I am a third year PhD candidate studying at Western University under the supervision of Dr. Michelle Mottola and Dr. Harry Prapavessis. My research interests include obesity prevention, lifestyle (nutrition and exercise) behaviour change and exercise in special population groups. My current research focuses on adherence to nutrition and exercise recommendations during pregnancy. By supporting women with strategies to lead a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy we can improve the health of two generations (mom and future baby), including preventing obesity. I have been involved with the OC-SNP National Executive and the local Western chapter over the past three years. I am looking forward to my new role as Chair for the 2018/2019 National Executive team, and am excited to work with and learn from peers across the country who are dedicated to the OC mission and values.
Nadia BrowneVice Chair
Nadia Browne is a national of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She received her Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from McGill University as well as completed a Dietetic Internship to become a Registered Dietitian. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from The University of the West Indies at St. Augustine. Currently, she is a doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Geoff Ball in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. Nadia’s research is focused on pediatric obesity and motivation to change health-related behaviours’.
Amanda RaffoulOutgoing Chair
I am a second-year PhD Candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, working under the supervision of Dr. Sharon Kirkpatrick. My research interests include dieting, weight management behaviours, eating disorder and obesity prevention, and weight bias. I have been involved with the Obesity Canada – Students and New Professionals (OC-SNP) chapter at the University of Waterloo since 2015, and for the past two years, have served on the OC-SNP National Executive as a Chapter Representative (2016-2017) and Chair (2017-2018). Outside of my work with OC, I also dedicate time to working with the local YWCA in facilitating girls’ groups and volunteering with body image-related initiatives on campus.
Melissa FernandezOutgoing Vice-chair
RD; PhD candidate, Université Laval.
Katherine FordFinancial Director
Katherine is a Registered Dietitian and a PhD student at the University of Alberta. She obtained both her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition and her Dietetic Internship from the University of Prince Edward Island and a Master of Science degree from the University of Saskatchewan. She has work experience as a RD in clinical and community nutrition and a passion for teaching and mentoring aspiring health professionals. Her research interests include nutritional assessment and body composition in adults with chronic disease. Outside of academia, Katherine is enthralled with flying and holds a pilot licence and seaplane rating.
Joyla FurlanoRecruitment Coordinator
Joyla completed her B.Sc. Honours in Psychology at University of Toronto, and is now a second year Ph.D. student in Neuroscience at Western University. Under the supervision of Dr. Lindsay Nagamatsu, her research focus is on how exercise affects cognition and brain health in sedentary, overweight older adults at-risk for diabetes. More specifically, she is examining the effects of a 6-month resistance training program on memory performance using advanced neuroimaging techniques. Joyla is very excited to be joining the OC-SNP National Executive as the Recruitment Coordinator, and looks forward to working with the OC-SNP team!
Kristen ReillyChapter Representative
I obtained my Master of Public Health from the University of Guelph in 2014, and am currently a PhD Candidate in Health Promotion at Western University. Under the supervision of Dr. Shauna Burke, my doctoral dissertation investigates the development and implementation of a parent-focused, community-based pilot intervention for childhood obesity (“C.H.A.M.P. Families”). After four years on the Western University’s OC-SNP Chapter as Community Outreach Coordinator (2014-2015) and Co-Chair (2016-2018), I am excited to take on my new role as Chapter Representative for the 2018-2019 OC-SNP National Executive Team and look forward to collaborating with and enhancing connections between chapters across the country.
Rebecca ChristensenChapter Representative
Rebecca has been involved with OC since 2016 when she started in MSc at York University. Initially a member at large, Rebecca eventually took on the role of chair for her school’s local SNP chapter. Following completion of her MSc, Rebecca worked as an obesity researcher at the Wharton Medical Clinic. She is now undertaking her PhD at the University of Toronto, and excited to support local OC-SNP chapters in her role as one of Chapter Representation for the 2018 to 2019 year.
Kerri DelaneyResource Coordinator
Kerri completed her BSc (Hons) at the University of Waterloo in Kinesiology with a minor in Human Nutrition. She began her MSc at Concordia University with Dr. Sylvia Santosa in September of 2015, accelerating to her PhD in January 2017. The main objective of Kerri’s research is to provide novel insights into the pathology of type 2 diabetes while additionally examining the effects of weight loss. Her current work examines immune cell presence, markers of inflammation and fat cell characteristics in fat tissue, from different regions of the body, in bariatric surgery patients.
Laura VergeerSpecial Events Coordinator
Laura Vergeer is a graduate student in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, working under the supervision of Dr. Mary L’Abbé. She received her BSc (Hons) in nutritional sciences and environmental science from the University of Toronto. Laura’s thesis project focuses on examining the nutritional quality of food companies’ Canadian product portfolios in relation to their voluntary reformulation commitments and food prices. Outside the lab, Laura is a member of several student associations and committees within the Department of Nutritional Sciences and works as a Child Life Volunteer at The Hospital for Sick Children.
Farah Islam Communications Director
Farah completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at McGill University. Currently, she is pursuing her graduate studies in the field of Public Health at the Université de Montréal. The objective of her Master’s and Doctoral research is to better understand and encourage healthy lifestyle habits in those segments of the population who are at the greatest risks for developing health-related problems due to weight-related factors. Farah is eager to join the OC-SNP National Executive team as the new Bilingual Communications Coordinator! Aside from academia, Farah also has a passion for travelling and has visited over 30 countries to date!
Megan LambSpecial Events Coordinator
Brenndon GoodmanPublic Engagement Committee Representative
Brenndon attends York University and is finishing an honors BA in political science. He is looking forward to a career in politics or law. He has faced the challenges and difficulties of being overweight his entire life. He attended many unsuccessful weight loss programs until he found the Sick Kids Team Obesity Management Program. It was here that he discovered the support and helpful approach to weight loss. In 2012, he underwent bariatric surgery and has lost 120 pounds thus far. Brenndon was featured on a W5 program about his weight loss journey. Brenndon is very committed to helping young people understand and cope with the stigma and difficulties they face being overweight.
Maryam Kebbe Communications Director/Bilingual Communications Coordinator
Maryam completed her BSc in Life Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Currently, she is a PhD Candidate (transfer from MSc) in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. The focus of Maryam’s thesis research is on the lifestyle habits of adolescents with obesity, which she used to develop Conversation Cards for Adolescents (CCAs), a clinical, bilingual tool designed in collaboration with Obesity Canada. Her research has been supported at local, provincial, and national levels, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Most recently, Maryam has established and is co-leading a Patient-Oriented Research collection on CMAJ Open.
Stephanie PaplinskieSocial Media Coordinator
Stephanie is a second year PhD student studying the effects of exercise during and after pregnancy under the supervision of Dr. Michelle Mottola at Western University. She is also works as a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) and specializes in pre natal and post partum fitness and training. Her doctoral research focuses on pairing different resistance training modalities with nutrition guidance to help prevent excessive weight gain in women during pregnancy and in the post partum period.