AMI’s Board of Directors
Board of Directors 2018-19
Michael Arruda is a father of two young adults; a Board member at AMI-Québec since 2015, and a member of the Nominating Committee. He contributes to the Board by sharing his experience of over 27 years in judicial settings as a corrections officer, then as a police officer and advisor with the Montreal Police Department on mental health issues. He’s also an instructor at the Québec Police Academy and specialises in mental health crisis intervention and crisis de-escalation. Trained in psychology and in risk assessment, he has vast experience in the development and the implementation of screening, communication and partnership programs with various organizations and institutions. He was also appointed a Member of the Order of Merit of Canada for his dedication to improving mental health crisis interventions with the police.
Jean Claude Benitah has been a member of AMI-Québec since 1992. He is a carer for an adult son who lives with schizophrenia. He has been a member of the Board since 2006, and served as elected Vice-President and President. He chairs the Strategic Planning and the Advocacy Committees, and has been a board member of FFAPAMM (Fédération des Familles et Amis de la Personne Atteinte de Maladie Mentale), of which AMI-Quebec is a member. Jean Claude holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering from McGill University and a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. He had a 30-year long career in the computer engineering field at various levels (including Director of Engineering, Director of Strategic Planning and Vice-President of Engineering). He has spent his last 10 working years at Vanier College teaching Computer Engineering.
Joyce Cohen is a family carer who brings a long history of working with AMI-Québec in different capacities from as far back as the early 1990s. She is a graphic designer, life coach, and art facilitator. Over the years, she has been involved in client intake, worked on the fund-raising committee, and regularly volunteered her graphic design services. She facilitates SoulCollage®workshops for AMI-Quebec, to help caregivers explore their challenges in a fun and creative way. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Concordia University, 1980), Personal and Professional Coach Certification (Concordia University, 2010), and is a trained SoulCollage®facilitator (2014). She was awarded the AMI-Québec Extra Mile Award in 2011.
Nunzio Colannino — AMI-Québec member since 2017. He and his wife are carers of a daughter with autism spectrum disorder. He has been working for many years with a major investment firm. He brings to the Board, in addition to carer experience, experience in estate planning/protection, taxation, and personal investment planning for the family member.
Anna Beth Doyle (Immediate Past President) has been a member of AMI-Québec since 1997. She is a carer for a married adult son with a major mental illness. Anna Beth has been a member of the Board since 2008, serving on the Program Committee and on the Executive (since 2009) in the positions of Treasurer, Vice-President and President. As an AMI volunteer, her primary interest and contribution has been to help family members communicate and work effectively with their loved ones and the health care system, as a facilitator of various programs and workshops. In addition to being a carer, she brings experience to AMI and the Board as a clinical and developmental psychology professor and researcher (Concordia University, retired), a board and committee member for several local and national organizations, and currently as a clinical psychologist (part-time) in the public health sector for youth mental health.
Guy Dumas has been a member of the AMI-Québec Board since 2011. A carer of an adult son who suffers from mental illness, he also contributes to a variety of mental health projects, most recently to the establishment of Maison Dunham in the Eastern Townships. He currently serves on the Strategic Planning Committee and Building Campaign Committee. Earlier he served on the Advocacy Committee. By training (PhD in management, Indiana University), he is a business executive and he brings business and strategic planning experience to the Board. He has experience as a graduate level professor of management at H.E.C. (Université de Montréal) and at the Université de Sherbrooke and as a consultant in a number of organizations, including the MacDonald Stewart Foundation, Towers Perrin, Mercer Consultants, and Concordia University.
Moira Edwards — member of the AMI-Québec Board of Directors since 1995. She brings experience to the Board through her work with persons living with mental illness when she was Head Nurse of the adult and adolescent units at the Allan Memorial Institute. She was also Director of a home for persons on welfare. Presently she is a nurse consultant at a home for the semi-autonomous elderly. She joined the Board because of concern over the lack of resources for families caring for a loved one with mental illness. She has been active in various programs offered by AMI, and especially in training members to facilitate support and education groups. Presently she chairs the Program Committee and is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.
Rosalie Fagen — affiliated with AMI-Québec for at least 15 years, Board member since 2016, and currently serves on the Nominating Committee. She is a carer of a son suffering from schizophrenia and she first came to AMI for counselling on how to deal with this situation. She has since learnt not only how to help herself deal with the trials and tribulations of having a loved one with a mental illness but also has served as a facilitator and worked with support groups that help families cope. For her, it has been very rewarding to give back the support that she received from the AMI-Quebec family through the years.
Anne Newman (Treasurer) — a member of AMI-Quebec since 2003 and is the carer for her adult older brother who has been experiencing mental health issues for over forty years. She volunteered as a support group facilitator and has been a member of AMI’s Board since 2010, joining the Executive Committee as Treasure in 2017. She served as Chair of the Nominating Committee and has been active on the Guidelines Committee, collaborating with a hospital’s psychiatric department to develop information and supports for carers. She brings experience to the board as a sibling of a person with a severe mental illness and as a researcher (Research Coordinator CUSM/MUHC Lymphedema Clinic). She also works as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in the field of adapted exercise for special populations and has a special interest in the benefits of physical activity for people with mental illness.
Dr. Henry Olders has been an AMI-Québec member for many years, joining the Board in 2016. A geriatric psychiatrist, now mostly retired, he looked after war veterans at Ste. Anne’s Hospital since 2005. Before that, he worked at the Jewish General Hospital in Psychogeriatrics and the Consultation-Liaison Service, and consulted to the Mental Health 60+ team at CLSC René-Cassin and Maimonides Hospital Geriatric Centre. Following training at McGill, he held several administrative posts at Douglas Hospital, including Director of the Psychogeriatrics Programme. He was honoured with AMI’s Exemplary Psychiatrist Award in 1995. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, author of several articles and a book chapter, he received JGH’s Henry Kravitz Teacher of the Year Award in 2005. Also a computer systems engineer, he volunteers for several community organizations and a McGill laboratory. He researches aging, the role of sleep in affective disorders, and neural networks.
Carol Plathan is a carer for a family member, and has been on the Board of AMI-Québec since 2012. She facilitated a support group for parents of adult children with mental illness for a couple of years at AMI, and currently serves as the Chair of the Nominating Committee and is a member of the Guidelines Committee. She has experience speaking as a mental health advocate for caregivers, and has been a support worker in a homeless shelter in Toronto, as well as a support group facilitator with patients with chronic diseases and their caregivers at the Canadian Liver Foundation in Montreal. Her personal interest is in using a humanistic approach to expanding awareness of psychological and social issues related to mental illnesses with families who are severely affected, and promoting how to better share our human qualities as family carers.
Judy Ross is a caregiver for a family member living with chronic mental illness. An active member of AMI-Québec since 1998, she has served on the Board since 2002 and on the Finance Committee. Inspired by the programs and help received from AMI, she was the force behind the development of Mental Health Estrie (MHE), a community organization reaching out to English-speaking people dealing with mental illness in the Eastern Townships. MHE, incorporated in 2005, is located in Sherbrooke and serves an area within a 50-mile radius of that city. She was the Executive Director from 2005 until retirement in 2016. She brings a regional perspective of the needs of families and individuals challenged by the serious lack of services in English off the Montreal Island. Her professional career has focused entirely on community service but endeavours in mental health have been the most fulfilling.
Lynn Ross discovered AMI-Québec in 1998, two years after the diagnosis of a family member with a severe mental illness. He has served on the Board since 2002 and on the Finance Committee. The vision of AMI’s work inspired him to become one of the founding members of Mental Health Estrie (MHE) in Sherbrooke which aims to implement programs similar to AMI’s. As a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada, he brings extensive experience of working at the community level, as well as nationally and internationally with a focus on communication and relief and development programs. He has worked with the Naskapi people in Northern Quebec for several years, and has special interests in the challenges facing Indigenous people in Canada, and the implementation of the recommendations of the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Norman Segalowitz (President) — member of AMI-Québec since 2005. He is a carer for an adult daughter, married and a mother, and who still experiences mental health issues. He has been a member of the Board since 2005, and was elected to the Executive as member-at-large, Treasurer, and currently President. He has been active on the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee and Guidelines Committee (collaborating with hospitals to help carers), and involved in leading certain activities at Board retreats. He brings experience to the Board as a researcher (psychology professor at Concordia University), and as an ongoing member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, including its Family Caregivers Advisory Committee and now its Advisory Council. He has a special interest in linguistic and cultural diversity issues regarding access to mental health services.
Donna Sharpe (Vice President) is a caregiver for an adult son who has mental health issues. She started out with AMI-Québec with the Fundraising Committee in 2011 and then moved onto the Board in 2012. She is currently a member of the Executive and holds the position of Vice President. As someone having a first-hand experience of living with a loved one with mental health issues, Donna is very passionate about making positive change for caregivers in the health system. She has over 25 years experience as an entrepreneur running a successful business. Finance and administration are her main areas of expertise.
Joanne Smith (Secretary) has been a member of AMI-Québec since attending her first educational evening for carers in 1990. Her mother had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia all Joanne’s life and before that evening Joanne had believed she was the only person with a mother afflicted with such an illness. It was very comforting for her to know she was not alone and she started volunteering immediately. As an AMI member she has given 8-week workshops to carers of siblings and adult children and facilitated various support groups. She has also served on many committees, including Advocacy, Program, Building Campaign, Strategic Planning, Nominating, and Fundraising. She has been a Board member since 2006, and a member of the Executive since 2013, serving as Secretary. She retired from her job as an IT professional with Bell in 2003.
Michael Truesdell — member of AMI-Québec since 2012, member of the Board since 2015 representing the AMI-Québec South Shore Group, carer for an adult son. He oversees the operations of the South Shore Group, is a member of La Table de Concertation en Santé Mentale de la Rive-Sud TCSM Longueuil and is a member of the ARC (Assistance and Referral Centre for Health and Social Services) which promotes access to English health and social services in the Montérégie.