The Healthy Athletes program is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities. All screenings are free to the athletes and occur throughout the year.
Clinical Directors are an important part of the Health Athletes team. Clinical Directors are responsible for working with Special Olympics PEI and other volunteer health professionals in coordinating Healthy Athletes screenings.
Meet our Clinical Directors
Dr. Joanne Reid – Clinical Director for Medfest
Dr. Reid has been involved with Special Olympics PEI initiatives since 2015 when she became a trained Clinical Director and hosted Canada’s first ever Medfest screening right here in PEI that year! She was PEI's first recipient of the Golisano Health Leadership award, which recognizes local inclusive health partners, in 2018.
Dr. Reid says “Special Olympics is a great group. It’s so inspiring to see the joy, motivation, and determination of these athletes”. She is also quick to share that her most inspiring moment was volunteering at the World Summer Games in Los Angeles and watching the parade of athletes from all countries walk center field! She feels so fortunate to combine her love of medicine with sport through the Special Olympics movement!
Dr. Reid has had some very rewarding personal accomplishments in her your young life to date too – they include getting into med school, working in Northern Ontario remote communities and winning some half marathons!
Her advice to the Special Olympics athletes is: Always be your best, believe in yourself, and ask for help when you need it...this will lead you to your dreams!
Her advice to Health Professionals: See the person beyond the disability or diagnosis.
Hayley Shepherd – Clinical Director for FunFitness
Haley graduated with a Master of Science degree in Physiotherapy and is a full time physiotherapist at Sports Centre Physiotherapy. Hayley was quick to take on this CD role and became trained in 2019. She took on this health champion role because she thought it would be a great way to give back to the community, especially the Special Olympics athletes. During her CD training in Arizona she got to take in some of the Arizona State Special Olympic Games, when she returned she said “seeing the athletes compete and to see how proud they were to participate was incredible”.
Her advice to other health professionals: Listen to the athletes! Don’t assume you know what they need or what is going on.
Her tip to athletes: Make sure to do some form of stretching daily and try your best!
Fun Fact about Haley: Her family races Standardbred horses for a living and if she wasn’t a physiotherapist she would train/race horses.
Tara Costello - Clinical Director for Strong Minds
Tara has been involved, in a variety of different roles, with Special Olympics PEI since 2002, before starting to volunteer with health programs in 2016 when she became a Clinical Director for Strong Minds.
Tara is one of the most recent recipients of the Golisano Health Leadership Awards and is a long-time Healthy Athletes Champions. Tara developed a Mental Skills Toolkit through her business, Ahead in The Game, that she uses with Special Olympics athletes on provincial and national teams to enhance their performance on the field of play and in life. She uses this, and later along with a Ahead in the Game phone application, to support the training for athletes and coaches. This creates support for holistic training while ensuring athlete minds are healthy, like their bodies. Tara offers individual and group mental skills training sessions to expand on the toolkit, app, and Strong Minds.
Naturally, when Special Olympics International was looking into an 8th Health discipline, Special Olympics PEI invited Tara to be a part of this process and take part in the first training of Strong Minds Clinical Directors along with the pilot phases. Her toolkit and phone app, created before the Strong Minds discipline, had many similarities to the strategies used in the new Strong Minds.
Special Olympics PEI's members appreciate Tara so much! She has a natural comfort level of working with individuals who have an intellectual disability. She empowers athletes to step up in leadership roles and has inspired those around her to get engaged in many initiatives associated with Special Olympics. She is a leader in the sports network on PEI and is a voice who advocates for Special Olympics and inclusive communities in any way she can.
Marina Fay - Clinical Director for Health Promotion
Marina brings a great deal of experience professionally and personally to the role as she has worked in this area of focus since 1979 and is a proud mother to her adult son, Stephen Baird, who continues to be very involved in Special Olympics. She has worked with high risk populations, is a recognised leader in policy development, experience as a board member for multiple committees, and Food Service Director for two major multi-sport events.
Marina offered the first Health Promotion event that was led by an Island Clinical Director in 2019. The event was a major success and Marina continues to find other ways to advocate for athletes to make healthier choices at programs, events, and in daily life. She is very well respected in her many roles, and has many connections with people who have an ID throughout the Charlottetown area on a weekly basis.
Dr. Melissa Cudmore - Clinical Director for Special Smiles
Dr. Melissa Cudmore was born and raised in the interior of British Columbia. She received her BSc in Biology from Burman University in Alberta and graduated from Loma Linda University school of dentistry in southern California in 2014. She is an Associate Dentist at Gateway Dental in Charlottetown.
Melissa’s commitment as Clinical Director for Special Smiles marks another milestone for SOPEI Healthy Athletes. We are very excited to have her involved with the inclusive health programming as the first Special Smiles CD in PEI and we look forward to offering Special Smiles dental screenings for many years. Melissa has provided dental treatment successfully to many patients over her career for individuals with intellectual disabilities, as well as physical disabilities, using the training she received in dental school. She is excited to improve on her training and knowledge in this area.
Melissa enjoys being involved in community events and she loves working with people of all ages, but especially children. She comes to Special Olympics having a wealth of volunteer experience since 2010. She also feels strongly about oral health being of great importance in overall health and is enthusiastic about the opportunity to be involved in improving the oral health of Special Olympics Athletes.
Krista Campbell - Clinical Director for Healthy Hearing
Krista started volunteering with Special Olympics Health initiatives in 2021, and completed the required training to become a Clinical Director virtually through Special Olympics International. Krista was thrilled to learn that her professional skill set could benefit Special Olympics athletes. "Until recently, I believed athletic skills or coaching experience were needed to get involved with Special Olympics. I was excited to discover that this was not the case. I was even more excited to learn that my audiology skills where needed!", Krista said with excitement, adding, "how incredibly rewarding to get to do what I love with such a wonderful group".
Her advice to other health professionals: Be present - give your full attention to the person in front of you.
Her tip to athletes: Work hard and enjoy your sport!