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Dr. John Whelan

Dr. Whelan is a registered Psychologist and Director of Assessment-Treatment Services for Whelan Psychological Services. He is a clinician, researcher, and program administrator.

He joined the Canadian Forces in 1977 and left in 1985 to pursue academic training. Dr. Whelan served as Executive Director of a long-term facility for addiction treatment from 1986 to 1991. He completed a Master’s Degree in Clinical/Community Psychology in 1994, conducting research and publishing academic articles on the effectiveness of workplace employee assistance programs. In the mid-1990s he was an Employee Assistance Program Specialist providing clinical services (i.e., assessment, therapy, CISD, and case management), program management and consultation to hospitals, public companies, and federal government agencies.

Dr. Whelan completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology focusing on the effectiveness of addiction treatment programs. He served as Director of Addiction Services for the Canadian Forces Atlantic (1997-2004) and entered full-time private practice in 2004 providing assessment, therapy, and consultation to civilian and federal organizations.

Gail Nystrom

Gail Nystrom is the founder of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation which was founded in 1997. This organization was designed to support at-risk populations so they could improve the quality of their lives while, at the same time, educating volunteers to become more compassionate in their use of resources and skills.

Gail has spent over 45 years doing charitable work in Costa Rica. She arrived in Costa Rica in 1978 following a long-held dream of helping people less fortunate than herself. She was posted in the country with the Peace Corps and after her assignments were over, she returned to the US for one year but realized she missed the kindness of the people of Costa Rica and quickly returned to the country where she led various programs and initiatives, helping refugees and homeless families and children (some suffering from addiction issues).

Manuela Joannou M.D. CCFP(EM)

Dr. Manuela Joannou is a Family Physician and Emergency Physician currently practicing in Perth, Ontario. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University. She is also the Medical Director of Project Trauma Support, a novel program that she has developed that addresses PTSD in military members, veterans and first responders.

Dr. Joannou graduated from the University of Ottawa with an honours degree in Biochemistry and Nutrition in 1986 and graduated from the University of Ottawa Medical School in 1990. She completed her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Ottawa in 1992 and then achieved Special Competency in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care, also from the University of Ottawa.

She developed an interest in PTSD and moral injury in first responders and military members and veterans after a paramedic colleague died by suicide 3 years ago.
She is on the Peer and Trauma Support systems team of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada. Dr. Joannou is also on an international working group that is studying moral injury among military and first responder populations.


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