Alberta OCD Foundation

Executive Committee

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Executive Director

Jennifer Masek

Jennifer started the Alberta OCD Foundation in 2017 and had it incorporated in 2018. Over the past years of volunteering, Jennifer has been to 3 International OCD Foundation Conferences in the USA and presented in Washington on HOCD. She creates and presents on OCD in Alberta including Alberta Hospital, Access Open Minds, NorQuest College, University of Alberta, Calgary's Science in the Cinema and many OCD Week events. She is part of the group who created the Tourette OCD Alberta Network.

 

Raising awareness on the truth about OCD is her top priority, along with becoming a Registered Charity to help OCD sufferers access to affordable treatment. She facilitates the OCD Support Groups, social events and manages the website and encourages the local members to submit blogs. Jennifer has lived with OCD since a young child. She was diagnosed at age 31 and began treatment. "It is never too late for treatment, but you need to do your homework."

Registered as Recreation Therapist in 2008, she works full time in health care where she assists people who live with disabilities to find wellness through adapted recreation and leisure. 

President

Emily Checkwitch

As a new member of our team, Emily developed the Mentorship Program and has acted as the Mentorship Director since. In February of 2021, she was elected President and has since organized presentations about OCD for health students at the University of Alberta.

Emily is currently pursuing an honors nursing degree at the U of A, and hopes to go on someday to further her education and work in advanced practice nursing. She has experience working in areas including neurosurgery, emergency, Covid care and more thanks to floating at the Royal Alex Hospital. Now, she works in the cardiac ICU as an undergraduate nurse employee. Her honors research project focuses on mental health and critical care, two areas she is very passionate about. She also volunteers as a peer reviewer and a nursing mentor for younger students.

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Secretary

Laurel Carter

Laurel's OCD journey began at a young age where she found her worries to be all consuming and challenging to overcome. She struggled with constant checking, worrying and an overall feeling that certain things weren’t right. However, at the time, she did not understand obsessions, compulsion or OCD, or that it existed. It wasn’t until December 2017 where she found herself unable to cope and needing to start helping herself. Luckily, a few short months after her diagnosis she had the pleasure of attending the first AOCDF support group and it changed her life. It was amazing to be around such a supportive group of people who understood the challenges but also the triumphs that came with living with OCD. She hopes within her role to support individuals like herself as well their families to show that even in the toughest times there is support, kindness and that you are never alone.

Laurel works in the Events Industry here in Edmonton. In her spare time, she enjoys going to movies, theatre shows and watching YouTube. She also will never say no to some good cookies. 

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Treasurer

Megan Abramyk

Megan is the treasurer for the Alberta OCD Foundation. Her role focuses on financial data-keeping and  decision-making. Her background is in education and writing, so she also assists the foundation therein. Like many, she believes improved mental health education is urgently needed, including a more nuanced collective understanding of obsessive-compulsive disorder. She has written a number of works on the subject, and she has regularly run literacy workshops, including a couple with the International OCD Foundation. Her ultimate hope is that we can live more meaningfully together, and active mental health awareness is required in that process. 

Board Of Directors
The Board of Directors represents the interests and wellbeing of persons living with obsessive-compulsive disorder across the Alberta community. They provide information, ideas, and insight about current trends and needs to the executive board to assist in decision-making about education and programming. They will be required to attend a minimum of four annual meetings and will be accountable for fulfilling the responsibilities related to their role as they arise.

Director of Grants

Diana Le

"Hi! My name is Diana and I am the Director of Grants at the Alberta OCD Foundation. I am very passionate about advocating for mental health resources that are accessible, educational, and compassionate and am so grateful to be able to do so with the aocdf. OCD is an incredibly misunderstood mental illness making it difficult for community members to find the help that they need. It is my hope that the resources and supports that the aocdf provides can make an already challenging journey a little easier. I am so proud to be part of a grassroots organization that is doing such great work in meeting the mental health needs of individuals living with OCD in the community.

 

Aside from my role here, I am a pharmacist and work in a community pharmacy while also contributing to a bustling startup company. During my spare time, I love to do yoga and salsa dance; these activities keep me active and also challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone. I am also an avid reader and spend a lot of time in the kitchen trying out new and (hopefully) delicious recipes!"

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Director of Northern Alberta

Alyssa Schatz

Alyssa is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota First Nation. She is currently finishing her degree in Human Geography and Economics at the University of Alberta. Her research has primarily focused on renewable energy systems in remote Indigenous communities. She has had the privilege of working with Dr. Petr Musilek at the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Alberta. Their paper titled Implications of microgrids, economic autonomy and renewable energy systems for remote Indigenous communities was published by IEEE. Alongside her research, she works with the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs at Strathcona County as an Indigenous Policy Analyst Intern. She will transition to work with the Government of Canada in the Department of Natural Resources on clean energy projects, climate change and clean economy policy. 

Alyssa is acutely aware of the systematic barriers and stigma that prevent individuals from seeking help. Additionally, she understands how OCD can be increasingly isolating for people suffering in silence. By establishing a vibrant support network AOCDF alleviates this isolation. Alyssa is thrilled to assist the foundation. Through her position on the Board, she aids with technical work, proposals, grant writing, strategic goals and assistance to the leadership team. She intends to support the Alberta OCD Foundation to continue to grow and reach more people who are struggling.

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Social Media Director

Vacant

The Social Media Director will be responsible for researching, creating, and distributing sensitive and accurate content about obsessive-compulsive disorder and about the AOCDF’s programming using a variety of mediums.

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Professional Director

Vacant

The Professional Director is open to persons with formal training in the treatment and management of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some examples of suitable roles include registered psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, social workers or psychiatric nurses. They will provide clinical and research-based practices to assist the AOCDF.

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Caregiver Director

Vacant

The Caregiver Director is open to a parent, guardian or other caregiver to an individual who lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder. They will provide a critical perspective on how the AOCDF can support those who support others.

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Person with Lived Experience

Vacant

An individual with lived experience will provide biographical information to ensure programming is appropriate for the persons we serve and support.

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Director of Southern Alberta

Vacant

An individual will represent the interests of persons living with obsessive-compulsive disorder in Southern Alberta. This role focuses on facilitating education, access and programming in rural and remote communities.