The people that you will meet at the Wellness Centre

The staff of Wellness and Student Life are committed to working closely with UWinnipeg students to promote a holistic sense of wellness. They have developed a wide range of services based on policies that are dynamic and responsive to student needs, changing demographics, expectations, and cultures. You can find the Wellness Centre on the Main Floor of the Duckworth Centre. Meet some of the Wellness Team members that are here for you (in alphabetical order).

Bonnie Ambrose, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Bonnie Ambrose, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Bonnie Ambrose
Bonnie Ambrose is a Medical Assistant at Klinic Health Services, located in the Wellness Centre at UWinnipeg. She says she enjoys talking with students, “The students here are very friendly, exciting, and kind.”

Her advice for students is this: “It’s OK to ask for help.”

When she is not on campus you can find her at the rink watching her kids play hockey and ringette. When asked of her favourite spot on campus, she says, “The Wellness Centre of course!” Her favourite lunch/snack on or around campus is the food served at Elements; her favourite movie is The Notebook; her favourite book is Gone Girl; and her favourite word is “sweet.”

As for her Netflix fave, Ambrose says she has too much on the go to find time to watch.


Christy Bell, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Christy Bell, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Christy Bell

Bell is a Counsellor at the Wellness Centre. Her role is to support and counsel students who may be struggling with personal  issues, such as emotional or mental health concerns, or who are just needing general support as they adjust to University life and all the demands that come along with it.

Understandably, Bell takes the question of what advice she has for students very seriously. “It is a loaded question for a Counsellor,” she explains with a smile. “I would listen and search for their need before offering assumptions about what they need to hear.”

Bell says she enjoys her work at the Wellness Centre, “I love being able to practice compassion on a day-to-day basis. I think being able to offer hope and light to people who are suffering is the greatest privilege of all.”

Of her favourite spot on campus, she says, “The gym, on a treadmill when I don’t have a running injury, and on a bicycle when I do.” As newer addition to the team, she says it’s too early to call a favourite lunch/snack on or around campus, but adds that there are contenders, “So far, the chicken burger at Elements was killer, and the vegetarian bagel from the café upstairs in the Duckworth Centre has become a staple (sans onions, in the interest of the students I meet with.)”

When she is not on campus you can find her shuttling her daughter around the city to her various clubs and activities, or she may be at a hot yoga class, pounding the pavement, or cycling a trail.

What some might be surprised to learn about Bell is that she has “a mean upper cut” and has “lived overseas.” Her favourite movies are toss-up between Walk the Line, Far and Away, and When a Man Loves a Woman.

Bell is recovering from her “Nashville addiction” on Netflix and has just started Making a Murderer for what she describes as “some light bedtime entertainment”; her favourite book is Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, and she says her favourite word is, “Compassion, of course.”

Jan Byrd, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Jan Byrd, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Jan Byrd
Jan Byrd is the Executive Director of Wellness and Student Life. Her role on campus involves overseeing Counselling and Health services, as well as Academic Advising, Accessibility Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Campus Living (Housing), Career Services, the Aboriginal Student Services Centre, International Student Services, and the student Peer Health and Wellness Educators. Byrd enjoys the diversity and complexity of the issues her team supports. Her advice to students is to “ask questions”.

Here favourite spot on campus is The Bill Wedlake Fitness Centre. Her favourite lunch/snack on or around campus is Diversity’s rice bowl with chicken curry and veggies from Panagea’s kitchen in Riddell Hall.

When she is not on campus you can find her playing at home with her kids, aged six and eight. What people might not know is that Byrd is a classical singer, who currently performs with The Winnipeg Singers.

Her favourite movie is the Sweet Hereafter. She is currently watching Boyhood and The First Grader on Netflix. Her favourite books are I Know This Much Is True and She’s Come Undone, both by Wally Lamb.

Rhea Mossman Sims, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Rhea Mossman Sims, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Rhea Mossman Sims

Rhea Mossman Sims is a Nurse Practitioner at UWinnipeg. She enjoys meeting all the interesting people on campus.  She offers this advice to students, “I would say come and see us at the Wellness Centre if you have any questions about your health/wellbeing.”

Mossman Sims may not be a student, but she has a favourite study spot. “As a previous student, it would have been the study carrels at the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex. I love the natural light.”

When asked of her favourite winter meal on campus, she says, “Warm soup from the cafeteria with a piece of bannock — yummy!”

When she is not on campus you can find her working part time at the Transgender Health Klinic at 870 Portage Ave (there are two other Nurse Practitioners who work part time at the Wellness Centre on campus on the days Mossman Sims is not available.)

Mossman Sims says the things people might not know about her are facts about Nurse Practitioners in general, including that most have their Masters Degree in Nursing. She adds, “We have been educated to assess, investigate, diagnose and treat various illnesses and health concerns, and we can prescribe many medications including contraceptives.”

Currently she is watching “too much” of “a variety of shows” on Netflix.  Her favourite books are any written by the late Anne McCaffrey. Of a favourite word, she says she doesn’t have one but adds, “I do like saying ‘Awesome!’ a lot.”

Lorraine Parrington, courtesy of UWinnipeg

Lorraine Parrington, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Lorraine Parrington

Lorraine Parrington is one of the Counsellors in Student Counselling Services at the Wellness Centre, and she says she enjoys spending time with students.

Of her job, Parrington says, “I believe each of us is the expert of our own lives and as such we hold the answers we are searching for. I see my role as being a facilitator and guide. I’m here to listen without judgment, to support each person’s self-discovery and growth, and to help guide them on their journey.  By partnering with people in a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship I hope to help individuals make sense of their challenges and struggles, so that they may make the positive changes in their life that they desire.”

She offers this advice to students, “Be true to yourself and know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but an act of great courage.”

When Parrington is not on campus you can find her at home snuggling her cat. What people might find surprising about her is that she loves Star Trek.

Her favourite lunch/snack on or around campus is “baked eggs at Stella’s”; she loves all the Harry Potter movies; and althought she can’t pick one favourite book, she says two that she favours are The Velveteen Rabbit and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga.

Currently Parrington is watching “way too much” on Netflix, including Rectify, Death comes to Pemberley and The Last Kingdom. Her favorite words are “hope” and “possibility”.

Elden Siemens, courtesy of UWinnipeg

Elden Siemens, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Elden Siemens

Elden Siemens is the Clinical Supervisor/Counsellor of the UWinnipeg Student Counselling Service. He says he appreciates the people he works with and finds he is inspired by the students. He has been part of the team that has been building the Wellness Centre.

“Since coming on at the end of September, a large part of my duties, along with the Wellness Centre team, has been setting up both the physical space and service structure of the new Counselling Centre,” shares Siemens. “I like our Centre’s location in the Duckworth Centre,” he adds, “Especially being next to the excitement of ‘game day’ at UWinnipeg.”

He offers this advice, “Always carry a good set of booster cables with you when driving in our Manitoba winters, and — in the words of Maya Angelou — to believe ‘…you are stronger than you think and you are not alone’”.

Siemens says he is still exploring the UWinnipeg campus to find a favourite spot. “However, so far I really love the grandeur of Wesley Hall and the energy at the Rec-Plex over the noon hour,” he adds.

His favourite lunch/snack is also still undecided, but he has been impressed by Diversity’s soups and stir-frys at Pangea’s Kitchen in Riddell Hall.

When he is not on campus you can find him playing the taxi driver for his 13 and 16 year old daughters, who he says he drives “usually in opposite directions.” He also says “for a real treat” you can sometimes find him “in the passenger’s seat teaching my extremely appreciative 16 year old the finer points of defensive driving.”

One of Siemens favourite movies is Dead Poets Society. And, since he has not yet been sucked into the Netflix vortex, he says at present and likely for a long while he is watching “nothing” on Netflix.

As for a favourite book, he says, “It’s hard for me to choose just one. So, anything written by Rohinton Mistry, and if pressed I would narrow it down to A Fine Balance and Such a Long Journey.”

His favourite word is “consilience, for a variety of wide-ranging reasons.”

Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg,
P: 204.988.7130, E:

1 Comment

  • Janet Turner said...

    Thank you for this article, it was a great way to meet the staff. Too bad that the new location of the Wellness Centre, Main Floor Duckworth, was not mentioned.