Shinah House
Board of Directors & Advisory Board Members


Alvine Low Horn -- Chairperson and Director

Alvine Low Horn is a member of the Blood tribe. Her Indian name is Many Painted Face Woman. There is a story behind the name. As a child, she visited a Medicine Man often for help with illness and as part of the traditional healing treatment she had her face painted. Alvine is very knowledgeable about her culture and believes in the Blackfoot traditional ways. She is dedicated to living those ways and sharing them with others. Alvine is a Certified Addiction Counselor and has worked with youth in the community, through schools and treatment centres. Alvine and her husband serve as Sundance leaders and organize and hold ceremonies throughout the year. She and her husband coordinate an annual pilgrimage, based on the 12 steps of AA, which includes traditional teachings. Alvine has been a foster parent for many years and dreams of building a ranch by the mountains for troubled youth; a place where they can heal through the traditional medicine wheel teachings.

Kathryn McKernan -- Director

Kathryn is passionate about transformation and healing. She is currently working in the holistic health and healing field; using an integrated mind, body, and spirit approach to healing. Kathryn is seeing the healing of people in a more business context as an emerging approach to non-profit work. She has completed a Bachelor of Psychology and Aboriginal Studies from the University of Toronto, is trained in advanced cranial sacral therapy and is nearing the end of a Master of Herbalism Diploma from Wild Rose College.

Kat has always felt connected to indigenous people, their traditional ways and especially loves the stories. She has lived and worked in Indigenous communities in Canada & Central America. She believes it is the grassroots that makes the difference in the end and everyone needs each other. In as much as we have to stand alone in our truth and be who we are, we also need each other. Kathryn knows a lot of people operating in the “new paradigm” who have moved on from systems that don’t work for them. In her opinion everyone got lost when the traditional ways began to be lost. She sees herself as connecting different worlds. It is important to take away barriers. There are a lot of resources that need to be coordinated and trust that needs to be cultivated. Everyone has something to offer, but our “systems” are disconnected from each other. Traditional culture comes from the land and it is through that culture that we can re connect with each other.

Tara O-Sullivan -- Director

Tara O'Sullivan is a clinical social worker, relationship and family therapist in private practice in Calgary, Alberta. An eclectic therapist, she has been described by colleagues as being 'as comfortable with a young child as she is with an elder.' Her practice, which spans 35 years, includes work with children/families, adolescents and adults. Her work is integrative and guided by the belief that when a deeper connection to Self, community and to Source is restored, more energy becomes available for greater joy, purpose and creativity.

Tara is a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as being a trauma / EMDR specialist. Her academic interests include nutritional mental health, attachment and trauma, healing family systems, quantum physics and its applications to the new medicine. She has authored THE HOLOGRAM HEALING SYSTEM, an integrative energy healing modality, which considers trauma, dissociation, addictions, codependence, and developmental theory within the framework of human multidimensional experience.

When not busy being a lifelong learner, she does her bit to 'spread joy' by playing Celtic music with her band, Inisheer. 'It is in the Shelter of each other that the people live' - Irish Proverb

Kimberly Weasel Fat -- Director

Kimberly Weasel Fat is Blackfoot from the Blood Tribe. She is a daughter, mother, sister, aunty and friend. Kimberly is a certified Reiki, Spirit and Transformational Healer. She enjoys building bridges, breaking stereotypes and misconceptions while promoting peace and understanding. Her involvement as an organizer and coordinator for Idle No More events held in Calgary Treaty 7 & Area have taught her a creative process she never considered. This experience connected her to people from all walks of life and all corners of the world. In her experience as a 2nd generation survivor of the residential school system she knows that healing starts within before it starts with others. Kimberly is a modern day warrior and cultural advocate. She looks for ways to help her community grow, excel and exceed in preparation for their healing journey for the future of the next 7 generations.

Sharon Ryder Unger -- Founder & President

Sharon Ryder Unger is Founder and President of Shinah House Foundation, and former Board Director & Chair of the National Lived Experience Executive Committee for the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network. (CDRIN)

Sharon is a social entrepreneur and motivational speaker dedicated to building socially inclusive communities that support healing and respect for diversity. She has spent the past 15 years living in and traveling between Ontario, BC and Alberta sharing her passion for a new approach to mental health through nutrition and holistic modalities. She speaks of her struggles with serious life experienced trauma, system imposed mental illness and pharmaceutical dependency.

Unger has especially enjoyed her work in the non- profit sector and the opportunity to support to numerous individuals through crisis and into wellness. Sharon has helped create numerous concept and community developments including the youth directed ONEHEART Project. This project was sponsored by Shinah House; funded by the Alberta Government, Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, Tribal Leaders and local groups; supported by local schools, governments and businesses.

Unger is passionate and dedicated to fostering community collaboration by celebrating art, living and culture. Her greatest joy is working with young people and having the opportunity to learn from them. Sharon Ryder Unger believes there is always hope!


Conrad Boehme

Conrad Boehme is married to his wife Lisa and has four wonderful children Jenna, Kyle, Jadyn, and Kade. Conrad currently works for the Westwind School Division as a Registered Provisional Psychologist. Conrad graduated from the University of Alberta with an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Saskatchewan and a Masters in Educational Psychology. He has seen the apparent exponential growth of childhood mental illnesses and developmental disorders. Conrad has a passion for researching and educating others about the environmental causes (e.g., toxins, pathogens, and food allergies) and the holistic treatment of these disorders. Conrad has personally witnessed the incredible healing power that holistic (biomedical) interventions had on his own infant son's significant digestive health problems.

Dr. Susan Christenson, M.D.

Dr. Christenson is a primary care physician and Blood Tribe Member. Sue divides her time between a general practice on the Blood Indian Reservation in Southern Alberta, Canada and practicing emergency medicine with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in San Diego, California. She is a graduate of the UCLA School of Medicine, Class of 1990, and has 5 years of postgraduate training in internal medicine, general surgery and pathology. She has been practicing medicine for 21 years. Currently her primary clinical interests are preventive health and chronic disease management. Her practice with First Nations people in Canada has brought the secondary physical effects of traumatic and psychological stress to the forefront of her many clinical concerns.

"It is through addressing the needs of this unique group of patients that it seems clear that consistent education, counseling and accessible medical care are critical components to successfully treating their numerous medical issues, many of which can be prevented. This kind of care requires a team approach and cannot be achieved by a single individual.” Additionally, she has developed a growing interest in the potential for technology to successfully meet the healthcare needs of her patients.

Norah Bird Hamilton

Norah completed a degree in Economics and Accounting at the University of Guelph. She followed this with courses on business development at the University of Calgary. After leaving the hospitality industry Hamilton began work as a public accountant for the Federal Government, helping small business access financing, grants and developing business plans. The education and experience provided the opportunity to assist her husband, Bob, in starting 2 companies. He started a property development company and a cabinet shop specializing in the redevelopment of commercial and residential properties. During this time she also took several contracts teaching accounting at Olds College and working with the Royal Tyrrell Museum on product development and fundraising. Over the next twelve years, Norah and Bob created and kept expanding a couple of their re-development projects into two inns and a spa to become one of Alberta’s finest Country Inns.

Although the Hamilton’s still invest in real estate and develop properties, Norah has the opportunity to be much more engaged in volunteer work. Norah is a team leader for Habitats for Humanity. Norah served two terms as a Shinah House Foundation Board Director and Treasurer, along with 6 years on the Board for Travel Alberta South.

Bonnie Kaplan

Bonnie J. Kaplan, Ph.D., is a research psychologist who studies mood and behavioral disorders. She is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary and is also Director of the Behavioral Research Unit at the Alberta Children's Hospital.

For many years, Kaplan has been studying developmental disorders in children, especially attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reading disabilities (dyslexia), and motor problems (Developmental Coordination Disorder). She is part of a team from University of Calgary and University of British Columbia that is searching for the genes that predispose children to develop dyslexia, and is involved in some family studies of reading and attention problems also. With her students, she has been investigating the characteristics of adults with the challenging disorder of ADHD.

Most recently Kaplan has become interested in the mood symptoms that often accompany behavioral disorders, and she has been studying the role of micronutrient supplementation (vitamins and minerals) for the treatment of mood, aggression, and explosive rage.

Dr. Brenda Leung

Brenda Leung, N.D., M.Sc., is the Director of Research at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Leung received her master’s from the University of Calgary and her naturopathic training from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, ON. At present, she is also a doctoral student at the University of Calgary, with a research interest in nutritional epidemiology and mental health. Specifically, she is studying the impact of maternal food intake and nutrient status on maternal mental health and on infant / child cognitive and behavioral development.

Dr. Leung has conducted studies on children’s use of naturopathic medicine, mentoring within networks to increase research capacity & literacy in CAM practitioners, the effects of a homeopathic remedy on lymphedema in breast cancer patients and on Chinese and Caucasian population use of healthcare services and complementary medicine in the Calgary Health Region.

Dr. Leung has achieved a number of awards and grants including the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Hospital for Sick Children Foundation studentship grant and Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary & Alternative Medicine Research (IN-CAM) studentship grant. She is a member of the Canadian Interdisciplinary network for CAM research (IN-CAM), the Canadian Pediatrics and CAM network (PedCAM), the CAM education and research network of Alberta (CAMera), College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC (CNPBC), Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC). She has also published articles based on her research.

Dr. Deborah Faith Pace - Chairman

Dr. Deborah Pace is from the Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Nation and a Clinical Psychologist specializing in children’s mental health. In her long time career, first as a special needs teacher and then as a school psychologist, Deborah has been a true advocate in providing quality mental health care for First Nations children.

Deborah’s research has been in the area of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, community wellness and culturally appropriate psychological assessments. Deborah also holds an Education Degree and has worked in the Education System as a teacher and in other areas. Dr. Pace combines western approaches to mental health issues with cultural knowledge and insight through her consultation with local area elders. She is the mother of one and the grandmother of five. Dr. Pace currently provides clinical consultation services to First Nations in Treaty 7 rural clinics, schools and Children’s Services with Calgary Health Region.

Michael Parker

Michael Parker is currently a Human Resources Advisor with the Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Grain Commission in the Federal government. Michael graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce from the University of British Columbia and has a certificate in Conflict Resolution from the Justice Institute of BC. He also has a Master’s in Leadership at Royal Roads University. Michael believes in the importance of Shinah house as an opportunity to build a healing community model. He has seen the effects of it first hand with members of his own family and knows that more can be done to successfully treat and manage the symptoms of mental illness due to emotional and mental trauma. This includes raising awareness and creating better understanding and support systems in our society.

Michael recently relocated to Leavitt, Alberta with his family from the Lower Mainland in BC where he grew up. Michael’s family includes his wife Kathryn and their four children Gabriella, Lily, Brett and Sophia. Michael’s faith is foremost in his life and he currently volunteers with his church and has enjoyed being involved in a variety of teaching and leadership positions. He has also been involved in Scouts Canada, has played and coached field hockey and enjoys sports.

Steve Pedersen

Steve Pedersen is currently a public health consultant and lives in Southern Alberta with his wife and five children. Steve graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Health Information Science from the University of Victoria and a Masters in Public Health from Yale University. He has worked on a variety of public health issues including healthy communities, food security, health inequalities, the role of positive father involvement and building capacity within the public health system. Steve believes in the importance of providing supportive environments for those with emotional and mental trauma. He also believes improving awareness and prevention efforts we will increase our capacity to help those with symptoms of illness due to trauma and reduce the incidence of mental illness and addiction in our society. Steve has served in the Cardston and Blood Reserve communities for the past 5 years with great success in the area of program planning and fund development.

Carolyn Scott

Carolyn Scott M.A. is a Registered Psychologist in NS and has extensive experience working with Correctional Services of Canada providing individual therapy as well as group interventions. She has also worked as a therapist in a treatment center for women struggling with addiction as well as a treatment center for men with concurrent disorders (i.e. addiction and mental health issues). Ms. Scott is currently employed in a private setting as a Psychologist with ME Family Therapy and Resource Center in Truro, Nova Scotia. There she specializes in assessments and interventions for individuals impacted by substance abuse and dependence. Ms. Scott is experienced in providing client centered therapy for issues related to anxiety and depression as well as trauma recovery and interpersonal difficulties.

Ms. Scott obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS and her Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC. She holds certification in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and is trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness Practice and Crisis Intervention.

Ms. Scott is dedicated to helping those struggling with emotional and mental trauma to find hope and their path to wellness. Carolyn is the mother of one daughter and has one granddaughter and three grandsons. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and creating gemstone jewellery. Other hobbies include music, nature walks, Yoga and reading.

Elder Peter Weasel Moccasin

Peter Weasel Moccasin is a Blackfoot Elder, fluent in his language and signs, and is known for his work with Youth and Communities. He is an amazing horseman, storyteller and Keeper of Blackfoot Teachings and Traditions. He shares his journey and great wisdom with many as he inspires them to hope. Peter is a man of quiet respect and honours all men. Elder Weasel Moccasin has served on the Shinah House Board of Directors as a Spiritual Advisor. Since 2009, Peter has been instrumental with his support of youth from Blood Reserve and Cardston County as they directed the Shinah House ONEHEART social inclusion project. The ONEHEART project has been talked about throughout Canada and it has served as a model for other Alberta communities. ONEHEART has had its events and activities reported on by newspapers, television channels and even recognized in the Canada Parliament. Elder Weasel Moccasin is a strong and courageous peacemaker and has been a strong pillar in bringing understanding and respect to the people of Southern Alberta. Shinah House is honoured to work with Elder Weasel Moccasin and it is a stronger Foundation due to his efforts and inspiration.

Shinah House is currently in the process of rebuilding the board accepting applications email to: or mail to Board Applications: 424 7 St S #200, Lethbridge, AB T1J 2G6