HaRT is a collective of people working at UBCO and throughout the Okanagan to promote substance use harm reduction.

At UBCO, the VOICE Campus Health HaRT team ​is an initiative of Campus Wellness and Education, working with students who research, promote, create, and deliver harm reduction services on campus (e.g., overdose/toxic drug poisoning awareness, drug checking, safer drug use resources, smoking/vaping cessation).

Additionally, with funding from Interior Health, staff working with HaRT provide drug checking 3 days/week in our local communities. HaRT delivers harm reduction services aligned with provincial best practice guidelines for harm reduction and drug-checking with the support of community partners including the BC Centre on Substance Use and Interior Health. To facilitate drug checking, numerous community organizations provide support and office space: Interior Health Mental Health and Substance use sites in Vernon and Penticton, Living Positive Resource Centre in Kelowna, Cammy LaFleur street outreach in Vernon, and South Okanagan Women in Need Society in Penticton.

Importantly, the work of HaRT and their partners is informed by and prioritizes the lived experience of people who use drugs.

Oversight Team

Melissa Feddersen

Melissa Feddersen (She/Her)

Manager Campus Wellness and Education

Melissa has worked in the field of youth health for over twenty years. Ms. Feddersen is passionate about creating healthy communities that reduce risks at a population health level and is known for her capacity to create energy behind an idea, and notice synergies between different campus and community partners and student groups to enact meaningful change.

Ms. Feddersen works with academic and administrative leaders at the UBC Okanagan campus and beyond to ensure coordinated, coherent, measured, and evaluated changes and initiatives that contribute to well-being in a manner that engages members of the campus community and drives alignment of the work across campuses and community.

Our UBCO Team

Lauren Airth (she/her) RN BSN MSN

Campus Health Specialist, Doctoral Student in Nursing

When we started HaRT we began working in the community immediately, to prevent overdoses however we could. For me, that evolved into a passion for connecting community organizations and peers with practical resources related to substance use harm reduction. The more I get to know the folx most impacted by this toxic drug supply epidemic, the more invested I feel, and determined to bring change. When I’m not working and studying, I love to be outside! Apparently I should also warn people I’m rather short, and my dog (not the one pictured here) is bigger than me!

Elana Wood (she/her)

Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering student

My goal working with the HaRT team is to expand my knowledge on substance use and harm reduction, I hope to understand how people of different walks of life can be best supported through substance use. I also want to discover ways I can help fill the gaps in reducing the stigma around substance use and in promoting harm reduction. The work that this team does is incredibly important to me as I believe that people should have easy access to support that benefits them.

Sage Thomas (he/him)

Master of Science in Nursing student

Harm reduction is important to me because it is a caring, destigmatizing, and pragmatic way of connecting with people wherever they’re at. Harm reduction is for everyone! It’s particularly vital in the context of the ongoing toxic drug supply crisis. My goal on the HaRTeam is to get more involved in our community through harm reduction and help decrease the stigma around substance use. A fun fact about me is that I am passionate about plant medicine and really enjoy wild-harvesting plants and mushroom hunting.

Tori Bester (She/Her)

Bachelor of Science in Nursing student

My hope with joining HaRT is to gain a better understanding of harm reduction and be able to understand substance use better. I believe it is important to reduce the stigma that surrounds harm reduction and substance use therefore joining HaRT was a no brainer for me. My plan once I have completed my nursing degree is to be able to further myself in this type of work and continue to work with those who also share my passion on harm reduction. A little about me: I have a toy australian shepherd named Daisy and I am a travel enthusiast.

David Byres (he/him)

Bachelors of International Relations student

My goal working on this team is to be able to share and educate people about what harm reduction is and how they can be involved in their own communities. I want to help break down the stigma around substance use, and advocate for people who use substances to get the services they need. I am so thankful for our peers who are truly the experts in how we do this work. A fun fact about me is that I spend much of my free time tasting different coffees.

Jordy Cates (She/Her) BSc

Drug Checking Technician, M.A. Clinical Psychology student 

My goal as a HaRT member is to diversify our harm reduction tool kit by actively learning more about Indigenous harm reduction principles and practices. I want to create more community partnerships and expand technologies available within our drug checking services with the intent of equitably reaching more people who need our services.

Fun fact – I have been playing Ringette for 16 years and currently play on the Kelowna Women’s A team!

Jordy Cates
Lisa Knox

Lisa Knox (she/her) RN BSN MA

Campus Health Specialist, Doctoral Student in Nursing

I am passionate about harm reduction work. Being part of a dynamic team that promotes autonomy, well-being and safety in the context of the toxic drug supply epidemic reinforces community values while also working toward the de-stigmatization of substance use. I value the reciprocal learning and relationships between clients and organizations in the realms of harm reduction to build impactful relationships.  When I am not working or studying I enjoy going for walks, doing Pilates, or spending time with my cat!

Lisa Knox


My goal while working with HaRT is to help as much of my community as I can. I would love to better understand how drug use and addiction affects people, both people who use drugs and people who don’t. If I can help in any way to ease the effects of the toxic drug epidemic for even one person, I will consider my time here a success. When I’m not at work I love to crochet, bake, or spend time with my family and dogs!

Former Team Members/Founders

Sean Garden (he/him) BSN RN

Masters of Science in Nursing student

Thomas Pool (he/him)

Bachelor of Science in Nursing student

Becky Underhill (she/her) BA

Masters of Social Work student

Lucas Standing (they/them)

Bachelor of Psychology student – graduation spring 2022

Jon Kirsch (he/him)

Bachelor of Science in Nursing student

Jordy Cates

Sonali Kuber

Bachelor of Arts Psychology

Adrian Van de Mosselaer (he/him)

Bachelor of Science in Nursing student