About the Team
The Compass team are a group of highly trained individuals here to provide support and education on mental health and substance use care.
Amy is a born and raised Vancouverite that started her career as a Registered Nurse at BC Children's Hospital in general pediatrics and navigated to mental health for many years since. She has worked in mostly in-patient settings from Child Psychiatry, Adolescent Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Emergency, Eating Disorders In-Patient, Day Treatment Program to Outpatient Eating Disorder Clinics. She is happy to be working at Compass as a Nurse Clinician supporting and working together with health-care providers across BC and the wonderful Compass multi-disciplinary team. In her time off, she loves tasty and good food, experiencing new cultures and enjoying the beaches with her little one and husband.
Dr. Ashley Miller
Dr. Ashley Miller is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who has worked at BC Children's Hospital since 2006. She completed medical school at McGill University and psychiatry residency at UBC. Having worked in community mental health for many years, she is passionate about collaborative approaches to address the complex needs of youth and their families. Dr. Miller is a family therapist and trainer in both Emotion Focused Family Therapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Adolescent Depression. She has interests in provider wellness, mindfulness, psychotherapy, medical education, school-based mental health, social determinants of health and systems of care. Outside of work, she loves writing and spending time at the beach or in the mountains.
Chantal obtained her Masters of Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria. Currently, Chantal works at BC Children’s Hospital as a part of the Compass Team supporting providers across the province with Child and Youth Mental Health directly on the phone line and with the Education Strategy Team. Outside of work, Chantal focuses on her two loving, energetic boys, her private practice and the outdoors.
Darla graduated from the University of Victoria with a Masters’ Degree in Counselling Psychology. She has over 23 years of experience across health care and education settings, providing counselling and psychotherapy to children, youth and families. At the core of her work, is a passion for supporting individuals in accessing and developing their internal resources and resiliency, while expanding their learning and building capacity throughout the lifespan. With the varied experience of a generalist, a clinical focus on depression, anxiety, and trauma, alongside an appreciation for the benefits of supportive consultation for practitioners, she joined the Compass Team. Outside of work, Darla enjoys global and local travel adventures, and staying active in mind and body.
Deanna has recently made the trek from Ontario to our beautiful province. She has an extensive administration background, which has included working for a Mental Health facility in Ontario and being part of the administrative team at a community college for many years. She is excited to bring her knowledge and background to her role with Compass. Outside of work you can find Deanna spending time outdoors, exploring her new city, watching hockey, enjoying art and photography or continuing her education in the field of social work.
Dr. Erin Smith
Dr. Erin Smith is a psychiatrist with the Compass program at BCCH and also works at BCWH at Reproductive Mental Health and the Oak Tree Clinic. She completed her general adult psychiatry residency at UPMC Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and also completed an addiction psychiatry fellowship at the same institution. Prior to working for Compass, Dr. Smith worked at the Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders clinic at BCCH. She is passionate about working with people during their pregnancies and in the postpartum period as well as transitional age youth and adults with concurrent disorders and their families. Dr. Smith is also a motivational interviewing (MI) trainer and a member of the internationally regarded organization Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). She is a published author in the field of MI as well as the field of addictions and is passionate about teaching motivational interviewing and also lectures on a variety of different topics for medical trainees through her role as a clinical instructor at UBC. Dr. Smith is proud to be part of the collaborative and multidisciplinary team at Compass.
Helen is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse who has been working with children with mental health concerns and their caregivers for 17 years. Prior to working in Compass, Helen was the Nurse Clinician in ADHD Provincial Program for many years. Helen recently completed a Masters of Education at Simon Fraser University and has an interest in teaching Mindfulness and contemplative practices to healthcare professionals.Originally from Yorkshire, England, Helen makes a great Yorkshire Pudding. She always has a creative project on the go and loves spending time with her husband and their French Bulldog, Dave.
Jasleen Jhajj is currently a Care (Resource) Coordinator at BC Children’s Hospital. Jasleen has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree. Jasleen has worked in variety of settings which have consisted of outreach, advocacy, non-profit agencies, correctional health centers, and health authorities. Jasleen has provided mental health services to youth with addictions who are homeless and are at risk of homelessness or facing multiple barriers which makes it difficult for them to access office based services. As well as administrating standardized trauma inform screening and assessment protocols to identify any mental health and/or substance use concerns in correctional health centres, while utilizing a trauma informed framework and family centered care.
Dr. Jennifer Russel
Dr. Jennifer Russel is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with a focus on treating youth with severe mental illness, including psychotic disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, difficulties with affect dysregulation, and neurodevelopmental disorders. She is the Clinical Director of the Compass Program at BCCH and a psychiatrist with the Physician Health Program with Doctors of BC. Her areas of focus are Trauma Informed Practice, Compassion Fatigue, Burnout and Psychological PPE.
Jennifer is a registered psychiatric nurse with over 23 years of clinical experience gathered from a variety of settings. Her area of expertise is in youth concurrent disorders. She has been working as a Nurse Clinician at BC Children's hospital since 2006. Jennifer has extensive training in therapeutic modalities and has provided both individual and group treatment. She also has experience in teaching. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys time with her dog Jelly and exercising in nature. She is also a mother of two lively children and a wife to a husband that provides her with daily doses of laughter. Learn more about Jennifer in the Compass Corner.
Jonah obtained his Masters of Social Work from the University of British Columbia. Jonah is deeply passionate about his clinical work with children, youth and young adults struggling with a variety of mental health and substance use challenges. Jonah has worked as a clinician in government, community and healthcare settings providing assessment, consultation, and counselling for the last 16 years. Jonah enjoys working on a multidisciplinary team at Compass and walking alongside care providers to optimize care for BC’s children, youth and families. Outside of Jonah’s part time position with Compass, Jonah has a private therapy practice in North Vancouver and when not at work, he is a passionate plant based foodie and loves being outside in nature.
Dr. Katharine Thomson
Dr. Katharine Thomson is a clinical and research psychologist with the Compass Program at BCCH. Prior to joining our team, Dr. Thomson was an attending psychologist in consultation and liaison at Boston Children’s Hospital and an instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She has special interests in trauma-informed care, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, eating disorders, somatization, LGBTQ+ healthcare, and health equity. In addition to her role in the Compass Program, Dr. Thomson has a private practice where she works with children, adolescents, and young adults. Outside of work, she can be found exploring beaches with her spouse, their two young children, and their dog, or taking on a new home improvement project.
Kevin is the Clinical Nurse Coordinator for the Compass Program. Within the team, he provides nursing leadership, education, as well as supporting the day to day clinical functions at Compass. He is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse specializing in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and has recently completed an Addictions Nursing Fellowship with the BC Centre on Substance Use. Outside of work, he’s busy at home experimenting in the kitchen with various bakes and entertaining his 2 dogs.
Liezel started her career as Registered Psychiatric Nurse at BC Children’s Hospital in the Healthy Minds building primarily working in in-patient psychiatry, namely: Child and Youth Psychiatric Emergency (CAPE), Adolescent Unit, Child Psychiatry and Eating Disorder unit. Liezel also casually works in CAPSU (Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit) and APU (Adolescent Psychiatry) in Fraser Health. In her off time, she likes playing and spending quality time with her daughters, her nieces, her nephews and their dog Lemon.
Dr. Martha Ignaszewski
Dr. Martha J Ignaszewski (or Dr. Iggy) is a Harvard and UCSF trained psychiatrist with board certification in Adult, Addiction, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Canada and the USA. She now works on the Compass Consultation Line at BCCH and the Complex Pain and Addiction Service (CPAS) at VGH. Currently, Dr. Ignaszewski is the Education Lead for the VGH CPAS service, and Director of Fellowships & Off-Service Postgrad Education for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at BCCH relating to her interest in medical education and working with learners across the educational spectrum. Acute psychiatry, the intersection between addiction and concurrent disorders, and impacts of social determinants of health are areas of focus with learners and clinically. Dr. Ignaszewski possesses a background in clinical excellence, has published widely, and has been a speaker at many national conferences and was the recipient of the 2021 VGH Innovators Challenge Award for her team’s work on the development of a novel opioid detector device. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her miniature dachshund, Spot, and with family and is looking forward to travelling as COVID restrictions ease.
Meredith de Freitas
Meredith is a Program Manager with the Health Literacy Team at BC Children's Hospital. She works alongside the Compass Program to support the implementation and growth of the program's Education Strategy. Meredith has a BA in Medical Anthropology from McGill University and a Master's in Public Health from Simon Fraser University. She has worked over ten years in the field of public health and is passionate about health promotion, health equity, and mental health literacy.
Dr. Priya Watson
Dr. Priya Watson is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with the Compass Program at BCCH. In addition to her clinical work, which has focused on mood and anxiety disorders, Dr. Watson has published articles, books, and online courses on the subjects of trauma, culture, psychotherapy, and continuing professional development. She has a particular interest in developmental trauma, and collaborating with front-line care providers to provide trauma-informed care to children, youth and their families.
Dr. Robin Friedlander
Robin Friedlander is a Clinical Professor and Director of the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Program in the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is also the Head of the Neuropsychiatry clinic at BC Children’s Hospital. Dr Friedlander trained in medicine and psychiatry in South Africa. Since moving to Vancouver, BC in 1993, clinical, academic and teaching pursuits have been in the field of Developmental Psychiatry.
Bio Coming Soon!
Sonja has a Bachelor’s in Child and Youth Care and a Master’s Degree in Human Security. Currently Director of the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at BC Children’s Hospital, Sonja previously worked within a variety of roles supporting vulnerable populations with challenges related to mental health and substance use, including supporting children, youth and families, individuals living in conflict zones, individuals struggling with homelessness in the Downtown Eastside, and adults with mental health issues involved with the criminal justice system. She has worked with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Children and Family Development around Provincial initiatives to improve responses and supports for families affected by mental health and substance use issues with an emphasis on whole family supports, recognizing the intergenerational nature of these concerns. Outside of work, Sonja can be found horseback riding and jumping or curled up with a good book.
Dr. Susan Baer
Susan Baer is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who has worked at BC Children’s Hospital since 2004. She completed her medical training and psychiatry residency at UBC. She has particular interests in anxiety and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her favorite part about working on Compass is collaborating with community providers across the province as well as working with the multidisciplinary Compass team. Outside of work, she loves all outdoor activities, particularly backcountry adventures!