Our Team

Our Team

 

Mending Little Hearts is made up of a group of passionate volunteers who bring varied experience to the team. This dynamic group of people includes Pediatric Cardiologists, Nurse Clinicians, Echosonographers, Dieticians, Social Workers, Administration Staff, Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina, and volunteer heart parents. They all have one thing in common; supporting the heart families of Saskatchewan, and ensuring that they have the best possible support, resources, and research opportunities.

Mending Little Hearts Team

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Dr. Scott Pharis

Dr. Scott Pharis, MD BSc FRCPC,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from Saskatchewan, Dr. Pharis obtained his medical degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 2003 and completed his Pediatric training at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2007. He completed his Pediatric Cardiology training and 1 year of additional Pediatric Interventional Cardiology training at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in 2011. He joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2011. His clinical interests include interventional cardiology.

Dr. Charissa Pockett

Dr. Charissa Pockett, MD FRCPC,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from Manitoba, Dr. Pockett obtained her medical degree at the University of Calgary in 2005 and completed her Pediatric training at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary in 2009, including 6 months at the Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. She completed her Pediatric Cardiology training at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in 2012. She joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2012. Then in 2014, she completed 1 year of additional Pediatric Interventional Cardiology training at the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. Her clinical interests include interventional cardiology and single ventricle physiology.

Dr. Pockett has been a member of the CHAMPS team since its inception and collaborates on various projects and initiatives the team undertakes. She is currently the Principal investigator for a study entitled “Using Remote Presence Robotic Technology for Pediatric Heart Murmur Assessment: A Pilot Study.” She sits on two Master students committees and works with learners of various levels of training. She is currently co-supervising a Dean’s Project summer student looking into ventricular septal defects and their association with hemolytic anemia.

Dr. Pockett is an avid traveler whose adventures have included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, gorilla trekking in the jungles of Uganda, scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and snorkeling in the Galapagos islands. She enjoys photography,  running and most of all, spending time with her family.

Dr. Tim Bradley

Dr. Tim Bradley, MBChB DCH FRACP,
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from New Zealand, Dr. Bradley obtained his medical degree at the University of Otago, New Zealand in 1990. He completed his Pediatric and Pediatric Cardiology training in 2002, training at Wellington Hospital, New Zealand, the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. He was a Pediatric Cardiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto from 2004 to 2015. He joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2016.

His clinical interests include echocardiography, fetal echocardiography and aortic and vascular diseases. His research is focused on the detection of premature atherosclerosis in at-risk pediatric disease populations and developing a better understanding of aortic wall biomechanics that predispose to aortic disease. His research expertise is in non-invasive assessment of arterial stiffness in children and he is working on the development of a method which will have general clinical applicability to all at-risk pediatric disease populations.

In 2017, Dr. Bradley was awarded a Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Research Grant, along with the rest of the CHAMPS investigators, to help further develop the CHAMPS: Children’s Healthy-Heart and Activity Monitoring Program is Saskatchewan. The aim of the CHAMPS program is to longitudinally assess cardiovascular, metabolic, nutritional, body composition, physical activity levels and psychological health measures in children with congenital heart disease. His focus in this project is to identify predictors of arterial stiffness, a very strong predictor of adult onset cardiovascular diseases, which are being increasingly recognized in children growing up with congenital heart disease.

Dr. Gitanjali Mansukhani

Dr. Gitanjali Mansukhani, MBBS FRACP,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Mansukhani obtained her medical degree at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Nagpur, India in 2001. She completed her Pediatric training at University of Mumbai in 2007. She subsequently moved to Australia where she trained further in Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology in Melbourne and Perth. She completed her Pediatric Cardiology training with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2015.  She also trained in Pediatric Cardiology at Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton for 3.5 years and completed fellowships in Pediatric Heart transplant and heart failure and Advanced Pediatric Echocardiography in 2017.

She joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in Feb 2018. Her clinical interests include echocardiography, fetal echocardiography and heart failure and transplant.

Dr. Mansukhani’s research is focused on Pediatric Cardiomyopathy, Single ventricle and Pediatric Heart Transplant. Her previous projects have been focused on pulse oximetry screening for congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension in single ventricle patients. 

She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. In her free time, she loves listening to music and watching movies. She loves Netflix!

Marie Penner

Marie Penner, RN BSN,
Pediatric Cardiology Nurse Clinician, Royal University Hospital

 

Chantal Kachur

Chantal Kachur, RN,
Pediatric Cardiology Nurse, Royal University Hospital

Chantal is from Saskatoon, but has lived in Halifax, Regina, North Dakota and Calgary.

She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan and has worked at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon since January 2007.

She is a Nurse Clinician in our department, her role includes patient care in clinic, discharging Cardiology patients from the ward and NICU, she is also involved in patient education, coordinating cardiac catheterization patients, Edmonton surgical patients and heart transplant patients. Her previous experience includes working as a Paramedic, Flight Attendant and Neonatal Nurse/ Transport Nurse since 2007.

She has been married for the past 10 years and has 3 children. She enjoys travelling, yoga and spending time with family and friends.

Laura Ans

Laura Ans, RDCS,
Pediatric Echosonographer, Royal University Hospital

Laura moved to Saskatoon in 2018 from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Laura trained to be an adult cardiac sonographer (RDCS AE) in Winnipeg, then completed the Pediatric Echo course. After moving to Saskatoon, she completed her Pediatric Echo training, and achieved her Pediatric Echo Board (RDCS PE). Laura began working at RUH in April 2018, and since September 2019  has become a full time Sonographer for Pediatrics. Laura works very closely with the Pediatric Cardiologists to perform quality echocardiograms which are used to diagnose, and monitors the child’s heart health.

Laura’s favourite thing outside of work is to be outside with her dog Diesel! You will find her camping in the summer, or skiing, snowshoeing and curling in the winter!

Kellie Guan

Kellie Guan, Registered Dietitian, BSc. Nutrition, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital

Kellie is from Melfort, SK and has been living in Saskatoon for the past 9 years. She attended the University of Saskatchewan and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition through the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. She has been working as a clinical dietitian at Royal University Hospital for over two years and is very excited to be working with the pediatric cardiology team again!

Kellie’s role in cardiology is to assess growth and nutritional status of patients and to provide individualized nutrition interventions to support growth and development of her patients. She works closely with families in clinic and provide support to families when they are at home. Kellie finds her role particularly rewarding in that she can develop ongoing relationships with families and is able to watch her patients thrive overtime. In her spare time, Kellie enjoys anything food related, reading, spending time with her Australian Sheppard, and travelling.

Jayla Mortensen

Jayla Mortenson, BSW, RSW
Medical Pediatric Social Worker, Royal University Hospital

Jayla holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina and is a registered Social Worker with the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers (SASW). She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan, and is a board member for a non-profit organization that provides support for children with intellectual disabilities in Saskatchewan.

As a Medical Social Worker, her role in our clinical team is to provide support to patients and their families. Social work plays a vital role in adjusting patients and families to various issues that accompany illness and hospitalization. Jayla assists families with accessing community resources and funding for out-of-province travel expenses. She passionately advocates for individuals and families, working to ensure that families are able to navigate health care and community support systems, and that services meet their practical needs.

Susan Jackson

Susan Jackson, Administrative Assistant, Division of Cardiology, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital

Susan is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She has worked in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology in Saskatoon since June 2014. Her role in our clinical team is to provide administrative support to the doctors, managing all daily operations of the office to make it run as smoothly as possible.

Susan has been married for 29 years and has 2 adult children. In Susan’s spare time she enjoys spending time fishing, hunting and camping in the summer and fall months and watching hockey in the winter months.  

Jenel Vogelsang

Jenel Vogelsang, Part-Time Administrative Assistant,
Division of Cardiology, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital

Jenel is from Perdue, Saskatchewan. She has worked in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology in Saskatoon since January 14, 2019. Her role in our clinical team is Administration with a focus on transcription and any other administrative duties as required.

Jenel has been married for 5 years and has a 2 year old little boy who keeps her busy and on her toes when she is not at the office. She also enjoys spending time outdoors and in the mountains.

 

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Marta Erlandson

Dr. Marta Erlandson, PhD, Assistant Professor,
College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Erlandson joined the faculty of Kinesiology in January 2014 as an Assistant Professor. She obtained her MSc. in 2007 and PhD. in 2010 from the University of Saskatchewan. After finishing her graduate research in Saskatchewan, Dr. Erlandson went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in the Osteoporosis and Women’s Health Program at the University Health Network, University of Toronto in 2013.

Dr. Erlandson’s research focuses on child and adolescent growth and development and the influence physical activity and inactivity has on this process during growth as well as on health outcomes later in life in both typically developing and clinical populations. Dr. Erlandson, along with other members of the research team, first received a Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation grant in 2015 to examine the body composition, cardiovascular and psychological health of children with congenital heart disease and piloted the first summer CHAMPS camp. Since that time, the research team working with the department of Pediatric Cardiology has continued to receive research funding to design chronic disease management programming for children with congenital heart defects in the hopes of decreasing their anxiety around physical activity participation and increasing their confidence and rates of physical activity participation.

Additionally, Dr. Erlandson works to increase physical activity participation in Saskatchewan children thru the development of physical literacy. She hopes that her research will positively impact the health of Saskatchewan children. Dr. Erlandson can be contacted at marta.erlandson@usask.ca

Corey Tomczak

Dr. Corey Tomczak, PhD, Assistant Professor,
College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan

  • Academic Background:
    • Postdoctoral Fellowship - Rehabilitation Medicine (University of Alberta)
      • Ph.D. - Rehabilitation Medicine (University of Alberta)
      • M.Sc. - Kinesiology (University of Regina)
      • B.A - Psychology (Luther College, University of Regina)
  • Research areas: Cardiovascular Physiology, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Heart Failure and Congenital Heart Disease

 

Kristi Wright

Dr. Kristi Wright, PhD, Registered Doctoral Psychologist Professor & Clinical Placement Coordinator
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Regina

Dr. Wright completed her PhD in clinical psychology at Dalhousie University and her predoctoral residency in the Department of Clinical Health Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba. Dr. Wright’s research efforts focuses on exploring the many facets of anxiety in children with health-related concerns and worries (e.g., worries about health and surgery) in typically developing children and those with specialized health needs [e.g., children with CHD and cystic fibrosis (CF)] and developing appropriate assessment methods and patient-informed innovative intervention options for these clinical concerns. Her efforts have included the development of an evidence-based, interactive, Internet-delivered preoperative preparation program (I-PPP) for children undergoing day surgery which will be integrated into preoperative preparation at the newly built Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

In 2018, Dr. Wright was awarded a Patient-Oriented Research Leader Award from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) to fund patient-oriented research designed to facilitate a better understanding of the psychological functioning and needs of children and adolescents with CF and inform the development and delivery of an Internet-delivered mental health prevention program for these youth. She leads a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)-funded state-of-the-art laboratory for innovative research projects designed to understand and improve health and well-being of children. Dr. Wright has published widely in these areas.

 

Tim Bradley

Dr. Tim Bradley, MBChB DCH FRACP,
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from New Zealand, Dr. Bradley obtained his medical degree at the University of Otago, New Zealand in 1990. He completed his Pediatric and Pediatric Cardiology training in 2002, training at Wellington Hospital, New Zealand, the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. He was a Pediatric Cardiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto from 2004 to 2015. He joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2016.

His clinical interests include echocardiography, fetal echocardiography and aortic and vascular diseases. His research is focused on the detection of premature atherosclerosis in at-risk pediatric disease populations and developing a better understanding of aortic wall biomechanics that predispose to aortic disease. His research expertise is in non-invasive assessment of arterial stiffness in children and he is working on the development of a method which will have general clinical applicability to all at-risk pediatric disease populations.

In 2017, Dr. Bradley was awarded a Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Research Grant, along with the rest of the CHAMPS investigators, to help further develop the CHAMPS: Children’s Healthy-Heart and Activity Monitoring Program is Saskatchewan. The aim of the CHAMPS program is to longitudinally assess cardiovascular, metabolic, nutritional, body composition, physical activity levels and psychological health measures in children with congenital heart disease. His focus in this project is to identify predictors of arterial stiffness, a very strong predictor of adult onset cardiovascular diseases, which are being increasingly recognized in children growing up with congenital heart disease.

Charissa Pockett

Dr. Charissa Pockett, MD FRCPC,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from Manitoba, Dr. Pockett obtained her medical degree at the University of Calgary in 2005 and completed her Pediatric training at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary in 2009, including 6 months at the Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. She completed her Pediatric Cardiology training at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in 2012. She joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2012. Then in 2014, she completed 1 year of additional Pediatric Interventional Cardiology training at the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. Her clinical interests include interventional cardiology and single ventricle physiology.

Dr. Pockett has been a member of the CHAMPS team since its inception and collaborates on various projects and initiatives the team undertakes. She is currently the Principal investigator for a study entitled “Using Remote Presence Robotic Technology for Pediatric Heart Murmur Assessment: A Pilot Study.” She sits on two Master students committees and works with learners of various levels of training. She is currently co-supervising a Dean’s Project summer student looking into ventricular septal defects and their association with hemolytic anemia.

Dr. Pockett is an avid traveler whose adventures have included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, gorilla trekking in the jungles of Uganda, scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and snorkeling in the Galapagos islands. She enjoys photography,  running and most of all, spending time with her family.

Scott Pharis

Dr. Scott Pharis, MD BSc FRCPC,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from Saskatchewan, Dr. Pharis obtained his medical degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 2003 and completed his Pediatric training at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2007. He completed his Pediatric Cardiology training and 1 year of additional Pediatric Interventional Cardiology training at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in 2011. He joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2011. His clinical interests include interventional cardiology.

Gitanjali Mansukhani

Dr. Gitanjali Mansukhani, MBBS FRACP,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Mansukhani obtained her medical degree at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Nagpur, India in 2001. She completed her Pediatric training at University of Mumbai in 2007. She subsequently moved to Australia where she trained further in Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology in Melbourne and Perth. She completed her Pediatric Cardiology training with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2015. She also trained in Pediatric Cardiology at Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton for 3.5 years and completed fellowships in Pediatric Heart transplant and heart failure and Advanced Pediatric Echocardiography in 2017.

She joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in Feb 2018. Her clinical interests include echocardiography, fetal echocardiography and heart failure and transplant.

Dr. Mansukhani’s research is focused on Pediatric Cardiomyopathy, Single ventricle and Pediatric Heart Transplant. Her previous projects have been focused on pulse oximetry screening for congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension in single ventricle patients.

She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. In her free time, she loves listening to music and watching movies. She loves Netflix!

Erin Barbour-Tuck

Erin Barbour-Tuck, BSc (Kin) PhD,
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pediatric Cardiovascular Research, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Erin is an experienced health researcher with an interest in understanding life-long health trajectories, and factors in childhood and adolescents that contribute to chronic diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes that occur later in life. With a background in Kinesiology, Erin is interested in identifying the ways that factors such as physical activity, healthy diet, and family and community connectedness and support contribute to optimal health in children from different sociocultural backgrounds and with differing underlying conditions.

Erin’s passion for this area of research stems from her extended family’s own experiences with these diseases, and her desire to see her own three young children and their peers grow up with a better chance at lifelong health.

Barbara Colvin

Barbara Colvin, BSHEc MA,
Research facilitator, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Barbara provides research facilitation support for Dr. Tim Bradley. She has an extensive background in research administration and research ethics. She started her career as a clinical dietitian and went on to do a Masters in health policy. She also teaches professional ethics and in her spare time supports ecology and waste reduction projects in her hometown of Saskatoon.

Dr. T. Dylan Olver

Dr. T. Dylan Olver, PhD, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences, WCVM, University of Saskatchewan

Academic Background:

Postdoctoral Fellowship – University of Missouri (focus: cardiogenic dementia). Graduate Training – Western University (focus: blood flow control in nervous tissue).

Research areas: Heart-Brain connection, Cardiovascular and Exercise Physiology.

 

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Lynne Telfer

Lynne Telfer, Registered Nurse,
Patient Family Advocate

Lynne was raised in Saskatchewan and worked as a Registered Nurse in the province, spending most of her career working with adult cardiac patients. She is also the mother of an adult son with Congenital Heart Disease. After her son’s second heart surgery, she had many questions about his continued care including physical activity, nutrition requirements, emotional needs, as well as addressing his need for information about his heart issues. 

In 2011 Lynne received a grant from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses for her idea to create a program that supports heart children and their families. This led to the creation of the Children’s Healthy-Heart Monitoring Program in Saskatchewan (CHAMPS) with researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina, who study the effects of heart disease in children, the Department of Pediatric Cardiology at Royal University Hospital, and other parents of children with congenital or acquired heart disease. The need for funding  the camp led to the establishment of the Mending Little Hearts Fund. 

Juanita Praksas

Juanita Praksas, RN, Patient Family Advocate

Juanita was raised in Saskatchewan and became a Registered Nurse while caring for her son who was born with a congenital heart defect. At the time her son was born, babies with his specific heart defect were not expected to live into adulthood so there was little focus placed on exercise or other necessary supports (ie. nutritional and psychological).  Their main focus was day to day survival.

Juanita met Lynne Telfer in 2012 with each expressing concerns with the difficulties their heart children encountered when navigating physical activity programs, especially during their school years. This meeting, along with the support of Pediatric Cardiology at the Royal University Hospital and the Researchers/Professors at the University of Saskatchewan, lead to the beginning of the CHAMPS camp. The Mending Little Heart Fund was then developed out of the need to raise funds for the support of this camp and related research.

Anna Maton

Anna Maton, Volunteer Fundraiser

Anna was raised in Saskatchewan and resides in Saskatoon with her partner and four children. With over 15 years experience in event planning and volunteering for different charitable organizations Anna has helped to raise awareness and funds for this organization. She has a son named William that had open heart surgery when he was three years old so her connection to this organization is strong. Her role is a volunteer position where she runs our social media, events and assists with sponsorship opportunities for CHAMPS Camp.

Dana Lahti

Dana Lahti, MSc, ACSM-CEP,
CHAMPS Coordinator

Dana was raised in Saskatoon, and obtained both her undergraduate and master’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. She is a certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Dana has been involved with CHAMPS Camp since 2016, and is currently the camp coordinator. She creates and plans the CHAMPS programming, and has helped out with numerous research studies involving children with Congenital Heart Disease at the University of Saskatchewan. Outside of CHAMPS, Dana is a competitive softball player and enjoys hiking in the mountains.