Team

Our Team

Jeff Suggitt

Chief Executive Officer

Jeff Suggitt’s extensive experience in the health care sector has focused on the direction, production and implementation of interactive media, Internet, and wireless applications for continuing medical education, patient education, brand/product marketing, and market research/analysis initiatives. His entrepreneurial ventures have enabled him to obtain the necessary skills required to succeed in new business development and the building and maintaining of strategic alliances and client relationships. His experiences have given him a competence to manage the whole picture while ensuring the successful execution of several projects. The combination of his directorship at the University of Toronto and years of teaching at a community college level have provided him with exceptional presentation skills, a solid understanding of adult learning principles, and a wealth of interpersonal communication and managerial skills. The opportunity to truly put the well-being of patients first was what brought Jeff to CDHF. He is committed to providing patients who are affected by digestive conditions access to the most trustworthy and current resources and tools to help improve their outcomes and their quality of life.

Alexandra St.Pierre

Creative Services Manager

Alexandra St. Pierre joined the Canadian Digestive health foundation in 2017 as a Marketing and Events Coordinator. Over the past year, she has come to be responsible for the development and creation of all marketing and events creative. She oversees the development of all digital and print materials, as well as social media, advertising and banner development. She also over sees all content development, from blog posts, fact guides, sales and promo materials. Alexandra is an OCAD graduate and completed a one year intensive at Sheridan College for advertising. Before working for CDHF, Alexandra worked as a Jr. Illustrator for a communications firm and spent two years working as a digital media specialist for a start-up based in Toronto. Several people close to Alexandra have been effected by digestive health issues and she is thrilled to be involved with a foundation that enables her to both help people, as well as exercise her creativity on a daily basis.

Kelsey Cheyne

Executive Director

Kelsey Cheyne joined the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation in 2015 as the Communications Coordinator and since has become the Marketing Manager. Kelsey’s primary focus is to continually increase brand awareness to help drive business results. In addition to directing media relations, branding, and website development, Kelsey manages and oversees social media channels, CDHF events, and more. Kelsey attended the University of Guelph, where she graduated with a B. Comm. Marketing Management. Before joining CDHF, Kelsey worked with a multitude of stakeholders and diverse teams across the country including Ontario Mutual Insurance Association, the University of Guelph, AMS Canada Inc. and African Lion Safari. As co-founder and designer of Pretty in Print Invitations, Kelsey designs personalized wedding invitations, greeting cards, and other unique pieces in print. Kelsey is a high-energy, intuitive individual who is passionate about health and fitness. She is happy to be a part of foundation that has a direct impact on the digestive – and overall -- health of Canadians.

Kate Murray

Director, Research & Patient Programs

Kate Murray joins the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF) as Vice President, Partner and Program Development. No stranger to the CDHF, Kate first joined the Foundation as a Business Development Officer in 2011, and returns to us after working in rare disease. Kate’s career began in the food and beverage industry, working for one of the largest brands in the world, Coca-Cola. As one of just three women to hold a distribution management position within Coca-Cola Canada, Kate turned one of the country's poorest performing locations into one of the top five in North America. With an intuitive sense of management and a clear handle on quality initiatives, Kate continues to use these skills in her professional endeavours. In 2010, Kate’s son Robbie was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. After witnessing a child denied access to the same treatment that restored Robbie’s health, Kate and her son founded Robbie’s Rainbow. Kate holds a degree in Sociology from McMaster University. She is a member of the SickKids Family Advisory Network (FAN), a steering committee member of CIDsCANN: Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Network and she is a planning committee member with the MitoCanada Foundation.

Nella Perri

Director of Finance and Operations​

Nella began her career at Export Development Corporation in Ottawa. She later relocated to Toronto where she joined Baxter Canada as a Marketing Analyst holding various positions over a 15 year period. As a mother of two, she also enjoyed volunteering. She joined the board of a local not for profit offering recreational and competitive programs for children where she held numerous positions but lastly as Treasurer for over ten years. She joined the CDHF Family in 2015 and is honoured to be part of a growing team.

Tara Petch

Director, Partnerships & Strategic Initiatives

Tara Petch joined the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation in 2021 as the Director, Partnerships & Strategic Initiatives. Tara’s focus is on broadening and building partnerships with the CDHF. These strategic partnerships will help support educational and research initiatives, and enable the development of National programs; which will provide more solutions and options for those suffering from digestive health conditions. Tara has extensive background in the CPG industry with success in sales, shopper marketing and agency marketing roles, as well as in the non-profit experience, working on well known brands. She attended University of Guelph and played varsity soccer while there. She has a genuine interest in wellness and athletics. Tara is part of the alumni committee for University of Guelph Gryphons Women’s Soccer and lead the establishment of the first alumni scholarship; committed to helping current and future players. She is on the Elementary School Council and recently became a certified 200hr Hatha Yoga instructor. This interest in healthy living and wellness, spills over into her appreciation for working for the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. She is very happy to have the opportunity to collaborate with others to help Canadians dealing with digestive health conditions, live better lives.

Board of Directors

Dr. Richard Hunt

Dr. Richard H. Hunt qualified from Edinburgh University in 1966. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Edinburgh, and Canada, and of the American College of Gastroenterology. He has been recognized with many prizes and medals for his work in Gastroenterology, where his special interests focus on the acid related disorders and the clinical pharmacology of treatment of gastrointestinal disease. He is also widely recognized for an extensive interest in colorectal disease, colonoscopy, and therapeutic endoscopy. Dr. Hunt was President of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology 1992-1993 and President of the Canadian Helicobacter Study Group 1997-2001. He is currently Vice President of the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. He received the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Distinguished Service Award in 2002 and the Ontario Association of Gastroenterology Annual Achievement Award in 2006. Dr. Hunt was co-chair of the scientific program committee of the World Congress of Gastroenterology, Montreal, and September 2005. He has been Associate Editor of the Esophagus, Stomach and Duodenum, sections of Gastroenterology, and a member of the Editorial Boards of 19 scientific journals. He has been Visiting Professor at Universities in the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, South East Asia and South Africa, and has been an invited lecturer to Universities and hospitals throughout the world. He has published over 600 papers and abstracts including authoritative papers on clinical pharmacology, peptic ulcer disease, gastro esophageal reflux disease, Helicobacter pylori infection, colonic disease, and colonoscopy. He is the author or editor of 11 books and 63 chapters, and has produced 20 TV video films on peptic ulcer disease, reflux esophagitis, and colonoscopy. Dr. Hunt was Professor of Medicine at McMaster University from 1982 - 2012. He was the first Director of the Intestinal Disease Research Unit, and of the Division of Gastroenterology at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, establishing its international reputation.

Mr. Ian MacGillivray

After several years as a business analyst and management consultant, Ian pursued his entrepreneurial passion by founding, growing, and successfully selling (in 2011) one of Western Canada’s largest conference/convention management firms. After integrating his business & team with the acquiring company, Ian was promoted to Vice President of Business Development and Marketing where he launched, grew and managed several successful products and lines of business while gaining valuable executive experience with one of Canada’s largest publicly-traded B2B media companies. In 2015, Ian and his wife purchased The Filter Shop (B.G.E. Service and Supply Ltd.), a commercial/industrial air filtration supply and manufacturing company. In late 2016, Ian joined The Filter Shop as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy, where he leads the company’s strategy development and corporate growth initiatives. Ian is also an active community builder and enjoys contributing time and talent to various community initiatives and non-profits. Ian is married with two children and outside the office enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling, downhill skiing, and lots of summer time at the lake cottage.

Dr. David Armstrong

Dr. David Armstrong is an Associate Professor of Medicine at McMaster University and an active consultant gastroenterologist at Hamilton Health Sciences. David Armstrong graduated from Cambridge University (1974) and King’s College Hospital (1977). After 2 years (1980-92) as a Family Physician in Goose Bay, Labrador he trained in internal medicine (UK: 1982-85), gastroenterology research (Guy’s Hospital, London, UK: 1985-88; University of Lausanne, Switzerland: 1988-92) and clinical gastroenterology (McMaster University: 1992-95). David Armstrong has research interests in upper gastrointestinal disease, nutrition, education and practice audit; he is principal investigator for a number of multicentre studies on dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease with over 120 peer-reviewed publications, 70 invited articles and 200 peer-reviewed presentations at learned societies. He was Chief of Clinical Service for Gastroenterology (2000-2007) and is Past-President of the HHS Medical Staff Association (2005-7), a member of the International Working Group on the Classification of Oesophagitis (IWGCO; 1994-present), a member of the Organizing Committee for the Annual CAG/CASL Canadian Gastroenterology Fellows’ Postgraduate Training Courses (1996-2007), Chair of the CAG Endoscopy Committee and a participant in the Canadian Consensus Conferences on the Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (1996 and 2004), Helicobacter pylori-related diseases (1998) and Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding (2002), the Latin-American consensus on gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (2005) and the Montreal Definition and Classification of GERD Working Group. As Chair of the CAG Endoscopy Committee, he has overseen the recent series of Canadian credentialing guidelines for gastrointestinal endoscopy; he was also a member of the Cancer Care Ontario Colonoscopy Standards Expert Panel (2007).

Dr Kevin Waschke

Dr Kevin Waschke received his medical degree from McGill University. He subsequently completed residency training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, followed by a Fellowship in Endoscopic Ultrasonography and Therapeutic Endoscopy. He has been a practicing gastroenterologist at the McGill University Health Center since 2004, where he was the Program Director for EUS and ERCP from 2005 to 2015 and Endoscopy Director from 2015 to 2018. Dr Waschke subsequently became a member of the Center for Medical Education after completing the Teaching Scholars Program at McGill University and the coursework for a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. He serves on several education committees, most notably with the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG), having been the CAG VP Educational Affairs from 2013 to 2018. Dr Waschke has been a leader in the design, implementation and management of innovative endoscopy training programs – most notable the CAG Skills Enhancement in Endoscopy (SEE) program and the ASGE Skills, Training, Assessment and Reinforcement (STAR) Program. He has received numerous awards for education, including a Canadian Association of Medical Education Certificate of Merit (2013), CAG Young Educator (2013) and Royal College of Canada Accredited Provider Innovation Awards (2012 and 2016). He is currently the President Elect of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and a board member for the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF). David Armstrong has research interests in upper gastrointestinal disease, nutrition, education and practice audit; he is principal investigator for a number of multicentre studies on dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease with over 120 peer-reviewed publications, 70 invited articles and 200 peer-reviewed presentations at learned societies. He was Chief of Clinical Service for Gastroenterology (2000-2007) and is Past-President of the HHS Medical Staff Association (2005-7), a member of the International Working Group on the Classification of Oesophagitis (IWGCO; 1994-present), a member of the Organizing Committee for the Annual CAG/CASL Canadian Gastroenterology Fellows’ Postgraduate Training Courses (1996-2007), Chair of the CAG Endoscopy Committee and a participant in the Canadian Consensus Conferences on the Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (1996 and 2004), Helicobacter pylori-related diseases (1998) and Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding (2002), the Latin-American consensus on gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (2005) and the Montreal Definition and Classification of GERD Working Group. As Chair of the CAG Endoscopy Committee, he has overseen the recent series of Canadian credentialing guidelines for gastrointestinal endoscopy; he was also a member of the Cancer Care Ontario Colonoscopy Standards Expert Panel (2007).

Dr Paul Moayyedi

Dr Paul Moayyedi qualified from Bristol University and obtained a PhD and Masters in Public Health from the University of Leeds. He moved to McMaster University in 2004 and was Director of the Division of Gastroenterology at McMaster in 2006-2017. He holds the Audrey Campbell Chair of Ulcerative Colitis Research and is currently the Assistant Dean of Research at McMaster University. He has published over 425 peer-reviewed articles that have been cited over 56,000 times with an h index of 114. He was Co-Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology 2010-2015. He is currently joint Coordinating Editor of the Gut Cochrane Review Group.