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.

Debbie Cielen – Treasurer, Manitoba FASD Coalition: Debbie is the Nookomis/Director of Indigenous Spiritual Care Services at Life’s Journey Inc. located in Winnipeg. Debbie has been involved in the social service delivery field for over thirty years in addictions treatment, coordinated and supervised the first indigenous Insight Mentoring program in Manitoba and Indian Residential Schools Program. Debbie has been intricate to cultural ceremonies and practices for over 30 years. Debbie is a sundancer, pipe carrier, sweatlodge and full moon ceremonial conductor.


Lisa Balcaen

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 was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at the age of 9. He grew up in the Child and Family Services system until he became an adult. He has some experience in the justice system, and currently is forming a not-for-profit organization called WEAREYOU Services for at-risk individuals with a disability. WEARE YOU exists to assist individuals who may become involved with the law. Chris is also an advocate within the FASD community worldwide. His main goal in life is to help others and to provide education on FASD to help break the stigma against people who have been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder.

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.

Simon Laplante 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.

Sherisse Picklyk Dear is a Community Liaison Counselor for the Selkirk & area My Health Team within the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority.  Sherisse had previously held the position as the IERHA’s FASD Diagnostic Coordinator for ten years.  Sherisse brings a wealth of over 27 years of Social Service experiences as a Social Worker, clinician, counselor, direct service provider, consultant and advocate.  Sherisse holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Winnipeg, a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba and is a registered Social Worker with the Manitoba college.  She has been the Chair of the Interlake FASD Committee for over two years and has held the position as co-chair and founding member since its inception in 2014.  Sherisse has a keen passion to provide FASD awareness, education and consultation to Agencies, families and communities. 

Helene San Pedro-Estrada is a settler to Treaty 1 territory from the Philippines. She is a mother, helper, support for newcomers, an advocate and ally with Indigenous peoples and nations. Her mother’s work with survivors of family violence inspired and led her in the helping profession in the social services field. Currently, she is the Tribal Health Educator on Harm Reductions. Formerly, she was the Regional Coordinator for Success Through Advocacy & Role-Modeling, also known as the STAR Program, an FASD Prevention program in First Nations communities across Manitoba. Both roles were with Southeast Resource Development Council (SERDC). In Helene’s different roles over the last 13 years of working in social services, mental health and addictions, she has supported individuals and families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in community, justice, child welfare, education and housing sectors. Helene embraces a strength-based, wrap-around, person-centered, trauma-informed approach in her practice. She received formal training from University of Manitoba, Manitoba Corrections, Justice Institute of British Columbia, and currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology at Yorkville University. Where Helene values learning from the most holding space to listen to stories of individuals and families with lived experiences, so she can continue recognizing community resiliency, supporting distinctive needs, and celebrating strengths.

Executive Assistant: Kim Wozniak, coordinator@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)