Meet Our Staff
Our members frequently tell us that our staff go above and beyond to care for them and we witness this every day. This is the most important attribute that we have for staff. They are all professional and do their best, but it’s the little things that they do for our members that make the difference.
Between Aurora Recovery Centre (ARC) and ARC Counselling, we currently have more than 80 staff who spent about 10 hours a day with or our members. We strive to have the best care, programs and outcomes. It takes the best people to do so. We are grateful for each member of our staff.
Below are some of our staff members for you to meet.
Founder and Chairman
For over 40 years of his career, Paul Melnuk has led and directed many public and private companies in a variety of industries. Melnuk is deeply passionate about recovery and assists people suffering from addictions or mental illnesses and their families to experience the sacred gift of recovery. Based on research, Melnuk believes that addiction and co-occurring mental health issues must be integrated, and treated with the most advanced and effective methods, concurrently for the best outcomes.
As Founder, Chairman, CEO and owner of Aurora Recovery Centre (ARC), Paul is committed to maintaining ARC as a world-class treatment centre with a caring member-centric culture with a dedicated team that provides effective practices and techniques.
Director of Business Development and Public Relations Officer
Interventionalists / Addictions Specialist
Ian Rabb is a certified interventionist and has been active in the recovery community for decades, helping hundreds of people find help and treatment for addictions.
Rabb, who had the vision for ARC well before the centre opened in 2016, was honored with the title of “A Manitoba Hero” for his service work with people living in Manitoba. He is also the head of Two Ten Recovery, which is a sober living organization.
Before he worked to open ARC with CEO Paul Melnuk, he was with Winpark Dorchester Properties, a property management firm and became a doctor of optometry practicing in Chicago, Illinois.
He also served on the board of directors of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, a board member for End Homelessness Winnipeg. He served on the community advisory board for The Homelessness Partnering Strategy and on the Homelessness Task Force in 2014. He continues to speak internationally on addiction issues as well and is an addictions expert for numerous media outlets.
Rabb was nominated as a finalist for the Scotiabank Game Changers, an award celebrating local heroes. In 2012,he was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal, was the chair of a forum for Voices.
In 2005, he was a part of the the Provincial Meth Task Force. He also is on the board of Jewish Child and Family Services, The Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Health Science Centre Foundation.
Member Care Management
Brenda Dilello has over 33 years experience in both health care and addictions treatment. Dilello began her career at the Health Science Centre and Grace Hospital where she worked in both the medical and mental health care units and was an instrumental part of opening the extended treatment unit at Grace Hospital for long-term mental health patients.
She’s also focused her work on chemical withdrawal, eating disorders and forensic mental health. Because of her experience in intensive care, emergency and recovery rooms, and dialysis, Dilello has a vast range of experience. She is passionate and dedicated to work in the field of addictions and believes in maintaining a high standard of integrity, compassion and respect for ARC members.
Intake/Member Care Administrator
Tara Kirton has more than five years experience as an executive administrator and helped opened several treatment centres in Ontario. She is dedicated to ensuring that all members at ARC have a comfortable, safe and positive stay. Kirton also coordinates the transportation, to and from evening AA or NA meetings, airports, and medical appointments for our members. She also oversees the duties of our member care specialist. The member comes first to Kirton and if any member has an issue, she directs them to the appropriate team member.
Tracy brings over 20 years of experience empowering high-level leadership in diverse work environments to her role at Aurora Recovery Centre. Previous work coordinating executive communications, human resources direction and financial management include IISD, Palliser Furniture, Investors Group, Steinbach Credit Union and Parker Vansco.
Tracy started out in the Interlake until her family moved into Winnipeg. She and her husband moved back to the Interlake in 2012 making the Gimli area their home. Tracy is passionate about the beauty and peace this town brings and what it brings to our members.
Dr. Derrek Jensen BSc, BSc (Med), MD, CCFP
Dr. Derrek Jensen is an integral role at ARC who is also the medical director of an organization providing medical care to home bound patients dealing with various medical issues which can include addictions and withdrawal management. He also provides care to post-overdose, stroke, and brain injury.
Jensen currently works at a clinic providing opiate replacement treatment as well. He is a recipient of the Governor General’s Bronze Medal Award and maintains membership with The College of Family Physicians of Manitoba, Doctors Manitoba College of Family Physicians of Canada, and The Canadian Medical Association.
He received his bachelor of science with distinction in chemistry and microbiology at the University of Manitoba. He then obtained his bachelor of science (medicine), doctor of medicine, and post graduate of medical education in family medicine.
Dr. Sarah Blelloch
CV coming soon.
Patty Medd has more than 10 years of experience working in addiction medicine. She has over 25 years of healthcare experience, in both family practice and mental health. Medd’s work with addiction medicine includes providing care in a residential treatment centre for those diagnosed with substance use disorder.
She has also provided medical assessments, primary care and withdrawal management, ongoing assessment, management and treatment of co-occurring disorders. Medd also taught and researched the best practices in addiction medicine and worked in northern Manitoba. She recieved her bachelor of arts with honours and masters of nursing from the University of Manitoba.
She is dedicated and committed to those members with addiction and related mental health issues on their journey in recovery.
Shahid Shams has worked in the healthcare field for over 27 years. He started his career as a health care aide, then was a nurse for eight years and obtained a master’s degree in nursing.
Shams worked with First Nation and Inuit communities across Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Since becoming a nurse practitioner, he has developed skills to work with the elderly, specializing in chronic care. He also works closely with troubled youth in the city, members with mental health issues, and individuals living with addiction issues.
When not at ARC, Shams works at with Manitoba Addictions Treatment Centres in Winnipeg. He realizes members with addiction issues most often have underlying psychiatric conditions along with complex social issues.
Shams serves as a role model to others, by supporting future nurse practitioner students through his work the University of Manitoba as a preceptor as well.
Tamara Sawatzky has 15 years of healthcare experience, graduating from the Brandon University in 2009. She pursued a nursing career in critical care, and has more than six years of experience in the area. In 2012, Sawatzky entered the master of nursing program at the University of Manitoba, graduating in 2014 as a nurse practitioner.
She had two years experience in family practice and addiction medicine.
At ARC, she focuses on providing health promotion, medical assessments, and management of both substance use disorder and co-occurring illnesses. Sawatzky is passionate about best practices in addiction medicine and takes a member-centric approach to help everyone throughout their recovery journey at ARC.
Since graduating from the University of Winnipeg in 2014, Amanda Chalmers has been involved in the social services field primarily in Winnipeg’s core area. Chalmers is an active volunteer as a counselor at Women’s Health Clinic. She also lends her time to teach people about anxiety in the Addiction’s Unit at the Health Sciences Centre.
Chalmers believes in the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model of wellness for those in ARC’s care. In her spare time, she practices hot yoga and spends time with her four pets.
Gerry Verrier’s story of recovery from an opioid addiction started in the 1980s, which has led him to work in the addictions treatment industry well over 30 years. Having worked with youth, adults, and families, Verrier brings a wealth of experience steeped in trauma-informed best care practices. His compassionate drive for motivational interviewing and applied counselling, along with his deep passion for the success of addicts in recovery are how Verrier contributes to ARC’s environment.
Jennifer Hearn graduated in 2015 from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor of social work degree. She has experience working with people of diverse backgrounds, spirituality, and culture. Hearn focuses on acquiring the key skills needed to provide comprehensive individualized care that supports and serves her clients’ needs and desires to maintain an independent and sober lifestyle.
Her personal interest in counselling primarily developed from having family and friends who are in recovery from addictions and experience co-occurring mental health concerns. These situations allowed her to understand first-hand the challenges people face in initiating and maintaining a steady, secure life while fighting the stereotypes and stigmas about people with addictions who are trying to access needed supports.
Hearn also knows first hand the challenges that can often be faced with family members and support persons who are standing by their loved ones in these situations. This led Hearn to receive training to guide her in interactions with people experiencing suicidal thoughts or intentions while on the road to recovery.
Transitional Care Counsellor
Kevin Koroscil (Nii Gaani Inini -Leading Man) started his career working in group homes for young people and obtained his youth care certificate through night school. He continued working with youth as a foster parent for 15 years, and sat on the board of directors for the Manitoba Foster Family Network during that time. When he finished his time fostering children, he became the coordinator for Aboriginal Services at Selkirk Mental Health Centre. He was part of a team of professionals who helped provide services to all First Nation, Metis, and Inuit members at the Selkirk centre.
After three years, he was a key part of the program called Exit Up with Siloam Mission. This program provided service to First Nation, Metis and Inuit people between the ages of 18 and 25 who grew up in the Child and Family Services (CFS) and needed housing. The program provided life skills, support for appointments, traditional cultural teachings and ceremonies like sweat lodges, Sundance, moon lodges, and pipe ceremonies.
Koroscil is a pipe carrier, sweat Lodge conductor, sundance leader, husband, father, grandfather, son, uncle, nephew, and cousin. He presently sits on the board of directors for Thunderbird House.
Clinical / Addictions Counsellor
Kyle Goertzen has a bachelor of social work degree from the University of Manitoba and a certificate in applied counselling with honours from Red River College. Goertzen also uses his personal experience in recovery from a member-centered perspective. Compassion, non-judgement and congruence are the core values which guide his work in addictions.
CV coming soon.
Prior to joining the Aurora team, Michael had his own private Counselling practice for over 20 years where he helped many who were dealing with addictions and other co occurring disorders. He then went on to College and got his diploma in Social Care with emphasis on Addictions.
Shelley-Ann McDonald has applied counselling with honours from University College of the North. She has training in nonviolent crisis intervention (NVCI), applied suicide intervention skills (ASIST), mental health first aid for adults and youth, mediation, vicarious trauma, outgrowing addictions, motivational interviewing, 12 step programs, therapeutic community, palliative care, spiritual health services and co-occuring mental health and substance abuse disorders (CODI).
McDonald has more than 15 years experience as counsellor, focusing on crisis intervention, intervention, addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders. Her passion and experience have always been in supporting family, friends, individuals and their loved ones with their journey of new beginnings and maintaining a sober and healthy lifestyle.
Stef Meeroff has training in addictions counselling, stress management, crisis management and family counselling work. His work focuses on skill-based recovery and moving individuals from active addiction to new opportunities. Meeroff began working on the front lines of addiction and recovery in 1990 at Covenant House – East Vancouver. After that, he worked with people who struffed with addictions and their families.
He then moved to Winnipeg, joining the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba at the Men’s Residential Program. Meeroff spent the next 11 years as a counsellor at the Youth Addiction Stabilization Unit helping addicted youth and families. He was involved in educational presentations at junior high schools in Winnipeg, YMCA Programs, and the Assiniboine Community College. He was also featured in a three-part, Shaw TV public access series, focusing on addictions.
Tannis is a unshakable optimist when it comes to supporting others and navigating them to see their value and obtain their goals! She does this because she thrives on helping others. She has worked with and cared for people in need for over 2 decades. During this time, her career has covered the human life span, her work ranging from children to adolescents and young adults to senior citizens. Tannis believes strongly in the connection of a healthy mind & healthy body, using education, supports, fitness, nutrition, art and music as a means to that end.
Tannis has a particular interest in addictions support having studied CODI theory and relapse prevention and have used these skills to help those at risk. She has an extensive background working with people with addictions as well as physical or mental illness. Her educational back ground includes Rehabilitation, Psychosocial Education, Crisis Counseling, Group support, Family support, Anger Resolution, Adult Psychology, Sexual Health as well as Fitness Nutrition and Fitness Instruction.
Veronica Dunn is a natural helper by nature. She received her undergraduate and masters degree in social work from the University of Manitoba. Dunn has worked for years with children, young adults, adults and families to promote their own expertise and healing journey.
As a registered social worker, she works with diverse and beautiful groups of people in a strength-based, solution focused way. Dunn also has training that includes motivational interventions, brief therapy, wrap around, mindfullness, CBT, photo-voice, psycho-dynamic therapy, etc.
She established a private practice working with children who were a part of the Child Welfare System. As a helper, she also participates in various community Indigenous ceremonies, prayers/smudging, sweat lodges and Sundance.
Dunn is a non-judgmental, kind and compassionate person, who believes in a holistic approach which supports folks in all four aspects of human health and well-being; emotional, mental, physical and spiritual.
Clinical Therapist and EMDR Certified, M. Div., MMFT RSW
Michael Kurek is a marriage and family therapist and clinical fellow of the Manitoba Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT). He is currently secretary of the MAMFT. Kurek is also a member of the Manitoba College of Social Workers in the area of addictions. He began his counselling career while doing his master of divinity degree where he was introduced to the complexities of co-occurring disorders.
He was one of the first HIV counsellors in Winnipeg. Kurek’s approach to therapy is broad but he also has extensive experience with indigenous and marginalized populations. He taught therapy related courses at both the University of Manitoba and Winnipeg.
For Kurek, therapy is a balance of body, mind, and spirit.
MMFT, RMFT, Clinical Therapist
Sam Whelan is a marriage and family therapist with education and experience in group, family, couple and individual psychotherapy. His undergraduate degree is in psychology and his graduate degree is master of marriage and family therapy.
Whelan is a clinical fellow of the AAMFT and serves on the MAMFT board. He also provides clinical supervision for MFT students in the masters of marriage and family therapy program at the University of Winnipeg.
One of his guiding psychotherapy principles is that the goal of treatment is to achieve our potential as opposed to changing ourselves.
Whelan is proficient in numerous aspects of treatment and works from an integrated theoretical and therapeutic perspective. Some of these perspectives are member centred, attachment and trauma-informed treatment with an emphases on addiction, anxiety, depression, parenting, grief and loss, relationship distress, and emotional expression.
Dr. Adrian Hynes
Dr. Adrian Hynes is a psychiatrist specializing in co-occurring disorders. He was born, raised, and received his medical training in Ireland then trained as a family doctor in England. After moving to Canada in 1980, Hynes practiced and taught family medicine in Manitoba until 1992, when he began training in psychiatry and addictions in Winnipeg and Minneapolis.
He practiced co-occurring disorders and methadone maintenance in Thunder Bay from June 1996 until September 2003, when he moved to London, Ontario to become the physician leader of the Concurrent Disorders Program. Hynes returned to Winnipeg in July 2005 and is now based at the Health Sciences Centre. His official titles are Psychiatric Consultant in Co-Occurring Disorders to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Medical Director, Co-Occurring Disorders, Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg.
Addiction Specialists / Interventionists
Addiction Specialist and Interventionist
For over 25 years, Marla Goldman continures to work in the field of addiction with a wide range of experiences. She began her career at Family Services, then shifted her focus to addiction and recovery. Goldman worked at different treatment centres as well as facilitated family groups. She expanded her involvement in the field and became an interventionist. Her goal was to assist families in getting their loved ones into treatment.
She was the executive director of a charitable organization called Jacs, an outreach education centre that is still in operation 20 years later. Its principal goal is to educate the addict, alcoholic and family members who are seeking help. Goldman speaks from the heart and keeps in touch with some of her past members while remaining dedicated to helping save people’s lives.
Michèle Stanners joined the ARC Team in November 2017. She assists with community engagement, branding, marketing, public relations and business development.
Stanners has been active in the recovery community for over 20 years as a creative community strategist and educator. Trained at the Harvard Kennedy School and MIT, she leads an advisory practice specializing in growing the resilience of organizations and teams through community building, learning development, stakeholder engagement, and sustainable brand value creation.
She is fluent in English and French and holds a bachelor of arts and a combined bachelor of law/master of business administration from the University of Alberta, as well as a masters of theological studies from Harvard Divinity School.
Samantha Reis, a personal support graduate from Algonquin College, has 10 years of work experience in healthcare field. She worked in dementia and palliative care in a long-term care home for six years. Since 2015, Reis focused her work on the addictions field. She has always been drawn to the mental health and addictions aspect of health care, as she has personal and family history of addictions. Reis joined ARC’s team in February 2017 bringing personal, administrative, and management experience that allows her to work successfully and compassionately as the Continuing Care advocate until early 2019. She has moved into her new role as an Addiction Specialist at Aurora Recovery Centre.
Sandy Sandulak was a case manager for Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Inc. (Ma Mawi), a mental health worker for Southern Health, a program coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Society and as an adult mentor for Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc. (Ndinawe).
Addiction treatment and mental health treatment have been her specialty for over a decade. Sandulak trained in applied counselling at Red River College where she obtained certification in nonviolent crisis intervention (NVCI), ASSIST, mental health, first aid and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Her skills also include group facilitation. Sandulak is committed to helping others achieve the joy of recovery. She also has a passion for helping children in foster care. In her spare time, she enjoys working on her parent’s farm, gardening, and reading.
Todd K Richards
Addiction Specialist – Interventionist, R.P.C.
Todd Richards has over 25 years of experience working with people who suffer from mental health disorders and addiction related issues. Fluent in multiple addiction modalities and therapeutic philosophies, Richards believes in treating the whole individual, physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
Being empathetic and compassionate, he relates to people in a non-judgmental, supportive and confidential manner. Richards has experience in multiple levels of addiction treatment from admission to detox, along with programming and discharge. Having worked with thousands of people and their families, he’s touched their lives in multiple capacities. Richards is primarily a counselor, addiction specialist and has performed over 80 interventions across Canada. He served as clinical program director at two treatment centres in southern Ontario and was a vital player in creating their programs, as well as, building their clinical and medical teams.
Dr. Bill Jacyk
Staff Development Consultant
Dr. Bill Jacyk is a highly trained and qualified general physician with expertis. Jacyk focuses on his work with addiction treatment, post-traumatic stress disorder, and adult trauma. He graduated with his medical degree from the University of Manitoba. He held a tenured faculty appointment in internal medicine and psychiatry for 27 years before moving to Ontario.
While in Manitoba, he coordinated a physician at risk program that is dedicated to the mental health of physicians and other health professionals. In Ontario, Jacyk was the developer and medical lead for concurrent disorders programs for seniors and trauma survivors at Homewood Health Centre and GreeneStone Muskoka, an addiction treatment facility.
Jacyk received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002 and keeps up-to-date with the latest advances in his field by maintaining a professional membership with the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. He continues to serve as national coordinator for treatment and education for Air Traffic Controllers and employees of NAV CANADA. Jacyk published numerous articles including his prestigious publication in The Leading Physicians of the World. He attributes his success to his love for what he does, and when he is not assisting patients, he enjoys golfing and gardening.
Staff Development Consultant
Hildie began her career after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Manitoba. She established a private practice and focused primarily on women’s issues (women in abusive relationships, single parenting, and women with addictions). In her work, Hildie found that while experiencing the healing power of nature, women responded with greater ease. This counselling style naturally allowed access to self-reflection and self-discovery, which ultimately led Hildie to pursue a graduate degree from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California (known as Sofia University since 2012). Hildie received additional training in spiritual direction, both academically and experientially, at Loyola House – a Jesuit retreat and training facility in Guelph, Ontario. After nearly thirty years in her field, Hildie’s most recent accomplishment included the development of a strong and vital spiritual foundation within GreeneStone Muskoka – a private residential addiction treatment facility in Bala, Ontario; known for its holistic treatment approach. During her time at GreeneStone, Hildie was the principal spiritual director and grief counsellor. In her spare time, Hildie enjoys walking and reading.
Member Care Administrative Assistant
LiAnne Snow was born and raised in a small town then moved to Gimli with her fiance. She has four years experience in office and administration from helping her father run his small business. Snow’s passion for administration ensures that all member contracts are complete in a timely manner and that all software programs are up-to-date. After her office hours, she stylizes our members hair so they can feel their best.
Shirley Finnbogason was born and raised in Gimli, lived in the Interlake area before starting a family and moving to Thompson for eight years. She has also lived in southern Manitoba, but the with the Interlake area always calling her home, she returned to Gimli in 2016.
Finnbogason’s background is in accounting and human resources, receiving her degree in business administration and accounting from Red River College. She brings with her over 20 years of managerial experience, having worked in retail and the hospitality industry. Finngobason is dedicated to providing members and employees with a high standard of professionalism.
Continuing Care Advocate
Tim began his residential addiction treatment career in 2003, working in accredited centres in British Columbia and Ontario. He is a Canadian certified addictions counsellor. Tim attained his addiction counselling certificate at Vancouver Community College, followed by multiple certificate programs at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. He has experience in numerous aspects of residential treatment, from detoxification to alumni support. His particular passion is supporting people post-treatment as they initiate recovery lifestyles. Tim experiences serenity while pursuing outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing and bird-watching..
Clinical Counsellor, Therapist, and Supervisor
Michael Kurek is a marriage and family therapist and clinical fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). He is currently secretary of theManitoba Association for Marriage and Family Therapy ( MAMFT)
Kurekis also member of the Manitoba College of Social Workers, specializing in addictions. He began his counselling career while doing hismaster of divinity degree where he was introduced to the complexities of co-occurring disorders. He was one of the first HIV counsellors in Winnipeg. Kurek’s approach to therapy is broad, having extensive experience with indigenous and marginalized populations.
He has taught therapy related courses at both the University of Manitoba and Winnipeg. For him therapy is a balance of body, mind, and spirit.
Nicole Corriveau has training in nonviolent crisis intervention and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders initiative, crisis response, mental health first aid, trauma informed training, and motivational interviewing.
Corriveau has six years of experience working with trauma affected members of the Behavioural Health Foundation. Rapport building active listening and team building are some of her strengths. Nicole uses a combination of her personal experience and professional training to provide compassionate and insightful support to the people she works with.
Kinesiologist & Trainer
Eddie Miller has over 20 years of national award-winning experience in the dance, fitness, martial arts and entertainment industries. With a degree in kinesiology and being a master fitness trainer, Miller has educated and certified over 200 fitness professionals throughout his career.
As an instructor, he has taught over 13,000 participants in classes such as AcroYoga, dance, gymnastics, martial arts, meditation, Pilates, yoga and zumba. As a professional performing artist, he has danced and did stunt work for film and theatre, including dancing for Jennifer Lopez’s Shall we Dance?. He also and directed a touring production company throughout western Canada. Miller also holds black belts in both Kung Fu & Arnis-Kali, winning a silver medal at the WSB World Championships in knife sparring.
Aurora Recovery Centre’s philosophies are consistently reflected in the way we value our members and staff. Everything we do is in the interest of our members’ recovery for life.
Aurora’s treatment process is built upon a member-first culture and stands on three pillars that reflect our philosophy toward our members’ recovery: Heal, Connect and Recover.
From initial contact with Aurora, you begin to experience our Member-First Culture. Our highly experienced Addiction Specialists help you navigate the complex, emotional decision to admit to treatment.