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SPECTRUM partners include:

Researchers and students from the following fields at the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, and Athabasca University (alphabetized):

  • Economics

  • Education

  • Environmental Studies

  • Health Sciences

  • Law

  • Political Studies

  • Psychology

  • Social Epidemiology

  • Social Work

  • Urban Studies and Governance


Government Department Partners (alphabetized):

  • Central Services

  • Education

  • Families

  • Finance

  • Health and Seniors Care

  • Indigenous and Northern Relations

  • Justice

  • Status of Women


Community Partners (alphabetized):

  • Abilities Manitoba

  • Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg

  • Canadian Community Economic Development Network

  • First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba

  • Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre

  • Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth

  • Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations

  • Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre

  • Manitoba Metis Federation

  • Neeginan Centre

  • Public Interest Law Centre

  • United Way Winnipeg

  • Winnipeg Boys and Girls Clubs

  • Winnipeg Harvest

  • Winnipeg Police Service

  • Youth Agencies Alliance


The team will continue reaching out to other organisations over the next several months. Please contact us for more information on how your organization can participate in SPECTRUM.

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How does the partnership work?


A group of researchers, government staff and leaders of community organisations came together with an idea to work together, and collaborated on the development of an application for a Partnership Development Grant to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This application was funded for 3 years (to 2021).

The funding supports the development of the partnership, which means the building of working relationships between the partners named in the grant, as well as growth to bring in new partners who can contribute to the goals of SPECTRUM.

Student researchers will work on projects that evaluate programs and policies delivered by government partners and community organisations, and the reasons why some programs and policies are not reaching all the people who need them.


Students and partnership members will work together through workshops, meetings, one-on-one discussions, emails etc., to develop project ideas and to complete the projects.



Anita Durksen (pronouns: she/her)


Hello! My name is Anita Durksen (pronouns: she/her) and I am currently a doctoral candidate in the department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.  I obtained my BSc in Physiology and Physics (2000) and her MSc in Physiology (2003) at McGill University.  I worked for several years as a research assistant in the Biology of Breathing group and later the DREAM (Diabetes Research Envisioned and Accomplished in Manitoba) team of the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM).  At times as a study coordinator, at times as a data manager or analyst, I worked on a variety of projects, including RCTs of school and individual based lifestyle interventions aimed at the prevention of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in children, as well as a prospective cohort study of renal disease in children with T2D.  Through this work, I became

interested in what predicts or promotes resilience in children.  My doctoral research is focused on the use of biostatistical methods to identify individual and social factors in the administrative data housed at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy that promote resilience in children.  Since finishing my coursework, I’ve been the teaching assistant for the Epidemiology course in the department as well as a small group facilitator in the population health unit of the undergraduate medical education curriculum.   

I’ve been involved as a fellow with SPECTRUM (Social Policy Evaluation Collaborative Team Research at Universities in Manitoba) since it began in 2019.  I have always been convinced that numbers and all the information that is routinely collected about people can tell us a lot, and I am super passionate about turning data into information that can create positive change. During my time with SPECTRUM, I’ve had the privilege of attending a few in person meetings as well as some virtual ones where I had the opportunity to meet many of the partners and connect with them about our common vision – to become a fairer and more just society!  I’ve also worked together with other partners to evaluate the workshops we’ve had to date.  The richest experience so far has been working together with a team of SPECTRUM partners on the very first project.  Being part of this from the design phase onwards has been a great opportunity to see the theoretical turn into practical.   

Aside from getting excited about numbers and changing the world, I also enjoy the things that balance me: time spent with my family, time spent outdoors, gardening, food preparation, running after a frisbee, making music, and a few other things. 

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Colette Scatliff (pronouns: she/her)


Hi! My name is Colette Scatliff (she/her). I am a law student at Robson Hall at the University of Manitoba in my final year of JD studies. I am also a former teacher and foster parent. These experiences inspired me to apply to law school to better understand how laws and government programs impact the wellbeing of children and women. I have been incredibly fortunate during my legal studies to learn from some incredible female legal minds in our province – Dr. Lorna Turnbull, Dr. Karen Busby, and Dr. Jennifer Schulz at Robson Hall, as well as Monique St. Germain at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. These women have been instrumental in my learning, helping me to dig deeper into research that betters the lives of Canadian children. 


Dr. Turnbull encouraged me to apply to join Spectrum in Spring 2021, and I am just so happy she did. Being a SPECTRUM Research Fellow has given me the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with so many powerhouse academics, research fellows, members of government, and community leaders who share the same commitment to bettering the lives of Manitoba children. This has been such an incredible chance to be a part of social change in action. In my time here with SPECTRUM, I have been part of several working groups, my favourite being the Demo 1 Project working group which is working on comparing outcomes for children who have been taken into CFS care versus children who have received supportive services through CFS within their own homes but have not been taken into CFS care. Being involved in the Data Analysis Planning for that project has allowed me to see this project move from a skeleton of an idea into something so much bigger – each week I witness this project evolve as we meet and discuss how it will be used to influence policy change in the spheres of academia and government programming and community services. I am so fortunate to learn from this group and I am so excited to see the positive change that will come from this for kids whose lives intersect with Child and Family Services. 


Outside of my work at SPECTRUM, I also work for the legal department at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. I am also a mom to two fabulously hilarious children and one very goofy golden retriever. We love to spend lots of time on the lake and in the forest. My morning coffee sustains me, and I am miserable if I don’t have a good book on the go at all times. I show my love to family and friends through copious amounts of baked goods. 

Emily Brownell (pronouns: she/her)


Hi there! My name is Emily Brownell, and my preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. I graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree in 2017, and I am currently in the Master of Science program in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, working with Dr. Nathan Nickel as my advisor. My thesis work focuses on the perinatal care experiences of First Nations women in Northern Manitoba. Over the past few years, I have worked as a student research assistant at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and the Children’s Health Research Institute of Manitoba, and as a health system development consultant during a summer placement with the Government of Manitoba. 


I have been a SPECTRUM Fellow since fall 2019, and I have loved watching the partnership grow and evolve over this time. As a fellow I have been involved in several working groups and have helped facilitate workshops, write papers, grants, and newsletters, have helped with some behind-the-scenes work, and love connecting with the other Fellows on the team. I feel very fortunate to work with wonderful people on such an exciting project! 


My research interests include parent-child health, Indigenous health and research methodologies, and substance use and addictions services. Outside of work and school, I love to play tennis, go to the cottage with my family, and spend time with my dog Zeppelin and my cat Kramer. I am also excited to be starting a new adventure as my partner and I are expecting a baby boy in spring 2022. 


Hera Casidsid (pronouns: she/her)


Hi! My name is Hera Casidsid (she/her) and I am a second-year M.Sc. student at Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. I have a B.Sc./B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Psychology from both the University of the Philippines and the University of Manitoba, and have various research experience throughout my work and studies. I am currently a part-time Vocational Evaluator (Psychometrist) at Manitoba Possible., conducting vocational assessment and evaluation among people with disabilities. In my spare time, I enjoy travelling and exploring new restaurants.  


My research interest is in social determinants of health as well as program evaluation or health services research, particularly in the area of mental health. I

want to determine how social factors affect mental health and whether the programs in Manitoba are reaching the right individuals, being administered correctly and effectively, and resulting in positive health outcomes. For my Master’s thesis, I will evaluate whether participation in Healthy Baby (HB) program is associated with a reduced risk of developing postpartum depression among mothers. I am working with my advisors, Dr. Marni Brownell and Dr. Nathan Nickel, from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP), and have designed a rigorous study using the linkable routinely collected data housed at MCHP. 


I applied to become a SPECTRUM fellow because this initiative shows great promise in effectively addressing the needs of Manitobans. I have been a SPECTRUM Fellow since the summer of 2021 and have been learning about the process and challenges of building a collaborative partnership between community, government, and academia with the goal of influencing social policy reform. Aside from that, SPECTRUM provides several opportunities for Fellows to get involved in the partnership such as planning and moderating capacity-building workshops, drafting grant proposals, and writing academic manuscripts. These experiences have been helping me enhance my professional skills and core competencies in social policy research and evaluation which are valuable to my career aspiration as a Health Policy Research Analyst.

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Jamie Pfau (pronouns: she/her)


Jamie Pfau and her partner have been treatment foster parents for over ten years to five children (and counting!). Throughout this time, Jamie has been dedicated to promoting positive outcomes for children in care. She went back to school and received her undergraduate honours degree in Psychology (2016), then her master’s degree in Social Work (2022). Jamie is currently a first year PhD student in Community Health Sciences. She has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) throughout her PhD to develop and evaluate a training program for Manitoba’s foster parents.  


In 2020, Jamie and her partner created a non-profit housing initiative called Peace For All of Us. This initiative houses youth aging out of foster care, and survivors of domestic violence and her children.  


Jamie became a Student Fellow in SPECTRUM in September of 2019. She has been involved in coordinating past workshops, paper writing, and is involved in SPECTRUM’s first Demonstration Project. Jamie loves being part of a multidisciplinary team and is grateful to have formed so many impactful relationships with other student fellows, mentors, core team members, and partners.  


In her spare time, Jamie enjoys passionately cheering on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Winnipeg Jets, hand building pottery, and spending time with her favourite humans.  


Mikayla Hunter (pronouns: she/her)


Hello! My name is Mikayla Hunter, my pronouns are she/her and I am queer cisgender woman. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications from the University of Winnipeg in 2011. I worked in marketing and advertising for awhile before I returned to university to finish my double major in Psychology. I am now in the Master of Science program in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba under the supervision of Dr. Javier Mignone and Dr. Aynslie Hinds. My thesis work focuses on the primary healthcare experiences of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.  


I have been a SPECTRUM Fellow since summer 2021 and became the Lead Fellow in the beginning of 2022. The multidisciplinary nature of SPECTRUM has enabled me to use the skills I obtained throughout my undergraduate experience as well as the ones I gained from my previous profession. I’ve been able to participate on many of the working groups, notably the grant writing working group which enable me to contribute to developing a federal funding application and learn about the process.  


My research interests include 2SLGBTQIA+ health and healthcare experiences, primary care and health services, and health system accessibility/equity improvements. When I’m not busy with work and school, I like to use my free time to knit and crochet. Many of these knitted and crocheted projects end up being donated to local community agencies, such as Willow Place. I also enjoy gardening and cuddling with my two cats, Draco and Luna, while I settle in with a good book.  

Nyla Comeau (pronouns: she/her)


Hello, my name is Nyla Comeau, my pronouns are she/her and I am a cisgender woman. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Social Work from the William Norrie Centre through the University of Manitoba in 2012. I am currently a part of the Indigenous Knowledge Master’s of Social Work where I am centring my focus around the benefits of cultural arts as a part of holistic healing and mental wellness.


I have been a SPECTRUM Fellow since summer 2021. I will be working alongside the Communications Team to participate in engaging, networking and informing partners on who SPECTRUM is and what SPECTRUM would like to accomplish.


Outside of SPECTRUM, I am an active student, I adult foster, and I am a housecleaner. I enjoy learning about various artforms: such as, face painting, makeup, and music. I own a little hamster named Maryum Tyler, and a house cat named Licorice.

Sana Amjad (pronouns: she/her)


Hello! My name is Sana Amjad, my pronouns are she/her. I graduated with B.Sc. (Hons) in Economics and Mathematics in 2010 and worked with World Vision in Pakistan managing development aid/ relief programs for disaster affected communities. 


I moved to Winnipeg in 2013 for my M.A in Economics from the University of Winnipeg. Soon after graduating I started working with the Provincial Government of Manitoba as a Policy Analyst. During my seven years with government, I worked across different departments. My work contributed towards doing economic evidence-based research and developing sustainable policies and procedures related to employment, education and training of low-income

individuals/families, by interpreting legislation, regulation and existing policies. I have led, planned and developed complex policies and programs including a new income support program for persons with disabilities.  

As of 2021 I work as a Senior Advisor for the Government Relations team at the Canadian Real Estate Association. With my new job I am excited to learn more about the impact of housing policy on the social determinants of health and the methods of advocacy.  


I am passionate about researching and developing social policies that can help low-income communities get the services they need to help them get off the generational poverty cycle. To pursue this, I started my PhD at the Community Health Science Department of the University of Manitoba in Fall 2020. My supervisor is Dr. Evelyn Forget. 


I have been a SPECTRUM Fellow since summer 2021. SPECTRUM has given me the opportunity to be able to polish my research skills and network with other academic and non-academic stakeholders.  


When I’m not busy with work and school, I like to use my free time to read, go on long urban hikes and travel (when possible). 


Stephaney Patrick (pronouns: she/her)


Stephaney Patrick is a doctoral candidate and a University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF) recipient at the University of Manitoba, where she is pursuing her studies in the Peace and Conflict Studies Program under the supervision of Dr. Sean Byrne. Before coming to Manitoba, she completed two postgraduate programs: MA in Coexistence and Conflict and MA in International Sustainable Development in the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Boston. Both degrees were funded by the Joint Japan World Bank Scholarship Program. Prior to that, she received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of the West Indies in Political Science. Stephaney’s career has spanned over ten years as a civil servant working with the Government of Jamaica as a Development Specialist and Policy Analyst.  Her work involved approaching

violence as a public health issue and using a cross-sectoral collaboration approach to strengthen volatile communities’ governance framework to prevent crime and violence. She is passionate about creating spaces for the inclusion of young peoples’ voices in political decision-making. The topic of her PhD research is Envisioning Pathways to Post-War Peace: The Views of Young Sri Lankan Tamils Living in Canada and the UK.  


Stephaney has worked on summary content and review for Spectrum's newsletter and website since becoming a Spectrum Fellow in 2021. Spectrum’s application of the decolonization approach to research provides opportunities to hone skills that seek to modify policies, procedures, and programs that will be better suited to address health system systemic issues. 


Her research interests include violence as a public health issue, young people engagement in political decision-making and peacebuilding, social justice, ethnic conflicts, culture of violence, peace education, peacebuilding practices and leadership. She’s also interested in ways the trauma-informed and decolonization approaches can be applied to redress systems of structural violence that discriminate, marginalize and exclude vulnerable groups politically, economically and socially. In her spare time, she likes to counsel young people, teach Bible study sessions, sing, and dance. 

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