Featured Presenters

Warren Bell

BA, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP(LM), Past Founding President, CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment); Founding President, WA:TER (Wetland Alliance: The Ecological Response);
Rural Preceptor, University of British Columbia, Salmon Arm, BC

Born and raised in Vancouver, B.C., Warren Bell has been a family physician for over 40 years, having graduated from McGill Medical School in 1974, and completed a residency there in 1976.
For 4 decades he has been concerned about and involved in issues of social development and the environment, as well as the peace and anti-nuclear movement, global health and development (with an emphasis on the role of multinationals — especially drug companies — and patents), and the integration of healing modalities of all kinds. He has written and spoken in many settings on these and related issues, and participated in a number of projects both locally and nationally.

Among other leadership roles, he is past founding president of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and past president of the Association of Complementary and Integrative Physicians of B.C.

He lives and practises in Salmon Arm, a small town in south-central B.C., integrating conventional and complementary remedies, as well as practising insight-oriented psychotherapy.


Nathalie Charpak

MD, Scientific Coordinator, KMC Centers of Excellence; Founding Member, Senior Researcher and Director, Kangaroo Foundation; Attending Pediatrician, Kangaroo Mother Care Program, San Ignacio University Hospital, Bogotá, Columbia

Dr. Charpak received her M.D. from the “Paris Sud” University and her paediatrician diploma from “Rene Descartes” University in Paris, France. She migrated in 1986 to Colombia where she validated her title as Paediatrician and began in 1989 to work on the evaluation of the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) Method. She is now a Colombian citizen. With several colleagues she founded in 1994 the Kangaroo Foundation, an NGO devoted to research, teaching, training and direct medical care related to KMC for premature and low birth weight infant.

The Kangaroo Foundation has conducted large clinical trials on KMC and has been actively disseminating KMC predominantly in low and middle-income countries in Latin America, South East Asia, India, Africa and Eastern Europe. In 1996 in Trieste, Italy she was amongst the group of international researchers, physicians and nurses who created the International Kangaroo Network -INK- an international alliance devoted to collaborating, enhancing and disseminating the KMC Method.

Dr. Charpak continues to work as an attending paediatrician in the KMC Program and amongst her research interest are integrative methods for summarizing and placing into action what is known about KMC in the form of an evidence-based practice. Her main research interest is exploring the long-term effects of KMC in adolescents and young adults that were low birth infants exposed or not exposed to KMC during the neonatal period.


Linda Dix-Cooper

Environmental Health Scientist, Health Protection, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Vancouver, BC

Linda Dix-Cooper’s areas of expertise include air quality, child neurodevelopment, maternal-child biomonitoring and exposure assessment for chemicals in consumer products. She completed her BA in Cultural Psychology at Yale University and her graduate studies in Global Environmental Health Sciences at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Originally from Surrey, BC, Linda has led various environment and child health research projects in Canada, the US, India and Guatemala and authored various scientific publications and policy documents. Previously, she worked at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Neurology, the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at UC Berkeley, the US Institute of Medicine at the National Academies, BC Centre for Disease Control Environmental Health Services, and BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital Neonatal Program.


Evelyn George

Registered Midwife, Vancouver, BC

Evelyn George is a Nbissing Anishinaabe Registered Midwife currently on leave from clinical practice. Evelyn’s current work is centred in responding to the needs of Indigenous communities and Indigenous midwives, and creating inroads where possible to support the return of birth and midwifery. Evelyn works as the Partnership Development Coordinator and is a past Co-Chair for the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, Indigenous Lead for the Midwives Association of BC, and Indigenous Student Coordinator for the UBC Midwifery Program.


Michael C. Klein

MD, CCFP, FCFP, FAAP (Neonatal/Perinatal), FCPS, Emeritus Professor, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Senior Scientist Emeritus, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institue, Vancouver, BC

Dr. Klein is best known for his RCT of episiotomy, demonstrating that it caused the very trauma that it was supposed to prevent, which is credited with contributing to a large drop in routine episiotomy use and a concurrent fall in rectal trauma. He teaches at UBC in family practice and midwifery and is on the editorial board of BIRTH.

He was head of a McGill teaching Centre and Department of Family Medicine at a McGill teaching hospital in Montreal for 17 years and Head of the Department of Family Practice at Children’s and Women’s in Vancouver for 10 years.

He is a recipient of the Order of Canada, The Award for Lifetime Contributions to Primary Care Research from the North American Primary Care Research Group, Family Physician Researcher of the Year from the College of Family Physicians of Canada, The Award for Lifetime Contributions to Family Practice Research from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. He is the author of “Dissident Doctor—catching babies and challenging the medical status quo.

He and his wife Bonnie emigrated from the US to Canada in 1967 because he refused to be a military physician during the Vietnam War. His son Seth and daughter Naomi were born and work in Canada. Bonnie is a disabled film-maker, writer and disability rights activist.

Melissa Lem

MD, Family Physician; Clinical Instructor, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Dr. Melissa Lem is a Vancouver family physician who also works in rural and remote communities across Canada. As a board member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and Director of Parks Prescriptions for the BC Parks Foundation, she has been involved in advocacy work on a broad range of issues including climate change, forest fires, fracking and LNG, and the nature-health connection. Her writing on the environment and human well-being have been published by national media including the CBC, Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, National Observer and Alternatives Journal. Dr. Lem was the resident medical expert on CBC TV’s hit lifestyle show Steven and Chris for four seasons and continues to educate diverse audiences on air. She was the inaugural winner of University College’s Young Alumni of Influence Award at the University of Toronto, and holds a clinical faculty appointment at the University of British Columbia.

Erna Snelgrove-Clarke

PhD, RN, Vice Dean and Director, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON

Dr. Snelgrove-Clarke is a registered nurse with 33 years of perinatal clinical experience. Erna graduated from Memorial University with a BN, Dalhousie University with her MN, and McGill University with her PhD. Her program of research focuses on the identification of successful strategies for implementing evidence in maternal newborn and women’s health settings with a goal to change health care provider behavior and to improve patient outcomes. Erna is exploring the transfer of knowledge through mixed methodologies, concentrating on the relationships of consumers, health care professionals, organizations, and decision-makers. She currently works with large interdisciplinary healthcare and consumer teams to implement evidence supporting practice change in areas such as second stage of labour management, exclusive breastfeeding, obesity, urogynecology, and post operative recovery. Additional areas of research and practice interest include practice development and person centred care. Erna currently works at Queen’s University as the Vice Dean, Health Sciences and Director, School of Nursing.  Erna passionately maintains a clinical practice in labour and delivery. In addition, her recent Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) salary award will enable her to spend a significant portion of time supporting health care providers to embed research into clinical practice.


Debra Sparrow

Musqueam First Nation, BC

Debra Sparrow was born and raised on the Musqueam Indian Reserve and is self-taught in Salish design and jewellery-making. Her work can be seen in various museums and institutions. Debra designed the logo for the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, BC. She also continues to work on pieces close to her heart at her home in Musqueam. It is Debra’s hope to educate others about the beauty and integrity of her people’s history through her art.

Debra is an acclaimed weaver who has been weaving for twenty years and is deeply involved with the revival of Musqueam weaving. Her Musqueam blankets are displayed at the Vancouver Airport, and at UBC.


Ylva Thernström Blomqvist

PhD, RN, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Uppsala University Children’s Hospital; Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Dr. Thernström Blomqvist became a registered nurse (RN) in 1994, and completed her PhD in medical sciences in 2012 at Uppsala University in Sweden. She is currently responsible for nursing care research, education, and nursing care improvement in the NICU in Uppsala, Sweden. She was formerly Head nurse in the NICU.


Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

Founder and Director, The Trauma Stewardship Institute, Seattle, WA, USA

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder and director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others, has worked directly with trauma survivors for more than three decades.

She has worked with groups as diverse as zookeepers and reconstruction workers in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, community organizers and health care providers in Japan, U.S. Air Force pilots, Canadian firefighters, public school teachers, private practice doctors, tiny non-profits, massive state agencies, libraries, the Pentagon, alternative colleges, and Ivy League universities. Much of her work is being invited to assist in the aftermath of community catastrophes–whether they are fatal storms or mass shootings. She has worked locally, nationally, and internationally. Laura is known as a pioneer in the field of trauma exposure.

Laura is on the advisory board of ZGiRLS, an organization that supports young girls in sports. She is a founding member of the International Transformational Resilience Network, which supports the development of capacity to address climate change. Laura also served as an associate producer of the award-winning film A Lot Like You, and was given a Yo! Mama award in recognition of her work as a community-activist mother.