Staff & Researchers



Kathy Kortes-Miller, MSW, PhD has a passion for palliative care and improving the end of life care for all.  She is an associate professor in the School of Social Work and is committed to improving the care provided at the bedside and in the community. Her research is interdisciplinary and collaborative contributing to a broad range of fields of study including: social work, palliative care, end-of-life, interprofessional education, LGBTQ+, caregiving and gerontology. She was a long-standing member of the board of directors for Hospice Northwest and in 2020 joined the board for Roots to Harvest. In March 2018 Kathy published the book “Talking About Death Won’t Kill You” with ECW Press. When not working she can be found nagging her lovely teenagers, winning at a board game against her husband or walking her four-legged bestie, Lucy Maude.

(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7204


Associate Director

Elaine Wiersma is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences, completing an MA and PhD from the University of Waterloo. Having spent many years working with older adults in practice and research, particularly individuals with dementia, Elaine’s research aims to tell people’s stories in ways that challenge stereotypes and misconceptions of older people, particularly persons with dementia. Advocacy, inclusion, and rights form the fundamental values underlying her work with people with dementia. Using critical qualitative methodologies, her research spans community and long-term care, exploring aging and dementia care, contexts of rural and northern communities, and quality of life issues. Originally from southern Ontario, she has been living in Thunder Bay since 2004. When Elaine is not working, she can be found in her garden or hiking with camera in hand, and spending time with her family.
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7294


Project Manager

Holly Prince is an Anishinaabekwe from the Red Rock Indian Band, Lake Helen reserve in Northwestern Ontario. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is currently enrolled in the Joint PhD of Education program at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay. Holly works as a Project Manager where she designs, implements and evaluates research projects. Her research expertise is in Indigenous health and community-based research using Indigenous and participatory methods. Holly’s work focusing on improving the end-of-life care in Indigenous communities by developing community based education and palliative care programs. Holly is married and is the mother to three beautiful children.
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7274


Project Manager

Emily Shandruk is a Project Manager with CERAH on several different projects. She is also a Sessional Instructor in the Faculty of Business Administration at Lakehead University, focusing on Conflict Management and Negotiation. Emily was raised in Thunder Bay and has an Undergraduate Degree from the University of Manitoba in Criminology and a Masters of Arts Degree in Conflict Management with a specialization in Organizational Development. Her career has taken her across Canada, working in Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Toronto, and spanned several different types of organizations, the nonprofit and for-profit, where philanthropy, conflict management, and employee relations were the main focus for her work.
(807) 633-0568


Research Coordinator, Research Manager

Carlina Marchese completed a Specialized Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Health Sciences at Lakehead University. She is a Research Coordinator and Research Manager with Dr. Elaine Wiersma, and Dr. Nisha Sutherland, respectively. Both projects will be involving people living with dementia. Carlina has a passion for gerontology and working with the elderly. She has experience working in research, as well as front-line work with seniors. When not at work, Carlina enjoys going to yoga, trying new recipes, and attending the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7259


Knowledge Broker

Stephanie Hendrickson completed her master’s in Social Work practicum at CERAH on the Quality Palliative Care in Long-Term Care research project in 2011. Her master’s project was based on an adult learning experience entitled “Improving Communication around Death and Dying for Personal Support Workers in Long-Term Care Using High-Fidelity Simulation.” Stephanie has also worked as a research assistant on the Improving End-of-Life Care in First Nations Communities project. Stephanie is currently a Knowledge Broker who oversees a Ministry of Health funded program that coordinates palliative care education for physicians and interprofessional health care providers.
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7182


Knowledge Broker

Ruth Wilford is a Knowledge Broker with the Centre. She manages a North West LHINS funded program that involves the planning and facilitating of research and educational programs for formal and informal care providers for people living with dementia and geriatric mental health needs in northwestern ON.  This work is done in collaboration with many local, regional and provincial partners of CERAH.  She is also the lead for the North West LHIN Behavioural Support ON Program education and building capacity initiative which supports staff funded by the BSO in northwestern ON. Ruth enjoys taking advantage of the many outdoor opportunities living in northwestern ON brings- hiking, biking, canoeing, x-country skiing to name a few.
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7298


Knowledge Broker

Jessica is an experienced Knowledge Broker who began her career at CERAH in 2008. Skilled in curriculum development, evaluation and project management, Jessica has a keen interest in working with marginalized populations. She holds a Bachelor of Education, a Master of Arts degree in English with a specialization in Women’s Studies, and is a certified Project Management Professional. In her current role at CERAH, she supports the development and delivery of culturally appropriate palliative care education for Indigenous communities across Canada. When not at work Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, hiking with her golden retriever, and documenting her experiences with her Canon DSLR.
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7263


Knowledge Broker Assistant

Carol is a Knowledge Broker Assistant at CERAH, helping in the development and coordination of palliative care educational events, and working closely with community partners on special initiatives. Carol is also a part-time instructor at Confederation College. Her work experience includes positions in management, planning, communications and marketing. She is an alumna of Lakehead University with degrees in English, psychology and education, and has a graduate diploma in journalism from Concordia University (Montreal).
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7268


Education Initiatives Assistant

Deb is the Education Initiatives Assistant and she has been working at the Centre since 2001. She is responsible for all office administration and provides assistance to all full and part-time staff. Deb is an integral part of the daily activities at the Centre and a key contributor to all educational events.
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7271

Research Affiliates

CERAH’s research affiliates participate in research discussions, develop interdisciplinary team research grants, write articles based on collaborative research and engage in knowledge transfer activities.

  • Ide Costa, PhD, School of Nursing
  • Katherine Kortes-Miller, PhD, School of Social Work  
  • Anna Koné Péfoyo, PhD, Department of Health Sciences
  • Lynn Martin, PhD, Department of Health Sciences
  • Nisha Sutherland, PhD, School of Nursing
  • Elaine Wiersma, PhD, Department of Health Sciences