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Sharon Dore, RN PhD




Sharon is an RN with advanced degrees in Education (M Ed), Nursing and Psychology (PhD). She has practiced Women’s Health nursing in community and hospitals (post partum, L&D and antenatal units) as a staff nurse and educator. Most recently, Sharon has worked at Hamilton Health Sciences as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (Advance Practice Nurse) responsible for L&D, the high-risk clinic, and the ante/post partum and gynecology units. Sharon is an Associate Clinical Professor in graduate and undergraduate programs in the School of Nursing and in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology McMaster University with responsibilities for education for students in graduate and neonatal nurse practitioner programs, medical students and obstetrical residents.


Sharon's research interests as a primary and co-investigator have included clinical (e.g.: newborn cord care, postop CS nutrition, midwifery, staff & family attitudes) education (e.g. approaches to learning, evaluation) and quality assurance (electronic quality reviews). She has served on numerous provincial, national and international committees, has been invited as an educational/clinical consultant within Canada and internationally, and functioned as a medical legal expert. Sharon has been Canadian chair of AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses) and president of the Canadian Association of Advance Practice Nurses. She is a current faculty and committee member for the SOGC ALARM program and the Obstetrical Content Review committee as well as the nursing national member of the SOGC Association of Professionals in Obs/Gyn (APOG). Sharon also chaired the 2013 CAPWHN National Conference.




Fabienne Morton, RN




Fabienne is currently the unit manager of the Obstetrical Suite at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, Alberta. She brings over 25 years’ experience as a high risk obstetrical nurse as well as management experience of over 6 years.


She began her nursing journey in Lethbridge, Alberta, with enthusiasm, in 1990 by pursuing her passion of assisting women and families through the birthing process. She rode the wave of nursing cutbacks by moving to Texas to work in a newly opened facility utilizing the LDRP concept in 1994. This was an interesting transition with many changes in culture and process. She assisted anesthesia in implementing walking epidurals. She also assisted Obstetricians with the practice of intermittent auscultation in early labor.  Because of the great distance from Texas to family, Fabienne moved to Whitefish, Montana to work in a rural hospital Obstetrical Unit. Great respect was learned for the demands placed on medical personnel in a busy rural resort hospital. Fabienne certified in Fetal Heart Monitoring with Michelle Murray in 1996. She then embarked on the adventure of a travel nurse and worked in California at UC Berkley, UC Stanford as well as many other Bay Area hospitals. She also completed several assignments in Arizona and Montana. She became a valued member of a team at all facilities. This experience provided Fabienne with the opportunity to meet wonderful nurses, midwives and physicians. Her appreciation grew for the consideration that multi-cultured patients should expect. The time then came to reclaim roots in Canada; she was met with great fortune when the demand for obstetrical nurses grew in Alberta. The next transition was into management. Fabienne became manager in 2009 of the Obstetrical Unit at Chinook Regional Hospital.


Fabienne has immense regard for Women’s Health. She is steadfast and focused in applying improvements, through evidence based practice. It is her personal standard that high quality care is provided to all families changing their life process through childbirth. Fabienne is tireless in providing leadership to improve obstetrical outcome. She understands the importance of logic when initiating change. She respects the knowledge and expertise of nurses working in obstetrics by utilizing their strengths. Fabienne supports dedication to a strong patient centered care environment. She knows that solutions are possible with consideration and dedication while also realizing time and patience are necessary to diminish resistance.  CAPWHN provides resources and support to nurses to accomplish these standards. Fabienne is excited to join the CAPWHN Board of Directors.



DIRECTOR (Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon)
Pam O'Sullivan, RN BSN MBA




Pam O'Sullivan has over 25 years experience as a health care leader in perinatal health.  Innovation and supporting new practice for health care providers in perinatal care are a particular area of interest.  Baby friendly designation and implementing lean leadership to improve patient care and collaborative communication have been areas of focus in the last five years.

This last year Pam has returned to school to pursue a graduate certificate in professional communication.  The transition to social media in health care is complex and fascinating.  She is excited to be a part of CAPWHN in the regional director role.  CAPWHN is a wonderful organization to network and share knowledge related to perinatal care and women's health.



DIRECTOR (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories)
Jodie Bigalky, RN MN PhD(C)




Jodie Bigalky is a lecturer at the College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan. She has taught in a variety of areas but is most passionate about teaching in maternal newborn nursing. Jodie maintains her clinical practice as a Registered Nurse on the Labour and Birth unit at the Regina General Hospital. She obtained her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Saskatchewan in 2002. In 2012, she completed a Master’s degree in nursing, also from the University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests focus on high-risk pregnancy. Her Master’s research was an exploratory study that looked at the prenatal care experience of Aboriginal women. Jodie is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Regina. Her research will explore the narrative experiences of women with substance use disorders. Jodie holds current certification in perinatal nursing from the Canadian Nurses Association and is an active member of the Canadian Association of Perinatal and Women’s Health Nurses.



DIRECTOR (Ontario)



  DIRECTOR (Quebec)

Jennifer Marandola, RN BSN MN PNC(C) IBCLC



Jennifer is currently working as a staff nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital (McGill University Health Centre) in Montreal, Quebec where she has worked for the last ten years. The unit specializes in postpartum and antepartum care for new mothers and newborns. Her interests in perinatal nursing encouraged her to pass her CNA certification exam and obtain her lactation consultant license in 2014. Jennifer was also fortunate to be part of the programming committee for the 2015 CAPWHN conference in Quebec City.  She is presently in the final year of her Master’s Degree at the University of Victoria with a specialization in perinatal nursing, and a particular interest in late preterm infants admitted to postpartum units and increasing healthcare services available to this population.



DIRECTOR (Atlantic Provinces, Nunavut)
Lisa Bland, RN IBCLC




Lisa Bland, a 2008 graduate of the Dalhousie University School of Nursing has been a Registered Nurse within the Women's and Newborn Health Program at the IWK Health Centre since 2009. Her nursing experience includes postpartum and newborn care, acute inpatient gynecology and breast health, and women's health in the ambulatory setting. Lisa has a passion for all aspects of women's health and became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2016.


Lisa has been a part of provincial initiatives such as the Bed Utilization Management Program, was the Family Newborn and Adult Surgery Unit (FNASU) Clinical Leader Development (educator), and has recently returned to staff nursing in the Women's Ambulatory Clinics at the IWK Health Centre. Lisa is a proud East Coast supporter of CAPWHN, and has presented alongside other key speakers about advancing nursing practice, care of women through early pregnancy loss, and adapting orientation programs. Lisa also presented a province-wide webinar on caring for mothers after Caesarean delivery. 


Lisa and her growing family (with their most recent addition in March 2017) live in rural Nova Scotia. 





 Marilyn Evans, RN PhD





Marilyn Evans completed her BScN at McMaster and her graduate degrees at the University of Alberta.  She is currently Associate Professor with the Department of Nursing, Western University, London Ontario, Adjunct Professor with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Schulich School of Dentistry and Medicine and liaises with Women’s Studies Department.  Marilyn has worked in various NICUs across Canada and was a clinical nurse specialist for women’s health, neonatal and pediatrics in a tertiary care hospital located in Edmonton, Alberta.  She is a long time member of AWHONN, SOGC and Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI).


Her program of research emphasizes women reproductive health promotion.  Acting as principal or co-investigator her research has included perinatal bereavement, ethical decision making, diabetes prevention and management in pregnancy, maternal mental health, midwifery, and trauma.  She was a RNAO task force member for the development of the postpartum depression BPG and co-editor and chapter author for the second edition of the Canadian Maternity Newborn and Women’s Health Nursing textbook. She has reviewed numerous educational resources pertaining to maternal child health for various publishers. Marilyn is currently involved in a federally funded international project with midwifery and nursing faculty at Kigali Health Institute (KHI), Rwanda to help enhance maternal child capacity in Rwanda. She is also a co-principal investigator with nursing/midwifery faculty in KHI on a study exploring the attitudes of faculty of maternal mental health. She is passionate about enhancing the health and wellbeing of women and is looking forward to working as a member of CAPWHN’s Board.




Leeanne Lauzon, RN MSc PNC(C)




Leeanne Lauzon is a proud graduate of the Halifax Infirmary School of Nursing, Dalhousie University and the University of Toronto.


Leeanne has been privileged to work in and with nurses in all areas of perinatal care, research and Women’s Health, and in organizations ranging from tertiary care to those based in small rural communities. In her current role Leeanne collaborates with health professionals and administrators to review and prioritize care and education, in response to the needs and health outcomes experienced by mothers and newborns in Nova Scotia. She coordinates, creates and provides education programs; promotes evidence-informed guidelines that reflect current standards of care and established best practices; and provides support and advice for health care providers on issues related to maternal and infant care. Leeanne is involved in a variety of committees across the province, the Atlantic Region, and nationally that address a broad range of issues affecting women and their newborns. She is very familiar with the changing environment across the spectrum of health care planning and delivery, and frequently connects with nurses to support their work and help them address the challenges they must overcome to optimize care.





Lyndsay Martin-Kowalyk, RN BScN BA MS




Lyndsay Martin-Kowalyk has been a Registered Nurse in Women’s Reproductive Health and Newborn Care since 2007. Her educational background includes a BA in psychology, an MSc in Neuroscience and a BScN in Nursing, all obtained from Western University. Lyndsay currently works for McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. Her nursing experience includes antepartum, labour and delivery, postpartum and well baby care. Most recently, Lyndsay has taken on the role of Education and Development Clinician for Women’s Reproductive Health and is responsible for educating the staff and students in the labour and delivery, postpartum, antepartum, well baby nursery and the gynecology areas. Lyndsay is a Part-time Faculty member through McMaster University where she teaches Level 3 nursing students in clinical practice in Women’s Health and teaches two online courses for the High Risk Perinatal certificate through Mohawk College in Hamilton. Lyndsay was the recipient of the 2016 CAPWHN Rising Star Award.




Catherine Sheffer, RN PhD PNC(C)




A long-time resident of Nova Scotia, Cathy Sheffer lives in Bedford, a small community within Halifax Regional Municipality. Cathy currently teaches in the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University. Her employment history encompasses professional nursing practice in various perinatal settings (birth unit, postpartum care, prenatal care, fetal assessment, nursing education). Cathy made the move to full-time academia in 1999.  As a course professor with clinical responsibilities, she is able to maintain one foot within the practice world.  As a perinatal specialist educating the nurses of tomorrow, Cathy is committed to providing access to cutting edge research and information that can ensure these novices are fully prepared to excel in their practice while caring for women, newborns, and their families.


Cathy has served both locally and nationally on the governing boards of AWHONN Canada and CAPWHN. As the Secretary/Treasurer for AWHONN Canada and Treasurer for CAPWHN, she enjoyed the many challenges encountered in this role – dealing with accounting and budgetary procedures, dealing with GST and the Canadian government, as well as cross-border issues while under the umbrella of AWHONN.  As a member of the governance team, Cathy learned much about working together to maintain an effective organization.  Having completed doctoral studies in 2015, Cathy is once again in a position to provide time and energy to CAPWHN as a member of the Board of Directors. Her expertise as a nurse, educator and past board member will be tremendous assets allowing Cathy to fulfill the responsibilities of this role.




Anne Simmonds, RN PhD





Anne Simmonds is an Assistant professor, teaching stream, at the University of Toronto Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing. She holds a doctorate from the Collaborative program in Nursing and Bioethics from the University of Toronto. Anne has extensive experience as a clinician in maternal-child nursing and as a nurse educator and lecturer. Her scholarly work has focused on the moral dimensions of intrapartum nursing, ethical decision-making, the meaning of compassion in nursing care and examining birthing relationships and rural health practice, particularly for marginalized populations.





Executive Director

Rita Assabgui, BA CAE 





Rita Assabgui is CAPWHN’s first full-time Executive Director and began her role in November 2011. Rita has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from McGill University, a Certificate in Public Administration from the University of Ottawa, and obtained her Certified Association Executive (CAE) professional designation from the Canadian Society of Association Executives in 2005.


Prior to joining CAPWHN, Rita worked for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for 12 years, managing multiple national medical specialist organizations and registered charities. During her tenure, Rita managed the Canadian Association of Medical Geneticists, the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and the Canadian Physiatrists Research and Development Foundation. Rita also worked with the professional associations for Medical Oncology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Pathology. In addition, Rita managed the Federation of National Specialty Societies of Canada, an umbrella organization of medical specialist associations.


Before pursuing a career in non-profit association management, Rita spent many years working for several Ottawa City Councillors, and primarily with Jim Watson both during his first term as Mayor of Ottawa and previous term as Capital Ward Councillor. Mayor Watson is celebrating his 25th anniversary in political offices, and Rita is proud to have worked alongside him early in his political career.


In her spare time Rita is working hard to become a better ball hockey goalie and continue to play soccer during the summer months. She has wonderful physio and massage therapists who are instrumental in this regard.



New job postings available at Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan BC. Click to access all current job postings.


Thank you to our sponsors - we greatly appreciate your support! Thank you to the 2017 Conference exhibitors. We hope you found the conference beneficial. Save the dates for the next conference, October 11-13, 2018 in Ottawa!




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