Director of Health
Vanessa Nevin is the Director of Health at the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Secretariat and comes from Sipekne’katik First Nation within Mi’kmaki. Vanessa leads a dynamic health department that works to improve the health and wellbeing of First Nations through participation of First Nations in the planning, management and delivery of health programs and services.
Vanessa has worked for APC for over 10 years on Health, Indian Residential School, Elections, and Social. Furthermore, she has extensive experience working with First Nations communities and organizations including Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centre, North American Indigenous Games, and Victoria Native Friendship Centre. Vanessa also completed contracts with the Aboriginal Healing Foundation to review/arbitrate proposals and University of Victoria Law School to research on First Nations’ alternative justice programs throughout the province of British Columbia.
Vanessa obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in History and minor in Greek and Roman Studies from the University of Victoria, and completed graduate courses for Royal Roads University’s Master’s of Art program for Conflict Analysis and management. She also had a Royal Roads University certificate in Negotiations, and, an Aboriginal Trauma Certificate from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
Vanessa loves nature, hiking, beaches, and her beautiful family.
Mental Wellness Project Manager
Miranda Pierro is the Mental Wellness Project Manager with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat. Her responsibilities include coordinating mental wellness training sessions and providing policy support. Miranda coordinates the annual mental wellness training conference and a variety of other mental wellness trainings based on regional need. She is also the policy support person for the Atlantic First Nations Health Partnership’s Mental Wellness Committee and its working groups. In this capacity, Miranda is the dedicated policy support person, on the development and implementation of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategic Action Plan, for First Nations in the Atlantic Region.
Miranda is from Wagmatcook First Nation, she is a proud mother of one son and has resided on and off reserve. Miranda has 18 years of experience working with First Nations communities and organizations and has worked in the urban indigenous community for many years in different advocacy roles.
Resolution Health Support Worker (Atlantic)
Brenda Christie is a Resolution Health Support Worker (RHSW) for the Atlantic region, where she offers emotional support to Indian Residential Schools Survivors, Indian Day School applicants, and the families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Through individual and group sessions which incorporate healing through cultural workshops such moccasin and mitten creation, drum making and healing circles, she offers support to various communities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.
As a certified Social Service Worker currently finishing her Bachelor of Indigenous Studies with Laurentian University, she has 14 years of experience which allow her to emotionally support Survivors in a respectful and culturally informed manner. She is formerly from Ontario, where she most recently worked as a Family Violence Counsellor with Habitat Interlude.
A mother of two, with two grandchildren, she is happy to be back with her family in Nova Scotia. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, meditation, and yoga and actively participates in cultural activities including a Women’s Hand Drum group in Kingston.
Cultural Support Provider (CSP)
Maikayla MacPhail is a member of the Abegweit First Nation on Prince Edward Island. It was in PEI where she discovered her passion for working with the Indigenous community at an early age. Through her professional experience she has worked with Indigenous youth and elders in various programs across Atlantic Canada. In PEI she has worked for several organizations such as AWA, as the coordinator for MMIWG-Honoring our Sisters program, NCPEI as a membership coordinator, and MCPEI in Events. In Nova Scotia Maikayla had also serviced the province as a Jordan’s Principal Case Coordinator for The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq. Additionally, she represented PEI as the coordinator for the province for Digital Mi’kmaq, a STEAM geared organization based in Nova Scotia that was funded through Ulnooweg. Furthermore, Maikayla has sat on various boards such as the Premiere’s Youth Council of PEI and the youth board of NCPEI. She takes the most pride in helping others wherever she can, thus leading her to her position now.
It is through APC that she will be providing services to clients as a Cultural Support Provider. Maikayla will be available to offer support at various cultural workshops throughout the Atlantic region as well as on an individual basis to those affected by Indian Day School (IDS), Indian Residential School (IRS), and Murdered and Missing Women and Girls (MMIWG).
Health Partnership Coordinator
Jacklynn Pierro is the new Health Partnership Coordinator with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat. Specifically, in her role, Jacklynn’s responsibilities include scheduling and coordinating all logistics of Health Partnership meetings. She is involved with distributing meeting notices, secure meeting locations, arranging catering, assist in drafting agendas, liaise with communities and partner organizations to ensure and track stakeholder participation.
Jacklynn was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia and is a proud member of Wagmatcook First Nation. Although she grew up the majority of her life in Ontario, she is glad to be back home and is looking forward to engaging and re-connecting with communities throughout the Atlantic in this new role. While in Toronto, Ontario, Jacklynn obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Sociology from Ryerson University.
She is passionate about living a well-balanced healthy lifestyle whether that be mind, body or soul. She enjoys the beach, hikes during the fall, practicing yoga, attending fitness classes and trying out new recipes. If she is not at home with her partner and cat, you can find her catching up with friends and spending quality time with family.
If you would additional information about Jacklynn’s new role, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Camus is the new Senior Policy Analyst for the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs. Though she lives in Halifax, NS her heart belongs to the ‘sunset-side’ of Cape Breton where she grew up. Living in rural Cape Breton Elizabeth was one of five daughters and quickly learned the value of collaboration and teamwork.
Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion from Dalhousie University. The core theme of her degree was to collaborate with communities to develop solutions and empower healthy change. She is passionate about helping others and has a strong skillset for advocacy.
She previously worked for the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs as the Non-Insured Health Benefits Navigator and has volunteered as audio-visual support at several committee meetings.
You can contact Elizabeth by calling 1-877-667-4007 extension 2003 or emailing her at email@example.com.
Resolution Health Support Workers (New Brunswick)
Connie Francis is the New Brunswick Resolution Health Support Worker (RHSW) and is based out of Elsipogtog First Nation, where she was born and raised. Connie’s passion is helping people as they continue with their healing journey, and, for the last ten years that is exactly what Connie has been doing at the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat.
Specifically, in her role, Connie provides emotional and cultural support to Indian Residential School (IRS) survivors and their family members, those affected by National Inquiry of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and Indian Day School (IDS) claimants. Connie also provides mental health referrals and arranges cultural workshops throughout the Atlantic provinces. Please note that Connie is a fluent Mi’kmaq speaker and offers all services in English and Mi’kmaq.
After completing an associate degree in Social Work at St. Thomas University, Connie continues to keep her skills up to date by participating in mental health training. She has numerous training certificates including: Suicide Prevention/Intervention and Crisis Intervention and the Justice Institute of British Columbia Aboriginal Trauma. Connie also attended the Memramcook Institute for Life Skills Coach training.
In 1986, Connie started working in the mental health field as a Child and Family Services counselor and childcare worker. Also, Connie has worked as a probation officer, an Elsipogtog Alcohol and Drug Prevention Supervisor and as the female counselor at Lone Eagle Treatment Centre.
Connie has been happily married to William Nevin for 27 years and has a wonderful family that she adores.
Health Policy Analyst
Ken is honored to be a new member of the APC team in the position of Health Policy Analyst. A member of the Miawpukek First Nation, Ken wishes to help with improving the health and wellbeing of First Nations peoples with health programs and services.
Ken completed his Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy and Master of Arts in Health Promotion from Dalhousie University. Ken has over 25 years of experience in health care from hospital settings to private care. Ken has done research in First Nations Health issues during his time at Dalhousie as a student and research assistant. Ken’s research was in assessing the relationship between cultural involvement amongst other lifestyle choices and its impact on health outcomes. Ken has also worked on projects that assessed the relationship between First Nations communities and local health authorities.
Ken continues to lead an active lifestyle, enjoying sports, hiking and running. Ken enjoys spending time with family and friends.
APCFNC Summer Student
Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat (APC) is pleased to welcome Cassey Henry as a summer student in the Health Department. Cassey is a proud member of Sipekne’katik First Nation and is currently in her 3rd year at Mount Saint Vincent University studying Sociology and Political Science. She is passionate about working with First Nations communities and hopes to use her education to contribute to help solving issues that affect First Nations public policy. Cassey will be working closely with members in the Health Department. She is looking forward to expanding her knowledge on First Nations Health issues. Cassey will be learning about evaluation and the importance of Indigenous led evaluation. She will also be assisting with the mental wellness file and the residential/day school health and cultural support workers. In her spare time, Cassey loves to hike various parts of Mi’kma’ki with her golden retriever, Shep.
APCFNC Non-Insured Health Benefits Navigator