Our Team

Who we are

The Compass team are a group of highly trained individuals here to provide support and education on mental health and substance use care.

Andrew Ryan

Nurse Clinician

Ontario-born Drew is a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, queer and Jewish. As a registered nurse, Drew has worked in mental health and addictions for 17 years (including postings in acute psychiatry, emergency, community outreach, program development and leadership). He has a wonderful husband named Randy who can still make them laugh after 20 years, and is a father to Jack, who has taught them a great deal about patience and unconditional love. Drew enjoys weekends, hikes with Larry the dog, local restaurants, science fiction, reading, exercise and travel.


Carollynn Fong

Youth & Family Counsellor

Daughter of immigrant entrepreneurs, Carollynn was born and raised in the Lower Mainland. Being raised by traditional Chinese parents within predominately White community, Carollynn battled with her sense of identity for many years. This created a passion to create supportive and inclusive communities and inspired Carollynn to obtain her Bachelors in Child & Youth Care. Carollynn’s experience has been in non-profit sector working with disadvantaged communities with children, youth and families. Outside of work, Carollynn enjoys boxing, recreational dance classes and fostering cats.

Darla Chorney

Registered Clinical Counsellor

Darla graduated from the University of Victoria with a Masters’ Degree in Counselling Psychology. She has over 23 years of experience across health care and education settings, providing counselling and psychotherapy to children, youth and families. At the core of her work, is a passion for supporting individuals in accessing and developing their internal resources and resiliency, while expanding their learning and building capacity throughout the lifespan. With the varied experience of a generalist, a clinical focus on depression, anxiety, and trauma, alongside an appreciation for the benefits of supportive consultation for practitioners, she joined the Compass Team. Outside of work, Darla enjoys global and local travel adventures, and staying active in mind and body.

Darla Chorney

Eddie Chau

Nurse Clinician

Eddie has years of experience working with children and their mental health as a schoolteacher and daycare manager, where he found a passion for working collaboratively with families/caregivers to support their children. This inspired him to pursue a career in Nursing, where he spent several years at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry inpatient units at BC Children’s Hospital, and as a School Nurse. He feels fortunate and privileged to be able to connect with his culture and practices, which include cooking Chinese cuisine, Lion Dancing, and practicing Chen’s Style Tai Chi for over 10 years. On his days off, he also enjoys the outdoors hiking and paddle boarding. At home, he spends his days being the best cat dad possible.

Dr. Erin Smith


Dr. Erin Smith is a psychiatrist with the Compass program at BCCH and also works at BCWH at Reproductive Mental Health and the Oak Tree Clinic. She completed her general adult psychiatry residency at UPMC Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and also completed an addiction psychiatry fellowship at the same institution. Prior to working for Compass, Dr. Smith worked at the Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders clinic at BCCH. She is passionate about working with people during their pregnancies and in the postpartum period as well as transitional age youth and adults with concurrent disorders and their families. Dr. Smith is also a motivational interviewing (MI) trainer and a member of the internationally regarded organization Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). She is a published author in the field of MI as well as the field of addictions and is passionate about teaching motivational interviewing and also lectures on a variety of different topics for medical trainees through her role as a clinical instructor at UBC. Dr. Smith is proud to be part of the collaborative and multidisciplinary team at Compass.

Dr. Erin Smith
Helen Kennett-Bacon

Helen Kennett-Bacon

Nurse Clinician

Helen is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, working with children with mental health concerns and their caregivers for 20 years. Prior to working in Compass, Helen was the Nurse Clinician in ADHD Provincial Program for almost 10 years. Helen graduated with a Masters of Education in Contemplative Inquiry and Approaches to Education from Simon Fraser University in 2017. Helen is a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, recently graduating from the 2 year MMTCP program with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. She is a member of the advisory council at the Centre for Mindfulness at BCCH and enjoys providing mindfulness classes for healthcare providers. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Helen moved to Vancouver 15yrs ago with her husband who is also a nurse. She enjoys cooking new recipes and makes a great Yorkshire Pudding. She loves fashion, art, knitting and being creative. Helen completes the Sudoku in the New York Times everyday. Most of all, she loves spending time with her husband and their French Bulldog, Dave.

Kate Cheung

Nurse Clinician

Kate was born in Hong Kong and moved to North Vancouver when she was young and grew up with the North Shore Mountains and trails at her back door. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She focused her career at BC Children’s Hospital and has worked in the various mental health programs offered at the Healthy Minds Centre since 2009. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her young son and family, travelling, watching movies and shows, reading and discovering new and exciting places to eat at.


Meredith de Freitas

Program Manager

Meredith is a Program Manager with the Health Literacy Team at BC Children's Hospital. She works alongside the Compass Program to support the implementation and growth of the program's Education Strategy. Meredith has a BA in Medical Anthropology from McGill University and a Master's in Public Health from Simon Fraser University. She has worked over ten years in the field of public health and is passionate about health promotion, health equity, and mental health literacy.

Dr. Priya Watson

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Dr. Priya Watson is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with the Compass Program at BCCH. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Watson has published articles, books, and online courses on the subjects of trauma, culture, psychotherapy, and continuing professional development. She has a particular interest in childhood trauma, and collaborating with front-line care providers to provide trauma-informed care to children, youth and their families.


Robelle Salvador

Nurse Clinician

Robelle is a daughter of parents who originated from the Philippines. She has had extensive experience working within the field of child and youth mental health. In particular, she has worked at BC Children’s Hospital as a psychiatric nurse clinician, in emergency, consultation liaison psychiatry, and LINK. She has also worked as a front line nurse in BCCH adolescent psychiatry, CAPE and child psychiatry units and at the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre. She is passionate about holistic health, spirituality, earth-based healing practices, and Buddhist philosophy. Furthermore, her hobbies include paddle boarding, gardening, meditation, and spending time with her two dogs and husband.

Dr. Roberto Sassi

Psychiatrist in Chief, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Roberto Sassi is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Associate Professor (Partner), Head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the UBC Department of Psychiatry, and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at BC Children’s and Women’s Hospitals. He graduated from medical school at the University of São Paulo, Brazil in 1996. Dr. Sassi completed his residency training in adult psychiatry at the University of São Paulo as well as at the Massachusetts General Hospital / McLean Hospital, Harvard University, in both adult and child & adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Sassi has a PhD degree from the University of Sao Paulo, with a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroimaging at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, where he worked on magnetic resonance imaging investigations on bipolar disorder. Prior to joining UBC, Dr. Sassi held faculty appointments at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, FL and at McMaster University, in Hamilton, ON


Dr. Robin Friedlander

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Robin Friedlander is a Clinical Professor and Director of the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Program in the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is past head of the Neuropsychiatry clinic and currently leads the SIB clinic at BC Children’s Hospital. Dr Friedlander trained in medicine and psychiatry in South Africa. Since moving to Vancouver, BC in 1993, clinical, academic and teaching pursuits have been in the field of Developmental Psychiatry.

Sonja Sinclair

Program Director, Outpatient Child & Youth Mental Health Programs

Sonja has a Bachelor’s in Child and Youth Care and a Master’s Degree in Human Security. Currently Director of the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at BC Children’s Hospital, Sonja previously worked within a variety of roles supporting vulnerable populations with challenges related to mental health and substance use, including supporting children, youth and families, individuals living in conflict zones, individuals struggling with homelessness in the Downtown Eastside, and adults with mental health issues involved with the criminal justice system. She has worked with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Children and Family Development around Provincial initiatives to improve responses and supports for families affected by mental health and substance use issues with an emphasis on whole family supports, recognizing the intergenerational nature of these concerns. Outside of work, Sonja can be found horseback riding and jumping or curled up with a good book.


Dr. Susan Baer

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Susan Baer is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with the Compass team. She was born in the US and grew up moving around the US and other countries before settling in the beautiful traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples, where she raised her two children. She has worked at BC Children’s Hospital since 2004 in clinical and administrative roles. She is proud to have helped found the Compass team in 2018 and is passionate about increasing access to mental health supports for children and youth across BC. She has particular interests in anxiety and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her favorite part about working on Compass is collaborating with community providers across the province as well as working with the multidisciplinary Compass team. Outside of work, she loves all outdoor activities, particularly backcountry adventures with her two dogs.

Zumana Chowdhury

Program Coordinator

Zumana, a Vancouver settler who embraces her Bangladeshi heritage, is driven to make a positive impact for local communities, particularly in the pursuit of health equity. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health and Society from the University of British Columbia, she possesses an understanding of the intricate relationship between health and social dynamics, fueling her passion for healthcare system advancements as a means to minimize gaps of health inequities. Zumana has worked, administratively, for several years with the outpatient clinics of the BC Children's Hospital Child and Youth Mental Health Programs, In this role, she contributes to the smooth functioning of these programs, ensuring that children and youth receive the crucial mental health support they need. Outside of work, Zumana is an avid local theatre-goer, hockey fan and volunteer crisis line support worker.