Meet our Team

Judith C. Kulig

Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge
Academic Consultant, Chinook Health Region
Adjunct Lecturer, University of Queensland, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Brisbane, Australia

Judith is a nursing professor who teaches undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Her research program focuses on rural health issues specifically addressing unique groups who live in rural areas, nursing practice in rural and remote Canada and community resiliency in rural communities. Her research emphasizes community and decision maker involvement to ensure that the findings are useful at the local level. Judith was one of the founding members of the Canadian Rural Health Research Society and is Past Chair of this organization.

Bill Reimer

Bill Reimer is a Professor of Sociology at Concordia University in Montréal. For 11 years he directed a national research project on the New Rural Economy ( It included 15 researchers and 32 rural communities in a research and education network from all parts of Canada (plus 2 in Japan). His publications deal with the impact of technology on rural communities, the economy and the household, Aboriginal communities, the informal economy, social support networks, social capital, social cohesion, municipal finances, community capacity-building, and rural immigration.

Ivan Townshend

Dr. Ivan Townshend is an urban/social geographer with wide-ranging research interests in the social geography of cities, urban systems, and rural communities. These include the geography of aging; residential segregation, geography of deprivation and disadvantage, Aboriginal communities; voluntary sector housing provision; privatization of space and gated communities, community health; the experiential structure of place-community, and the geography of well-being. He is currently working on a number of rural community studies, including the economic and social impact of BSE throughout the Rural and Small Town (RST) system in Alberta.

Dana S. Edge

Appointed in August 2007 to Queen’s University, School of Nursing, Dana previously taught nursing at the University of Calgary, the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). She practiced nursing in Minnesota, Colorado, Alaska and North Carolina before moving to Newfoundland in 1986. In Canada, she has practiced in nursing stations in Labrador and a rural northern British Columbia hospital. Dana received her BSN from University of Iowa, her MSN from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her doctorate in epidemiology from University of Toronto. Dana grew up on a grain/cattle farm in north central Iowa where her family continues to be involved in agriculture. Her interests include, rural and remote nursing, population health, occupational epidemiology, primary care, and Aboriginal health.

Nancy Lightfoot

Nancy Lightfoot, Ph.D. is currently the Director of the School of Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian University. Dr. Lightfoot has over 20 years of research experience in epidemiology. She holds a Ph.D. in Epidemiology, and an M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Microbiology, from the University of Toronto. She has research experience in questionnaire design, quantitative research methods and analysis, program evaluation, and client satisfaction. Her research interests include: cancer surveillance, aetiology, and survival; evaluation of health services; Aboriginal health; and occupational health. Her current research projects include: mortality and cancer incidence among workers in nickel and copper/zinc mining; risk factors for prostate cancer development, progression, and survival; cancer research priorities for Aboriginal communities; personal and economic impact of long distance travels for cancer care; and predictors of workplace absenteeism and duration of employment among cancer centre workers. On another note, we are also looking for scales to assess mental health for those who have experienced disasters.

Andrew Coghlan

Andrew was appointed National Manager, Emergency Services in February 2006. His pivotal role is to oversee the national Emergency Services function, and developing Australian Red Cross' ability to promote resilience and build community capacity, both in preparation for and response to disasters throughout Australia. Amongst his achievements and contributions to date, Andrew has developed a strategic blueprint for emergency services within ARC, elevated the organization’s profile within the emergency services sector and established relationships with key Australian Government agencies. Prior to joining ARC, Andrew was the National Recovery Consultant with Emergency Management Australia where he coordinated the Australian approach to disaster recovery. Major achievements in this role included a national review of community recovery arrangements, development of the Australian Recovery Manual and representation of the community sector on a range of national and international emergency management forums. Andrew is Vice-President of the International Research Committee on Disasters, a member of the National Emergency Services Advisory Committee and represents ARC at key external forums and consultations including the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Committee.

Blythe Shepard

Blythe Shepard is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education (Counselling Psychology) at the University of Lethbridge.

She is the most recent recipient of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association’s (CCPA) Professional Contribution Award in recognition of outstanding promotion of the counselling profession in Canada. Her research program focuses on rural life-career issues, counsellors practicing in northern Canada, building inclusive communities for youth with FASD, and counsellor training and supervision. Her research approach is participatory and action-oriented drawing on qualitative research methods. For more information on her rural research please see her website: 

Olu Awosoga

Dr. Olu Awosoga is a consulting statistician by profession with interest in the application of statistics in Education, Health and Social Sciences. Olu is currently a faculty member in the Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge at the level of Academic Assistant III. He teaches Applied Statistics courses to students in Nursing, Public Health, and Addictions Counselling program at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He has worked with various faculty members on their projects in health sciences as a statistical consultant with advise on questionnaire design, quantitative research methods and data analysis. His research interest include: Repeated Measures Design, Longitudinal Studies, Categorical Data Analysis, Parametric and Nonparametric methods, Time Series and Survival data analysis.

He is a co-investigator in the following on-going projects: CAETL Project to assess teaching effectiveness in undergraduate applied statistics course; Effects of Hope on Risky Behaviours and Health Status of Adolescents; Relational Factors Predictive of Severity of Problem Gambling and Motivation to Change; Helping couples with gambling addictions – a quantitative approach; Time Series Analysis of regional based nursing practitioners/clients’ rapport during client visit; and a host of other studies still at the planning stage.

Bonita L. McFarlane

Bonita McFarlane, PhD is the Leader of Fire Social Science Research at Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service in Edmonton, Alberta. Dr. McFarlane's research focuses on perceptions of risk associated with forest management, the impact of natural disturbance on forest recreation values, factors influencing wildfire risk mitigation and preparedness at the wildland-urban interface, and public perceptions of wildfire management in Canada’s national parks. She is an adjunct professor in the Dept of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Dept. of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta and is an Honorary Research Associate in the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at the University of New Brunswick.  

Joyce Mellott

Joyce is a native Albertan whose career with the Alberta Government has spanned a total of twenty-five years and four ministries: Health and Wellness, Family and Social Services, Children and Youth Services and most recently the new ministry of Human Services.  During that time, Joyce’s various roles included Supervisor, Registrations, Policy Analysis and Development, Project Consultant, Assistant to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Manager of the Executive Correspondence Unit and Assistant to the Deputy Minister.  Currently, Joyce is serving as the Senior Manager of the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Program within the Community Strategies and Support Division of Human Services.

Randy Ross

Randy Ross has worked for the past 22 years for the Ministry of Child and Youth Services; within this organization he has been Manager, Region 7, CFSA, for the past 5 years. During the Slave Lake Wildfire he was responsible for the for CFSA’s Disaster Social Services Planning. He is now the Director for Social Recovery with Municipal Affairs, Slave Lake Regional Recovery Coordination Group. He has been in Slave Lake for the past 12 years, and he is a University of Lethbridge graduate.

Anna Pujadas Botey

Anna is currently a postdoctoral fellow working on the Slave Lake project. With an educational background in environmental sciences and human geography, Anna has developed a particular interest in understanding interactions between social actors, their collective decisions and actions, and the effects of such decisions and actions on environment and community development. She is interested in contributing to academia while also impacting on 'real-world' situations. Anna has collaborated on a number of projects with rural communities, academics and government. She finds that working in the Slave Lake project and having the chance to interact with this fascinating community is a once in a lifetime experience from both an academic and a personal point of view. (To see her personal website click here)

Stephanie Smolenski

Stephanie is a fourth year nursing student at the University of Lethbridge. She is the recipient of the CIHR Health Professional Student Research Award which allows her to assist in the wildfire research. She is passionate about becoming a nurse and helping others, as well as the endless opportunities nursing offers. One day she hopes to teach or do research of her own.

Wil Porat

Wil is part of the Community Advisory Team.

-Bio coming soon-

Kevin Arnell

Kevin is part of the Community Advisory Team.

-Bio coming soon-

Lucille Cook

Lucille is part of the Community Advisory Team.

-Bio coming soon-

Michelle Morrison

Michelle is part of the Community Advisory Team.

-Bio coming soon-

Sheri Rempel

Sheri is a community research assistant for the research.

-Bio coming soon-

Tina MacQuarrie

Tina is the transcriber for the research.

-Bio coming soon-