Meredith Campbell, Director, Programs 

Nancy Carter, Director, REAL Evaluation Services 

Robert Chatwin, Manager, Performance Accountability and Evaluation

Krista Connell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Mark Embrett, Manager, REAL Knowledge Program 

Emily Faulkner, Communications Officer

Vanessa Fitzgerald, Data Analyst 

Marli MacNeil, Executive Director

Sarah Mudge, Financial Administrator 

Jason Nichols, Incoming Corporate Assistant, Executive 

Leslie Power, Manager, Research Programs 

Marian Ritcey, Corporate Assistant, Executive 

Meredith Campbell
Director, Programs

Meredith oversees the NSHRF’s programs and special projects. She works collaboratively with program managers to enhance operations and to actively engage stakeholders in the development of a vibrant provincial health research enterprise. Meredith is passionate about using a system-wide lens to analyze and address challenges and opportunities. Building collaborative, interdisciplinary teams to address knowledge gaps andfind solutions is a central component of her role.

Meredith has worked in the health field for twenty years. Her experience spans research, program administration, project management, and policy development both locally and internationally, including Vietnam and West Africa. 

Meredith has worked for key health-related organizations, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF), Heart Health Nova Scotia, and the Lung Association of Nova Scotia. While at HSF, Meredith planned, directed, implemented and evaluated a province-wide program providing health leadership training and development to family resource centres and clients. This project, known as Leaders Among Us, was recognized by both the Ontario Heart Health Research Centre and Health Canada as a best-practice model for heart health promotion. 

Meredith holds a Master of Arts in International Development Studies, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in International Relations and has successfully completed the Province of Nova Scotia's Executive Leadership Development Program.

Nancy Carter
Director, REAL Evaluation Services

Nancy's work provides guidance and advice to catalyze evaluation initiatives for Nova Scotia’s health system. Her role is to build capacity for and a culture of evaluation in Nova Scotia’s health system.
Nancy holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Applied Social Psychology from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Nancy's doctoral dissertation work investigated workers experience of performing necessary evils in the workplace. Other broad research interests include ethical issues in organizations, organizational evaluation processes, evidence-based/informed decision making, organizational culture as well as knowledge use and dissemination in organizations.
Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, Nancy worked as an evaluation and research consultant in Atlantic Canada. Her theoretical knowledge gained through formal education, combined with practical experience as a consultant, has given Nancy considerable expertise in applied social science research methods as well as evaluation-specific processes and tools. She has had her work published in a peer-reviewed journal and written up in the Washington Post and O! Magazine. She has presented at national and international conferences and has lectured in the areas of program evaluation, research methods, organizational strategy and theory, human resource management and negotiations. Nancy has also been awarded the professional designation of Credentialed Evaluator by the Canadian Evaluation Society. 

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Robert Chatwin
Manager, Performance Accountability and Evaluation

Robert oversees the NSHRF's efforts to assess, document and communicate its performance to stakeholders. In addition, he is responsible to facilitate the evaluation of programs and services provided by the NSHRF. 

Robert has over 30 years of experience in health and human service organizations at the community, regional, provincial and national levels in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Prior to joining the NSHRF, Robert worked for the Public Health Agency of Canada – Community Acquired Infections where his work focused on evaluation, performance measurement, monitoring and planning. During his time in Alberta as Director of Accountability and Planning, Robert led a team developing an information system for performance measurement, planning and evaluation of community mental health services.

Robert holds a Master of Social Work and is currently the Treasurer of the Canadian Evaluation Society. Rob has also been awarded the professional designation of Credentialed Evaluator by the Canadian Evaluation Society. 

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 Krista Connell
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Krista is responsible for providing the leadership and professional guidance necessary for the NSHRF to attain its mandate of improving the health of Nova Scotians through health research.

Krista works collaboratively with the NSHRF Board of Directors and its many stakeholders to support increased research activity and capacity in Nova Scotia. She acts as a knowledge broker in facilitating the use of health research results in health-system decision making and is the NSHRF key spokesperson with many audiences including the media. She leads and is responsible for outreach to the research community and users of health research in the broadest sense.

In addition to working within Nova Scotia, Krista also champions health research initiatives nationally and internationally. Krista regularly serves on external review committees for other health research-related organizations and is a member of various boards and working groups including the Canadian Cochrane Network Centre Advisory Board (Chair); the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, Advisory Council (Chair) and serves on the Canadian Arrhythmia Network's (CANet) Board of Directors. Krista is also a founding member of the National Alliance of Provincial Health Research Organizations and served as a co-chair from 2004 to 2006 and from 2008 to 2009.

Due to her extensive experience working in the many facets of health, Krista is regularly called upon to speak at national and international events regarding the role of health research in supporting evidence-informed decision making and the many benefits of health research. She was awarded a Canadian Progress Club of Halifax Women of Excellence Award in the Management and Professions Category in 2012; a 2013 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award in the Public Sector Category; and was named one of Atlantic Canada's Top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business Magazine in 2014. 

Before progressing to her current role as CEO, Krista held various positions in the health sector evolving from a practicing Physiotherapist in a clinical setting in Alberta and Nova Scotia to a program manager responsible for administering health care benefits at the Workers’ Compensation Board in Nova Scotia. Krista has also taught at the university level and currently enjoys an Adjunct Appointment in the Faculty of Health Professions at Dalhousie University.

Krista holds a Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from Dalhousie University. She has also completed the Province of Nova Scotia’s Executive Leadership Development Program.

In her spare time, Krista enjoys spending time with her family, working with her hands as a potter and supporting Bide Awhile Animal Shelter.

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Mark Embrett
Manager, REAL Knowledge Program

As Manager, REAL Knowledge Program, Mark is responsible for collaborating with a broad group of stakeholders throughout Nova Scotia’s health system in supporting the generation and use of knowledge and informed decision-making to jointly develop programs that improve health system performance and the health of Nova Scotians.  


Prior to joining NSHRF, Mark completed a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Health Systems Impact Fellowship in collaboration with Canada Health Infoway and McMaster University. There he led research associated with the adoption of evidence-informed policies and practices in digital health systems. Mark also brings experience in evidence-informed decision-making, public policy, digital health, and mental health from his time leading research at the IWK Health Centre, Capital District Health Authority, and Precision Health Economics. Mark has success communicating his research through international publications and presentations. 

Mark holds a PhD in Health Policy from McMaster University, a Master’s of Applied Health Services Research from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from St. Francis Xavier University.

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Emily Faulkner
Communications Office

As the Communications Officer, Emily reports to the Executive Director. She is responsible for maintaining NSHRF’s web presence, coordinating corporate functions, social media and supporting the NSHRF in disseminating information and knowledge in a timely and practical manner. She is also responsible for overseeing the development of the NSHRF’s Annual Report and the coordination of multiple communications projects to promote the programs, services and initiatives of the NSHRF.

Before joining the NSHRF, Emily completed internships with the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU), the Maritime Intestinal Research Alliance (MIRA) at the IWK, and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), Halifax, NS.  

Emily holds a Bachelor of Public Relations (BPR) degree from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), and a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Francis Xavier University (St.FX). 

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Vanessa Fitzgerald
Program and Data Anaylist 

Reporting to the Manager, Performance Accountability and Evaluation, Vanessa oversees the execution of internal and external information requests. She is accountable for data quality and sharing information to ensure both the day-to-day and continuous-quality-improvement business needs of the NSHRF are metHer responsibilities include creating and deploying surveys, developing analytical reports, and supporting evaluation work. She also is a primary support to NSHRF’s Grant Management System (GMS).

Prior to joining NSHRF, Vanessa completed internships at Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Health Authority. She holds a Bachelor of Informatics with a Major in Health Informatics from Dalhousie University. 

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Marli MacNeil
Executive Director

Marli oversees NSHRF’s operations and communications, manages the Foundation’s Business Unit, and is responsible for the strategic coordination of collaboration and partnership programs. Ensuring that publicly funded health research in the province is of the highest quality and meets public/governmental priorities is an integral part of her mandate.

With more than 30 years in management, 12 of which were spent working with Nova Scotia’s life sciences community, Marli brings relevant experience and expertise to her position. She is a proven leader in creating and maintaining cooperative and collaborative relationships, building consensus on goals, creating and implementing strategic direction and organization management.

Marli holds degrees in journalism and political science and has received the professional designation of Certified Association Executive (C.A.E.). An avid traveler, she spends as much of her free time as possible in Europe, especially on Malta.

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Sarah Mudge
Financial Administrator

As the Financial Administrator, Sarah reports to the Executive Director. She is responsible for the daily financial administration needs of the organization, maintaining records, preparing monthly statements, preparing audits, and assisting in projects as needed. 

Before joining the NSHRF, Sarah worked in Vancouver’s manufacturing sector as an accounts payable professional, where she developed her skills in finance and accounting. 

Sarah holds a business diploma from Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with major in accounting from St. Mary’s University (SMU). 

In her spare time, Sarah plays tennis and enjoys sewing. 

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Jason Nichols
Corporate Assistant, Executive 

Jason is the assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and provides administrative support to the Board of Directors and general administration around the offices.

Prior to joining the NSHRF, Jason was a British Army Officer for 20 years providing projects and support to leaders and executives around the world.   Upon returning to his maritime roots, Jason worked as an Administration and Operations Coordinator for a Global Business team in ADP, Dartmouth. In his spare time, Jason still enjoys playing sports, enjoys being adventurous outside hiking. 

Jason holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Leadership and Executive Management from City and Guilds Institute, London, UK and is Project Certified with the Association of Project Management Professionals in London, UK.

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Leslie Power
Manager, Research Programs

Leslie oversees the Competitive Capacity Grants, Research Capacity Awards and the offering for support to the health research community through workshops and other initiatives. Leslie is also responsible for the development of new programs and initiatives that will increase research capacity in Nova Scotia.

Before joining the NSHRF, Leslie was the Atlantic Regional Manager for Ovarian Cancer Canada. There she spearheaded stakeholder collaborations, managed multiple programs within the region and was actively involved in national program development. Leslie also brings international health experience from her time working in Lesotho, Africa, where she managed health education and gender equity initiatives. She has also worked locally with organizations such as the YMCA, Phoenix Youth Programs and the Canadian Forces.

Leslie holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion from Dalhousie University, Diploma in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University and is currently completing a Master Certificate in Project Management at St. Mary's University.

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Marian Ritcey
Corporate Assistant

Marian is the assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and provides administrative support to the Board of Directors and the Research Advisory Committee.

Prior to joining the NSHRF, Marian was employed by Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia (GANS) for five years as the Administration Coordinator. Before joining GANS, Marian honed her administrative skills in roles at the former T. Eaton Company Ltd where she completed the Management Trainee program; Northwood Homecare; and with the Girl Guides of Canada, Nova Scotia Council. She brings over 30 years of experience in Human Resource and Office and Retail Management from those positions.


Marian has a Bachelor of Arts from Acadia University and spends much of her time volunteering with Girl Guides in her community.

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