Our Team

Steve Nolan M.S.M. CD

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Advisor/Veteran/All-Around Great Guy

Originally from Toronto, Steve joined the Royal Canadian Regiment in 1993, following his graduation from Western University.  Early in his career, he deployed several times including OP HARMONY in the Former Yugoslav Republic in 1994, OP ASSISTANCE (Winnipeg Flood), Bosnia on OP PALLADIUM (June 1998), and Kosovo OP KINETIC (May 2000). As Officer Commanding Echo Company 1 RCR he saw service in Afghanistan on OP ATHENA with 1 RCR as part of the Operational Mentor Liaison Team in 2008 mentoring an Afghan Battalion. Later returning to Afghanistan with numerous assistance and training visits. Steve was also sent to Nigeria in an advisory role in 2014 as part of an international response to Boko Haram’s abduction of young girls from Chibok.

Steve has a Master of Public Administration from the School of Policy Studies, from Queens University. As well he has graduated from the Canadian Command and Staff College and subsequently received a Master of Defence Studies.

Most recently, he was a Garrison Commanding Officer in Petawawa. His purview there included oversight of the eight senior managers in the delivery of administrative services to Garrison Petawawa, Denison Armoury in Toronto, and another satellite detachment in London Ontario. These services included kitchen facility operations, retail operations, family services, rental property portfolio management, finance, and risk management. Steve also oversaw a renewal of the release process for soldiers transitioning to civilian life. Bringing health services, the Joint Personnel Services Unit (JPSU), administrative release section, Military Family Resource Centres, and Veterans Affairs together to better serve soldiers releasing from the military.

He currently lives in Ottawa with his wife Samantha McDonald and their three children Cairns, Blake, and Amelia.  An avid car enthusiast, he can often be found in his garage where he and his children are attempting to rebuild and remodel a 1969 Triumph GT6 in the image of a former Le Mans winner. He volunteers his time helping homeless vets with the Veteran’s Emergency Transition Services (VETS) in Ottawa and helping with exhibits and presentations at the Canadian War Museum.

Heather Mac Master, RPN

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Administrative Assistant/Happiness Specialist

Heather is the Administrative Assistant at DVA Clinic. After many years of customer service in serving and bartending, she decided to follow her passion for health care and took the practical nursing program at Algonquin College.  Heather is registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario.

Heather has worked as a community visiting nurse, she quickly began to miss the everyday interactions with co-workers and customer service and wanted to work in an environment where it was truly about giving the best possible care. This is when she joined DVA Clinic. Heather ’s biggest hero is her grandfather, a tank man who fought in the D-Day invasion alongside his cousins.

Tamarrah Jacobs, B.Sc.HKin, M.ScPT, PT

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Physiotherapist/Registered Joy Purveyor

Tamarrah graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Redeemer University College in 2013.  She then completed her Master’s in Physiotherapy in 2016 at the University of Ottawa.  She is registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.

Tamarrah has worked in private orthopaedics and strongly believes in treating using both manual techniques as well as exercise therapy and education to help clients attain functional rehabilitation and meet their treatment goals.  Tamarrah is a certified Compression Stocking Fitter and is certified in Level 1 Adaptive BodyWorks.  She wishes to develop her skills further by taking courses in Acupuncture, Dry Needling and manual therapy.

Tamarrah had the opportunity to be a university varsity athlete in both track and volleyball as well as participate in basketball, soccer and touch football.  In her spare time, she enjoys frequenting the gym, lifting weights, and spending time with her young family.

She has strong military ties with both Canada and the USA with one grandfather having served in the CAF in WWII, as well as several great-uncles, and the other grandfather in the US Airforce.  Her husband is a current serving member of the CAF and has served a tour in Afghanistan.  Tamarrah is fluently bilingual and is pleased to offer services in either language.

Maria Kontzamanis, BSW, MSW, RSW    Maria

Registered Social Worker/ Life uplifter

As a military spouse for more than a decade, Maria has had the opportunity to observe and experience first-hand the challenges that military members and their families face everyday. As a military spouse Maria has actively involved herself in helping to increase the well-being of communities, she has had the opportunity to be a part of. Being a Social Worker, what struck Maria throughout her journey has been the resiliency of individuals in the military community. It was no surprise to Maria when in her MSW training she passionately sought to learn more about the challenges faced by Veterans in today’s landscape. She became passionate about becoming a part of the change in understanding mental health for Veterans, and this is why the DVA was the place Maria decided she needed to be.

Maria holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto; her field of focus was Mental Health. Maria is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). In her MSW placement at the Outpatient Mental Health Clinic at Scarborough Health Network Maria worked with populations diagnosed with PTSD and trauma, anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, compulsive behaviours, role transitions, family and relationship issues, and workplace issues. Maria is trained in Cognitive Processing Therapy, and through her studies and various workshops has learned to work with modalities such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Mindfulness Focused Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Family Centred Therapy. Maria is passionate about continuing to learn and fine-tune her skills through trainings and through client interactions.

Maria uses a client-centred approach, utilizing a strengths perspective. She works within the lens of trauma-informed therapy. Working with people through challenging and life-altering situations has taught Maria many things about the human condition. What inspires Maria most about the people she works with is the resiliency that she hears in their unique stories. Her job, as she sees it, is to provide a safe space for clients to explore what they may be facing and help clients tap into the resiliency that has brought them this far.

In her free time Maria is usually found practicing or teaching yoga. Maria is passionate about maintaining a holistic lens to health by integrating mental, emotional, and physical health in her personal and professional life.

Claire McMenemy, MSW, RSW

Social Worker/“Re-boot” Specialist

Originally from England, Claire has lived across Canada, the US and the UK. She started her career life as a lawyer, working in criminal law and with the Department of Foreign Affairs. She has spent time in various parts of the world, including Zambia and Ethiopia. She has worked on-site with police services and was a member of the CAF Reserves for a few years.

Claire has been a military spouse for nearly 20 years and lives in Ottawa with her husband and two sons. About 7 years ago, Claire felt called to change her career life so that she could better support and walk with those facing life’s challenges. She completed a Master of Social Work at the University of Calgary, and did her practicum working with individuals experiencing addiction. She also completed research on how disability impacts families and how families can build resilience together. Claire has done training in CBT, Motivation, Mindfulness and Spirituality, and integrates these approaches along with insights from Dialectical Behavior Therapy into her practice.

Claire uses a strength-based approach that helps clients build resilience to explore life’s challenges and to find healing and hope after traumatic experience. She works within an ecological framework that help clients to explore broadly the personal, family and community resources which will help them on their journey of healing. Claire’s priority is to build safe and strong working relationships with clients. She loves working with veterans and emergency workers of all backgrounds and is passionate about meeting clients “where they are” and honouring their journey.

When she is not working, Claire can be found coaching soccer and volunteering with various community groups, including an organization she co-founded to support families of children with disabilities. She loves camping, canoeing and trail running, works part time with the United Church of Canada, and is a keen year-round bicycle commuter.

Registered Massage Therapist

More info coming soon!

Heather Thompson, BSc Kin

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Registered Kinesiologist/Certified Mover/Shaker

Heather comes from a military family, with a father in the Army, a sister in the Airforce, and grandparents in the CAF before them.

Having been an active runner and cross-country skier for many years, Heather decided to pursue a degree in Kinesiology. She earned her bachelors degree from the University of Manitoba in 2013 and is now a registered Kinesiologist with the Ontario Kinesiology Association.
Heather has experience as a Kinesiologist in private rehabilitative settings, helping clients regain strength and mobility after an injury, and providing exercise prescriptions for clients to help manage chronic symptoms. She also has experience working in the public healthcare sector, helping to prevent injuries in the workplace by encouraging safe work practices and good biomechanics. 
Heather is bilingual in English and French, and is happy to serve you in either language!

Ingrid Hutton, NP

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Nurse Practitioner/Fountain of Knowledge

Ingrid has thirty-three years working in the military and nursing, which has afforded her many life experiences and exposure to diverse cultures.  She is fluently bilingual in both official languages.  Both her mother and grandmother were nurses as well.  Her father and paternal grandfather both served in the RCAF.  Her partner is serving at CFB Petawawa and has done multiple tours in his 32 years of service.  She herself served in the military reserves for over 9 years as an Admin clerk.

Ingrid returned to school to become an RN in 1992 while continuing with the military reserves and nights at a bakery.  She graduated from College with a Nursing Diploma in 1995.  While working full-time at the Kingston General Hospital, she pursued her Bachelor’s in Science of Nursing Degree at The University of Ottawa and graduated in 2001 with honours.  She pursued further education to become a Nurse Practitioner, obtaining her Nurse Practitioner – Primary Health Care Diploma in 2015, while continuing to work as an RN.   Ingrid is registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario. Her RN experience has been varied with acute/intensive care in hospitals, cruise ship nursing, flight (medevac) nursing in Nunavut, & nursing in Remote Northern First Nations Communities for 21 years.  She has been working part-time as an NP in Remote Northern First Nations Communities for the past 2 years and continues to do so.

Ingrid believes that mind, body, and soul are all interconnected, which means treating the mind helps heal the body.  She has seen this in her work in the north where PTSD, anxiety, and depression are common.  She enjoys cycling and traveling.  She is excited to be a part of the DVA clinic and looks forward to helping military veterans.

Lorena Ruci, PhD, RP-Q

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Counsellor/Lovely Human being 

Lorena Ruci is a psychology professor and a mental health counselor at the Sports Medicine Clinic at Carleton University. She has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Carleton University and an MA in Counselling Psychology from the University of Ottawa. Lorena is registered with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. She specializes in concussion management, sports psychology, anxiety, and depression management. She conducts mental health research and is a published author. She is dedicated to helping her clients overcome challenges and improve their mental health and quality of life.

Dr. John Meissner

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Psychologist/Calming Presence Aficionado 

Dr. John Meissner is a psychologist working in the Ottawa area with extensive experience in assessment and psychotherapy. Over the years he has worked in child and family clinics, the Ottawa School board, private practice with teens and adults at the Delta Psychology group and, for the last 9 years. at Carleton University. He is a registered member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

At Carleton, he developed and ran a program, From Intention to Action (FITA) that has successfully helped overwhelmed students to improve their psychological well-being and academic performance. While continuing his work at Carleton he also has a private practice, conducts assessments with a colleague, and works as a supervisor of emerging therapists.

He engages in joint projects with his partner Susan Prosser who is a writer, teacher, and psychotherapist. He views his accessibility and openness as well as his valued commitment to clients as a central component in achieving solutions that support well-being.

Duke

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Clinic Mascot/Therapy Dog/Chief Cuddle Giver

Duke is a six-year-old Black Labrador Retriever who received two years of extensive training

at the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind centre in Manotick, Ontario. Here is a link to their website http://www.guidedogs.ca/index2.php

It’s a great place that is always looking for people to help with the dogs or to help out financially.

Unfortunately for Duke, he didn’t pass the course and so he has a new career as a therapy/ service dog. He helps in the clinic on most days greeting clients or staying with them during counselling.