Staff

Animal Health Canada Staff Members

Melanie Barham

Melanie Barham

Executive Director

Melanie Barham

Melanie Barham

Executive Director

Dr. Melanie Barham is the Executive Director of Animal Health Canada.  She is a veterinarian, holds an MBA in Sustainable Commerce, and has a Project Management Professional designation.  Melanie joined the NFAHW Council, now Animal Health Canada as Executive Director after coordinating the Ontario Animal Health Network at the Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, from its inception in 2014 to 2021.  She has held a variety of leadership positions in the laboratory, equine, and business spaces, including the president of the Canadian Animal Health Laboratorian's Network, Co-chair of the Equestrian Canada Health and Welfare Committee, Chair of the USAHA/AAVLD Committee for Workforce Development. Prior to 2014, Dr. Barham was in private equine practice.

 

Samantha Benattar

Samantha Benattar

Executive Assistant

Samantha Benattar

Samantha Benattar

Executive Assistant

Samantha joined the NFAHW Council, now Animal Health Canada, in 2011, shortly after its inception. Prior to this, she worked for 13 years as an instructional designer and coordinator for the Bank of Montreal at their Institute for Learning. She lives on a hobby farm in Muskoka, Ontario's cottage country, with her husband, two kids and horses.                                                                                    

Samantha obtained a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in Anthropology, and having grown up in Montreal, also attended CEGEP at John Abbott’s College in the West Island of Montreal. 

                                                                                         

Colleen McElwain

Colleen McElwain

Operations and Animal Health Manager

Colleen McElwain

Colleen McElwain

Operations and Animal Health Manager

Colleen holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour and Welfare, and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Biology; both from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College. In 2020, she received her Certified Association Executive (CAE) professional designation. For over 15 years Colleen has worked within industry and government in various roles supporting animal health and welfare policy development and program implementation. As the Programs Director at Canadian Animal Health Institute, Colleen held a multi-functional role to provide organizational leadership in relation to communications, environmental stewardship programming, stakeholder relations and member service delivery. Prior to CAHI, she worked at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) leading her team on livestock traceability policy and stakeholder relations. For several years Colleen worked at the Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) where she was the lead for animal health and welfare, disease surveillance, traceability, antimicrobial resistance, and applied research policy and programming. She has participated on numerous national industry and government boards and committees, including a term as a Director at Large on the NFAHW Council Board representing the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI).

Nicole Baker

Nicole Baker

Bookkeeper

Nicole Baker

Nicole Baker

Bookkeeper

Nicole joined the NFAHW Council, now AHC, as a Senior Bookkeeper in April 2020. Nicole has over 20 years’ experience in the bookkeeping field across a variety of industries. Her role is to establish and maintain the financial records, support the work of AHC and its divisions, as well as ensuring that the efficient financial processes are well documented. 

Nicole was born and raised in Victoria, Australia where she studied Business Administration. She is also a Certified Health Information Manager (CHIM). 

Nicole, her husband, Michael and 16 year old daughter Mia, have two dogs, a Shitzu/poodle cross, named Panda and an Australian Cobberdog, named Cobber (Australian slang for Best Mate). She really enjoys entertaining, watching movies, as well as travelling, hiking, tennis and cooking.

 

 

Theresa Burns

Theresa Burns

CAHSS Coordinator

Theresa Burns

Theresa Burns

CAHSS Coordinator

Theresa is a veterinary epidemiologist. She received DVM (with distinction) and MSc degrees from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Guelph.

Over her career, Theresa has had the opportunity to use methods from multiple disciplines to understand complex issues at the interface of human-animal-environmental health in Canada and in other countries.  Her experiences working in disease surveillance, risk assessment and veterinary public health and in clinical veterinary practice have given her a strong working understanding of farming practices, food production systems and rural communities. She is committed to real-world, collaborative progress on national animal health priorities. 

 

Rayna Gunvaldsen

Rayna Gunvaldsen

National ASF Project Manager

Rayna Gunvaldsen

Rayna Gunvaldsen

National ASF Project Manager

Rayna Gunvaldsen, BSA, DVM, MSc’s love for agriculture was forged by her upbringing in rural SK. Her career began in the swine industry and spanned the primary chain from farm to fork – stockperson, herd veterinarian, and meat inspector, which sparked her interest in regulatory medicine. After earning her master’s in swine medicine in 2015, Rayna worked for the CFIA and the Government of Alberta in various roles including district veterinarian for Vancouver Island, Foreign Animal Disease Veterinarian, and Surveillance Veterinarian before being appointed Chief Veterinarian for BC in 2020. Rayna’s areas of interest include transboundary animal disease, disease control, and emergency management.

Notice! Our organization has changed names to Animal Health Canada as of January 10, 2022. You might notice some historical documents developed prior to Jan 10, 2022 (newsletters, legacy documents etc.) still reference our prior name, the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council.