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 focuses 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


Knowledge Broker

Carlina Marchese completed a Specialized Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Health Sciences at Lakehead University. Carlina is currently a Knowledge Broker for the Dementia and Seniors’ Mental Health division, working closely with the North West Dementia Working Group. Previously she was a Research Coordinator and Research Manager with Dr. Elaine Wiersma, and Dr. Nisha Sutherland, respectively. Both projects involved 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. 7298


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

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


Curriculum Developer

At CERAH, Kassandra works under the supervision of Holly Prince to design, develop, and evaluate palliative care education that promotes the wholistic wellbeing of Indigenous individuals. Kassandra has a Master of Public Health degree from Lakehead University and is also a PhD candidate in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Western University specializing in aging and occupational science. Kassandra has represented CERAH in her work with community partners on several local projects including Age Friendly GIANTS, AgeBIG and the Thunder Bay Museum’s Places & Faces Digital Storytelling, and the Oasis Senior Supportive Living expansion. Experienced in community-based research, program evaluation, and knowledge translation, her work tends to focus on working with individuals and communities to promote quality of life through to the end of life. Ela também fala Português.
(807) 343-8010 Ext. 7259


Communications Coordinator

Shauna Fossum completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Gerontology) and a Master of Health Sciences (specializing in Gerontology) at Lakehead University. She currently works as the Communications Coordinator with CERAH and also as a research assistant with EPID@Work Research Institute. She has previously worked with Dr. Elaine Wiersma on various projects/programs, and has worked with the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay and the North West Regional Palliative Care Program. Shauna grew up in Thunder Bay and when not working loves painting and spending time with her husband and two golden doodles.

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.

  • Kristen Jones-Bonofiglio, PhD, School of Nursing
  • 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 
  • Ian Newhouse, PhD, Department of Kinesiology