Prairie is excited to be back in her native Vancouver, and to contribute to local change efforts.
Emily’s current portfolio includes coordination of two mid-sized projects: a province-wide training bursary program and community of practice for the supportive recovery home sector and a harm reduction granting stream for BC municipalities. She holds a Master of Science degree from SFU and has over 15 years experience working in various health research, education, and advocacy roles in the academic and non-profit sectors. She is passionate about information equity as a path to transformative individual, family, and community health and wellness and grateful to be a part of the CAI team.
Noah recently graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Human Geography. He is passionate about community health and has been involved in a number of community-focused research projects and organizations. He is particularly motivated by work in queer health, harm reduction and food sovereignty.
He believes that change is a collective process and that it should be led by communities themselves. Grounded in queer ethics of solidarity, Noah is committed to supporting community-led harm reduction across BC. Outside of work, Noah loves hiking, camping and gardening.
Peter has a Master of Public Health from Simon Fraser University. His background in public health research has given him the opportunity to work with diverse stakeholders living with HIV, mental health issues, and/or substance use issues. He is especially passionate about LGBTQ/2S health and capacity building. Equity is the guiding principle behind his work, and he hopes to aid and facilitate communities in driving change.
Tanis Rose Oldenburger was born, raised and currently residing here in the Fraser Valley, on the unceeded territories of the Stó:lō peoples.
When I am not cooking, doing yoga or taking care of my many plants, you can find me in the forest amongst the firs, fungi and ferns. I identify as a person with lived experience having been navigating Mental Health, Addictions and Criminal Justice for much of my life. In my recovery I am very passionate about giving back to my community of peers by helping to create systems that are easier to navigate. I am dedicated to positive policy and practice change, and willing to do whatever it takes to address and change systemic issues and harsh stigma that face all people with mental illness and those who self-medicate with substances.