The idea for Project Next Mile was developed on the realization that the greatest challenge in the pursuit of sustainable healthcare development is not the delivery of services to those in need, but rather the building of local capacity to strengthen communities for health impact. Partnership with clinicians and local communities in low and middle income countries through knowledge exchange and skill building initiatives is essential to meet local needs and to sustain the journey for the next mile. This is our work.
Healthy Communities for Every One.
To ‘build with’ for a better world. Through educational partnership and the provision of care we strive to improve access to health for communities in resource scarce regions of the world.
Listen. We believe that the best partnerships begin with a full understanding of the need and that those closest to the need have the greatest understanding of it. We begin our work by listening to our partners in order to best position our teams to respond through fruitful partnership.
Learn. We believe in knowledge exchange. We will learn through our partnerships to continuously improve our position and optimize the impact of our work. We believe that learning is perpetual and strive to use the most effective tools to enhance our partnerships.
Accompany. We believe that in our work we have been invited on a journey with our partners. Our partners determine the direction of the journey and we will accompany them. We will pursue sustainable partnerships in a spirit of cultural fluency to improve clinical care.
Care. We believe in the provision of the best care for communities. We will provide the best evidence care and model the principles of best practice in all that we do.
Fight. We believe in equality for all. We will advocate for access to health for everyone in the pursuit of healthy communities.
Meet the Team
We are a committed group of volunteers based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Founder and Director
Dr. Michael Sangster is a Physiotherapist and Clinical Specialist in Pain Science and the Founder of PNM. He is a graduate of the Dalhousie University School of Physiotherapy and the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Utica College. Mike is the Physiotherapist on the Complex Pain team at the IWK Health Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at the Dalhousie University School of Physiotherapy. Mike is passionate about global health and travels annually to resource scarce regions of the world to participate in capacity building initiatives with local clinicians.
Director and Team Lead - Nursing
Team Lead - Community Development
Kaitlyn MacIsaac is an aspiring Physiotherapist, currently attending Dalhousie University. Kaitlyn has also obtained a Bachelors degree of Science (Biology and Neuroscience) from the University of Maine and a Master's of Science (Pharmacology and Neuroscience) at Dalhousie university. Kaitlyn also coaches soccer in the Soccer Nova Scotia high performance pathway and local club environment (Bedford Soccer Association) holding her National B coaching licence. Her first experience in global health was in 2017, where she travelled to St. Lucia and was able to assist St. Jude’s rehabilitation team and lead a coaching skill centred football program. When afforded any free time away from studying and coaching, you can typically find Kaitlyn exploring Nova Scotia’s coastline with her furry sidekicks, Moose and Roo.
Team Lead - Communications
Danielle Cyr is a communications specialists currently working with the Doctors Nova Scotia Healthy Tomorrow Foundation and completing her Masters of Arts in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University. She obtained her Bachelor of Public Relations and Certificate in Marketing at Mount Saint Vincent University, where she is now the head coach of the women’s varsity soccer program. Danielle has joyfully worked with a number of awesome not-for-profits and is passionate about helping for-purpose sport and health organizations provide the best possible programming through effective and impactful communication. Danielle is an advocate for personal and community development through sport and believes good sport can make a great difference.
Sylvia Driscoll-Sangster is currently an undergraduate student studying sciences at Mount Allison University. Sylvia went on her first global health trip in 2017, when she had the opportunity to travel to St. Lucia and volunteer both in St. Jude’s Hospital and as a soccer coach in the Jeffa Belase Female Football Developmental Program. Since then, Sylvia has travelled back to St. Lucia twice more and continues to be an active member of the Project Next Mile team. Sylvia loves soccer and spending time outdoors. In the future, Sylvia hopes to become a registered nurse and continue to do global health work and pass on her love of sport to other young girls.
Team Lead - Respiratory Therapy
Brandon D’Souza is a Registered Respiratory Therapist at the IWK Health Centre and obtained his Bachelor Health Sciences from Dalhousie University. He also works as a trainer and consultant for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. Brandon has a keen interest in airway management, mechanical ventilation, pharmacology and continuing to advance respiratory therapy practice in Canada and abroad. In particular he continues to volunteer in Haiti and Saint Lucia, providing clinical support and education.
Team Lead - Nursing
Nichole Helm is Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at the University of San Francisco and her Master’s degree in nursing at Yale University. While her permanent job is at the IWK Health Centre, she fills locum tenens positions in the United States and enjoys volunteering her time as a clinician abroad. Nichole has experience in ICU nursing, pediatric primary care and preventative care, pediatric acute and chronic pain, and acute inpatient pediatric care. In addition, Nichole is an Adjunct Appointee at Dalhousie University School of Nursing and an Adjunct professor at University of Connecticut School of Nursing where she has taught classes in South Africa through Study Abroad.
Team Lead - Eye Care
Dr. Mauricio Aldrete is an Ophthalmologist Specialist in Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. He is a graduate of the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi School of Medicine and the Monterrey Institute of Technology from the Ophthalmological Residency Program and from Dalhousie University as a Strabismologist. Dr. Aldrete works for idoctors-san-luis providing cutting edge ophthalmological services in the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Mauricio is fascinated by ball games, history and arts and is an advocate for the advancement of children's rights.
Mary-Cate Driscoll Sangster
Heather Fennell- Al Sayed
Team Lead - Eye Care
Heather Fennell-Al Sayed is an Orthoptist and Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist. She obtained both her Bachelors of Science degree (Advanced Double Major: Neuroscience & Biology) and her Masters of Science degree (Clinical Vision Science) at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia). Heather currently works fulltime at the IWK Health Centre (Halifax, Nova Scotia), and is an Assistant Professor in Dalhousie University’s Clinical Vision Science program. Heather is very active in her profession, serving as treasurer of the Canadian Orthoptic Society, and as a Program Accreditation Surveyor for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Accreditation Canada (AC). She first combined her passions of teaching and global health in 2015, when she traveled to Malaysia to teach orthoptics and has been hooked ever since. When not in clinic, a classroom or on a plane, Heather enjoys rowing and keeping up with her greyhound, Phoebe.
Sarah Taylor grew up in Nova Scotia where she developed her passion for soccer and helping others. She received a full scholarship to play soccer for Boise State University in Idaho. She was the team captain for her two final years at Boise State while studying Health Sciences and Pre-Med. In 2016, Sarah attended the U20 National Team Training camp and later that year was invited compete in the U20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Playing for Team Canada was one of Sarah’s goal and fulfilling that dream was a part of her life that she will never forget. After graduating University, Sarah became the Technical Director of Bedford Soccer, back in Nova Scotia. Sarah works with ages 4-18 on and off the soccer field, developing them to become not only better athletes, but better people. Working with kids and giving back to the community has always been top of Sarah’s list. Through her experience at Bedford soccer, she realized that she wanted a career that involved the development of kids. Sarah will be attending Mount St. Vincent University in the fall to study Education and become a teacher. Sarah is so excited to be joining the Project Next Mile team and is thankful to be a part of a group of people who value helping others and giving back to different places in the world.
Ceilidh Wright is currently an undergraduate student finishing her degree in Biochemistry at Memorial University. Ceilidh is very passionate about soccer and helping people. She has worked with individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities at the Club Inclusion for the past 4 years. Ceilidh has been a soccer coach since 2014, for Halifax Dunbrack Soccer Club and Special Olympics. She joined the Project Next Mile team for their fourth year in St. Lucia, February 2019. Ceilidh is looking forward to a future career in medicine, continuing with global health work and spreading her love of soccer.
Kathleen Murphy is an advocate for global health equity, and a promoter of community-driven initiatives that foster good health and wellbeing in their broadest sense. With a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion from the University of Toronto, Kathleen has lived and worked in Korea, Switzerland, and Kenya, leading projects that span from developing a positive parenting program for street-connected women; to creating best practices for conducting research with refugee populations; and understanding the ethical implications of artificial intelligence within global health. Kathleen currently works at Dalhousie University as a Project Manager and Coordinator for Indigenous health research, and is working toward building the capacity for community-led Indigenous health research throughout Atlantic Canada, in a way that is meaningful, ethical, and impactful, and addresses community-identified health priorities. She is always up for an adventure, meeting new people, and a good laugh!
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