Who We Are

Manitoba FASD Coalition is a province-wide collaborative network of individuals and organizations from across all sectors committed to supporting prevention, education, research, and intervention activities in the area of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. We share ideas, information, resources, challenges and successes. For a downloadable copy of the MFCI brochure, click here.

Manitoba Network / Partnerships Looking After Each Other Project / Indigenoue Eiders / Subcommittees Regional Committee / Provincial Chirs Group Membership Annual Gathering
Mission Statement

The Manitoba FASD Coalition Inc. (MFCI) is a hub of cultural, diverse and inclusive people that strive to promote dignity of individuals and families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Vision Statement

The MFCI envisions a future where all Manitobans have an awareness of FASD, and embrace dignity and kinship for individuals, families and communities.

Board of Directors

Twyla Gilroy, President, Manitoba FASD Coalition: Twyla is an FASD Diagnostic Coordinator with the Manitoba FASD Network.  She is employed by Prairie Mountain Health, providing service to the Dauphin/Swan River area (August 2016-present).  Prior to this, she was involved in FASD prevention as the InSight Mentor Coordinator in Dauphin (2010-2016), and worked in the addictions field (2001-2010).   Twyla holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba and is a registered member of the Manitoba College of Social Workers. Twyla has been an active member of the Manitoba FASD Coalition (and Manitoba Coalition on Alcohol and Pregnancy) since 2010.  She served on the newsletter committee for several years. Twyla has a passion for supporting families and reducing the stigma related to FASD.

Heather Powell, Vice-President, Manitoba FASD Coalition: Heather is currently the treasurer for Flin Flon/ Creighton FASD Committee and is employed by the Northern Health Authority as a Regional FASD Diagnostic Coordinator for Flin Flon, The Pas and area. Heather is working to educate and build empathy, compassion and inclusion for those living with FASD in her community as well as their caregivers.

Simon Laplante, Treasurer, Manitoba FASD Coalition: Simon is the adoptive father of a courageous young woman who struggles daily with FASD. He has a master’s degree in education and did his thesis on the impact of children with FASD on parents’ relationships with the school, community and each other. Simon has been working in the Manitoba public school system for 35 years as a teacher, vice-principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.  He was also a professor at the Université de St-Boniface in the Faculty of Education. Simon’s areas of interest are educational leadership, second language learning, Aboriginal education and FASD. Fully bilingual, Simon has been involved in public speaking engagements on FASD for the last 15 years both in educational settings and provincial conferences.


Dr. Marleny Bonnycastle is an Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Social Work.  She has worked at the Forth Garry campus for two years, the Inner-City Social Work Program for three years, and Northern Social Work Program for five years. Her continuing program of research centers on Community-Based Participatory Research, including community engagement, development, and mobilizing. She has experience in the use of qualitative and participatory methods and has successfully completed many projects from study conceptualization to knowledge dissemination activities.  Most of her projects have been collaborative and in partnership with other researchers and community organizations in the area of housing and homelessness, women and other marginalized groups. Currently, Dr. Bonnycastle is a co-researcher of the ‘Looking After Each Other: A dignity promotion research project for FASD’ and the ‘Mino Bimaadiziwin partnership,’ which is building capacity and houses in Northern Manitoba through partnerships for community-led post-secondary education in Garden Hill and Wasagamack First Nations. She is also a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba Research Associate.

Chris Fillion is an advocate for the FASD Community. At age 9, he was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Navigating his youth within the Child and Family Services system provided Chris with insights that would later fuel his passion for advocacy. In his professional life, Chris has made significant strides for the FASD community. He serves diligently as a Direct Support Worker and as the Coordinator for Visions and Voices, a Speaking Bureau for adults with FASD. Chris’s role here is pivotal; he ensures that powerful, personal narratives challenge existing stigmas and promote a more profound understanding of FASD. Formerly the driving force behind WEAREYOU, a non-profit aiming to support at-risk individuals with disabilities, Chris’s dedication to the cause remains unwavering. His active participation on the board of the Manitoba FASD Coalition further underscores his commitment to making meaningful change. On the home front, Chris balances his professional responsibilities with his roles as a loving husband and a dedicated foster parent. His personal journey as someone on the FASD spectrum adds depth to his family life, making him a beacon of hope and inspiration for many. Internationally recognized in the FASD community, Chris embodies resilience, empathy, and the transformative power of stories, continually striving to better the lives of those around him.

Cindy Helstrom has been an active member of The Pas and Area FASD Committee since 2010. Currently employed by The Northern Health Authority since 2008. During this time, Cindy has been supporting women who may be at risk for substance use during pregnancy. She looks forward to gaining more insight to better help, support and reduce the stigma related to FASD.

Jola Hnatiuk is a key worker in the Interlake region and is employed by the IERHA. Prior to this position she was an outreach counsellor in a domestic violence shelter. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba and is registered with the Manitoba College of Social Workers. Jola has been involved with  the Interlake FASD coalition for ten years, both as a caregiver and recently as a triple chair member. Jola has a passion for supporting families and being an advocate to educate and reduce stigma around FASD.

Jennifer Meixner is a registered Social Worker with a keen interest in community mobilization, harm reduction and decolonization. She is an Assistant Professor in the faculty of Social Work at Booth UC, and a sessional instructor at the University of Winnipeg in the Indigenous Studies department. Jen worked for Manitoba Justice and The Manitoba Advocate’s Office for the first 15 years of her career, then transitioned to community-based work with a First Nations Government and for an Indigenous-led organization. Jen has a private practice that works collaboratively with organizations to build capacity for social service delivery, as well as education and training. She is currently working with Ka Ni Kanichihk and their FASD initiatives. 

Administrative Director: Lee Hurton, leehurton@fasdcoalition.ca

Past Board Chairs

Special thanks go out to the dedicated individuals who took a leadership role within the Manitoba FASD Coalition in the past and who continue to advocate for change around the issue of FASD!

Joanne Wyman (2019 – 2022)

Carie McIntosh (March 2008 – February 2009; 2017 – 2019)

Leilani Buschau (June 2008 – June 2011; 2017 – 2018)

Noella Gentes (October 2016 – August 2017)

Betty Wiebe Hosein (April 2013 – June 2016)

Rodney Jones (June 2012 – January 2016)

Cathe Umlah (July 2011 – April 2013)

Kim Aikens (November 2011 – May 2012)

Joanne Wyman (March 2009 – November 2010)

Jocelyn Bjorkland (October 2006 – January 2008)

Brenda Bennett (October 2006 – January 2008)

Zenon Lisakowski (January 2006 – September 2006)

Dale Kendel (1993 – October 2007)