Team

Management

Shannon Dames

RN, MPH, EdD

Senior Creator, Research and Development

Dr. Shannon Dames spearheaded the development of the theoretical framework for Roots to Thrive and in combination with her role at Vancouver Island University (VIU), she serves as the Director of Research and Development for Roots to Thrive. She also wears the hat of the VIU Chair of the Psychede...
Phil Dames

Director of Operations

Phil comes to the team with a focus on developing the structure to guide and inform the operations of the program. Phil has a long history of working with families and corporations, managing nearly every facet of their financial wellbeing. Phil’s passion surrounds men’s health and the cultivation...
Pam Kryskow

MD

Head of Psychedelic Medicine

Dr. Pamela Kryskow is the medical lead for the Roots To Thrive Program. She comes to the team with a wealth of experience in conventional medicine augmented by her knowledge and research of psychedelic-assisted therapies and microdosing, placing her at the forefront of this new, rapidly emerging ...

MD

Head of Psychedelic Psychiatry

Dr. Watler completed his MA in Psychology at Lakehead University, prior to completing Medical School at McMaster in 1991. Following medical school, Dr. Watler completed his residency in psychiatry at Dalhousie University. Dr. Walter relocated to Duncan BC in 2001, working with Island Health in di...
Geraldine Manson

Lead Elder

In my role as a VIU Elder-in-Residence, I work directly with students and Faculty/Professors in Health and Human Services programs at VIU and the Shq’apthut/Gathering Place. I share my Traditional Knowledge to work with all programs within the Health & Human Services and within the Shq’apthut...

Operations and Participant Navigation

Phil Dames

Director of Operations

Phil comes to the team with a focus on developing the structure to guide and inform the operations of the program. Phil has a long history of working with families and corporations, managing nearly every facet of their financial wellbeing. Phil’s passion surrounds men’s health and the cultivation...
Rebecca Sanders

Participant Navigator

Rebecca was born and raised in Maple Bay on Vancouver Island. She is a student at UVic where she is completing her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology. She works as Participant Navigator coordinating intakes and communications between program participants and the Roots to Thrive Team. She is pass...

Controller

Bio coming soon

Participant Navigator and Intake Coordinator

Claerwen joins the Roots to Thrive team, filling the position of Participant Navigator and Intake Coordinator. Claerwen currently attends Queen’s University, working towards a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with a goal of continued medical education. Her passions for patient advocacy, rural h...

Medical Team

Pam Kryskow

MD

Head of Psychedelic Medicine

Dr. Pamela Kryskow is the medical lead for the Roots To Thrive Program. She comes to the team with a wealth of experience in conventional medicine augmented by her knowledge and research of psychedelic-assisted therapies and microdosing, placing her at the forefront of this new, rapidly emerging ...

MD

Head of Psychedelic Psychiatry

Dr. Watler completed his MA in Psychology at Lakehead University, prior to completing Medical School at McMaster in 1991. Following medical school, Dr. Watler completed his residency in psychiatry at Dalhousie University. Dr. Walter relocated to Duncan BC in 2001, working with Island Health in di...
Zhiish McKenzie

RTT-KAT physician

Dr. Zhiish McKenzie is Family Physician. She is Anishnabai from Northern Ontario and a member of the Temagami First Nation.  She works as a Clinical Instructor & Indigenous Portfolio Co-Director at the Faculty of Medicine at UBC.  Zhiish was introduced to Roots to Thrive as a patient particip...
Gail Peekeekoot

MN, DMin, RN(c)

Lead Medicine-Assisted Therapy RN

Gail brings nearly 50 years of nursing experience to Roots to Thrive. Much of her career has been working with and for Indigenous people and communities. Gail promotes awareness of physical, mental, and spiritual health issues associated with past traumas and walks beside people as they reconnect...

MBA, BSN

Clinical Operations and Intake Lead, Facilitator

Julia comes to Roots to Thrive with over 20 years experience as a community-based crisis response nurse for mental health and substance use.  Originally from Aotearoa (New Zealand) Julia now resides with gratitude as a settler on the traditional lands of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.  With a deepl...
Laura McLean

MD, FRCPC

RTT KAT Medical Doctor

Laura is a settler of European descent who is uncomfortable but grateful to live as an uninvited guest on Vancouver Island on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Cowichan Tribes, to whom she offers respect and honour.  Laura’s medical background is in respirology and critical...

MD, FCFP(EM)(PC) GPO

Lead RTT PAT Physician

I am a palliative care physician and general practitioner in oncology working in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. I am an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of British Columbia and working on a clinical trial demonstrating the feasibility of delivering psilocybin t...

Somatic Practitioners

Somatic Energy Modalities Lead

Helen comes to the team with a background in integrative health delivery. She earned advanced certifications in Eden Energy Medicine and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Her work heightens awareness at the level of body-mind, supporting the innate capacity for healing. Helen is playing a lead ...
Darlus Jonsson

Somatic Energy Modalities

Darlus has always been curious about the mind/body connection.  Working 30 years as a fitness and Stott Pilates instructor, Darlus noticed how emotional energy affected mobility, strength and motivation. This prompted her to start reading Donna Eden’s work on Energy Medicine. When her two year ol...

Facililtators

Andrea Lemp

RN

Head of Clinical Systems and Strategy, Facilitator

Andrea has been leading health and wellness programs, serving British Columbians in Vancouver, and Vancouver Island for over 30 years. A specialist in Community and Hospital Mental Health and Addictions, Andrea has practised and led in diverse Specialty Hospital and Community settings, including ...

MBA, BSN

Clinical Operations and Intake Lead, Facilitator

Julia comes to Roots to Thrive with over 20 years experience as a community-based crisis response nurse for mental health and substance use.  Originally from Aotearoa (New Zealand) Julia now resides with gratitude as a settler on the traditional lands of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.  With a deepl...
Jo Hall

RN, MSN

Facilitator, Program Nurse

Jo comes to the Roots to Thrive team with a nursing background in palliative, psychiatric, medical and minor-surgical patient care. Years of disrupted mental health inspired her to seek healing in a variety of alternative treatments. This lived experience informs her deeply compassionate approach...
Todd Haspect

RCC, M.Ed.

Lead Therapist, Facilitation Lead

Todd is the Lead Counsellor with the RTT-KAT team. He entered the field of mental health and substance use as a peer support worker in 1998. After completing his BA CYC at the University of Victoria in 2006, he began his work as a counsellor with Island Health. At this time, his learning was focu...
Ruth Dantzer

Facilitator

Ruth comes to the Roots to Thrive team with a history as a Spiritual Care Practitioner in healthcare settings including a trauma hospital, an addiction treatment centre, and hospice. Currently, Ruth works at the Multifaith Centre at the University of Victoria as a Spiritual Care Coordinator for S...
Krys Sciberras

RCC

Head of Research and Development, Alumni Facilitator

Krys comes to RTT with 25 years of experience in Mental Health and Substance Use in public health care settings and private practice. She has had the privilege of living on the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations for the past 16 years; and has been working with Island Health ...
Brittany Boyer

M.Ed., C.C.C

Alumni Facilitator

Brittany joins the Roots to Thrive team with a background in counselling, and brings 8+ years of experience working in the field of mental health and addictions. Experiencing the limitations of conventional approaches, she has gradually felt pulled in other directions. This led to a lot of learni...
Kelsey Voysey

BHSc, CCAC

Alumni Facilitator

Kelsey first came to the Roots to Thrive team as a patient-participant and is thrilled to transition into a co-facilitation role. She has experience working as a counsellor with adults, youth, and families; her expertise is in the areas of mental health, substance use, and trauma. Kelsey is passi...
Eric Eligh

RN

Facilitator

Eric came to Roots to Thrive as a Registered Nurse and an individual committed to nurturing his relationship with himself. Eric has participated in Root to Thrive as a patient partner, an alumni, and now a mentee. Eric’s work has primarily been in the field of HIV and substance use. Through his e...
Kerrie Miller

RN BscN

Facilitator

Kerrie is of Russian Mennonite descent and currently lives with her family as an uninvited guest on the traditional and unceded home of the Quw’utsun people. Kerrie has been a Registered Nurse for nearly 20 years, working in inner city public health for nearly a decade, before moving to Vancouver...
Graham Walker

MA, RCC

Alumni Facilitator

Graham comes to the Roots to Thrive team with a passion for supporting people on their journeys of healing and growth. He has worked as a clinical counsellor since 2011 using an integrative therapeutic approach that includes the mind and body while honouring people’s inherent wisdom to heal thems...
Ryan Boyer

M.Ed., B.H.Sc., C.C.C

Facilitator and SFN Liaison

Ryan lives and works on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw people. Ryan grew up in Northern Alberta, moving to Nanaimo, BC in 2018. Ryan has a strong passion for working with diverse and often times marginalized populations and loves being connected to people who are engaged in their own...
Laura Brace

RN, BScN

Co-facilitator

Laura joins the Roots to Thrive team as a co facilitator following patient participation in cohort 3. She is accompanied by her 25 years as an oncology registered nurse specializing in Leukemia\ Bone Marrow transplant as an inpatient RN, outpatient RN and most recently a case manager. Having iden...
Allan Campbell

Facilitator

Hello Fellow Roots to Thrivers, My name is Allan Campbell and I am excited to be a part of the Roots to Thrive team. I come to this work as a curious participant with a desire for other means of supporting those I work with. I have been a counsellor over 20 yrs and have spent the majority of my c...

Research and Development

Shannon Dames

RN, MPH, EdD

Senior Creator, Research and Development

Dr. Shannon Dames spearheaded the development of the theoretical framework for Roots to Thrive and in combination with her role at Vancouver Island University (VIU), she serves as the Director of Research and Development for Roots to Thrive. She also wears the hat of the VIU Chair of the Psychede...
Wes Taylor

Organization and Team Development Lead

Wes’s core practice is recognizing the heart and beauty in everyone.  Joining in the early days of the Roots to Thrive community was therefore a no-brainer.  During the ‘80s and ‘90s, he worked as a therapist in addiction and trauma recovery in the US and Australia. He focused on providing advanc...
Krys Sciberras

RCC

Head of Research and Development, Alumni Facilitator

Krys comes to RTT with 25 years of experience in Mental Health and Substance Use in public health care settings and private practice. She has had the privilege of living on the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations for the past 16 years; and has been working with Island Health ...
Tamara Pearl

MA, RCC

Research and Development

As a Registered Clinical Counsellor, Tamara has worked and taught in the field of trauma healing for over 20 years, using somatic therapies, expressive arts therapy, EMDR, and other modalities, in a wide variety of settings. She is particularly interested in healing personal, intergenerational, c...

Sea-to-Sky Team

Christine Dennstedt

PHD, RCC

Facilitator, Sea to Sky RTT

As a clinical therapist and supervisor, Christine is informed by narrative and collaborative therapy practices. She has over 20 years experience working in the field of substance use, disordered eating and trauma. She has developed curriculum and taught group work, addiction counselling, and indi...
Shelley Genovese

RPN

Nurse/Co-Facilitator

Shelley comes to Roots to Thrive with over 28 years of nursing in mental health including inpatient, emergency and community mental health and for the past 12 years has been passionately exploring other modalities including meditation, energy work, breathwork, sound, movement and plant medicine. ...

RN, BSN, BA

Nurse, Sea to Sky RTT

Heidi comes to Roots to Thrive with over 25 years of emergency pre-hospital care as a professional Ski Patroller in Whistler and over 8 years of nursing with both Oncology and Emergency nursing specialties. She currently lives and works as an RN in Squamish, BC with her amazing family.Heidi joine...

MD, FRCPC

Psychiatrist, Sea to Sky RTT

Birgitta is a psychiatrist in Vancouver, BC with a special interest in psychedelic medicine as a powerful tool for accelerated healing from deeply rooted psychological trauma.  She realized early on that standard psychiatric treatments are inadequate for many individuals and participated in the M...

MD

Lead MD, Sea to Sky RTT

Clark Lewis is a 15-year ER doctor in Whistler.  He is open-minded, and sees alternative treatments like psychedelic therapy playing a role in helping address our modern mental health crisis.

MA, RCC

Facilitator, Sea to Sky RTT

Ryan comes to RTT as a former participant (cohort three) and is excited to be guiding others through the program as a facilitator. He is motivated by the potential that therapeutic psychedelic experiences have to move people through places of long standing "stuckness". When not working with the R...

MD, FRCPC

Psychiatrist, Sea to Sky RTT

Kathryn is a psychiatrist working in the Sea to Sky corridor and took part in cohort three of the Roots to Thrive (RTT) program. Her approach to psychiatric care is person-centered and she has a special interest in the (re-)emerging field of psychedelic medicine. She is grateful to work with an a...