Researcher biographies

Dr. JoLee Sasakamoose is an Anishinabe (Ojibwe) with membership in M’Chigeeng First Nation in Ontario and is an active citizen of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Dr. Sasakamoose is the Research Director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Community Network and Wellness Wheel Medical Clinic in Saskatchewan. The Indigenous led network engages clinicians and patients as co-researchers in areas of HIV/infectious/chronic disease prevention and treatment, mental health and addictions, and the uses of traditional plant-based medicines and land-based healing for wellness. With funding from multiple agencies, the Network is bringing wellness into First Nations and Metis communities throughout Saskatchewan. Dr. Sasakamoose is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology and Counselling at the University of Regina. In partnership with the First Nations communities of Saskatchewan, she co-authored the Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness Theory (ICRT), a theoretical framework to guide research that improves the health of Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan. She teaches Group Counselling, Counselling Girls and Women, Counselling Children and Youth, Indigenous Family Therapies, and Decolonizing Research Methodologies.

Dr. Mamata Pandey is a research scientist at Saskatchewan Health Authority Regina. She employs innovative research techniques to identify evidence-based strategies that can improve the quality of care delivered to patients in the health region and in rural and remote First Nations communities in Saskatchewan. She started her career as a clinical psychologist in India, and then completed her second Masters and PhD in Experimental and Applied Psychology from University of Regina in 2013. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Indigenous Peoples Health Research Center. Having lived and worked in three different countries (India, Switzerland and Canada), she has knowledge about healthcare services and systems in countries around the world.

Stephanie Konrad is an epidemiologist/researcher with Indigenous Services Canada.  She is pleased to work with the Wellness Wheel and our partner communities to support the delivery of STBBI screening, linkage to care and treatment for HIV and HCV in First Nations communities. She holds a master’s degree in Community Health and Epidemiology and is a graduate of the Canadian Field Epidemiology Program. 

Dr. Carrie LaVallie (new investigator) is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse.  With over 28 years of experience, Carrie has worked in various non-profit organizations, private practice, and with First Nation communities. She was Interim Executive Coordinator for AIDS Saskatoon, owned PMI Psychosocial and Rehabilitation Services, and was Acting Director Health Sciences/Campus Manager with First Nations University.  Carrie is currently with the department of Indigenous Health Studies at First Nations University of Canada.  She has a Master of Health Studies and completed a PhD in Educational Psychology.  Carrie’s area of research explores the role of spirituality in relapse prevention and her areas of interest are mental health, addictions, and spirituality.

Elizabeth Cooper, PhD, is an early career scientist (Assistant Professor) in Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. Cooper has expertise in knowledge translation, mixed-methods research, and community-driven intervention research. With settler (Sámi, Polish and English) ancestry, Cooper is committed to working with communities in a respectful way as they guide sustainable research and intervention work. She has extensive research experience with Indigenous communities globally, as well as populations often perceived as vulnerable. This work includes, but is not limited to the development of a culturally responsive evaluation platform for a Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation funded project exploring the efficacy of peer-to-peer HIV intervention work with young women engaging in transactional sex in India, analyzing data from an evaluation of peer-based research exploring reproductive rights of Indigenous women in New Zealand, developing a peer-led community driven research study to explore safety and risk behaviours with urban Indigenous women and girls in Winnipeg, MB and working with Métis adults to develop a cultural and mental health intervention aimed at reducing risk behaviour among Métis children and youth. The projects were developed in such a way as to ensure capacity building opportunities were in place to continue the interventions in meaningful ways.

Trisha Campbell is a First Nations woman of Cree ancestry. She grew up in Iqaluit, NU, and currently resides in Regina, SK since July 2011. She has obtained two undergraduate degrees from the University of Regina – a BSc in Biology (2017) and a BSc in Psychology (2018). She is a Community Research Assistant with Wellness Wheel, hired on as part of the CIHR “Know Your Status” (KYS) Implementation Grant. She is involved in the commencement of Peer Health Advocacy Wellness Network (PHAWN) as a Peer Network Coordinator. This is an HIV peer navigation project that consists of the partner communities in the KYS Implementation Grant, with the future goal to expand this network to more First Nations communities. She very interested in research with the purpose of giving back to Indigenous peoples and their communities. She acknowledges that relationship building and community engagement is crucial in this process – and it is of value and significance to her.