Our Team

Our Team in Alphabetical Order

Robyn Blackadar

President and CEO

bmcgaw@policywise.com

780-944-8630

Robyn has over 20 years of experience in Alberta’s social and health system focusing on policy...

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Robyn has over 20 years of experience in Alberta’s social and health system focusing on policy development and analysis, quality improvement, knowledge mobilization, and data system innovation.

Appointed in September 2012 as President and CEO, Robyn is responsible for strategic and operational leadership of PolicyWise for Children & Families.  Robyn oversees PolicyWise’ generation and mobilization of evidence for child and family well-being through a collaborative cross-sector approach between government, academia, and the community. Robyn leads the team responsible for the analysis of linked administrative data from all child and youth serving ministries through the Child and Youth Data Laboratory.

She provides strategic advisory support to provincial initiatives such as the Early Childhood Development Research Strategy, Alberta Mentoring Partnership, Building an Inclusive Education System, Addictions and Mental Health Strategy and the Maternal Newborn Youth and Child Strategic Clinical Network.

Robyn holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Calgary, an MBA from the University of Alberta, and an adjunct appointment in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta.

Hitesh Bhatt

Senior Data Analyst 

info@policywise.com

780-408-8745

Hitesh Bhatt joined PolicyWise with a Masters in Agricultural Statistics and is an advanced SAS...

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Hitesh Bhatt joined PolicyWise with a Masters in Agricultural Statistics and is an advanced SAS programmer. Hitesh has been providing statistical support to diverse groups of researchers including Medical doctors, Epidemiologists, Oncologists, Dentists and Agricultural Scientists for 16 years. During this time, he has worked on over 250 challenging research projects with their planning and design, data collection and management, analyses, interpretation of results and report composition. He has published more than 15 research papers, assisted in teaching statistical methods and conducted SPSS and SAS programming workshops. Hitesh immigrated to Canada in 2005 and has previously worked for The University of Saskatchewan and The University of Alberta.

Ozlem Cankaya

Research Scientist

info@policywise.com

780-496-1331

Ozlem is a Research Scientist with The Centre’s Child Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL).  After...

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Ozlem is a Research Scientist with The Centre’s Child Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL).  After finishing her MA in Educational Psychology at McGill University (Montreal, QC) she spent a year teaching kindergarten children in Thailand.  Ozlem received her PhD in Cognitive Science at Carleton University (Ottawa, ON).  She also worked as a research consultant at the UNESCO Institute for Statistics in Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP) and provided the diagnostic information required in monitoring and improving literacy skills in different countries.  Ozlem is an early childhood development and learning expert.  Her past research focused on the effects of language, culture, and home experiences on young children’s acquisition of early numeracy and literacy skills.  Ozlem is very passionate about contributing to children’s healthy development and sharing knowledge.

Lisa Campbell

Chief Financial Officer and Director of Human Resources

info@policywise.com

780-944-8609

Lisa has been an accountant for 35 years. After receiving her CMA designation in 1992, she...

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Lisa has been an accountant for 35 years. After receiving her CMA designation in 1992, she started her own company, Management Information Solutions. During that time Lisa was seconded by a number of not-for-profit organizations including social service and arms-length from government agencies. She worked in the engineering sector for nine years and was a Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance. Lisa is driven by challenge and always seeking ways to improve an organization’s processes and strategic planning for the future. She is a mother of five and grandmother of two. She and her husband love to travel, sail and scuba dive.

Xinjie Cui

Chief Analytics Officer

info@policywise.com

780-944-8631

Xinjie has strong background in policy relevant research using administrative data. While...

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Xinjie has strong background in policy relevant research using administrative data. While working for Alberta Health, she led and managed health surveillance projects that provided evidence and support for policy changes and program development. She participated as the Project Lead for the Alberta Child Health Surveillance Report, which has been awarded the Premier’s Award of Excellence Gold in 2007. Later that year she became the inaugural Director of Child and Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL). She was instrumental in the establishment of CYDL and led the CYDL team to conduct the research project on Albertan Youth Experience. Xinjie earned her bachelor’s degree in medicine from China. She also has a PhD in psychology and an MBA from the University of Alberta.

Dana Foote

Finance and Administration Manager

info@policywise.com

780-408-8789

After completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Alberta and still not knowing...

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After completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Alberta and still not knowing what she wanted to do when she grew up, Dana fell into the role of Administration. Starting with PolicyWise as Executive Assistant in 2007, her role grew along with PolicyWise and she is now the Administrative Coordinator, quietly taking care of all things in the background so PolicyWise can fulfil its mandate and continue to grow. Along with supporting the President and CEO, Dana acts as liaison and secretary to the Board of Directors, Finance, Investment and Audit Committee and the Governance Committee. She is also responsible for bookkeeping, budgeting, human resources and payroll. Realizing that she will never be finished with furthering her education, she is currently working toward an accounting designation.

Hesam Izakian

Data Scientist

info@policywise.com

780-944-8650

Hesam is a Data Scientist with PolicyWise’ Child Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL). His...

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Hesam is a Data Scientist with PolicyWise’ Child Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL). His research focus is on data mining, machine learning, and data visualization. Hesam Received his PhD in Software Engineering and Intelligent Systems from the University of Alberta in 2014.

Tony Ho

IT Manager

tho@policywise.com

780-944-4468

Tony Ho has over 17 years of experience working in Alberta administering and maintaining...

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Tony Ho has over 17 years of experience working in Alberta administering and maintaining networks, supporting users, IT budget planning and negotiating contracts related to IT . Most recently he worked for Canadian Helicopters Ltd. as their Regional IT  Manager.

Robert Jagodzinski

Data Analyst

info@policywise.com

780-944-8651

With an educational background in computer science and ecology Robert Jagodzinski has...

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With an educational background in computer science and ecology Robert Jagodzinski has accumulated over 15 years of experience in data analysis, data management, computer programming, software debugging, and data quality assurance. He is familiar with all stages of the research cycle including planning, collection, quality assurance, data cleaning, analysis, and reporting. This extends across many sectors including academic, agriculture, wildlife management, energy industry, environmental economics, and health care. These projects have informed everything from knowledge translation in long term care facilities, to the national caribou conservation strategy, to environmental policy development in the resource sector. He also has extensive experience with Monte Carlo simulation techniques and worked on a variety of projects including forestry harvesting optimization, wildlife population modelling, and forest fire simulation modelling. In his spare time Robert enjoys reading and exploring the outdoors via hiking and kayaking.

Ruiting Jia

Research Scientist

info@policywise.com

780-944-4466

Ruiting is a Research Scientist with The Centre’s Child Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL). Her...

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Ruiting is a Research Scientist with The Centre’s Child Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL). Her research focus includes the child intervention and homelessness. Prior to joining The Centre, Ruiting had six years of qualitative and quantitative research experience at the University of Alberta. She also was an instructor at the University of Alberta for two years. Ruiting received her Master of Science degree in Linguistics and also completed the Community-based Research and Evaluation Certification program at the University of Alberta.

Dr. Navjot (Jo) Lamba

Research Scientist

info@policywise.com

780-408-8735

Specializing in ethnic minority relations, refugee/immigrant integration, and social research...

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Specializing in ethnic minority relations, refugee/immigrant integration, and social research methods, Jo received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Alberta in 2002. Jo is currently a Research Scientist with PolicyWise’ Child and Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL). Prior to her role as Research Scientist at PolicyWise, she served as the national data manager for the New Canadian Children and Youth Study, a national, multi-disciplinary study examining the integration of immigrant and refugee children and youth. Jo also has extensive teaching experience in social research methods, the sociology of families, and Canadian society.

Jason Lau

Director, Data Operations

info@policywise.com

780-408-8732

Jason is the Director of Data Operations at PolicyWise. He joined PolicyWise in March of 2015....

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Jason is the Director of Data Operations at PolicyWise. He joined PolicyWise in March of 2015. He is responsible for the operations of the Child and Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL), Secondary Analysis to Generate Evidence (SAGE) and other operational aspects such as privacy and security policies and procedures, and supporting new data-driven projects that further the vision and mission of PolicyWise. Prior to joining PolicyWise, Jason was with Alberta Health developing partnerships in the research and innovation sector, as well as evidence-informed policies on health technologies. He has also served clinical operations roles in the pharmaceutical industry and earned a PhD in Medical Genetics from the University of Alberta.

Courtney Lundy

Grants Manager

grants@policywise.com

403-955-2403

Courtney holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education, and a specialization certificate in...

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Courtney holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education, and a specialization certificate in Children’s Mental Health. She spent nearly a decade working as a frontline service provider with children and families before joining PolicyWise in 2007. As the Research Grants manager, Courtney processes and tracks all incoming applications for research funding, and provides important capacity building support for new investigators studying families, children, and youth in Alberta.

Brenda McGaw

Executive Assistant

bmcgaw@policywise.com

780-944-8630

Early on in Brenda’s education and career, she identified a keen interest in working with...

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Early on in Brenda’s education and career, she identified a keen interest in working with people. Initially this focus led her to completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree with the University of Victoria (majoring in Psychology); followed by working for more than 13 years primarily in the social service industry. While her career path has taken her in different directions over the years (working with youth at risk, guiding adults seeking assistance with employment and career planning, acting as Editor-in Chief for an online security publication, coordinating volunteer services at a seniors outreach office, and offering administrative support to an executive consulting firm), the driving value to support and contribute to the success and well-being of others, has remained an integral part of who she is.

Now with PolicyWise, Brenda is excited at the prospect of returning to her roots of working with an organization that is invested in the betterment of children and families. She looks forward to being able to offer exceptional care and service not only to the CEO and the team at PolicyWise, but to the community at large.

Naomi Parker

Project Manager

info@policywise.com

587-354-4803

Prior to joining PolicyWise, Naomi worked with Alberta Health Services in the area of Addiction...

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Prior to joining PolicyWise, Naomi worked with Alberta Health Services in the area of Addiction and Mental Health, with experience across the continuum of services provided. Most recently Naomi worked for the Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network as a Senior Consultant, Knowledge Management.  Naomi teaches with Mount Royal University in the Addiction Studies Certificate.  She has a Bachelor of Sociology and a Masters of Business Administration. Naomi brings extensive experience in complex project management, engaging and leading diverse stakeholders towards shared outcomes. She also has a proven skill set in the design, implementation and monitoring of knowledge mobilization practices and principles to support evidence informed decision-making.

Stephanie Perrin

Research and Evaluation Associate

info@policywise.com

587-354-4804

Steph holds a MA in International Studies from Simon Fraser University and her research...

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Steph holds a MA in International Studies from Simon Fraser University and her research interests include women’s rights, social movements, and peace building. Previous research experience includes managing external communications with the Art for Social Change research project and Research Assistant roles in the History and English departments at Ryerson University, where Steph completed her BA in Arts and Contemporary Studies.

Cathie Scott

Chief Operating Officer, Lead, Policy Research

info@policywise.com

587-354-4800

Cathie Scott joined PolicyWise as Director Policy Research and Strategy in...

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Cathie Scott joined PolicyWise as Director Policy Research and Strategy in November 2013. Cathie was the Senior Provincial Director of the Leading Practices & Innovation section within the division of Quality and Healthcare Improvement in Alberta Health Services. Prior to this, she held the position of Executive Director of the AHS Knowledge Management Department and Director positions in the former Calgary Health Region, in the area of Knowledge Management. She was also a member of the SEARCH Canada faculty. Her academic achievements are many, and include a PhD in Community Health Sciences, Master of Science, BSc of Science (Physical Therapy). She is currently an Assistant Professor (Adjunct), in the Faculty of Community Health Sciences & Sociology at the University of Calgary.  Her postdoctoral fellowship focused on the role of context in knowledge mobilization, social networks and communities of practice. Cathie has considerable experience in areas of relevance to PolicyWise such as leadership development, quality improvement, knowledge management, primary healthcare, community-based and participatory research approaches, research methods, evaluation, integrated systems, inter-sectoral collaboration and vulnerable populations. She is currently a team member of two international research grants funded by CIHR. Cathie and her family live in Calgary.

Julie Tremblay

Project Manager

info@policywise.com

780-944-4464

After spending two years teaching English at a high school in Madrid, Spain, Julie returned to...

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After spending two years teaching English at a high school in Madrid, Spain, Julie returned to Canada. She is formally educated as an Interior Designer and primarily focused on commercial properties. This opportunity, as well as working for an engineering firm, honed her skills in project management and proved she could manage multiple projects on time and on budget. In her spare time, Julie has a passion for art, travel and enjoys experimenting in the kitchen.

Laurie Vermeylen

Research and Evaluation Associate

info@policywise.com

587-354-4801

Laurie has a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Calgary and her research...

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Laurie has a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Calgary and her research interests include the broad topics of gender and families. Her research experience includes conducting qualitative methods such as interviewing and facilitating group discussions. Her work with PolicyWise has involved a good deal of creativity, flexibility, and teamwork. She enjoys working with diverse stakeholder groups and has a love for learning. Laurie is a born and raised Calgarian, who has a passion for reading and laughing.