To learn more about our team members, click on the tabs below.

Team Leads/ Principal Investigators

Dr. Phillip JoyDr. Phillip Joy

Dr. Phillip Joy is an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University. He is a Registered Dietitian with a background in qualitative and arts-based methods in nutrition and gay men’s health. He has worked within HIV research in the past for his PhD project, doing research on how social aspects of HIV, and health impact the experiences of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Dr. Joy’s main areas of research include: 1) LGBTQ+ nutrition, body image, and health, 2) Community advocacy and, 3) training.



Dr. Shannan Grant

Dr. Shannan Grant

Dr. Shannan Grant is an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University and is a Registered Dietitian. She has a background in knowledge synthesis (JBI and Cochrane), medical nutrition therapy, randomized control trials, program development, implementation, and evaluation. Dr. Grant is interested in training, mentorship, sponsorship, and health care provision in diverse communities, including PLWHA. She has practical experience in clinical, community (rural, remote, and urban), and industry settings (within and outside of NS) as a Dietitian and is affiliated with the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University.

Mentors/ Co-Investigators

Dr. Barbara Hamilton-Hinch

Dr. Barbara Hamilton-Hinch is an Associate Professor in the School of Health and Human Performance and the Assistant Vice Provost of Equity and Inclusion at Dalhousie University. Her work looks at the impact of structural, systemic, and institutional racism on diverse populations, particularly people of African descent. Dr. Hamilton-Hinch’s research interests include HIV testing, institutional racism, racism and health, opportunity gaps in the education system for students of African descent, reintegration of individuals who have been incarcerated and their family, cancer, and COVID research, to name a few. She is an asset to the FoodNOW team by providing critical insights and perspectives on inclusion of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) throughout the research project.

Dr. Mary LynchDr. Mary Lynch

Dr. Mary Lynch has decades of experience helping people living with chronic pain and doing pain research. Her research interests have focused on three major areas: 1) new ways to treat chronic neuropathic pain, 2) the role of complimentary therapies in the management of chronic pain, and 3) service delivery. Dr. Lynch has been an advocate for improving access to care for people suffering with chronic pain. In recent years, her focus has shifted to the importance of nutrition in healing and health promotion. This research led her to co-found a company that makes an organic plant based meal replacement to assist with promotion of health and healing. With the FoodNOW project, Dr. Lynch looks forward to learning more about nutrition and food needs in PLWHA as an initial step towards a solution.

Dr. Patricia WilliamsDr. Patricia Williams

Dr. Patty Williams is a Professor in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition, and the Director for the Food Action Research Centre (FoodARC) at Mount Saint Vincent University. With funding from SSHRC, her current research is focused on engaging mothers with experience of food insecurity in ‘Cooking as Inquiry’ interviews and learning experiences to better understand the nature of interactions that leave people out that occur with food insecurity. Dr. Williams wants to make meaning of, translate, and apply this knowledge in new and creative ways to support policies and programs that improve the lives of those who experience food insecurity. Dr. Williams has led several national and provincial studies on food security-related policy change and the use of plain language knowledge translation tools in building capacity for policy change across Canada. She has also led seven cycles of research co-creating and co-learning from a unique model of participatory food costing in Nova Scotia. This work has contributed to a strong network of individuals and organizations committed to creating the conditions for healthy, just, and sustainable food systems for all on local, provincial, and national levels.

Research Coordinator

Jessica MannetteJessica Mannette

Jessica Mannette is our Research Coordinator for the FoodNOW project and is trained in the JBI Scoping Review method. She finished her masters in Anthropology with a thesis and fieldwork in urban community-level food security and food waste. Her research interests lie in community-based research and how this relates to policy change. She brings her background in Social Science to the project and values the community-informed and joint effort of FoodNOW. Jessica enjoys working with food and nutrition through the Applied Human Nutrition lens and is looks forward to continuing the work to improve food security for all in Nova Scotia.

Research Assistants

Chelsey PurdyChelsey Purdy

Chelsey Purdy is a current Master of Science student studying at MSVU in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition and a research assistant for the FoodNOW team. She is also a member of Acadia First Nation, and lives in Nova Scotia. Chelsey’s research interests lie in working to improve access to food for the Mi’kmaq community by centering community voice and Mi’kmaq perspectives. Her masters work looks at the perspectives on past, present, and future access to food for Indigenous PLWHA in Mi’kma’ki, and she hopes that this work will support how we understand and create treaty rights and Canadian policy related to Indigenous peoples (e.g., TRC Calls to Action, UNDRIP).

Abigail ClarkeAbigail Clarke

Abigail Clarke is an undergraduate honours student studying at Mount Saint Vincent University in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition and was a research assistant for the FoodNOW team until April 2022 when she began her internship. Abby’s honours thesis was a sub study of the FoodNOW project, looking at the needs of service providers of food programs for people living with HIV/AIDS in NS. Abby is very interested in learning more about the links between stigma, HIV, and poverty. Her research interests included food security, novel (new) food costing methods, and food policy.




Gloria Chinonso Acholonu

Gloria Chinonso Acholonu is a current Master of Science student studying at MSVU in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition. She has joined the FoodNOW Team as our Summer Research Assistant. Gloria is a Community Based HIV counselor from Nigeria and has done research with surveys, nutrition, health education and HIV for nine years. Gloria has a passion for community progress and growth through health, communication, and being part of programs based on results, with local and global organizations.