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Mother with her Baby

Our Team

Parents of premature babies, together with neonatal health care professionals from across Canada, make up our dynamic CPBF Team!


Fabiana Bacchini

Executive Director

Fabiana is the Executive Director of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation. She is a journalist and the published author of From Surviving to Thriving, a Mother’s Journey Through Infertility, Loss and Miracles.


While in the NICU with her surviving twin, born extremely preterm, she participated in the study of Family Integrated Care (FiCare). This led her to extensive volunteering in the NICU at Mount Sinai Hospital and to become an ambassador for FiCare, travelling across Canada and internationally to share her experience with this model of care. Her son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which continued to empower her to be a strong voice and advocate for premature babies and their families.


She is dedicated to form connections with researchers to ensure that the viewpoints of parents are integrated into their studies. To this end, she has engaged in collaborations with numerous researchers, both in Canada and around the world, in various capacities.


Currently, Fabiana serves as an advisor on the National Steering Committee for FiCare, the Critical Care Services Ontario (Ontario Neonatal Intensive Care group), the Child-Bright Network, the European Foundation for the Care of the Newborn Infant (EFCNI), and the Canadian Preterm Birth Network (CPTBN). She is a member of the founding committee of Global Alliance for Newborn Care (GLANCE).

Past committees: Cultivating Change Committee at Sinai Health System, The Change Foundation Caregiver Project, Life With a Preterm Baby.

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Doris Sawatzky-Dickson

Board Chair

Doris worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg for 34 years. She was a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the NICU for 20 years. She holds an appointment as a lecturer in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences University of Manitoba. She has been a Certified Lactation Consultant, International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners since 1999. Doris was on the board of directors of the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses from 2010-2019. She as also on the exam development committee for the Canadian Nurses Association Neonatal Nursing Certification Exam, and obtained her certification in 2018. In 2018 Doris joined the Board of Directors of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation.

Doris has a passion for parents of sick and vulnerable infants. Doris led key initiatives to change how the healthcare team involved parents in decision-making and in the team. She chaired the regional Family Integrated Care initiative and conducted parent groups weekly for more than 10 years.

Robin Hunter
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Robin Hunter


Robin Hunter has close to 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry and is currently the General Manager of Tolmar pharmaceuticals Canada.  In this role, he established the company in Canada and built all major functions of the business including; supply chain, financial infrastructure, market access, sales and marketing departments. Prior to assuming the leadership role at Tolmar, Robin was GM of Ikaria Canada where he partnered with Children’s hospitals, Neonatologist’s, Respiratory Therapists and the CPBF to advance care for newborns with life threatening respiratory disease in level 3 NICU’s.  He is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and the Queen’s School of Business, executive development program.

Robin is an inductee into the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame, has served as a board member on several not for profit organizations and as an advisor to multiple start up Life Science firms and individuals.


Jan Marin is a lawyer specializing in Health Law and Medical Malpractice Litigation. She is a Senior Associate at Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers.  Jan has a passion for serving individuals and families affected by disability, including families of injured pre-term and term infants.  She has been inspired by these experiences and is a passionate advocate.


Currently, Jan serves on the Ontario Trial Lawyers Board of Directors.  She is also a regular volunteer with Pro-Bono Ontario.


Jan lives in Toronto with husband and two children.

Jan Marin



Karen Netzel


Karen’s relationship with CPBF began in 2012 when she participated in the first two parent consultative meetings our organization hosted.


Karen spent 10 years working at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg as a Family Support Coordinator where she worked hard to develop a sustainable Family Support Program for Manitoba families. She developed a volunteer recruiting and training program, she participated in research, and was a member of various hospital committees including FICare and Patient Care.  She also developed a FICare training program and delivered training to new NICU nurses.


Karen’s son Matthew was born at 25 weeks and spent 7 months in NICU at a time when there was no family support.  Since then, Karen has been passionate about family support programs in NICU. She retired from the hospital at the end of 2023 and is very excited to take on her next role as Chair of the Family Support Committee.  She is most excited to work with families and hospitals across Canada to provide the best possible support to NICU families and to ensure every NICU has the support program families deserve.

Karen Beatie
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In 2013, Karen’s son was born at McMaster Children’s Hospital at 29 weeks weighing 830 grams.  Three years later, she joined the McMaster NICU’s Quality Improvement steering committee as the Parent Advisor.  She has been an active parent volunteer in the NICU ever since, providing peer support in the unit, helping with special projects, developing and improving educational materials for parents and families and serving as co-chair of the Family Integrated Care Working Group.  In addition, Karen is the Chair of the McMaster Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council and is working to improve and expand the engagement of patients and families in education, research and clinical care at the hospital.  Karen is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Neonatal Network.

Professionally, Karen is a researcher in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University in the areas of pediatric rheumatology and pediatric gastroenterology.  She is also the department lead for patient and family engagement in research. She is passionate about her research, the trainees who she mentors and supervises and partnering with youth and parents in research.

Karen Beattie


Dr. Yenge

Dr. Yenge Diambomba completed her medical school at Laval University in Quebec, where she continued with a Paediatrics residency.   She then moved to Toronto in 1999 for a neonatology fellowship at the University of Toronto. She started as a staff neonatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in 2002 and became Clinical Director of Nurseries in 2009. She is passionate about improving the quality of care for babies and their families and maximizing the clinical team’s operational efficiency with patient care through quality improvement initiatives.  

Dr. Yenge Diambomba



Scientific Advisory Committee

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Marsha Campbell-Yeo


Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo, a neonatal nurse practitioner and clinician scientist, is a Full Professor at the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University and holds cross appointments in the Department of Pediatrics, and Psychology and Neuroscience. Her Canada Foundation of Innovation funded research lab, MOM-LINC (Mechanisms, Outcome and Mobilization of Maternally-Led Interventions to Improve Newborn Care) is located at the IWK Health Centre. She primarily holds grants examining maternally-led interventions to improve outcomes of medically at-risk newborns specifically related to pain, stress and neurodevelopment as well as novel knowledge synthesis and dissemination methods, and digital e-heath interventions aimed at enhancing parental engagement. 


She has been recognized for her contributions to the field via numerous training, leadership, and research awards. Most notably, she was invited as a member of the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, the recipient of the Inaugural Dalhousie University President’s Award for research excellence,  was named one of 150 Nurses championing innovation in health for Canada by the Canadian Nurses Association to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, a Canadian Institute of Health Research New Investigator Awardee, the Canadian Pain Society 2015 Early Career Awardee, and a Career Development Awardee of the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program. She is the current Treasurer and a Council Member of the Pain in Childhood Special Interest Group of the International Society for the Study of Pain, the past Secretary of the Canadian Pain Society Board of Directors and is an Executive member of the Council of International Neonatal Nurses. 

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Nancy Feeley RN PhD FCAN is a Professor at the Ingram School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. She also holds appointments as a Senior Researcher at the Lady Davis Institute and the Centre for Nursing Research of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal Quebec. For the last twenty years her program of research has focused on the psychological adjustment and parenting of mothers and fathers of newborns requiring neonatal intensive care. This work is relevant to the current preoccupations of neonatology: the central role of parents in their infant’s care during hospitalization and promoting parental mental health to optimize the development of children requiring neonatal intensive care.

Dr. Nancy Feeley

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Dr. Thierry Lacaze-Masmonteil assumed leadership of the Maternal Infant Child Youth Research Network (MICYRN) in May 2018. He received his medical degree from the University Paris 5 - René Descartes in 1993 and a PhD in biological sciences at the University Paris 7 - Pierre et Marie Curie in 1995. He completed a fellowship in Neonatology in 1997 and a Master in Epidemiology in 2000. He was appointed professor of Pediatrics at the University Paris 11 in 1997. Thierry moved to Edmonton, Alberta, in 2003 to become the inaugural director of the Women and Children Health Research Institute (WCHRI) in 2006. In 2010, He was recruited as a senior scientist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and was the scientific director of the Clinical Research Unit at CHEO from 2011 to 2015. Since 2016, Thierry has been the section head of Neonatology at the Cumming School of Medicine, and the regional program director of Neonatology at Alberta Health Services. His areas of study include clinical trials with an emphasis on medications.

Dr. Thierry Lacaze

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Dr. Michael Narvey

Michael Narvey, MD, FRCPC, FAAP

Section Head, Neonatology; Medical Director of the Child Health Transport Team; Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba


Dr. Narvey began his training in Pediatrics at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg where he completed a year of further training in Neonatology.  This was followed by two years of Neonatal fellowship at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Afterwards he began his career as a Neonatologist in the same city and over the 6 years he spent there, his career included both clinical and administrative duties including 4 years as the Fellowship Program Director and two years as the Medical Director for a level II unit.  In late 2010 he accepted a position in Winnipeg to become the Section Head of Neonatology and continues to hold this post.  In 2016 he took on the additional role of Medical Director of the Child Health Transport Team.  In 2015 he became a member of the Canadian Pediatric Society’s Fetus and Newborn Committee and in 2019 took over as Chair of the same.

His interests predominantly lie in the use of non-invasive technology to minimize painful procedures during an infants stay in the NICU. He is active on social media and has a passion for fundraising and is an active board member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.

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Dr. Steven Miller is Head of the Division of Neurology and the Centre for Brain & Mental Health at the Hospital for Sick Children, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto, and Senior Scientist in the Neuroscience & Mental Health Program at the Research Institute of SickKids. He holds the Bloorview Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Pediatric Neuroscience.


Dr. Miller and his team focus on improving the clinical care of newborns requiring intensive care such as those born preterm or with congenital heart disease or born preterm. Findings from his research program inform new strategies to promote optimal brain development and neurodevelopmental outcome. Most recently, he co-directs Child-Bright (, an innovative pan-Canadian network that aims to improve outcomes for children with brain-based developmental disabilities and their families through Canada's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). 

Dr. Steven Miller

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Dr. Karel O’Brien is a staff neonatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital and Associate Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. She is a clinical teacher and neonatologist at a very busy perinatal center that specializes in fetal diagnosis and therapy and also works in the follow up clinic. She has trained in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research.  Her current research has focused on the development of Family Integrated Care, a model that changes how we deliver care to families and their infants in the NICU, and she has recently completed an international trial of this model of care. Going forward Karel is passionate about the importance of including families in the care of their infants, and investigating how best to support the entire team, nurses, physicians and parents to provide this care in a way that improves staff, family and infant outcomes.  Her motto is “Be the change you wish to see”.

Dr. Karel O'Brien

Family Advisor Committee

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Rebecca Pearce is the mother of Maren, who was born at 25 weeks gestational age in 2009.


She is a long-time member of the équipe Partenariat Famille (PAF) Sainte-Justine, a team comprised of a group of veteran parents at CHU Sainte-Justine in Montreal, Québec, who act as a resource for families new to the NICU and who contribute to improving clinical care, research, and teaching by offering a critical parental viewpoint.


Rebecca has published several opinion pieces about how existing outcome research fails to meet the needs of parents or preterm children.


Rebecca is a secondary science teacher in Montreal and is a third-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University, where she is studying preterm children as mathematical learners and doers.

Rebecca Pearce



Cristina is a Toronto based mom of 3. Her youngest son was born at 29 weeks after having spent 5 weeks on bed rest in hospital from PPROM in 2018. Her son spent a total of 9 weeks in the NICU and was able to come home just before his due date. 

Cristina would love to help other preemie parents during their journey in the NICU and beyond. Her son Fabian is her inspiration. Because of his strength she is committed to helping other preemies and their families in their fight. 

Cristina Galifi

Family Advisor


Jenna Morton & her twin boys survived Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome thanks to a surgery performed at 20 weeks at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. The boys were born at 32 weeks and spent 35 days in the NNICU at The Moncton Hospital in New Brunswick. Jenna, her husband, the twins and their older sister have all taken part in various advocacy and awareness projects and programs since then. Professionally, Jenna is a parenting journalist & podcaster; she hosts & produces the CPBF's podcast, With You in the NICU, as well as NeoChats, produced for the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses. 

Jenna Morton

Family Advisor


Kojo is father of twin boys who were born in 2017 at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital weighing 950 grams and 940 grams. The boys spent four months and five months respectively in the NICU. During that time, they endured a variety of challenges related to neonatal respiratory conditions. 

One of Kojo’s proudest achievements is his participation in family integrated care and helping nurture his children to full health. The quality care provided by NICU staff inspired him to volunteer his time in support of the neonatal community.

Kojo Mensah

Family Advisor


Michelle Peltier

Family Advisor

Michelle is the mother of Olive, a 29+0 weeker born in 2011 due to unexplained preterm labour.

Olive is big sister to Finn, born full term in 2013.
She spent the first two months of motherhood and Olive’s life in level 3 and level 2 NICU’s in Vancouver, BC. Having experienced two different hospitals, with differing supports available for families, Michelle learned to advocate for consistent, involved, family centred care. 
Soon after arriving home from NICU, Michelle learned there was very little support for parents once discharged. Out of this need to build community and connect with other parents of premature infants, she founded an online forum, the Vancouver Parents of Preemies which also hosts monthly in person meet ups. The group grew quickly from a few friends made in hospital to now over 330 members from across Greater Vancouver. Now, with with the support from the Vancouver Infant Development Program, the group hosts a monthly connection opportunity with guest speakers such as a dietician, librarian, physical therapist, occupational therapist, sleep educator and more to discuss developmental considerations for babies born premature.
Michelle had spent 16 years working closely with families as an Early Childhood Educator before starting her own birth and postpartum doula company in 2016. Currently, she is balancing her part time doula work with a part time position at BC Women’s Hospital as a Patient & Family Engagement Advisor. Working as a family advisor has allowed her to continue to develop her passions in advocacy, family centred policy change and improvement work.

Michelle began her time with Canadian Premature Babies Foundation at the Second National Family Consultative Meeting in Toronto in 2013 and looks forward to continuing the incredible work of CPBF through the Family Advisor Committee.


Aruna Boodram is a queer, cis-gendered community organizer and legal worker from the Caribbean diaspora based in Tkaronto (Dish with One Spoon Wampum Covenant). She has been a community DJ and facilitator that specializes in anti-oppression, decolonization, consensus, facilitation training and strategic planning sessions for organizations over the past 12 years. She is the autonomous-single parent of Surya Amaris, a thriving and resilient 24-weeker. Surya spent 3 months in two NICUs in Toronto. Aruna is also the advice columnist for Shameless Magazine and council member for the Children's Peace Theatre in Toronto. 

Aruna Boodram

Family Advisor


I’m a 29 year old single mom by choice to a very busy little boy named Knight who is 18 months and 15 corrected. I’m a phlebotomist at Canadian blood services. Knight and I have a little dog and bunny. My life revolves around Knight, having him being born so early has ignited a passion for helping and guiding other parents who find themselves on an unexpected NICU journey. I’m excited to bring my knowledge and passion to the committee.

Tiffany Richards

Family Advisor

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Candace L. Cutarm is from the Ermineskin Cree Nation which is part of the four nations located in Maskwascis, Alberta.

Candace has been working with the Martin Family Initiative in Early Years Program as an Early Years Visitor since October 2019 and has 10 years experience as a Childcare worker in her community. Candace has 3 children; 2 girls, Ella and Malerie and a boy Marcus who is now 11 years old. Marcus was born premature at 35 weeks and 2 days. They had many hospital stays during his first 2 years of life with respiratory issues that required him to use a nebulizer machine multiple times a day. Having a son born late pre-term and being on this journey with him has really opened her eyes and has led her to reflect on the affects Marcus now faces many years after he was welcomed into the world. Being able to share her story will hopefully help guide other parents who find themselves on an unexpected NICU journey and beyond.

Candace L. Cutarm

Family Advisor


In 2017, Flavia and her husband welcomed their first and only daughter at 23 weeks gestation. Leinah was born in critical condition and had a very long and eventful NICU stay. One hundred and fifty-five days later, in three different Calgary hospitals, she was discharged.


But prematurity did not end when they crossed the doors heading home. Caring for premature babies is very complex and delicate. It requires a multidisciplinar, and most of all, a HUMANIZED approach. During the process, Flavia and her husband had to learn how to be very strong advocates for their daughter's needs, to guarantee she is being offered the necessary support to thrive.


Flavia loves to learn from others and hopes that her family experience can shed light on the many existing gaps to care for families and babies born prematurely in order to improve their outcomes.


There is no one size fits all. Most of the time, we will be called to think outside the box. And that's when things start to happen.

Flavia Sant’Anna

Family Advisor

Marisa Cowie
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Marisa is a mother of two boys, Thomas and Myles, living in Airdrie, AB. Myles was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation and spent 82 days in the NICU in Calgary. He is now five years old and medically complex. 

Marisa is an ultrasound technologist so she has experience with the medical system both personally and professionally. 

She hopes to use our experience with prematurity to bring hope to families in similar situations and to improve the care families receive during and after the Nicu stay. 

Marisa Cowie

(Photo coming soon)

Family Support Committee

Kate Robson

Karen’s relationship with CPBF began in 2012 when she participated in the first two parent consultative meetings our organization hosted.


Karen spent 10 years working at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg as a Family Support Coordinator where she worked hard to develop a sustainable Family Support Program for Manitoba families. She developed a volunteer recruiting and training program, she participated in research, and was a member of various hospital committees including FICare and Patient Care.  She also developed a FICare training program and delivered training to new NICU nurses.


Karen’s son Matthew was born at 25 weeks and spent 7 months in NICU at a time when there was no family support.  Since then, Karen has been passionate about family support programs in NICU. She retired from the hospital at the end of 2023 and is very excited to take on her next role as Chair of the Family Support Committee.  She is most excited to work with families and hospitals across Canada to provide the best possible support to NICU families and to ensure every NICU has the support program families deserve.

Karen Netzel



Education Committee


Marianne has 43 years of nursing experience in neonatology, as a bedside nurse, in the neonatal follow-up clinic, subsequently the NICU parent resource nurse as well as the RSV nurse coordinator in the NICU, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. Throughout her nursing career she advocated for parents, provided education and support created and co-led parent education programs and participated in international research on Family Integrated Care. Her experience has given her insight into the struggles parents encounter in the NICU as well as following discharge.

Since her retirement, she is the project coordinator for an ongoing research pilot, looking at improving the transition of families and infants to home and the community.  She is an active member on the national family integrated care committee. As a member of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation, she is currently working on the Family Ambassador program, a program to continue to increase the support for NICU families. 

Marianne Bracht


Research Committee

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Emma Nickel


As a Registered Nurse in Calgary, Alberta, Emma Nickel is currently in the specialized field of neonatal and pediatric care. Emma’s professional journey is distinguished by significant roles at two of the city's foremost medical institutions: Foothills Medical Centre and Alberta Children’s Hospital. Emma obtained a Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Calgary. She currently holds active memberships with the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses and the Canadian Association of Pediatric Nurses.

She is actively engaged in providing essential and critical care and takes pride in her roles beyond the bedside, including being a frontline provider representative for the Calgary NICU Parent Advisory Council Team. She is also a committee member on the NICU expansion team, where she strategizes on the expansion of a new level III NICU.


Beyond her clinical responsibilities, Emma’s passion for nursing inspires her to explore research that promotes family-centered care as well as how to bridge the gap between technology and patient care. She is currently examining the intricate dynamics of trust between pediatric patients and nurses and is also exploring the transformative potential of artificial intelligence in nursing practices. Emma is committed to her profession and is fueled by a desire to enhance patient care and support her colleagues in the constantly evolving landscape of healthcare.

Emma Nickel


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Abiola Temitope Ogunleye has a remarkable background spanning over 12 years in talent management and employee engagement, Abiola brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our organization.

Abiola Temitope Ogunleye


Parent-Partner Network

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Karen Bong


In 2013, Karen's daughter Lucy was born at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre at 25 weeks gestational age.  The family-integrated care and peer support Karen's whole family received at Sunnybrook made it possible for them to survive the 109 day NICU journey and to thrive after going home.  Post-NICU, their family's healing and happiness included welcoming Jesse, born full-term in 2016.


Karen returned to the NICU in 2015 to give back in a variety of volunteer roles. She hosted a weekly peer support drop-in program, became a family partner in Sunnybrook's quality improvement work with the Vermont Oxford Network, joined the NICU Family Advisory Committee (FAC), and spoke about the family experience at staff orientation and at conferences.


Since 2018 Karen has been part of Sunnybrook's NICU staff, in the role of Family Support Specialist. She helps the NICU team deliver a program of peer and mental health support, education, and practical assistance to NICU families.  Karen is the chair of the FAC and also assists in designing and implementing quality improvement initiatives.  


Mentorship and peer support helped Karen get involved as a parent partner and she is committed to helping NICU parent partners across Canada share their knowledge and experience with one another, to help current and future NICU families in their journey.  Karen is the director of CPBF's Parent Partner Network, which connects graduate parents across Canada who are involved in NICU work.

Parent Partner
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