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About Us

About Us

Our mission is to promote post-traumatic growth, mental health awareness and education by internationally connecting our fellow emergency workers. It's our goal to bring together survivors of mental injuries who have thrived in their post-traumatic growth - to have them share their successes with others who may still be struggling. We produce an annual mental health symposium where these speakers share their post-traumatic growth journey. Funds raised this year will be donated to BC & Alberta Guide Dogs.


2023 PR&R Symposium


Sunday, October 22nd, 5pm-11pm

Monday, October 23rd, 8am-5pm


The Malcolm Hotel, Canmore, Alberta

321 Spring Creek Dr, Canmore, AB T1W, Canada

Book your stay using this link and use the promo code PRRS10

*You must enter the promo code to view the available rooms*

Post-traumatic growth is more than recovery and resiliency; it's about reconfiguring yourself into something bigger and better than you were before. Our last event in 2019 was sold out, and six of our peers from North America came and shared their experiences of recovery, resiliency and post-traumatic growth. This year I have lined up another great list of speakers I've met during my travels, all of whom will be presenting on post-traumatic growth and recovery.


Funds raised will be donated to an organization that promotes the mental well-being of all emergency workers.


We'll be in Canmore, Alberta, again this year at The Malcolm Hotel in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Like last time, we're keeping this event cozy, so limited tickets will be available.


Purchase Tickets Here

2023 Speakers

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Hosted by
Daniel Sundahl EMT-P

-Artist and Creator from DanSun Photo Art


Alexandra Jabr, Ph.D., EMT-P

Heather Raasveld - EMT-A Las Vegas

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Ashley Iverson - The Iverson Foundation, San Diego

Alexandra Jabr, M.S., EMT-P, began her career in EMS in 2003 and has been teaching since 2008. She holds a master’s degree in death, grief, and bereavement and a Ph.D. researching psychedelic therapy for first responders with PTSD. Alexandra is the creator of Emergency Resilience, an educational platform dedicated to helping first responders build resilience by integrating marginal topics into routine training, and the online course “Death Communication for First Responders: How to Deliver Unfortunate News.”


Back by popular demand - Heather works as an advanced EMT in Las Vegas. On October 1, 2017 she responded to the largest mass shooting in United States history. Heather was also the mastermind behind the 'Vegas Strong' photo session that reunited many of the first responders from that day. Heather will share the events of October 1 and how they affected her and her family. But, more importantly, she will share what she has done since then to build resiliency and move forward from this tragic event.

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On December 14, 2017, Cory Iverson, a Fire Apparatus Engineer for Cal Fire, paid the ultimate sacrifice while battling the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, California. He was survived by his wife, Ashley, their daughter Evie, and – at the time – their unborn daughter Taylor. Ashley had spent more than half her life battling severe anxiety and depression, largely in part from PTSD due to nearly losing her home at the age of 13 from arson and also from an inner need to help others. Just one month prior to Cory's passing, a colleague died by suicide, leaving behind a young child and wife. It was then that Cory understood the gravity of mental health and the devastation it can leave behind in its wake. In founding the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness, Ashley is able to keep Cory's memory alive for their daughters and to continue Cory's legacy through his sacrifice to help all first responders by promoting and encouraging a proactive approach to mental wellness.

Marissa Rose, MCC, Advanced Care II Paramedic, Australia

Marissa is a Registered Advanced Care Paramedic II and has worked as a paramedic in Australia for 9 years. Marissa holds a Bachelor of Paramedic Science, a Masters in Critical Care Paramedicine and is now studying her Masters in Neuroscience. Marissa also teaches the Bachelor of Paramedic Science at Griffith University. In 2021, Marissa founded The Paramedic Podcast, which aims to tackle the side of paramedicine people don't often talk about; mental health, to promote conversations and support paramedics and frontline workers worldwide. Marissa also completed her masters thesis on the benefits of equine therapy in the management of PTSD, anxiety and depression in frontline workers. Marissa is passionate about sharing her story of struggle to triumph, where she details intimately the story of her traumatic childhood, how that led her to become a paramedic, and how the career she chose resulted in her experiencing PTSD and post traumatic growth.

George W. Contreras, DrPH(c), MEP, MPH, MS, CEM, FAcEM
Dean, School of Health Careers, Technology and Applied Learning, SUNY Westchester Community College, NYC EMS Paramedic

George has been working in New York City EMS since 1993. What would later become Ground Zero was his primary everyday area of response. On September 11, 2001, George responded to the South Tower of the World Trade Center and was in the lobby conducting triage when the second plane struck. After surviving the collapse of both towers, he continued working at Ground Zero and in the surrounding area. His knowledge of that day is intensely personal. In addition, his previous work experience in mental health gave him some sense of what the future would hold for many of the uniformed personnel who responded to this global yet extremely personal tragedy. Since that day, he has sought out emergency responders from all fields (EMS, fire, law enforcement) to urge that they find someone who can listen and help. George will be sharing his 9/11 experience, his battle with medical and mental health issues, how it changed his life and what he did and continues to do to cope with that day.


The Alberta Critical Incident Peer Network will be available on site for mental health support during this event.


Benjamin Vernon - Captain/Paramedic, San Diego Fire Rescue Department

Benjamin Vernon has proudly served the citizens of San Diego for over 16 years. During his career, he has become a member of the Hazardous Materials and Technical Rescue Teams and is an outstanding member of FEMA California Task Force Eight Urban Search and Rescue Team (CA-TF8). He holds five specialist positions on the team. Ben currently lives with his wife, Lisa, in the city of Temecula. In his downtime, he teaches Paramedic courses and in the San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy. On June 24, 2015, Ben's life changed when he was stabbed while responding to a "routine medical assistance" call. The incident and the ensuing ordeal left Ben with a changed perspective. He shares his story so that others, who may be going through a similar situation, can know that what they are experiencing is not their fault and that they are not alone. He wants others to know the impact that this kind of event can have on a person and how best to help someone who is going through crisis.

Who Should Attend

• Paramedics

• Educators

• Correction Officers

• Nurses

• Fire/Rescue Personnel 

• Dispatchers 

• Medical Directors

• Law Enforcement 

• Mental Health Professionals 

• Military Emergency Personnel

• Social Workers 

• Other Emergency Professionals


Contact Us

DanSun Photo Art


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