Family navigation project team
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Our team

Tracey Addison - Parent with Lived Experience (PAL)

Tracey holds a B.A. in Developmental Psychology and a B.Ed. from The University of Western Ontario. Her career includes 25 years in education, working in independent schools in roles ranging from Director of Admissions to Vice-Principal. Through her lived experience, Tracey brings to her position at the Family Navigation Project an understanding of the impact of mental health and addiction on the family, treatment options, advocacy, and the importance of self-care. Her goal is to rely on her lived experience to support other families who are dealing with youth mental health and addiction issues.

The Parent Advocate with Lived experience (PAL) is a parent of a youth with mental health and/or addictions issues who has previously been engaged with the mental health and/or addictions system. The PAL complements the work of the navigators and offers the kind of knowledge and peer support for families that can only be provided by those who have “been there.”

Naomi Algate – Family Navigator

Naomi's focus in both her undergraduate studies at University of Western Ontario and gradate work at McMaster University was with children, youth and families. Her clinical experience has been in the areas of mental health and addiction. Naomi worked for 10 years as a Parent-Child Therapist at Breaking the Cycle/Mothercraft where she provided intervention, assessment, counselling, and case management services to families who were substance involved and/or had parental mental health issues.

Miriam Blond – Family Navigator

Miriam completed a graduate degree in social work at the University of Windsor with a special interest in family-centered care which she reflected in her Graduate thesis. She comes with an extensive background in community mental health and hospital psychiatric interventions. Regarding experience, Miriam has worked with a varied population including those with dual diagnosis, concurrent disorders, homelessness, and trauma and most recently was the liaison between North York General and the community through the Emergency Department Diversion Program. In addition, Miriam has provided therapy to Children and families through the North York General Child and Adolescent Outpatient Mental Health Clinic as well as facilitated Cognitive Behavioral groups for children and parents.

Michael Calis – Family Navigator

Michael completed an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Toronto majoring in psychology, followed by a graduate certificate in Addictions and Mental Health from Durham College. Michael has worked in various clinical settings; such as hospital and residential treatment, and has worked with clients coping with issues related to concurrent disorders, developmental disabilities, and homelessness. Most recently, Michael was employed by St. Michael’s Homes as a Concurrent Disorder Case Coordinator. Working in a residential facility with men suffering from issues stemming from addiction and mental illness, Michael provided one-on-one counselling, facilitated group work, and assisted clients develop their transitional care plan. Michael has become dedicated to advocating and supporting clients to decide what living a balanced life means to them.

Samantha Chan – Research Assistant

Samantha completed an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology at Queen’s University before moving to the United Kingdom to complete her Master of Science degree in Developmental Psychopathology at Durham University. Samantha has several years of research training, and is primary interested in the area of child and youth mental health. Before joining the Family Navigation Team, Samantha worked as a Research Assistant at the University of West London. She has also previously worked as a Mental Health Support Worker at an adolescent psychiatric intensive care unit where she provided support to adolescents with mental health and behavioural needs.

Michelle Di Febo – Family Navigator

Michelle completed her combined Undergraduate Degree in Child Development & Community Health Sciences at Brock University and then went on to receive her Post-Graduate Diploma in Child Life Studies from McMaster University. Developing action plans to support youth and families in meeting challenging healthcare and life goals has been part of her clinical role in a variety of settings including SickKids Hospital, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, The Children’s Aid Society and Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto. Michelle also has experience facilitating grief and bereavement groups for children and youth. She is an advocate for family-focused care and believes each family member has an important role to play in an individual youth’s health care journey.

Thomas Galambos - Informatics Specialist

Thomas joins FNP as an Informatics Specialist with 12+ years of valuable experience in data, analytics, and information programs in both private and nonprofit / healthcare sectors. His most recent engagement was with TD Bank where he advanced its long-term data innovation vision. Connecting across the organization, he developed a multiphase strategy to standardize and enhance the use of data in a responsible manner respective of customer privacy and industry standards.

Previously at Cancer Care Ontario, one of the province's lead healthcare agencies, Thomas spent several years helping the Ontario healthcare system by leading data and analytics strategies. His accomplishments at CCO included establishing data privacy and risk management frameworks, and providing leadership in the implementation of kidney dialysis performance and measurement work across CCO and provincial hospitals.

Thomas returns to healthcare at FNP and is excited about harnessing the power of data and information to drive forward FNP's mission and ultimately improve the lives of youth and their families.

Shira Goldenberg – Family Navigator

Shira completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at McGill University before going on to complete a joint MSW and MA in developmental psychology at NYU and Sarah Lawrence College in New York City. Prior to coming to the Family Navigation Project, Shira worked for 5 years at Griffin Centre, working with adolescents and their families. She also worked for a short period at the TDSB providing school social work services. She has extensive experience in intake and assessment, as well as individual and family counseling and service coordination.

Elyse Grieco – Family Navigator

Elyse studied Pharmacology and Human Biology at the University of Toronto and holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. During her undergraduate studies, Elyse developed a strong passion for mental health and co-founded one of U of T’s first mental health awareness initiatives with the primary objective of chipping away at the stigma surrounding mental illness. This afforded her multiple opportunities to organize awareness-raising events on campus, as well as to participate as a keynote speaker and volunteer in the community with agencies including CAMH and Workman Arts. Elyse then pursued her Master in Social Work with a Mental Health specialization at the University of Toronto. Since graduating, Elyse has assumed a variety of roles in the field before joining FNP, including: working as a support worker in a residential setting for female youth recovering from addictions; working as the Intake Worker for the Family Matters programming at the MDAO; facilitating the development of psycho-educational peer support programming for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); and providing short-term counselling to individuals and family members of loved ones with various mental health challenges.

Kailey Karim – Family Navigator

Kailey has her B.A. (Hons) from the University of Waterloo, and an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Carleton University, with a research focus on bullying and mental health among adolescents. In terms of work experience, she spent over 4 years working as an Addictions Therapist within an inpatient concurrent disorders facility at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre in Ottawa. Kailey also has experience in the school system as a School Counselor with the Thames Valley District School Board, and as a Volunteer with the Metro Addiction Assessment and Referral Service (MAARS) at CAMH.

Sugy Kodeeswaran – Executive Director

Sugy joins FNP with more than 15 years of management experience in the health research and innovation sectors. She completed her BSc in Chemistry at McGill University and her MHSc in Health Administration at the University of Toronto. With training in both scientific and management domains, she brings diverse leadership experience spanning the hospital, not-for-profit and the pharmaceutical industries.

Sugy was a Director at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, where she led the development of the Ontario Tumour Bank, a provincial oncology biobank. From 2003-2013, she advanced the program from idea-phase to multi-site operations at five hospitals​ across Ontario, all the while developing and implementing robust systems for quality management, informatics and privacy.

​From 2013-2018, ​Sugy’s most recent role was in Business Development at Ontario Genomics ​where she was responsible for creating collaborative relationships with industry, government, and academic researchers to support the development and commercialization of genomic solutions ​​to real-world challenges. She worked in a variety of sectors including health and the environment, where she supported a diverse range of projects from novel medical diagnostics and treatments to​better ways to monitor water quality.

Sugy has a strong passion for innovation in healthcare and is committed to helping advance the innovative FNP model.

Anthony J. Levitt, MD, FRCP(C) – Medical Director

Dr Levitt graduated from Medical School in Western Australia and came to Canada to train in Psychiatry in 1985. He completed his research training as a Fellow with Dr Russell Joffe in 1990 and since that time held the positions of Director of Mood Disorders Programs at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and then Director of Mood Disorders at McMaster University, until moving to Sunnybrook and Women’s Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, where he served as Psychiatrist-in-chief at Women’s College Hospital from 2002 – 2011 and Psychiatrist-in-chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre from 2002 to 2012. He is presently the Chief of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre and the Medical Director of the Family Navigation Project.

His area of research and clinical interest is in the area of mood disorders and navigation of the mental health and addiction system. He has published scientific articles in the area of treatment resistant depression and bipolar disorder, the treatment of adolescent depression, the treatment of seasonal depression and in the definition and value of navigation for families with a youth with mental illness and/or addictions More recently he has explored new and novel direct brain treatments for depression. Beyond these academic pursuits he has a firm commitment to public and medical education, to improving recognition of mood disorders by health care professionals and to expanding access to care for people with mental illness in the community.

Roula Markoulakis, PhD – Jeff Capel Research Fellow

Roula completed a BSc and MSc in kinesiology at Wilfrid Laurier University, and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto. Her doctoral dissertation focused on exploring how university students with mental health issues access accommodation and health services at school, and how university practices and policies influence their experiences. During this time, she also completed a collaborative program in health services and policy research. Following her PhD, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in the social aetiology of mental illness program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. As the Jeff Capel Fellow, she will be researching the outcomes of the Family Navigation Project in order to support optimal navigation services for youth and families.

Susana (Suzie) Rivas – Intake Coordinator

Suzie has a background in Psychology and most recently worked as a Client Care Representative for over 5 years at Morneau Shepell Employee and Family Assistance Program. Suzie comes to us with a great number of organizational, administrative and mental health intake skills.

Michelle Sampson (Kwan) – Family Navigator

Michelle has an undergraduate degree in journalism with a double major in human rights at Carleton University. As she heard different people’s experiences, her interest shifted from storytelling to actively supporting people which led to a graduate degree in Social Work at Carleton. Before joining the Family Navigation team she worked as a Youth Outreach and Intake Worker at Hong Fook Mental Health Association conducting assessments, facilitating a youth drop-in, and supporting youth and family members with mental health system navigation. Michelle also has experience volunteering with the Ottawa Rape Crisis Line.

Julia Sivarajah – Family Navigator

Julia completed her B.A. Hons. undergraduate degree in Psychology and holds a M.A. graduate degree in Counseling Psychology. She has several years of clinical experience providing services in various inpatient and outpatient/community treatment settings in the mental health and addictions field. Her previous work consisted of providing counseling/therapy, conducting formal assessments, treatment planning and case-management to a wide range of populations struggling with substance use problems and mental illness.

Jillian Thistel – Family Navigator

Jillian completed an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology through the University of Toronto and continued on to complete the Addictions and Mental Health graduate program through Durham College. Jillian has a wide range of clinical experience in the Addiction and Mental Health field, including work in residential treatment, outpatient, and healthcare settings. Most recently, Jillian worked at the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres providing clinical case management and counseling to clients dealing with Concurrent Disorders, which included work with youth and families.

Melissa Turner – Family Navigator

Melissa completed her undergraduate degree in social work with a minor in psychology at Ryerson University. She then went on to complete her Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto with a specialization in Mental Health. Melissa has a range of experience in the mental health field including working in intensive case management roles and residential settings. In addition to her experience in mental health Melissa has also worked in various roles with families and youth affected by HIV. Social work is a second career for Melissa, who worked previously as a social media analyst, and completed a Bachelor of Managerial Organizational Studies from Western University.

Katie Wicik – Family Navigator

Katie has her B.A. (Hons) from the University of Toronto in Psychoanalytic Thought, and a M.Ed. with distinction in Teaching and Learning, with a specialization in Counselling and Special Education from Brock University. Katie has 15 years of clinical experience in the Mental Health and Addictions field, including a range of case management, counselling, clinical assessment, and navigation. She was also a trainer and coordinator for a community mental health assessment tool, the Ontario Common Assessment of Need (OCAN). In addition, Katie has worked extensively on executive committees and board of directors, for several children’s and women’s organizations, facilitating board training and governance, organizational planning, strategic planning, and fiscal responsibilities.

The Family Advisory Council (FAC)

Every step in the design and implementation of the Family Navigation Project has been guided by parents who have first-hand experience in the challenges of getting their children the help they need in a complicated, confusing, and often overwhelming system.

Throughout the many years it has taken to develop the Family Navigation Project, the parents of the Family Advisory Council (FAC), have been listening, coaching, supporting, guiding and informally navigating for families in need. Through the sharing of lived experiences and resources, they have tried to give hope to others and in many cases, help set them on a path for their journey to wellness.

An Executive Committee of the FAC was established in order to address the numerous tasks necessary to open for business and manage the daily operations of the program. Under the guidance of the Medical Director, Dr. Anthony Levitt, and with the support of an expanded Council, they have been engaged on a full-time volunteer basis in creating governance structures, strategic and budget plans, role and job profiles, interviewing, hiring and onboarding of employees, sourcing software, development of service provider and volunteer databases, mapping the mental health system service providers, touring and evaluating treatment facilities, peer counseling and fundraising. The FAC continues to passionately dedicate our time to ensure that the development of the FNP is consistent with the vision that we are ‘by families, for families.’

Contact us

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area (Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto and York) and are a youth (age 13 to 26) with mental health and/or addictions problems, or if you're a concerned family member, please call:

1-800-380-9FNP
(1-800-380-9367)

or email:

familynavigation@
sunnybrook.ca


You can leave a message and we will be in touch with you within one business day.

The Family Navigation Project is not a crisis response line; people who find themselves or their family member in an emergency situation must call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.