Meet Our Team

Erin Bigney, MA Experimental and Applied Psychology

Director of Research

Erin Bigney is the Director of Research for Canada East Spine Centre. Bigney holds a Master’s degree in Experimental and Applied Psychology and has worked in the field of research for the past 15 years. Bigney’s educational and work experiences have focused on experimental design, methodology and program evaluation. She has multiple peer-reviewed publications and has presented at national and international scientific conferences.

Eden Richardson, B.A. Political Science & English, Graduate Certificate-Human Resources Management

Research Manager

Eden oversees one of the largest sites for CSORN (Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network) of the 23 participating sites in Canada through the Canadian Spine Society. Eden also works for the Canadian Spine Society nationally as the Data Quality Coordinator and Trainer for CSORN because of her fantastic work with CSORN registry. Eden has hosted national training sessions for research coordinators and surgeons on data quality for CSORN. Eden also runs all the sub-studies for CSORN which includes sub-studies on adult deformity, cervical spondylotic myelopathy, and degenerative spondylolisthesis. Eden completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus with a double major in Political Science and English and graduated with First Division. She has also completed her Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management at Seneca College. Eden will also be starting her Masters in Business Administration in 2022.

Dana El-Mughayyar, B.Sc. Biology Psychology

Clinical Trials Lead

Dana El-Mughayyar, Clinical Trials Lead of Canada East Spine Centre completed her BSc. in Biology Psychology and is currently undergoing her Master of Kinesiology under the supervision of Dr.Hebert. She developed CESC's Volunteer Mentorship Program offered to undergraduate and graduate students, now run by Jill Kearney. El-Mughayyar is leading both trials of CESC, "Elucidating the effects of a prehabilitation program on spinal surgery candidates with cardiac comorbidities: A randomized controlled trial" and "Effects of Intra-Operative Ropivaciane® Epidural Injection on Post-Operative Outcomes Following Elective Lumbar Fusion: A double blinded randomized controlled trial". El-Mughayyar is also a member on the Neurosciences Network and the local accreditation team of Acute Spinal Cord Injury at the Saint John Regional Hospital. She has peer-reviewed over 12 manuscripts for the Global Spine Journal and continues to be an active member of the scientific community. El-Mughayyar is keen on working on the continual improvement of spine surgery patient outcomes. Outside of CESC, El-Mughayyar also participates as one of the writers for the Atlantic Student Research Journal, Mentor at UNB, and a contributor for editions of the Canadian Spine Society Newsletter – Spinal Columns.

Jill Kearney

Volunteer & Communications Coordinator

Jill Kearney is the Volunteer & Communications Coordinator for Canada East Spine Centre. She has several years of quality assurance and management experience in a business environment, which translates well to her role with CESC. Jill manages our Volunteer Mentorship Program which is offered to undergraduate and graduate students, and she coordinates our Research in Medicine (RIM) medical students. Her responsibilities also include overseeing our social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and our CESC website. Jill assists with our valuable work with the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network and the Rick Hansen Institute as well. As our main patient contact, she enjoys working closely with Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery patients and their surgeons for consenting and follow-up involvement in our research projects.

Rory McPhee

Research Assistant

Rory McPhee holds a BA (1st Class, Hons.) in psychology from the University of New Brunswick. He is currently undergoing his Master’s in Experimental Psychology. His Master’s thesis focuses on religious fundamentalism and ideological prejudice, and the subject matter of his previous research has also included lie detection, technology use by students, and research methods. Rory has presented research at the INPACT conference in Hungary in 2017 and has contributed to research presented at a number of international conferences. Rory has also contributed to a number of research projects conducted by CESC as a volunteer. Having volunteered for CESC for over a year, Rory is excited to take on a larger role within the organization.

Donna Eastwood RN, MN, ONC(c)

Clinical Research Associate

Donna Eastwood RN, MN, ONC(c), Recently retired from the Orthopaedic Nurse Associate role, Donna remains involved in development and implementation of methods to improve access to care for adults with back pain. This has lead to a local preoperative class for adults about to have spinal fusion surgery. In addition, she remains a leader in the development of NB-ISAEC, a New Brunswick program to improve access to care for adults with back pain. Donna’s academic achievements include presentations at Canadian Spine Society and North American Spine Society scientific meetings. She is lead author on May 2019 Spine Journal article: Improving postoperative patient reported benefits and satisfaction following spinal fusion with a single preoperative education session.

Janice (Loop-D) Kenny RN, BN

Neurosurgery Case Manager

Loop-d graduated with a Diploma in Nursing from the Saint John School of Nursing in 1981, and completed Post-Graduate studies in Neuroscience Nursing from the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in 1987. More recently, she completed her undergraduate degree in Nursing from UNBSJ in 2006. Loop-d has held the National CNA Certification in Neuroscience Nursing since 1991. She has served on the National Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses and was the National President in 1995. She is currently practicing Nursing in the Neurosciences. Loop-D's clinical interests are in Neuro Trauma, and Neuro Critical Care in the management of Brain & Spinal Cord Injuries.

Amanda Vandewint, BSc. Biomedical Science, MD Candidate

Medical Student Research Coordinator

Amanda Vandewint began her journey with Canada East Spine Centre through the Volunteer Mentorship Program and then worked as a full-time Research Administrative Assistant followed by Research Coordinator for CESC prior to starting medical school at Dalhousie University in 2021. She completed her BSc. in Biomedical Science with option in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Amanda's current role as Medical Student Research Coordinator is focused on supporting the different stages of research project progression. This includes a particular concentration on providing education in the areas of research ethics board application preparation along with data set cleaning and coding. The opportunity to be involved in such an incredible variety of projects including those offering interdisciplinary collaborations is one aspect of working at CESC that Amanda finds especially exciting.

Lauryn Munro

Summer Student Research Assistant

Lauryn Munro just completed her B.Sc. degree in Psychology at UNB. She is now looking forward to starting her medical degree in the Fall. She was the president of the Undergraduate Psychology Society at UNB and the Co Chair for UNB’s interdisciplinary health case competition, UNB Connect the Thoughts, as well as an EDI committee member for UNBs psychology department. Lauryn has been a volunteer with CESC since 2020 and is now working as a research assistant for the summer. Outside of academics Lauryn is an avid traveler and photographer.

Ore Alugo

Summer Student Research Assistant

Ore Alugo is currently an undergraduate student at Western University. She has recently completed the second year of her Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree. Ore joined CESC team this summer as a research assistant. At Western, Ore is the Assistant VP of Events for the African Students Association and is a member of the organization team for the Homework Help Program for Frontier’s College. Outside of work and academics Ore enjoys hiking, reading and going to farmers markets.

Sharon MacEwen RN

Clinical Leader Neurosurgery Operating Room

Sharon provides extensive OR experience in neurosurgery and spine surgery specifically. She contributes to intraoperative technique and technology decisions to optimize patient outcomes in the OR and postoperatively. She has been working in Saint John since 1998.