Our Team

Nadine Caron

MD, MPH, FRCSC – Professor, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine (NMP), Co-Director of Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health

Dr Nadine Caron currently resides in Prince George, BC where she provides surgical oncology care for those that call rural and remote Canada home. Nadine is also an associate professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Surgery where she teaches in the Northern Medical Program. During her surgical residency, Nadine completed a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard University and was awarded UBC’s Top Student Award. Nadine is also appointed as an Associate Faculty member of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University where she teaches for the Center for American Indian Health.Nadine is Anishnawbe from Sagamok First Nation. Her work involves a variety of audiences and knowledge users including governments, provincial health authorities, national medical organizations, health research funding bodies, and several universities to achieve identified and overlapping objectives. In 2014, Dr Caron was appointed Co-Director of the UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health located at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health.

Martin Schechter

CM, OBC, MD, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS – Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine; Canada Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Urban Population Health; Co-Director, Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health

Martin T. Schechter is a Professor and Founding Director of the School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at The University of British Columbia. Dr. Schechter was a National Health Research Scholar and Scientist from 1986 to 1999 and then a CIHR Senior Investigator from 2000 to 2001. He received a Tier I Canada Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Urban Population Health from 2001 to 2022. Dr. Schechter combines interests in clinical epidemiology and health services research with HIV/AIDS, urban health and Indigenous health research. He was a founder and National Director of the Canadian HIV Trials Network, a national network launched in 1990 of investigators and research facilities aimed at conducting trials of HIV therapies and vaccines. In 1992, Dr. Schechter helped to found the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and was its founding Director of Epidemiology and Population Health. He also served as Director of the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. Dr. Schechter was founding President of the Canadian Association for HIV Research, and co-chaired the XI International Conference on AIDS in Vancouver in 1996. Dr. Schechter is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He is a member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia. 

Patricia Spittal

Associate Director, Research

Dr. Patricia Spittalis an anthropologist whose work addresses HIV related vulnerabilities of marginalized communities living in both resource rich and poor countries. She is the Principal Investigator of the Cedar Project, a CIHR-funded initiative to better understand the sexual and drug related vulnerabilities of Aboriginal youth who use drugs. She and her research team from Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda and Lacor Hospital, Gulu also received CIHR funding to establish a similar prospective cohort in Northern Uganda called the “Cango Lyec Project” (Healing the Elephant), addressing the HIV vulnerabilities of people affected by conflict in Northern Uganda. Dr. Spittal worked with a multi-disciplinary team leading to the successful development of the new Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. As Head, she is committed to building the Health in Populations Division at the School of Population and Public Health, and furthering Aboriginal health initiatives at UBC. She is also dedicated to her work in Northern Uganda. She was instrumental in the recent signing of a MOU between the Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Uganda and UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, and currently has two PhD students being mentored by faculty at Makerere.

Email: Phone: (604) 806-8779

Drew St. Laurent

BA, B.Ed, M.Ed – Senior Operations Manager

Drew St. Laurent, BA, B.Ed, M.Ed is of Métis (Cree) and German ancestry, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Drew grew up in the community of Powell River, British Columbia on (Tla’amin) Coast Salish territory.

Drew holds a Bachelor of Arts (Human Geography) from Thompson Rivers University, as well as a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) and Master of Education (Higher Education) from the University of British Columbia. During his graduate studies, he focused on Aboriginal access to post-secondary education within Canada. Drew has been a primary leader in the area of Aboriginal post-secondary access to education and presented his work to a variety of audiences including post-secondary institutions, provincial and federal governments and health authorities. He has worked as an administrator within Health Sciences at UBC since 2012.

Drew is an active member of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and sits on both the Aboriginal Recruitment and Retention Committee, and the Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellness Committee at the University of British Columbia. He is passionate about advancing Indigenous people’s access to healthcare through education and promoting Indigenous leadership of all aspects related to healthcare.

Email: Phone: (604) 822-5586 | Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his

Shannon Waters

Associate Faculty

Shannon Waters is Coast Salish and a member of the Stz’uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island. After completing medical school at UBC, Dr. Waters went on to train at the Indigenous site of UBC’s family medicine residency program, followed by an additional residency in public health and preventative medicine.

Today, Dr. Waters is committed to improving First Nations health as a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, as well as the Aboriginal Medical Director for the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the Acting Aboriginal Physician Advisor at the Office of the Provincial Health Officer.

Melanie Rivers

Curriculum Development Manager, Indigenous Health Administration and Leadership Program

Melanie (Tiyaltelwet), is proudly from the Squamish Nation. She has 24 years of experience in designing and delivering culturally appropriate Indigenous health education and policy at the provincial level and holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of British Columbia. Melanie was Program Lead and Educator at the BC Centre for Disease Control’s Chee Mamuk program and worked as a Senior Advisor at the First Nations Health Authority. Her areas of focus have included cultural safety and humility, harm reduction, traditional healing and wellness, strategic policy development, HIV/AIDS and health human resources. When she is not at UBC, Melanie is also a mixed media artist, instructor, and Expressive Arts Therapist facilitating art and creativity sessions that include painting, collage, movement, and poetry for individuals, teams and communities.

Sarain Squakin

Learning Circle Manager

Sarain is a Syilx Okanagan, Jicarilla Apache and Belgian. She grew up in Snpintktn also known as Penticton in the Syilx Okanagan Nation. She currently resides on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, also known as Vancouver. She’s been here since she graduated from UBC Okanagan in 2018. Sarain holds a Bachelors of Business Management from UBC Okanagan. Sarain has worked in Indigenous health for three and a half years. She is passionate in Indigenous health and wellness. Sarain recently took the role as the new Learning Circle manager at UBC Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Health. She looks forward to facilitating conversations on Indigenous health and wellness.

Email: | Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Cynthia Lung

Communications & Marketing; UBCLC Production Coordinator

Cynthia completed her B.Sc. in Combined Major in Science at the University of  British Columbia. Cynthia has worked Digital Emergency medicine in the past and now expanding her field in health communication through her new placement at the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. Cynthia hopes to inform her community and promote a healthy nation through empowering people with her production and social communication skills. Cynthia has recently completed studies in Biomedical Visualization and Communication and has an interest in how arts can help better communicate different health issues to empower community.

Email:| Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Courtney Smith

UBC 23 24 Curriculum Manager

Courtney Smith is a Scottish highlander from the McLeod clan on her paternal side and is of German ancestry on her mother’s. She was raised on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia on shíshálh swiya* and has strong ties to the shíshálh community and lands. Having completed her Bachelor of Arts in First Nations and Indigenous Studies from UBC with a strong focus in Education, she moved on to work for the shíshálh Nation doing rights and title work for a number of years.

Courtney’s most recent focus has been developing Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) curriculum and facilitating trainings for health care providers. As the Curriculum Manager for UBC 23 24 Courtney is responsible for the maintenance, sustainability and growth of the curriculum in the effort to support students and faculty in teaching and learning about Indigenous Cultural Safety in health care. Courtney is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary studies with a focus in reconciliation and allyship education from the University of Calgary. As a second-generation Canadian settler, Courtney is committed to improving relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada that are based on respect, reciprocity and healing.

*swiya: ‘swiya’ is she shashishalhem (shíshálh language) word for ‘world’. The word ‘territory’ does not exist in she shashishalhem, thus elders, knowledge keeps and government request that the word ‘swiya’ is used instead.

Email: | Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Tiffany Moses

UBC 23 24 Curriculum and Facilitation Coordinator

Tiffany Moses is an artist and facilitator from Denendeh (Northwest Territories), and a member of Pehdzeh Ki First Nation. After completing a Contemporary Music and Technology diploma at Selkirk College and an Audio Engineering diploma at Pacific Audio Visual Institute, she has spent the last decade collaborating with numerous organizations and Indigenous communities through music and film production programs. Passionate about initiatives focused on expression and understanding, Tiffany is dedicated to working in ways that explore connection, growth, and healing. She strives to address inequities with respectful engagement and a heart-centered approach. Tiffany currently resides on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. When not working she can be found outside appreciating the natural world, walking, singing and swimming.

Email: | Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Naiying Xue

UBC 23 24 Operations Coordinator

Naiying was an international student from Mainland China. She was born and raised in mainland China and came to Canada for college, she is currently residing on the ancestral and unceded territories of Coast Salish peoples. Naiying holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Education (Adult Learning and Education) from the University of British Columbia. Naiying is passionate about academia, student engagement, and decolonizing and Indigenizing curriculum. She is committed to cultivating mutual understanding between Indigenous peoples and international students in Canada.

Email: Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers


Erika Padley

UBC 23 24 Program Assistant

Erika is of Sioux, Dakota Plain ancestry on her mother’s side and Blackfoot ancestry on her father’s side. She grew up and attended school in the Métis Nation (Region 3) and Treaty 7 territory of Southern Alberta, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a certificate in Sustainability Studies from the University of Calgary. As an adoptee into a Japanese-Irish family, Erika works to connect back to her Indigenous culture. Her previous work with children, families and Indigenous community programs inspires her passion for education, connection, healing and reciprocity. She looks forward to supporting UBC 23 24 in supporting students and faculty in learning about Indigenous Cultural Safety in health care. 

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers

Teah Bryce

Summer Science Program Manager

Teah is of Métis ancestry on her mother’s side and mixed European on her father’s side. She grew up on Tsawwassen First Nation Land in Ladner, BC for most of her life. She is currently studying Genetics and Immunology in the Faculty of Science at UBC, with the hopes to one day pursue a career in human rights law. Teah has been volunteering her time to help work towards indigenizing post secondary curricula, through the Decolonizing Health Systems Program at UBC. As the Program Manager, she is looking forward to helping make the transition from highschool to university a more positive experience for Indigenous students. She believes that the Summer Science Program will allow her to provide a welcoming and culturally safe space for Indigenous highschool students to ask questions, have fun and learn about Indigenous culture, knowledge, and teachings.

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers

Olivia Baptiste

CEIH Staff

Olivia is Tsilqot’in and Secwépemc from Xatśūll First Nation, near Williams Lake, BC. She grew up and Summer Science Program Manager Olivia is Tsilhqot’in and Secwépemc from Xatśūll First Nation, near Williams Lake, BC. She grew up and attended school in Quesnel, BC on the traditional land of the Tsilhqot’in, Dënéndeh, and Dakeł Keyoh First Nations. After high school, she moved to Vancouver to pursue an undergraduate degree at UBC with a major in biology. Olivia is the co-president of the UBC’s chapter of the Canadian Science and Engineering Society (.caISES) and has helped plan STEM outreach and networking events for Indigenous youth and university students and has traveled to Saskatoon for the AISES in Canada National Gathering. She is looking forward to creating a fun and interactive program for Indigenous youth to help grow their passions for STEM. In her spare time, Olivia is usually seen running, playing volleyball, or hiking.

Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

WorkLearn Students

Keira Lumley

Program Assistant, UBC Learning Circle

Keira is of Plains Cree ancestry on her mother’s side from Sucker Creek First Nation on Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. She was born and raised on Treaty 6 territory known as Edmonton, Alberta and now resides on the unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territory in Vancouver, British Columbia while completing her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia. Presently, Keira is a Bachelor of Science student majoring in Integrated Sciences and plans to minor in Health and Society. Within her major, she is integrating Neuroscience and Pharmacology and then bringing forth her interests in Indigenous health and equity in the public healthcare system through her minor. In the future, she hopes to have a potential career in addiction counselling, anesthesiology, pharmacology, sexual health, or midwifery. Keira is very interested in how all these fields intersect within Western Biomedicine and can improve through Indigenous-led initiatives or traditional ways of healing. She is very excited to be a part of the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health team, specifically within the Learning Circle, and she is looking forward to contributing to the efforts and learning more about Indigenous Health.

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers

Nicole North Peigan

Communications Assistant, CEIH

Nicole (Sinopakii), is Blackfoot a member of Piikani Nation located in Treaty 7 Territory and Anishinaabe from Wikwemikong Unceded Territory. She grew up in Calgary, Alberta and now resides on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. Nicole is in their third year as an undergraduate at UBC majoring in Psychology and minoring in First Nations and Endangered Languages. She is passionate about empowering Indigenous people in the understanding that Indigenous languages are integral to a community’s health and that language learning would benefit the mental, physical, and spiritual health of youth, elders, and all community members. Nicole is currently the Communications Work Learn Student for the UBC Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Health. She is excited to make connections, contribute to fostering an inclusive environment and learn more about how to support Indigenous people through health. 

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers

Breeya Matheson

Program Assistant, UBC 23 24

Breeya is Dehcho Dene from Jean Marie River First Nations in the Northwest Territories, but she was born and raised a bit further north in Yellowknife NWT. Breeya is currently an uninvited guest on the unceded land of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples while she attends school at UBC. Breeya is in her third year in the Bachelors of Science program and she is currently majoring in Cell and Developmental Biology. In her future career, Breeya would like to be involved in bringing meaningful and much needed change to the healthcare system so it can be safe and accessible for all Indigenous people regardless of limitations. This overarching career goal led Breeya to join the UBC 23 24 team as a program assistant where she helps refine and facilitate Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) curriculum. Breeya believes that the implementation of ICS training for future health professionals is the first of many steps in the much needed process of indigenizing the healthcare system. She is so grateful to have the opportunity to help the UBC 23 24 team with the program, and she is beyond excited to see where this work takes her in the future.

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers

Josh McKenna

Program Assistant, SPPH 404

Josh is Métis with Cree and Anishinaabe ancestry on his mother’s side and European on his father’s side. He was born on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territory in Vancouver, British Columbia and grew up just outside the city on the ancestral lands of the sc̓əwaθən məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen) people in Ladner. Josh currently attends UBC in the Bachelor of Media Studies program and hopes to have a career in the future producing media with an Indigenous focus. Josh took on a Work Learn position with the CEIH in the summer of 2021 as a Program Assistant helping to develop materials for courses on Indigenous health. As a future First Nations and Indigenous Studies minor, Josh sees health equity for Indigenous Peoples as a crucial part of reconciliation and an important step towards Indigenous liberation.

Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his


Ava Hughes

UBC 23 24 Volunteer

Ava was born and raised in North Vancouver on səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territory. She is currently finishing her undergraduate degree in Integrated Sciences with a specialization in Behavioural Neuroscience and Physiology at UBC, with hopes of pursuing a career in the field of medicine. Ava also has a passion for research and currently works at the UBC Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience lab. Ava is looking forward to helping the UBC 23 24 team with the implementation of the Indigenous Cultural Safety course to support health care professionals in providing culturally safe care.

Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers