NeuroNova Centre Faculty

NEURONOVA CENTRE FACULTY

 

PROFESSIONAL TRAINING FACULTY

Dr. Gardner-Nix was a Chronic Pain Consulting Physician, Department of Anaesthesia, Pain Clinic, St Michael’s Hospital until 2018, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Anaesthesia, University of Toronto.  She is also on courtesy staff at Northumberland Hills Hospital, Cobourg.

She trained in the renowned Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in the USA in 2001.

From 2002, Dr. Gardner-Nix evolved the Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPM™) program from the MBSR program, customizing it to the needs of those suffering from  chronic pain.  She wrote, narrated and produced recorded meditations to accompany the course and authored the book “The Mindfulness Solution to Pain:  A Step by Step Guide for Working With Chronic Pain”, also used in the MBCPM™ courses. 

Thousands of chronic pain sufferers across Ontario have taken the MBCPM™ programs, learning skills for changing their relationship with pain, suffering and stress, and developing new “habits” which involve neuroplastic changes in the brain. She extended MBCPM™ courses to patients attending many health facilities across Ontario using the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), and, since 2012, trained other health care professionals to facilitate the courses.  She also developed and added alumni courses.

She has given many presentations on chronic pain management internationally and has researched outcomes showing effectiveness of the MBCPM™ courses in those suffering chronic pain and stress.  She established NeuroNova Centre for Mindful Solutions Inc (NNC), which creates and publishes materials for the MBCPM™ courses, and, in collaboration with the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (UTSCS), trains, mentors, and accredits new facilitators.  Currently MBCPM™ courses are being delivered by a growing number of other health care professionals (including MDs, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers) across Ontario, and the world.  Her work was reported on CBC News in December 2012 and on CTV news in April 2013.  

She lives with her husband in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada and enjoys their six grandchildren.

Allen is a physician with a focused practice in chronic pain and a particular interest in mindfulness-based approaches to chronic pain management.

He is an attending physician at the Pain clinic of the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal as well as at the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine and emergency medicine at the Université de Montréal, and adjunct professor in the department of family medicine at McGill University. 

He facilitates the MBCPM™ programme both in French and English in Montréal, and instructs the Curriculum Training Intensive (CTI) and the Trauma-Sensitive Trauma-Informed Training for Mindfulness Facilitators at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (UTSCS). 

Allen lives in Montréal, Québec, Canada with his family.

Paul is a physician who has a passionate interest in mindfulness and has been running MBCPM™ courses in North Bay for several years. 

He participates in instructing the Practical Training Immersion (PTI) at University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (UTSCS). 

He served for three years as the NE LHIN Primary Care Lead in North Bay and has been named the NE LHIN’s first full-time Vice-President (VP) of Clinical.  Paul has practiced in Northeastern Ontario for more than 30 years in many roles including Emergency Department, Medical Director and Chief of Primary Care at the NBRHC, family physician, long-term care, and caring for inmates at the North Bay Jail. 

He loves the great outdoors, and lives with his family in North Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Grace has lived experience of chronic disease and pain (colitis, migraines) who benefited enormously from mindfulness practice after taking Dr. Lucinda Sykes training in Toronto in 2009.  She has a degree in anthropology from the University of Toronto. 

She was one of the earliest facilitators trained in delivering the MBCPMTM programme and has gone on to co-facilitate the course with the founder, Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix. 

She is articulate and insightful and manages mindfulness delivery and inquiry with great expertise.  Grace instructs in the Certificate program in Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management Facilitation that NNC offers in collaboration with University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.  She also hosts the NeuroNova Centre (NNC) Masterclass series for Mindfulness facilitators as a part of NNC’s mentoring and development of the facilitator community.

Grace lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two young daughters, and loves working in her garden.

Angie is a Registered Psychotherapist and Occupational Therapist who has two decades of experience in a variety of mental health settings.

She has developed a passion and expertise in mindfulness-based interventions including MBCPM™ and her skills are well respected in the mindfulness community. 

Her priority is therapeutic rapport ensuring compassion, kindness & non-judgment. 

She lives in Milton, Ontario, Canada with her family, runs a private practice, and works in a hospital program part-time.

FACULTY

Carla is a Registered Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working within mental health settings.  She is a lived-experience chronic pain and disease sufferer who discovered the profound benefits of mindfulness practice in 2014.  She trained in the Applied Certificate in Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management Facilitation at University of Toronto School of Continuous Studies (UTSCS) in 2018.

Carla brings a gentle, non-judgemental, and compassionate nature to her work and her life.  She is a life-long learner with strong therapeutic skills and continues to work in a hospital setting as well as private practice. 

Carla loves the water and lives in Oakville, Ontario, Canada with her family.

Margot trained in the Applied Certificate of Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain and Chronic Stress Management (MBCPMTM/MBCSM) facilitation at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies in 2020/21.  She recently co-ran an MBCPMTM course for patients with the self-management programme in the Kingston region of Ontario.

She had a personal meditation practice in her 20s, and has felt a passion for incorporating meditation and mindfulness into health care for many years.  She intends to use this work to support health care workers and volunteers in these extraordinary times of pandemic, but also those working in Palliative Care to assist them in the overall delivery of high quality end of life care while managing their own self care needs.

With 25 years of experience as a Registered Nurse, Margot has worked in palliative care, oncology, community nursing, psychiatric nursing and Long Term Care, providing support to her patients and their families in a mindful, compassionate manner.  She advocates for individuals to assist them in experiencing their health care journey in a way that is meaningful to them.

Margot loves forest walks, and lives in Perth, Ontario, Canada with her husband and dogs.  She is currently working in Long Term Care.

Debbie Joel is on staff with NeuroNova Centre (NNC), currently co-hosting NNC’s weekly Mindfulness Matters Maintenance for MBCPMTM alumni, and Mindful Movements, offered weekly free online to the general public to help with the isolation COVID brought.  She provides instructor and tutorial support for the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies’ (UTSCS) trainings in the Applied certificate in MBCPMTM Facilitation.  She has co-facilitated MBCPMTM patient courses with their founder, Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix, Medical Director of the MBCPMTM Programme.

Debbie has a B.A. (Psychology) from the University of Toronto.  She began her Mindfulness journey in 1974 when she lived on Salt Spring Island, home to many meditators, in British Columbia.  Returning to Ontario in 1991 she worked for Ontario Works until 2016.  These 25 years of experience working with socio-economic minorities in a rapidly changing multi-cultural landscape have proved to be invaluable in her present Mindfulness work.

Debbie has also studied with Dr. Stephen Rinaldi, achieving a Certification with the University of Holistic Theology in Florida. As a chronic pain sufferer with the lived experience of a severely broken leg and two hip replacements, she began training with NNC in 2014.

Debbie lives in Whitby, Ontario, Canada with her dog Luke, and loves working in her garden.

Gord first participated in the MBCPMTM program in 2014 after living for many years with chronic pain and an operational stress injury (OSI) while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces and as a veteran after medical release.  He returned to the MBCPMTM programs for several years to continue to build his resilience and self-care.

He has also attended a number of silent retreats ranging from one day to several days, as well as many veteran programs to improve his mental and physical health.

In 2017 he went through the Applied Certificate in Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPMTM) Facilitation training at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (UTSCS), with the aim of co-facilitating as a lived-experience veteran, focusing on his passion to bring mindfulness to Veterans and First Responders.  He then co-facilitated Mindfulness courses with Dr. Kim McKenzie in Barrie, before joining the NeuroNova team in 2020 and co-facilitating pioneering MBCPMTM programs with both Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix and Dr. Paul Preston for Veterans and First Responders.  He also provides instructor and tutorial support at the NNC/UTSCS professional trainings.

Gord lives with his wife and two teenage children, and his “emotional support” service dog, Fallon, in Whitby, Ontario, Canada.  He volunteers at WindReach Farm, a fully accessible farm providing access to farm life for all abilities, and enjoys being out on his remote wooded property, walking and mindfully living alongside nature.

Ashley’s passion for this work was born out of direct experience of its benefit.  Following an accident and a rare auto-immune diagnosis, she found herself navigating the complex terrain of the healthcare system – filled with traditional treatment options that provided (in some cases) only temporary relief.  During these challenging times, she turned toward the meditation practice she had been cultivating for over a decade and found at long last:  Solace.

Her ongoing journey helps to better inform her understanding of chronic pain/suffering, the pursuit of self-knowledge, compassion, and hope – in both herself and others.

Furthering her training in MBCPMTM facilitation, she is working toward a Master’s Degree in Psychology at Harvard University.  She also dedicates time to working with those facing terminal illness as a certified End-of-Life Doula, inspired by accompanying her father through the last months of his life in palliative care.

Ashley resides primarily in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she cherishes her role as caregiver to her Grandmother.

Lisanne trained in the Applied Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPMTM) Facilitation certificate program at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. 

Her professional background in Acquired Brain Injury rehabilitation, working closely with motor vehicle accident survivors and their families, offered her a profound opportunity to witness time and again the delicate and yet powerful mind/body connection. 

This led her on a long journey to learn more about neuroplasticity, the subconscious, and mindfulness and how mindfulness can be incorporated into a personal practice on a journey to promote quality of life and self-actualization.

Lisanne currently has a private practice teaching and supporting Mindfulness and Meditation, HypnoBirthing® and Sensory Journey.  Lisanne’s office is often referred to by her clients as “The Restoration Room” where she utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach (as a Registered Reflexology Professional (RRP), Consulting Hypnotist (CH), and Certified Coach Practitioner (CCP)) to meet and support her client’s individual needs and goals.

Lisanne lives with her husband in Hastings and Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada where they can be close to family, friends, nature, and extensive bicycle trails.

Michael has lived experience with chronic illness and once recovered from catastrophic injuries that required learning to walk again.  He first studied mindfulness for his own benefit and, soon after, took part in several teacher trainings in mindfulness, including in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Breathworks Mindfulness for Health/Stress, and, recently, the Applied Certificate in Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPMTM) Facilitation at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.  

His passion is to help others experience the same sense of growth, self-discovery, and healing. 

Michael holds degrees in electrical engineering and computer science.  He designed semi-conductors and driverless mass transit systems before his current work in the telecommunications field.

Michael lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada with his wife, a university professor, and their daughter.  He says he built the nicest shed in the Kingston area, out of cedar and recycled materials!

Pawan is a Social Worker and Mental Health Therapist with training in trauma.  She has been working for the past decade with individuals and groups in the mental health field.

She trained in facilitation of the Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPMTM) course in 2015 and, more recently, in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at Brown University, USA.  She is a strong believer in the contribution of Mindfulness practice to health enhancement and healing.

She works at Homewood Health providing online mental health counselling and support and also offers Mindfulness courses and psychotherapy in private practice.  Since COVID restrictions began she is offering Mindfulness courses online.

Like Pawan, both her grown children have chosen careers in the medical field.  Pawan lives with her husband, an obstetrician, in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, and enjoys trying new recipes and making beeswax candles!

Christie Tait is a Nurse Practitioner who specializes in headache disorders and persisting post concussion syndrome.  She is also a chronic migraine sufferer who has integrated mindfulness into her own lived experience with pain.

Christie has a private practice where she offers an integrative approach to managing headache disorders by optimizing both natural and medicinal strategies.  She also works as a director and clinician in two community-based headache specialty centres. 

Outside of clinic, Christie does advocacy work for migraine sufferers and educates fellow healthcare providers on headache management. 

Christie has recently completed the facilitator training for MBCPM™ and is excited to bring this practice to those living with persisting headache and pain disorders. 

Christie lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her partner and four children.

Lisa Uher works in the field of Children’s Mental Health and has a B.A. in Psychology and a Bachelor of Social Work.  She has worked in both Child Protection and Mental Health for the past 29 years.  The practices of Mindfulness/Meditation and Yoga have become an integral part of her life and journey of personal growth.  Lisa has created a strong daily personal practice incorporating mindful movement and meditation.

Lisa’s desire to learn and share what she has embraced in her own life is of great importance to her.  Observing the life-changing benefits and her own personal growth through Mindfulness and meditation, she has shared this in her daily work in Children’s Mental Health, as well as a variety of community programs including Hospice and prenatal with expectant parents. 

She holds certificates from the University of Toronto in Mindfulness Based Chronic Pain/Stress Management Facilitation as well Certificates in Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Meditation and Applied Specialization in Mindfulness Meditation.   She has an advanced certification in Yoga with specializations in Trauma-Informed practices and a Therapeutic Yoga Specialist Certification.   She focuses on providing a safer and nurturing environment to all students whether through Mindfulness or yoga and believes strongly in helping others thrive by nurturing mind and body, and by honouring and meeting people where they are in their personal journey.

Lisa resides in the small rural community of Blenheim, Ontario, Canada.  She has three grown daughters and two grandchildren with whom she loves to spend time.  She enjoys gardening and spending time on the water in her kayak. 

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