Dr. Leslie E. Roos is an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba, with appointments in Psychology and Pediatrics. She aims to prevent the intergenerational transmission of stress-linked health inequities by developing scalable programs that promote parent mental health and family relationships. In her basic science research, Dr. Roos takes a multi-modal approach across neurobiology, cognitive function, and parent-child observation methods to identify opportunities to improve program efficacy. Dr. Roos also consults on program evaluation with local agencies and international teams to advance community-sourced solutions for stress-exposed families, starting in the prenatal period. Dr. Roos completed her clinical residency at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Oregon (2018). She is Junior Fellow at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Affiliated Researcher with the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and Chair of the Academic Research Committee at the Until the Last Child Foundation. Research support includes grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Research Manitoba, The Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba. As a mother of two young children, Dr. Roos is also familiar with many parenting challenges and continually impressed with the incredible effort families put forward every day.
Nellie Kennedy is employed by the Province of Manitoba as a Community Service Worker with the Community Living Disability Services Program. She supports vulnerable adults, coordinates services, and is an expert at system navigation. Despite having these skills, Nellie experienced significant mental health difficulties soon after the birth of her son in 2009, and then later with her daughter in 2013. Nellie experienced postpartum depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Her personal journey of recovery was challenging as the supports and services weren’t easily accessible or simply did not exist in Manitoba. Her personal lived experience fuelled her passion to advocate for change and improve the information and support available to women and their families experiencing perinatal mental health issues. In April 2011, Nellie co-founded the Postpartum Depression Association of Manitoba, and led the development of a website that acts as a central hub for resources on perinatal mental health. Since its launch, over 50,000 visitors have gone to the website. Engaging with media, health care providers, and the public, Nellie shares her story with the goal of improving public awareness on this mental health issue. Nellie has been instrumental in leading advocacy and creating change to improve the available supports women need to heal from their illness and care for their children. Nellie has also been nominated for a Mental Health Heroes award through the Canadian Mental Health Association under the Inspiring Individual Award category.