Susan Cadell (Principal Investigator)

Professor of Social Work at Renison University College School of Social Work, at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Her social work experience includes various aspects of practice before she became an academic. She has an extensive background in research and gained international stature in the areas of death, dying and bereavement. She has led 15 projects and participated in 30 multi-disciplinary teams, from small internal and foundation funds to CIHR- and SSHRC-funded national grants. She has been volunteering for many years with Bereaved Families of Ontario (BFO), Midwestern Region, where she serves on the Board and Professional Advisory Committee, and has facilitated grief groups in the community.

Melissa Reid

Master’s level trained social worker. She has served as an Executive Director at Bereaved Families of Ontario Midwestern Region, on the Board at the Professional Advisory Committee, and was one of BFO’s Professional Consultants. Cadell and Reid have collaborated for many years both at BFO and during Reid’s Master of Social Work studies. Reid is a grief counsellor in a private practice which she recently founded, Calming Tree Counselling in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Mary Ellen Macdonald

Mary is a medical anthropologist. Her FRSQ-funded research program on Improving the Health of Vulnerable Populations includes two vulnerable populations with urgent health needs: palliative care patients and their families, and Indigenous populations. She is Program Head of the Palliative Care Research Program at the Montreal Children’s Hospital where she did her postdoctoral training, and Associate Professor at McGill University. Her current research in palliative care includes a socio-cultural analysis of child death, and a study to improve palliative care services across Inuit communities in Northern Quebec. She has extensive experience with qualitative methods, leading the McGill Qualitative Health Research Group since 2009 (

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