Health Staff

Vanessa Nevin | APCFNC

Vanessa Nevin

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.

Miranda Pierro | Health | APCFNC

Miranda Pierro

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.

Brenda Christie

Brenda Christie

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.

Jacklynn Pierro is the new Health Partnership Coordinator

Jacklynn Pierro

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.

Elizabeth Camus | Non-Insured Health Benefits Navigator

Elizabeth Camus

Senior Health Policy Analyst

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.
1-877-667-4007 ext. 2003

Connie Francis

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.

Ken Long | APCFNC

Ken Long

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.

Cassey Henry

Cassey Henry

Administrative Assistant

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. Cassey joined APC as a summer student in 2022 and has now transitioned to full time. 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. In her role as administrative assistant, she works closely with members in the Health Department. She will also be assisting with the mental wellness file and the residential/day school health and cultural support workers. 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. In her spare time, Cassey loves to hike various parts of Mi’kma’ki with her golden retriever, Shep.

A photograph of Lindsay Batt.

Lindsay Batt

APCFNC Non-Insured Health Benefits Navigator

Lindsay Batt is excited to be joining the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat as the Non-Insured Health Benefits Navigator.

Lindsay is originally from Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland and Labrador) and is a proud member of Qalipu First Nations. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Social Work from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Lindsay is a community advocate with a social justice focus and has spent the past 8 years working with and for Indigenous peoples in various capacities. During her university career she worked with the Indigenous Student Resource Office and represented Indigenous students on her local, provincial, and national student unions. She was honoured to participate in the Visiting Aboriginal Elders Pilot Project which successfully brought Elders and Knowledge Keepers to campus more regularly. She was fortunate to briefly work in central and coastal Labrador providing science outreach programs. More recently, Lindsay worked as a Case Manager and Housing Navigator with urban Indigenous youth through the Hamilton Friendship Centre. While Ontario provided many new experiences, it didn’t take long before being called back to the east coast where she now resides in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) and is enjoying getting to know the Maritime provinces.

Outside of work, Lindsay can usually be found outdoors hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, or exploring with her partner and dog. She is also a hand drum carrier and enjoys crafting, finding chances to meet people, and trying something new.
1-902-435-8021 ext. 8025

Kayla Nevin

Kayla Nevin

Atlantic Health Support Worker – Enhanced Trauma Informed

Kayla Nevin is the Atlantic Health Support Worker (HSW) – Enhanced Trauma Informed. In her current role, Kayla provides emotional support for individuals affected by Indian Day Schools (IDS), Indian Residential Schools (IRS), and Murdered and Missing Women and Girls (MMIWG). She also works with the health and cultural support team to provide cultural workshops throughout the Atlantic. Knowing her calling in life was to help support her Indigenous people, Kayla is grateful to have this opportunity to give back to First Nation communities.

Kayla has completed the Critical Incident and Stress Management (CISM) and Wampum Belt training. In 2017, she graduated from the Community College New Brunswick (CCNB). Kayla has also worked at the Lone Eagle Treatment Centre and Jordan’s Principle.

Through the love she receives at her home in Elsipogtog, NB, Kayla finds her strength to help others. Kayla is a proud mother to three beautiful children. Kayla aims to bring the same comfort to her clients that she both gives and receives from her family.

Dante Paul

Dante Paul

Summer Student

Dante Paul is a proud member of the Membertou First Nation which resides in Sydney, NS and he is currently in his third year at Dalhousie University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Indigenous Studies. With a strong commitment to his community, Dante aims to become a forensic counselor for Indigenous people, focusing on understanding and addressing mental health struggles within Indigenous communities and the racial discrimination they face in the legal system. In his free time he enjoys going for walks, playing games, and spending time with his 2 cats.