Meet the Canaries
Canary Peers is led by digital healthcare innovator, Katy Plant. Katy has been involved with digital therapeutic programs since the publishing of the original digital peer self-management research at Stanford in 2006. The whole Canary Peers team is made up of professionals from a variety of disciplines ranging from public health, engineering, film making, computer science, and communications. The team also includes a dedicated workforce of peer facilitators who are living with a chronic condition or who are caregivers themselves. Everyone at Canary Peers is dedicated to empowering individuals living with ongoing health conditions to have the health they need for the life they want.
Chairman & Chief Medical OfficerPrimary care physician and public health expert with over 4 decades of experience providing healthcare, developing community-based services, and creating internet-based, behavior change interventions. Lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 50 years. Two adult sons with 5 grandkids.
Marketing Strategy & PartnershipsOver 30 years experience in Fortune 100 companies leading strategic marketing functions. Spent the last 12+ years in healthcare startups focused on diabetes. Has been a part of digital therapeutics since almost inception. Fun Facts: Originally from the Berkshires. Trained in Opera as a first Soprano.
Support & Operational SpecialistTrained in both technical and customer service. I enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.
Peer Facilitator Manager & Business Analyst30-year background in evidence-based community education and subject matter expert at a teaching hospital. Designed award winning programs to help people adapt to navigating healthy lifestyles and caregiving. Special interest and focus on the veteran population. Raised in Arizona, lives in the Pacific Northwest volunteering for several organizations and spending time with family and friends.
Mixed Method Researcher, Strategist & AnalystCombining a background in healthcare policy, management and design research, Corina brings a decade of experience as an analyst and researcher. Living in sunny Pasadena, Corina enjoys jazz music, social dancing, emerging technologies and architecture.
Meet Our Facilitators
Our team of facilitator experts is dedicated to the success of our participants.
Shelley, Peer Facilitator
I have been a facilitator for Building Better Caregivers® and Better Choices, Better Health® for 8 years. I enjoy facilitating workshops because I have diabetes and I can relate to those who are managing their chronic disease. I also get to interact with people from all over the country and share common experiences. I have worked in public health for over 11 years as an educator. I just moved across country twice, with my family which includes two beagles. In my spare time I like to craft. Painting wooden ornaments and cross stitch are my favorite things to do. I also enjoy photography. See you in the workshops!
Robin, Peer Facilitator
Hello, I'm Robin, and I have been involved with Better Choices, Better Health® and Building Better Caregivers® for more than a decade. During this time, I also have provided federal service to our nation's veterans through multiple specialty programs at the local, regional, and national level. I have used the skills of action planning and problem solving to manage my own chronic health conditions of asthma and sleep apnea and as a foundation for caring for my care partner. I enjoy participating in every workshop and learn something new each time. I live in the desert southwest and enjoy my family, my two loyal rescue dogs, and I’m currently taking art and yoga classes.
Barbara, Peer Facilitator
Hello I’m Barb, a facilitator for both Building Better Caregivers® (BBC) and Better Choices, Better Health® (BCBH). I have served as a peer facilitator for over 25 years. Nine of those years have been with Canary Health. I’m a long-time caregiver for my mother who has dementia and two grandsons with autism. I believe the BBC workshop tools have helped me improve my caregiving skills. Additionally, I have been using the BCBH workshop tools to manage a heart condition. Learning how to be an active self-manager has helped me understand and manage my common symptoms and emotions. In my spare time I love to read, attend music festivals, and kayak.
Dawn, Peer Facilitator
Hello my name is Dawn, and I’ve been a peer facilitator for Canary Health’s Building Better Caregivers® and Better Choices, Better Health® chronic disease program for over 10 years. I live with my partner in the Northeastern part of the US. I am a caregiver to my partner who has diabetes and lung disease, and to my parents. I feel participants get the most out of action planning and setting goals in the workshops. My partner and I bought a home and have been renovating it over the past year. I love to do anything outside --hiking, biking, skiing, motorcycling, and snowshoeing! This is the way I keep myself in balance.
Wendy, Peer Facilitator
Hi, my name is Facilitator Wendy, and I am one of your workshop facilitators. I have been using the skills I learned in the online workshop to help me care for my husband. I enjoy learning from every group I am a part of! I look forward to getting to know you all over the next six weeks. My family looks like the Brady Bunch in their golden years. I have 8 children (6 of which I share with other mothers) and my husband has 5 children. At last count, the 12 grandchildren and 5 great grand-children keep us entertained.
Connie, Peer Facilitator
Hi, I’m Connie and I have been facilitating online workshops for several years for both Canary Health's Building Better Caregivers® and Better Choices, Better Health®. I really enjoy meeting and learning from everyone as they participate in the workshops. I have helped with caregiving for my father with Alzheimer’s and my mother with dementia, my mother-in-law with Rheumatoid Arthritis and my father-in-law with Parkinson’s, and I currently assist in caregiving for a friend with serious heart disease and multiple complications, and a grandson with CF. I am retired and live in an apartment in upstate NY so that I can be near my grandson. I love to bake and to knit and I volunteer with several local gardening groups.
Lucila, Peer Facilitator
I am facilitator Lucila and have been a facilitator for Building Better Caregivers® and Better Choices, Better Health® at Canary Health for over 10 years. I was linked to the programs when I started working with a patient education program with a hospital. My sister developed stage 4A cancer and I took care of her for a long time. I learned how to take care of my parents who developed diabetes, and myself after I developed asthma and high cholesterol. I was inspired to become a facilitator for both programs. There are many challenges to face such as learning a new way of life and coping with new physical limitations, there are also some tips and resources worth knowing as well as the valuable experiences of other participants. I enjoy cooking healthy recipes, savoring nature and walking with my husband and dogs. My two adult children are my blessing.
Val, Peer Facilitator
Hello, my name is Val and I am honored to be working with you all as a Building Better Caregivers® and Better Choices, Better Health® workshop facilitator. I’ve been a facilitator with Canary Health for about 17 years now. I am a childhood cancer survivor who manages and maintains my health issues created from cancer (for over 40 years now!). I have been using the skills I have acquired from the online workshop to help care for my amazingly-talented care partner who battles migraines, depression, and anxiety -- when he and I are not out shooting documentaries and taking landscape photographs. Seeing a participant grow and accomplish their goals and go from a low point to feeling optimistic and confident brings me joy. I enjoy learning from every group I am a part of and look forward to getting to know all of you over the next six weeks. I love photography, classic cars, Halloween, spending time with my kids and partner, and riding motorcycles.
Ruthie, Peer Facilitator
Hello! I’m Facilitator Ruthie and I became involved with the Building Better Caregivers® community program in 2006. At the time I was the Director for Physical Activity and Aging at a local University and worked with an older adult population as well as instructed young adults with regard to the aging process. My father-in-law, a veteran, was diagnosed with dementia in 2010. Being a veteran, he qualified for many VA caregiving services and resources. It helped our family tremendously. I now help with the care of my 85-year-old mother who still remains very independent. In my spare time, I enjoy the company of my husband of 46 years, my three adult children, and eight grandchildren. It’s a joy watching the grands participate in several different activities. It’s an honor to be a peer facilitator for both online versions of Building Better Caregivers and Better Choices, Better Health® programs. I continue to learn from not only the information presented but from each and every participant I engage with. The best part is I’m able to use many of the skills learned in everyday life.
Ruby, Peer Facilitator
Hello! I am Ruby and have worked in the public health arena for 28 years facilitating healthy lifestyle workshops in-person for a non-profit organization. I have worked in a diverse array of community settings and during COVID I began facilitating chronic disease workshops online for arthritis, diabetes, depression, emotional eating, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, to name a few. Currently, I am providing caregiving support for a friend’s husband who is challenged with Cancer and Parkinson’s Disease. Joining the Canary Health team has been very motivating for me to continue caring for my high blood pressure. I began facilitating Building Better Caregivers® in 2021 and Better Choices, Better Health® in 2022. The program materials are easy to read, and I use the tools, such as the action plan worksheet to set weekly goals and the techniques, like deep breathing to manage my chronic condition. I share what I learn with others outside the workshop, such as family members and friends who may be struggling with their health conditions. I really love these programs, but mostly, I enjoy meeting and learning from the participants.
Thelma, Peer Facilitator
My name is Thelma and I’m a peer facilitator and mentor at Canary Health. I am a 22-year cancer survivor and a volunteer for the American Cancer Society. I work with cancer survivors and caregivers around the globe helping them be the voice of their cancer organizations by training them how to share their story to inspire others, give hope to others and save lives. Cancer: Surviving and Thriving was the first workshop I facilitated in 2012 which was very personal to me as a cancer survivor myself. Cross trained for other workshops and realized the value and the need of all that we do. Peer support is crucial to those having chronic conditions and caregivers. It reminded me of the cancer support group which played a critical role in my cancer journey. Originally from the Philippines, now a resident of Texas. A member of Delta’s Training Team as a Learning Facilitator before retiring after 23 years of service. Eight grandchildren are the love of my life; watching them play sports and other school activities is the highlight of my day/evening.
Pat, Peer Facilitator
Hi, my name is Pat and I have been a facilitator for both Better Choices, Better Health® and Building Better Caregivers®. I started in the community programs and became a master trainer many years ago. I have facilitated online workshops since my retirement. I have been the caregiver for my veteran husband with multiple health issues and my mother incapacitated from a brain aneurysm. I learned while working for hospice years ago that quality of life is more important than quantity and my goal is always to make life as pleasant and free of stress as possible. I learn from the participants in each workshop and look forward to the support I can provide as well as receive.
Sharon, Peer Facilitator
Hello, I’m Sharon and I have been a facilitator for Building Better Caregivers® and Better Choices, Better Health® for over 6 years. I am a veteran myself and I helped with caregiving for my father who was a veteran and my mother. Both parents had dementia. I have enjoyed facilitating both programs and interacting with the participants. One thing for sure, I always learned something new from each of the workshops, either a new resource, chronic condition, exercise, or hobby. I also work with the Coastal Area Agency on Aging in Darien, Georgia as a volunteer. I love to spend time strolling through antique stores and thrift shops.
Fran, Peer Facilitator
Hi, I am Fran. I have been a Canary Health facilitator for Building Better Caregivers® for 2 years and one year with Better Choices, Better Health®! I was a caregiver to my veteran husband, who was a diabetic. I have found the workshop content helps me build myself back up to assist others who need help with their progression through this disease and others. The many workshop skills learned have been life altering for me in a great way and because of that I love sharing my passion for the programming with each new workshop group. When I am not facilitating a workshop group, I love to be outdoors and working on improving my lawn!
Petra, Peer Facilitator
Hi, I am Petra. I started in the community programs and became a master trainer several years ago and I have been a Canary Health facilitator for Building Better Caregivers® and Better Choices, Better Health® for a bit over 1 year! I am a caregiver to my youngest son who was born with a rare genetic disorder and survived 3 liver transplants. I am also a life partner to a veteran, who is a diabetic. Being able to give back with the skills I learned is very rewarding but there is so much goodness I continue to learn when facilitating each new workshop! I immigrated from Germany 30 years ago and call Virginia my home where you can often find me hiking, working on my wood-burning, and going to concerts.
Pegg, Peer Facilitator
I’m Pegg, I’ve been a facilitator in Building Better Caregivers®(BBC) and Better Choices, Better Health® for about a year and a half for Canary Health®. I’m also a certified Tai Chi instructor. A facilitator/friend encouraged me to become involved with the BBC workshops. At one-time I had 3 care partners, 2 with various stages of dementia. My father, a veteran, passed away a couple years ago and now I’m care partner to his wife (my stepmother) and her sister, both in their 90s. I spend a lot of time traveling since they both are living in residential homes, one over 5 hours away, one an hour and a half. I understand caregiving --its rewards and challenges, and this workshop has been a great support for the challenges my family and I have faced. In my spare time I enjoy playing musical instruments, walking in my woods, gardening, and playing with my pets. My volunteer activities keep me busy and I love every minute. I have 3 granddaughters ranging from 27 to 6 and I love getting together whenever we can. I look forward to working with and learning from you in our workshops.
Helena, Peer Facilitator
Hello! I’m Helena (hah-lee-nah, not hell-en-ah), a facilitator for Canary Health’s Building Better Caregivers®(BBC) program. A health educator by training, I led several self-care classes for the local Area Agency on Aging in rural NE Oregon before “retiring” to self-employment. Although new to BBC, I’ve been a workshop facilitator and class leader trainer for caregiver support programs since 2014. I’ve witnessed the magic that happens when caregivers focus on their own well-being and have learned so much from their experiences. I was also a caregiver for my mother with heart disease, diabetes and age-related memory loss at first from a distance and then on a more personal level. The tools BBC teaches help me manage my own health now and will help in future caregiving roles as my veteran partner ages. In my spare time, I enjoy playing Appalachian dulcimer, working on fiber arts projects, gardening, and so much more.
Earnestine, Peer Facilitator
My name is Earnestine. I am a facilitator for the Building Better Caregivers® (BBC) Veterans Administration (VA) program. I was the primary caregiver for my parents for 10 years. Their health challenges included arthritis, anxiety, diabetes, blindness and congestive heart failure. During that time period I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience because I had to learn through trial and error. My advice to caregivers is to communicate your needs and expectations to your family in advance in writing. And find that “one thing” that you can do consistently for yourself. Something you can look forward to on a regular basis. In my spare time I enjoy walking and hiking on trails, reading, watching documentaries, and socializing with friends.