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Research Team

Dr. Kelly Dean Schwartz, PhD, RPsych

Nominated Principal Applicant

is Associate Professor, School and Applied Child Psychology, in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. As a registered psychologist, Dr. Schwartz has been engaged in the study of children, youth, and their families for over 25 years, most notably focusing on the development assets and family strengths contributing to healthy development and thriving. As Director of the Social Development Research Team (SDRT), his lab has received provincial and national grants to study child and youth engagement with social media and technology, international positive youth development, student mental health, and resiliency in first responder and military families. As a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and the Owerko Centre, Dr. Schwartz also serves on numerous community, provincial, and national boards, advisory committees, and national institutes focused on research and training that informs evidence-based psychological services (prevention and intervention) for children, youth, and families.  

Dr. Megan McElheran, PsyD, RPsych

Principal Knowledge User

is a Clinical Psychologist and CEO of Wayfound Mental Health Group, a community-based psychology practice headquartered in Calgary, AB. Dr. McElheran is creator of the Before Operational Stress (BOS) program, which is an empirically-informed upstream program for employees of high psychological risk occupations. Dr. McElheran began working with uniformed service personnel in 2004, at which time she had the opportunity to train extensively within the National Center for PTSD, a branch of the United States Veterans Affairs Administration. This training introduced McElheran to the unique factors that affect military members and Veterans, and how therapeutic interventions must be adapted to effectively serve these populations. Returning to Canada in 2008, she began working with Canadian military members, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Veterans. Over the years the populations she serves have expanded to include other PSP groups, including municipal police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and correctional services officers. She continues to provide empirically-supported treatments for operational stress injuries to individuals and groups of PSP, and focuses significantly on the development of innovative programming for PSP.

Dr. Hanna Duffy, PhD, RPsych

Postdoctoral Fellow

is a registered psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education. She completed her PhD in School and Applied Child Psychology at the University of Calgary and her pre-doctoral residency at Renfrew Educational Services and Rocky View Schools. Dr. Duffy’s research primarily focuses on supporting first responder families. Her current work focuses on the development and implementation of an evidence-informed psychoeducation and support program for spouses of first responders. Dr. Duffy aims to expand the scope of her current work to provide psychoeducation and support for children and adolescents from first responder families.

Dr. Andrea Stelnicki, PhD, RPsych


is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Regina. Stelnicki is currently heading several projects evaluating programs for PSP, including the BOS program evaluation project and tracking the mental health of PSP peer supporters. Stelnicki’s experience evaluating the BOS program (Stelnicki et al., 2019) provides her with expertise to further develop the BOS-Family intervention and manage data collection for the current project. She completed her doctoral research focusing on the well-being of military-connected youth in the context of parental mental disorders, with two papers related to the military family project currently under peer review. Stelnicki is also a registered psychologist specializing in assessment and intervention for children and adolescents. Stelnicki will act as the Sex and Gender Champion, along with supporting the intervention implementation.

Dr. Tim Black, PhD, RPsych


is an Associate Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Victoria, a specialist in PTSD and group counselling approaches, the National Clinical Co-Advisor to Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC), and the co-founder of WWC’s Couples Overcoming PTSD Every Day (COPE) Program, Trauma Resiliency Programs (TRP1 and TRP2), and the peer-led trauma education program Trauma Resiliency Training (TRT) for Trauma Exposed Professionals (TExP – including professions such as military, police, fire, paramedic, corrections, health care). Dr. Black has trained clinicians across Canada and internationally to deliver WWC programs and he currently works with TExP organizations, locally and nationally, to help educate and support their members in learning about the effects of professional serial trauma-exposure, and the importance of acquiring skills in managing post-traumatic responses.

Research Assistants

Daranne Harris is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. Daranne brings her experience as project lead for Dr. Schwartz’ NeuroNexus challenge and supports the wearable technology aspects of the BOS-Family intervention proposed in this study.

​Marisa Van Bavel is a doctoral student in educational psychology who brings experience with urban and indigenous populations and strength-based approaches.

Michelle Redekop is a PhD student in Counselling Psychology and has clinical experience with families, as well as military and RCMP populations experiencing OSI’s. Her doctoral research focuses on women firefighters’ experiences of harassment, discrimination, and resilience.

Kathleen Oliver has a PhD in Psychology from McMaster University and is currently a MSc student in Counselling Psychology. Kathleen brings a wealth of knowledge in research methods and neuroscience to the team.

Jodi Gregory is the Project Coordinator of the study. Jodi is a Masters student in Clinical Social Work offering over ten years of collaboration with youth serving police officers in both Calgary and Vancouver.