What is the Research process at Northwood?

Currently, an application to conduct research is submitted to the Research Associate for an initial review. The Research Associate checks to make sure all the information provided is correct and appropriate for Northwood.

If approved by the Research Associate, it is then forward to the Research Advisory Council (RAC). RAC meets once per month and, as apart of this meeting, reviews all applications to conduct research. RAC then provides a form to the Research Associate giving their feedback/recommendation on the application for Northwood. If approved by RAC, the application then goes to the Quality Council. Quality Council then speaks to if Northwood has the time and resources to commit to the project, and also checks to see if it aligns with Northwood’s values and goals.

About Andrea

Andrea attended the University of New Brunswick (UNB) where she received both her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a Master’s of Exercise and Sport Science under the supervision of Dr. Danielle Bouchard. Andrea is currently enrolled in the PhD program in the Department of Health at Dalhousie University under the supervision of Dr. Olga Theou, where she studies how lifestyle behaviors such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits influence frailty.

Andrea’s interest in health and the aging process began at UNB while working hands on in a nursing home with a frail population. Since then she has been passionate about how lifestyle behaviors can affect older adults’ quality of life. Over the next few years, she hopes to learn more about the complexity of frailty.

What is the Research Associate role:

Andrea’s role at Northwood is to be the main connection between Northwood and the research community. Thereby, Andrea’s role includes tasks such as reviewing research applications, building research-into-practice pathways, providing expertise and support on Northwood projects, and supporting the research goals and strategy set by the larger Northwood Community.


What is the Role of the Research Advisory Council (RAC)?

The role of RAC is to assist Northwood to create a culture of research and evidence based practice within the organization. This group meets once a month to ensure all research projects are in the best interest of the organization, its clients and staff, and only appropriate, ethical, and scientifically sound research occurs.

Andrea Mayo



Pamela Fancey has 20 years of project management, research, evaluation and consultation experience. Her research areas include supports for family and friend caregivers, caregiver assessment, age-friendly communities, older workers, social isolation, abuse of older adults, and dementia care. Pamela has led a number of evaluation projects, co-authored more than 25 papers and technical reports and has given numerous presentations at local and national conferences. She also gives presentations and delivers workshops to community organizations and health care professionals. As Associate Director of the NS Centre on Aging, Pam is responsible for the implementation of the Centre’s activities. Her role includes strategic planning, project development and implementation, identifying research priorities and funding sources, budget monitoring, event planning, presentations and other dissemination activities, and mentoring students and trainees. She represents the Centre at provincial, regional and national forums, and fosters and brokers partnerships with government and other stakeholders. In addition to her role at the Centre, Pamela has been a sessional instructor with the Department of Family Studies and Gerontology, Mount Saint Vincent University and has served on a number of community boards. She received the Award of Recognition from the Gerontology Association of Nova Scotia (2007) and in 2018 was the recipient of Northwood’s Live More Award for Research

Dr. Tanya Packer, an occupational therapist by professional qualification, together with her research trainees work to improve the lives of people with chronic and complex conditions via patient self-management intervention trials, design of patient reported outcome measures, and health services research. Dr. Packer is currently the Director of the School of Health Administration and Assistant Dean, Partnerships, for the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie. She also serves on a number of boards and committees including the Northwood Research Advisory Committee.

Dr. Arla Day is a Professor in Occupational Health Psychology at Saint Mary’s University and Director of the CN Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (www.cncohs.ca). She is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association and was a Canada Research Chair for 10 years. She was an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury, NZ, an international advisor at Stockholm Stress Centre, and chair of the NS Psychological Healthy Workplace Program.

While conducting research, she works directly with organizations to develop initiatives to support workers and foster healthy workplaces. She has authored many articles and books on healthy and inclusive workplaces, mental health, leadership, stress and well-being, and work-life balance.

Outside of work, she puts her work on health and wellbeing into practice, traveling, enjoying the marvels of Nova Scotia, and spending quality time with her family, friends, horses, dogs, cats, & chickens on her farm.

Dr. Ardra Cole is Professor in Lifelong Learning at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Founder of ElderDog Canada–a national charity dedicated to supporting the well-being of older adults and older dogs. Her research focuses on the meaning of dogs in seniors’ lives and the role of dogs in continuing care. She also has extensive experience in animal-assisted therapy and pet loss bereavement.


Dr. Judith Godin received her Ph.D in psychology from Carleton University in 2011. Following her PhD, Judith held a Mitacs Elevate postdoctoral fellowship in health services research at the University of Toronto. After that, she worked at the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging at Mount Saint Vincent University as a data analyst and subsequently as a postdoctoral fellow. Judith is currently part of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging team that investigates how multi-morbidity modifies the risk of dementia and the patterns of disease expression. Developing a strong interest in quantitative methods and statistics while pursuing her PhD, Judith found herself drawn to the subjects of geriatrics and gerontology working as a data analyst, subsequently a postdoctoral fellow, at Mount Saint Vincent University. Her work examines how social and behavioural factors influence frailty and cognition, including how employment and retirement relate to frailty and cognitive impairment. Other interests include gerontology and health services research and occupational health psychology.


Carolyn Von Gurp, Client Spokesperson 


Jennifer Tucker, Manager of Long-term Care

John O’Keefe, B.A., B.S.W., M.S.W  graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983. He graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Social Work degree in 1984 and a Master of Social Work degree in 1991. Currently, John is Manager, Social Work with Northwoodcare Inc., a member of the Northwood Group of Companies in Halifax. John is a former President of the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer Society of Canada and was a Board member of that organization from 2005 – 2017. John was a member of the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia from 1998 to 2011 and is a former President of that organization as well. In 2013, John was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for the volunteer activity he carried out on behalf people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers with the Alzheimer Society across Canada. In addition, he is a past recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award.

Janet Simm, CEO of Northwood. Northwood has led the way as Nova Scotia’s most dynamic continuing care organization committed to innovation and change. Northwood serves over 6,500 clients daily by providing programs and services that help people maintain an active and independent lifestyle or providing care and support when needed. Northwood has 2000 staff, and 500 volunteers. Services include 541 long term care beds in facilities located in Bedford and Halifax and soon to be 36 beds in Ivy Meadows. Northwood serves more than 2000 clients in their Home Support Programs and private agency. Northwood offers 300 Affordable Retirement Living apartments, 4 Adult Day program locations, 2 Age friendly Fitness Centers and many more programs to allow individuals to LIVE MORE.

In January, 2016, I assumed the position of CEO of Shoreham Village Home for Special Care as part of an innovative partnership arrangement with Northwood.

I have over 25 years of service in the health care field in Nova Scotia. My career has progressed through increasingly more senior positions, allowing me to demonstrate my clinical, administrative and senior management skills. Before coming to Northwood, I held the position of Vice President Health Services at the South Shore District Health Authority. Earlier positions included: Director, Policy Planning and Decision Support at the Health Association of Nova Scotia; Director System Planning and Liaison in the Continuing Care Branch of the Nova Scotia Department of Health; and Vice President Operations, VON Canada (NS Branch).

I have dedicated my career to working with health care organizations whose mandate is to respond to the changing needs of the communities, families and the clients we serve,” says I. It’s that dedication that inspires those around me to succeed as well. “I believe in setting high expectations and supporting individuals to be successful. I believe in developing and supporting teamwork – taking advantage of the unique skill set that each individual can bring to the organization and celebrating our success as a team.”

I am a Registered Nurse and received my Bachelor of Nursing Degree from Dalhousie University and have my Master of Health Administration from Dalhousie.