Meet the Board
Helen McGee, RN, MN, CPMHNC, President
Helen joined friends to launch NACN-Canada in 2018 because of her moral distress about the Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter decision. She worked for more than 40 years with young people and families affected by schizophrenia, and now consults as an Advanced Practice Nurse on a part-time basis to community mental health teams in Ontario. She was certified through the St. Paul VI Institute to teach fertility appreciation and made many presentations on this topic to couples preparing for marriage. She has had a longstanding interest in promoting respect for life and freedom of conscience.
Freida Chavez, RN, MHSc, DNP, FAAN, Past President
Freida is the Founding President of NACN-Canada. Through her Global Health work, she became aware of the International Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants – (CICIAMS) as one of the few associations that hold an official consultancy status with the United Nations. Through this and the inspiration of colleagues from NACN-USA to integrate Catholic faith and health care, she worked with the Founding Executive Team (Helen and Jody) in forming NACN Canada that launched in June 2018 and affiliated with CICIAMS.
Louela Rankin, President-Elect
Louela Rankin has been a nurse since 1986 and has worked in multiple roles in the health care system. She is a devout Catholic and lives her faith from the perspectives of evangelization and contemplation. She joined the National Association of Catholic Nurses in 2019.
Anita Miller, Member at large
Anita is a retired Emergency Room nurse and Nurse Educator. She is a former member of the Toronto community ethics committee in the University of Toronto’s Joint Centre for Bioethics. She has been involved in Parish Nursing, and has coordinated and facilitated a bereavement program. She has been assisting with preparation for Confirmation, and has been a lector and visiting Eucharistic minister in her parish. She is currently a member of a Friday evening prayer cenacle. A special gift since retirement was the opportunity to attend daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration in the chapel at St. Pascal Baylon Parish in Toronto.
Mahlon Akhtar, Treasurer
Mahlon Akhtar has nine years of experience as a psychiatric nurse and is currently working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in tertiary care psychiatry. He has a strong appreciation for the current mental healthcare system but also recognizes that more needs to be done to improve the quality of mental health care for Canadians. With joining the National Catholic Nurses Association, Mahlon hopes to connect with like-minded Catholics in order to delve deeper into the Catholic philosophical tradition and to integrate his Catholic faith with his career as a psychiatric nurse.
Elizabeth Tanguay, RN, BScN, Corresponding Secretary
Elizabeth has been practising as a labour and delivery nurse since 2013 in Ottawa. She is an accredited Billings Ovulation Method™ teacher, working in partnership with local doctors to help treat reproductive health conditions. She got involved in NACN-Canada in 2019 because she recognized the importance of fellowship and solidarity with fellow nurses, especially on the front lines to defend human life at all stages, advocating for patients, and conscience rights of health professionals. She is bilingual (French and English), and is looking forward to welcoming more francophone nurses to NACN-Canada.
Alissa M., Recording Secretary
Alissa graduated from McMaster University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Afterward, she entered the University of Toronto to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2014. From there, she worked in an acute care setting in an urban hospital for several years, then transitioned to the community setting as an immunization clinic nurse and coordinator of care.
Alissa is a convert to the Catholic faith, marking her one year anniversary of her entrance into the Catholic Church in 2023. She grew up Protestant; she and her sister were the only Catholics in her family. Looking into the Early Church Fathers and Church History ignited their prayerful search for the fullness of the faith, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Before becoming Catholic, her faith was not necessarily dominant within her practice; she now endeavours to live for Christ in her profession. Before her conversion, she encountered a patient who was desiring death (Medical Assistance in Dying, or MAiD) due to chronic illness. Furthermore, several healthcare professionals seemed agreeable to facilitating MAiD for the patient; this disturbed her. Not knowing of any formal support groups for health-care professionals that she could access, she felt alone, in a religious/faith sense. Fr. Anish, the associate pastor at her local parish and chaplain to NACN-Canada, introduced her to members of NACN-C, which she gladly joined. This renewed her hope that there were Christians who loved God, loved the Church, and loved their neighbour to the point of gathering to speak up for life and to advocate protection for healthcare professionals.
Alissa is a lector at St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish in Scarborough, Ontario. She enjoys staying physically active and learning new languages.