Mr. 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.
Ms. 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.
Ms. Kelsey Cheyne
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.
Ms. Kate Murray
Vice President, Partner and Program Development
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.
Board of Directors
Dr. Elena Verdu
Dr. Verdu’s research has focused on the pathophysiology of inflammatory and functional gastrointestinal disorders. She undertook clinical research training at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where she studied the interaction between chronic infection with Helicobacter pylori and gastritis in humans and the possible therapeutic role of probiotic bacteria. Her PhD studies in the Institute of Microbiology and Gnotobiology at the Czech Academy of Science and University of Lausanne focused on the effect of bacterial antigens in animal models of inflammatory bowel disease. As a post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University she gained experience with animal models of gut functional diseases and investigated the mechanisms of action of probiotic bacteria. As a member of the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University, Dr. Verdu investigates host-microbial and dietary interactions in the context of celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. She has been honored with the New Investigator Award (Canadian Celiac Association), the New Investigator Award (Functional Gut-Brain Research Group, USA) and the Campbell Research Award in celiac disease (Canadian Celiac Association). The American Gastroenterology Association and the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology have awarded her the “Master’s in Gastroenterology Award” for basic science and “Young Investigator’s Award”, respectively. She is Associate Professor at the Division of Gastroenterology, Dep. of Medicine at McMaster University and currently directs the Axenic Gnotobiotic Unit at McMaster.
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. Nicola Jones
Dr Nicola Jones received her medical degree from the University of Toronto. She subsequently completed training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at SickKids in Toronto and a PhD in Molecular and Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Jones accepted a faculty position as a clinician scientist and pediatric gastroenterologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in 1999 and was promoted to full professor and senior scientist in 2010. Dr Jones’s research program focuses on host pathogen interactions with particular interests in Helicobacter pylori and understanding host microbe interactions in inflammatory bowel disease. She has had funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Canadian Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and Canadian Association of Gastroenterology. Dr. Jones’ research has been recognized with the University of Toronto Department of Pediatrics Young Investigator Award 2004, and Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Young Investigator Award 2005, Visiting Research Scientist Award 2012. Dr. Jones is passionate about research education and is currently the principal investigator for the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program. Dr. Jones’ abilities as an educator have been recognized with a Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Young Educator Award 2009 and Education Excellence Award in 2014. Dr. Jones has served as the research chair for the Canadian Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, a council member for the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and is currently the VP secretary for Canadian Association of Gastroenterology.
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).