ROOTS TO THRIVE Logo cropped

A Vancouver Island based outpatient medical collaborative with over 25 integrative health clinicians, researchers, resilience facilitators, medicine-assisted psychotherapists, and policy makers. Our leadership team brings over a century of combined experience that spans from public to private markets and the financial sector to the healthcare sector. Our mission is simple: to work in collaboration with our patients and partners, so they can begin healing from the inside out.

Dr. Shannon Dames

Program Director, RN, Researcher

Dr. Shannon Dames comes to the Roots to Heal team with a focus on research and development, ensuring program methods are evidence-informed. She developed the Roots Theory and works as a nursing professor, and resilience researcher. As a byproduct of her doctoral work that focused on the core factors that promote human flourishing, Dr. Dames led a team of multi-disciplinary professionals to develop the Roots to Thrive program. She also serves as the project lead for a multi-agency effort to make ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (embedded in resilience development) available in the health authority on Vancouver Island.

Dr. Crosbie Watler

Medical Director

Dr. Crosbie Watler completed his MA in Psychology at Lakehead University, before going to Medical School at McMaster in 1988. Following medical school, Dr. Watler completed his residency in psychiatry at Dalhousie University. Upon completion he worked in Kenora, Ontario from 1995-2001, where he was Chief of Psychiatry at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital. In 2001 Dr. Walter relocated to Duncan BC with his wife and their three children, working within Island Health and served as Medical Director and the Deptartment Head for Psychiatry. Dr. Watler has practiced in multiple settings including, tertiary, inpatient, outpatient and ACT.  Dr. Watler’s current interests focus on incorporating the best of modern medicine with holistic/integrative health. Dr. Watler is the lead psychiatrist for the Roots Program, forging new pathways to alleviate suffering related to mental distress.

Marnie Roper

Lead in Cultural and Spiritual Health

Marnie comes to the Roots to Heal team with an extensive history as a change agent in spiritual, cultural, and mental health. She now works as a Spiritual Health Practitioner with the local health authority and serves as a Roots to Thrive and Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) facilitator.

Phil Dames

Sustainability Planning

Phil comes to the Roots to Heal program with a history of working with families and corporations, managing nearly every facet of their financial wellbeing. Phil’s passion surrounds mens health and the cultivation of environments that promote emotional awareness and expression. Phil has developed the Roots to Thrive Virtual Program and is leading the virtual offerings of Roots to Thrive in partnership with the Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF) Resource Program.

Helen Watler

Somatic Energy Modalities

Helen comes to Roots to Heal 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 role on the patient intake team, providing expertise in the area of cognitive somatic energy modalities,

Pam Kryskow, MD

Lead Medicine-Assisted Therapy Clinician and Trainer

Pamela Kryskow MD is a clinical instructor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.  Specializing in alleviating the complex modality of pain, she successfully synthesizes her training in family, rural, emergency, pain, counselling and functional medicine.  Dr. Kryskow’s wealth of experience in conventional medicine augmented by her deep knowledge on the safe use of MDMA, psilocybin and other psychedelics, places her at the forefront of this new, rapidly emerging paradigm. Her specialized interest and research in the applicability of microdosing has proven formulative in this growing practice.

Gail Peekeekoot: BSN, MN, DMin, RN(c)

Lead Registered Nurse

Gail brings nearly 50 years of extensive nursing experience. Much of her career has been with Indigenous people and communities and currently is working with First Nations Health Authority. Gail promotes awareness of the physical, mental and spiritual health issues associated with past traumas that have gone unaddressed and brings a plethora of experience in helping people move beyond the trauma and to develop a new relationship with themselves. Gail is honoured to join the Roots to Thrive team with a special focus on provision of ketamine assisted psychotherapy as an adjunct to the wrap around program addressing PTSD in health care workers.

Wes Taylor

Quality Improvement Lead

Wes partners with others to transform lives, relationships, and organizations. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, he worked as a therapist in addiction and trauma recovery in the US and Australia. The next decade was focused on providing advanced Nonviolent Communication SM (NVC) seminars for consultants, mediators, and trainers in N. America and Europe. Since 2007, Wes has been bringing together best practices from Psychotherapy, Integral Theory, Restorative Justice, Coaching, Change Management, NVC, and more to his work of Organizational Development in healthcare, most recently with Island Health and First Nations Health Authority.

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 programs. I am a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and I am married to Earl Manson. I have worked for my community since 1980 and I must credit my cultural wisdom and education to my Elders, present, and Elders who have passed on. As the Elders’ Coordinator for Snuneymuxw First Nations, I carry many other responsibilities that relate to culture and traditions in the community. I served 12 years as an elected council-member and I continue to be mentored in the traditional cultural practices of the Snuneymuxw people.

I am excited to be part of this journey, working with medicines that can provide healing for those who continue to suffer, despite trying traditional treatment methods.