Core Staff

A core group of staff members comprises the Secretariat who, under the guidance of an Executive Director, provides administrative services to the Board of Directors, association members and workgroup volunteers, and responds to queries from the public.

Pegeen Walsh

Executive Director

Pegeen is the Executive Director for the Ontario Public Health Association. Her role requires supporting and facilitating advocacy efforts in public health and capacity building and knowledge transfer and exchange initiatives within the province and beyond. Prior to OPHA, Pegeen has led the design and delivery of a wide range of programs, policies, partnerships, and research that have supported individual and community health and well-being. As Ontario Regional Director with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Director at the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, she oversaw various health initiatives ranging from early child development, healthy eating, and tobacco control, healthy communities to injury, alcohol abuse and 2008 OPHS Standards. As Director of Public Policy at YMCA Canada, she developed government relations training and strategies. Just prior to joining OPHA, Pegeen was a Research Director at the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships responsible implementing research strategy to advance knowledge and best practices. Pegeen is also a Board member at Family Services Toronto, serving as chair of its Governance Committee. She holds a BA degree from University of Waterloo in Political Science.

Melanie Sanderson

Project Coordinator

Melanie serves as a Project Coordinator, and joined OPHA in Jan 2017 and has worked on several major projects including Keeping Kids Healthy and the Social Messages on Climate projects. She holds a MPH degree specializing in sociobehavioural science and has a background in health promotion and kinesiology. Melanie enjoys working on projects that bring together a range of partners that can through collaboration promote health for all in Ontario and beyond.media and events. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing Science from Queen’s University and is a Registered Nurse.

Casidhe Gardiner

Coordinator, Membership, Subscription, Training and Events

Casidhe Gardiner serves as the Coordinator, Membership, Subscription, Training and Events, and joined the OPHA team in May 2021. In this role, Casidhe supports a range of activities across OPHA and Nutrition Connections relating to engaging with members and subscribers, organizing webinars, forums and workshops, facilitating the work of OPHA’s volunteer workgroups, and supporting OPHA’s Board of Directors’ committees. As a graduate of St Francis Xavier University Casidhe holds a BSc in Human Nutrition with Honours with Integrated Dietetic Internship. Casidhe is a Registered Dietitian and completed the Master of Public Health (MPH), Nutrition and Dietetics program at Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, with a Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy.

Deborah Nurse

Manager, Finance & Administration

Deborah is a Fellow of the Certified General Accountant (FCGA) and a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Association (FCPA) of Ontario and British Columbia. She is also a certified project manager (PMP) and an Associate of the Chartered Governance Institute of Canada (ASIC). She holds a Bachelors degree in Accounting, a MBA and a Masters degree (Project Management and Evaluation for Development Projects) from the University of the West Indies (UWI). Deborah has completed the coursework for her PhD from the Carleton University. Deborah has a wide range of experience in Non-For- Profit organizations both at the governance and operational level. She also has international experience, having worked with Coopers and Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat in the areas of audit and project management. She has helped companies in drafting financial policies, corporate philosophies, internal control systems and project management. Deborah has served on the Boards of Credit Unions, Insurance companies and Not-for-Profit organizations both in Canada and Internationally. She is currently on the Board of Urban Alliance for Race Relations (UARR). Deborah is currently the Manager, Finance and Administration of OPHA overseeing the organization’s corporate and financial services.

Rohan Russell

Financial & Operating Assistant

Rohan is an accountant and has been with OPHA since 2016. He previously was employed to Michael Pinnock CPA auditing practitioners (Canada) and Security Advisory & Management Services Ltd as a senior accountant. He completed his BSc in Business Management and Accounting at the University of the West Indies (Mona), and MBA from Nova South Eastern University in Florida. Rohan responsibilities include month end financial accounting statements and preparation of reports for external auditors.

Sandra Maxwell

Senior Nutrition Policy and Program Analyst (Nutrition Connections)

Sandy started working with OPHA’s Nutrition Connections (NC) centre as a consultant on various projects last year from updating resources such as Healthy Eating for a Healthy Baby, Feeding Your Baby to supporting the transitioning of NC’s Healthy Eating Manual to a Toolkit. Sandy also worked with NC to update the 2020 Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines for the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Sandy officially joined the NC team in December 2020. She is contributing to NC’s next action plan, the content strategy for our new subscription service, developing our channel training service, growing our relationship with the Ellyn Satter Institute and more. Sandy earned her BASc from the University of Guelph and completed an internship at Toronto Western Hospital. She has worked as a registered dietitian in a variety of practice settings over the past 31 years, including as a public health dietitian for over two decades. She has contributed to a variety of initiatives, including: co-creating and managing You’re the Chef (2005 – 2019), representing Ontario Dietitians in Public Health on the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Healthy Schools Working Table (2010 – 2018), leading the development of BrightBites.ca (2014 – 2018), consulting on the nutrition and food literacy aspects of the Niagara Healthy Kids Community Challenge and integrating Ellyn Satter’s Feeding Dynamics into programming at Niagara Region Public Health among others. She has extensive experience developing and delivering nutrition education programs and services, primarily aimed at parents/caregivers and community stakeholders who work with young children and their parents.

Erin Colburn

Program Consultant (Nutrition Connections)

Erin is a Registered Dietitian and reprised her role as Program Consultant with NC in 2016. Previously, she oversaw the provincial Eat Smart!® School and Workplace Programs, developing and dissemination program materials and providing consultative support. Currently, her responsibilities include consultations, knowledge translation, and resource and program development. Previous to NC, Erin worked at the Canadian Sugar Institute as Coordinator of Communications for their Nutrition Information Service. She has also worked for many years as a nutrition consultant, with a focus on childcare menu evaluations. Erin holds a Master of Health Science degree in Community Nutrition from the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. She also has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Food and Nutrition from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Western Ontario.

Marissa Lustri

Program Assistant (Nutrition Connections)

Marissa is a Registered Dietitian and Program Assistant for Nutrition Connections. Her primary responsibilities include developing and implementing NC’s communications, coordinating the annual Forum, and supporting program and project development. She is also the key liaison for NC subscription’s services “Connected Insider” and coordinates fulfillment services for NC resources. Marissa completed a BASc in Nutrition and Food from Ryerson University and then went on to complete her Master of Public Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She came to work at Nutrition Connections as an intern in January 2020 and stayed on as an employee starting in April 2020.

A core group of staff members comprises the Secretariat who, under the guidance of an Executive Director, provides administrative services to the Board of Directors, association members and workgroup volunteers, and responds to queries from the public.

Upcoming Events

Lean Sigma Green Belt Virtual Training
October 13 @ 12:30 pm - November 4 @ 4:00 pm