Our Alumni Chapter

The School of Public Health Alumni Chapter (SPHAC) was approved in 2011 as an alumni chapter under the auspices of the University of Alberta Alumni Association. All graduates of programs in the Centre for Health Promotion Studies and the (former) Department of Public Health Sciences are members.

This new, unified chapter was launched in cooperation with the executives of two previous chapters affiliated with our School: the Public Health Sciences Alumni Association (PHSAA) and the Health Promotion Alumni Association (HPAA). 

This new chapter represents renewed enthusiasm and commitment to pursue mutually beneficial goals. We are excited about the opportunities to strengthening relations between our School and alumni.

We invite you to read on and meet your alumni chapter executive.

SPHAC Executive Members

  • Emma Wilkins (MPH '10); chair

    Emma is a research coordinator in the Centre for Health Promotion Studies at the School of Public Health. During her time as a student she became the president of the Health Promotion Graduate Students’ Association and worked with the Public Health Sciences Students’ Association to begin the process of integrating the two organizations. 

    Emma is also a member of the International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research, chairs a Community Research Advisory Committee at the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition and volunteers regularly at the Green & Gold Community Garden, an initiative of the School and the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences.

  • Michele Moon (BScOT '92, MSc '05); director

    Michele works as a sessional instructor and research project coordinator for the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta. For many years, she has worked in program development and evaluation for interdisciplinary teams and has worked clinically as an occupatioanl therapist in pain management, mental health, psychiatry and geriatrics. 

    Michele is committed to translating reliable research into quality programs, policy and health initiatives. She credits her public health degree with inspiring these interests and expanding her skills in these areas.

    Michele sits on the board of the Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists and the Conference Planning Committee of the Calgary Pain Education Foundation. She is passionate about inter-professional practice and connecting people to generate ideas. She sees the alumni association as an excellent forum for facilitating these relationships. 

  • Ali Assi (MPH '15); director

    Ali earned his doctor of medicine from Ryazan State Medical University in 2013. In 2015, he graduated with a master of public health in global health from the University of Alberta. His research and work interests lie in the dynamics of health and its social determinants among Aboriginal communities, refugees and immigrants.

    As a student, Ali served as the president of the School of Public Health Students’ Association and was co-founder of the University of Alberta Jericho Project.

    Ali has also volunteered extensively with non-governmental organizations and social groups including; Red Cross, Student Health Initiative for the Needs of Edmonton and iHuman Youth Society.

    He continues to be a member of the Canadian Public Health Association and the Canadian Evaluation Association.

  • Kayla Atkey (MSc '14); director

    Kayla Atkey is the policy analyst for the Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention, located in the School of Public Health. In this role, Kayla helps to coordinate the activities of the coalition as well as synthesizes evidence on policy activities to reduce chronic disease in Alberta. Kayla is also a board member for Alberta Food Matters and the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada, and is a member of the leadership council for Farm to Cafeteria Canada.

    As a student, Kayla was actively involved in the school of public health community and served on the School of Public Health Students’ Association as the external relations coordinator.

    Kayla is passionate about health promotion from an ecological lens and the use of collaborative advocacy to facilitate healthy policy change.

  • Paul Childs (MPH '05); director-at-large

    Paul graduated from the master of public health program in 2005 specializing in management and health economics. He has worked for over 25 years in health care policy at the provincial, national and international levels with medical and health professional associations, as well as federal and provincial governments. His work has been in the areas of primary health care, non-profit association management, strategic planning, physician remuneration negotiations, health care utilization analysis and health technology assessment.

    Following four years with Alberta Health Services Paul joined Alberta Health in June 2015 as director of governance and strategy.

    In addition to being a director-at-large for the Chapter, he is currently the School of Public Health's faculty representative on the University of Alberta's Alumni Council. 

  • Christina Velasco; School of Public Health Students' Association Representative

    Christine is a MPH student in health policy and management with School of Public Health. Her interests include exploring health policy development with an emphasis on stakeholder engagement and participatory practice, as well as examining barriers to health policy development in under-resourced settings.

    Christina is an executive member of the School of Public Health Students' Association where she holds the position of external relations representative. She is also a student representative for the Student Health Initiative for the Needs of Edmonton (SHINE). Christina also serves as the senior external relations executive member for the student chapter of the Canadian Doctors for Medicare. She enjoys all things living, virtually every outdoor activity and connecting with others at every chance she gets. 

  • Danielle Perry; School of Public Health Students' Association representative

    Danielle is a MSc student in epidemiology with the School of Public Health.  Her research focus is falls research and mobility disability in patients with obesity.  Her research interests include chronic conditions and the impact of early-onset conditions on long-term health.  She holds a nursing degree from the University of Prince Edward Island and plans to pursue a career in medicine with a focus on evidence-based practice.

    Danielle is an executive member of the School of Public Health Students’ Association where she holds the position of social coordinator.  She is also an outreach ambassador with the Students’ International Health Association (SIHA).  In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

  • Donna Richardson (BCom '85, MEd '89); School representative

    Donna is the director of marketing and alumni relations in the School of Public Health. In this role, she leads a talented team of marketing and communications professionals in the daily activities of the Office of Marketing and Alumni Relations. 

    Prior to joining the University of Alberta in 1999, Donna worked at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology for 19 years. There, she taught in the marketing program and, later, served as communications specialist in Community Relations.

    Donna is enthusiastic about the possibilities that come with helping alumni stay connected to each other, as well as with the School of Public Health.

  • Rachel Harper (BA '07); School representative

    Rachel is the communications and alumni associate in the School of Public Health. In this role, she coordinates a broad portfolio of activities in support of the goals and objectives of the School. 

    Prior to joining the University of Alberta in 2014, Rachel worked in the not-for-profit sector for over six years holding various roles in health promotion and amateur sport development. 

    Rachel is looking forward to helping all stakeholders stay engaged and involved with the School. 

School of Public Health Alumni Chapter Terms of Reference

1. Name: The name of the committee shall be the University of Alberta School of Public Health Alumni Chapter, hereinafter known as the Chapter.


2. Mission: To support School of Public Health alumni to champion public health approaches; to foster a sense of community among alumni; and to promote the goals and values of the School of Public Health.

3. Chapter Membership:

3.1 All graduates of programs offered by the School of Public Health shall be members of the Chapter.

3.2 All graduates of programs offered by the Department of Public Health Sciences (previously known as the Department of Health Services Administration and Community Medicine) and the Centre for Health Promotion Studies prior to the formation of the School of Public Health in 2006 are members of this Chapter.

3.3 Any individual who has rendered outstanding service to the Chapter may become an honorary member upon identification as such by the Executive Committee. 

4. Executive Committee: 

4.1 The Executive Committee, guided by the mission and supporting work plan, will implement the goals of the Chapter, as long as they are not in conflict with the University of Alberta, the University of Alberta Alumni Association, or the School of Public Health or its student groups or clubs.

4.2 The powers of the Executive Committee shall include:

4.2.1 Promoting the goals of the Chapter

4.2.2 Recommending an annual budget for the Chapter

4.2.3 Raising funds for scholarships or bursaries

4.2.4 Making policies, rules and regulations for operating the Chapter


4.3 The Executive Committee shall consist of the following members:

4.3.1 Chair

4.3.2 A maximum of five Directors, with at least two that are based in Edmonton and at least one that is not based in Edmonton

4.3.3 A maximum of two student representatives

4.3.4 A maximum of two representatives from the School of Public Health, with one having responsibility for marketing, communications and alumni relations

4.3.5 Past Chair
4.3.6 A maximum of two Directors-at-Large

4.4 The Chair will assume the following duties:

4.4.1 Preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee. In the absence of the Chair, a chairperson shall be appointed by the members present.

4.4.2 Work in collaboration with the Executive Committee to establish work plans, implementation timelines and high level evaluation of progress.

4.4.3 Work with the representative(s) from the School of Public Health who will provide Secretariat functions.

4.4.4 Work in collaboration with the Executive Committee to establish the Chapter meeting schedule and prepare and circulate an agenda in advance of meetings.

4.4.5 Review the Chapter meeting minutes for accuracy and distribute them to the Executive Committee and to the University’s Office of Alumni Relations.

4.4.6 Liaise with the University’s Office of Alumni Relations and forward, as requested, minutes, reports, Chapter news, and other information.

4.4.7 Develop Chapter related documents as required.

4.5 The five Directors, student representatives, School of Public Health representative(s) and Directors-at-Large will assume the following duties:

4.5.1 Champion the mission and goals of SPHAC.

4.5.2 Attend and actively participate in Chapter Executive meetings.

4.5.3 Serve on sub-committees formed to achieve the Chapter’s mission and goals.

4.5.4 Serve, on occasion, as volunteers at Chapter-related events and activities as location permits.

4.6 A quorum shall consist of a majority (50% + 1) of members of the committee. A consensus model shall be used for decision making.

4.7 Recruitment for the SPHAC Executive members will occur as follows:

4.7.1 Recruitment of Chair

4.7.1.1 Will be the responsibility of the incumbent SPHAC Chair.

4.7.1.2 Will preferably come from the pool of current executive who have served a minimum of two years.

4.7.2 Recruitment of Directors

4.7.2.1 The Chair will call for nominations and the names of potential suitable candidates will be confirmed.

4.7.2.2 An Executive Committee member will be assigned to gauge the potential candidate’s interest.

4.7.2.3 At an Executive Committee meeting the candidates will be confirmed and the Chair will subsequently notify the person and advise them of the next meeting date.

4.7.2.4 A staggered approach to recruitment will be used when possible, to optimize continuity.

4.7.3 Recruitment of School of Public Health Representatives

4.7.3.1 The senior person responsible for marketing, communications and alumni relations will be designated as the representative.

4.7.3.2 Additional School representatives may be recommended by the person designated in 4.7.3.1

4.7.4 Recruitment of Student Representatives

4.7.4.1 The Chair will ask for a maximum of two representatives from the School of Public Health Student Association (SPHSA).

4.7.5 Recruitment of Past Chair

4.7.5.1 The Past Chair will be encouraged to serve a one year term to support the Executive Committee’s transition to new leadership.

4.7.6 Recruitment of Directors-at-Large

4.7.6.1 Director-at-Large positions shall be used to allow recognized leaders to continue to serve on the Chapter after a prior term is complete and to allow the Chapter access to people with specialized expertise.

4.7.6.2 Directors-at-Large are considered full members of Executive Committee and have the same duties and responsibilities.

4.7.6.3 It is desirable that one of the Directors-at- Large be a member of the University’s Alumni Council.

4.8 Appointment of members for the SPHAC will occur as follows:

4.8.1 The Chair of SPHAC and the SPH representative will share new SPHAC member’s names with the Dean, SPH.

4.8.2 A welcome letter, on SPH letterhead, co-signed by the Dean, SPH and Chair, SPHAC will be sent to each new member and to members assuming new roles.

4.8.3 Appointments for the Chair and Directors will be for a period of not less than two years with the option to renew for one two-year term. An officer shall not serve more than two successive terms in one position.

4.8.4 Appointments of the School of Public Health Representatives will be ongoing for the duration of their position with the School of Public Health.

4.8.5 Appointments of the Student representatives will be at the discretion of the School of Public Health Student Association Executive.

4.8.6 Appointments and timeframes for the Director-at-Large positions will be mutually agreed upon by the individual and the Chair.

4.8.7 If an appointed member resigns their position or otherwise ceases to hold their position, the Chair will initiate recruitment as outlined above in 4.8.

4.9 The Executive Committee shall meet at least 4 (four) times per year at the call of the Chair.


5. Finances: 

5.1 The fiscal year of the Chapter is April 1 to March 31.

5.2 Funds required to operate the Chapter shall be obtained from donations collected; sponsorships; funds from the School of Public Health; or any other dues, membership fees or ticket prices as the Chapter may deem appropriate.

5.3 All funds/finances shall be administered by the University of Alberta Office of Alumni Relations.

5.4 The funding, if available, from the University of Alberta Office of Alumni Relations will be applied for and expended on Chapter operations within each fiscal year.

5.5 The University of Alberta Office of Alumni Relations shall maintain the financial records.


6. Records:

6.1 The Chair shall forward to the School representative a copy of the minutes of all meetings of the Chapter for safe-keeping and will also forward minutes to the University of Alberta Office of Alumni Relations.

6.2 A member wishing to inspect the minutes or financial reports of the Chapter must give the University of Alberta Office of Alumni Relations 10 business days’ notice of their intention to do so. Records that are governed by FOIPP or deemed confidential shall not apply.


7. Amending Terms of Reference:

7.1 The Executive Committee may propose amendments to the Terms of Reference. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the University of Alberta Office of Alumni Relations in writing.

7.2 Amendments shall not take effect until approved by the University of Alberta Office of Alumni Relations.


8. Dissolving the Chapter:

8.1 Should the Chapter have a period of inactivity for a period of two years, it will be deemed to be dissolved and the University of Alberta Office of Alumni Relations will notify the School of Public Health regarding this change.

8.2 If the Chapter is dissolved, the remaining funds, if any, will be used for scholarships or bursaries for students in the School of Public Health.