Team

crosbywatler

Crosbie Watler

, 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 diverse clinical roles, and served as Medical Director and Department Head for Psychiatry between 2015 and 2019.

Dr. Crosbie Watler is the lead psychiatrist for the Roots to Thrive ketamine-assisted group psychotherapy programme, also supporting their psilocybin-assisted group therapy programme. He is an instructor with VIU’s newly launched Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Graduate Certificate Programme and provides psychiatry support to Cedars at Cobble Hill residential treatment centre.

Trained in the traditional medical model, Dr. Watler became increasingly frustrated by the rise of “biological” psychiatry, and the limited efficacy of our standard treatments. Dr. Watler’s passion is bringing awareness to the upstream determinants of mental health. Through this lens, most with anxiety/depressive symptoms are not broken or disordered. Rather, they are distressed as a predictable adaptation to the trauma and disconnection of living in the modern world.

Instead of invoking “treatment resistance”, perhaps we are simply using the wrong tools.  People make sense, and they deserve better.

Other 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 ...
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...
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...
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...
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. ...

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...

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.

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...