In 2007, the Brenda Strafford Foundation endowed $1.5 million, which was matched by the Government of Alberta, totalling a $3 million commitment to establish the Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. Dr. Barrie Strafford’s vision for the Chair was to advance a primary prevention approach to stop domestic violence.

In 2010, Lana Wells was appointed to the position to change the role of the Brenda Strafford Chair from an Academic Research Chair to a Research Action Chair and launched Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence. The purpose of Shift is to conduct and mobilize primary prevention research to empower others to create the social conditions that will prevent domestic violence. Shift partners with researchers and academics, governments, policy-makers, community-leaders, NGOs, community-based organizations and collectives to pilot and implement effective primary prevention solutions.


Team_shift_Lana_for website

Lana Wells

Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social Work and Fellow and Faculty Member of the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, Canada

Since the appointment to the Chair position in 2010, Lana has held over $10 million in research funding, grants and awards. In 2022, Lana received The Order of the University of Calgary. In 2016, she received the John Hutton Memorial Award for Social Action/Policy from the Alberta College of Social Workers. In 2015, she was bestowed the Alberta Inspiration Award in Leadership in Family Violence and recognized as a PEAK scholar from the University of Calgary. From 2012 – 2016 Lana led the MSW Leadership Program in the Faculty of Social Work where she also teaches leadership and social policy. She actively supervises graduate students within the Faculty of Social Work and the School of Public Policy where in 2012 she became a Research Fellow and Instructor. Between 2013 – 2016, Lana was a member of the Alberta Family Violence Death Review Committee and in 2014 she joined the Board of Directors at PREVNet – a national network of leading researchers and organizations, working together to stop bullying in Canada. Lana holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Calgary and a combined honours degree in Religious and Women Studies from McMaster University. In her spare time, Lana is an avid mountain bike and lives in the rockies.

Elena Esina

Project Manager, Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence

Elena holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Management and is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Social Work. Since 2011, she has managed multiple large-scale research projects while conducting research on the prevention of domestic violence. Recently, her research focus has been on the value of informal networks in the lives of both victims and perpetrators, and how best to engage and support these networks to prevent domestic violence. In 2017, Elena became Co-Chair of the Calgary Domestic Violence Collective’s (CDVC) Enhancing Informal Supports Working Group, which is focused on building the capacity of service providers and supporting the community to recognize violence, respond to disclosures of domestic violence, and refer to appropriate supports. Elena has also held the role of the Murray Fraser Professorship Research Coordinator at the Faculty of Social Work. In her free time Elena enjoys spending time with family, cycling, long boarding and camping.


Lianne Lee

Director of the Alberta Healthy Youth Relationships Strategy, Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence

Lianne holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Research, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Education, Economics and Society, and English. Since 2006, she has led a broad range of community programs and systems-change initiatives that seek to enhance the wellbeing of children and youth from diverse backgrounds. Included is frontline work in after-school community programs early in her career, managing C.A.R.E. for the Ethno-Cultural Children & Youth initiative at the Immigrant Sector Council of Calgary, and managing undergraduate programs and research projects at the Werklund School of Education’s Youth Leadership Centre. Lianne has served on a number of advisory committees with the City of Calgary and the University of Calgary, to advocate for policies that support children, youth and women. Lianne’s research interests include critical service-learning (an educational approach that combines student learning and community engagement), cultural humility and equity literacy in teacher education and practices, and the prevention of bullying and dating violence through the promotion of healthy youth relationships. In her free time, Lianne enjoys spending time with family and friends, trying new foods, and playing with her dog, Bruno.

Marina Ivanova

Financial Compliance Assistant, Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence

Marina holds a Master’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Management. In 2014, Marina immigrated to Canada and joined the Shift team. In her role of Finance Compliance Assistant, she oversees all areas of finance including budgets, expense transactions, accounts payable and receivable, general ledger, banking and reconciliations. This busy administrative position requires financial analyses; preparation of quarterly financial statements and funder reports; setting project policies and procedures; and ensuring compliance with University regulations and tax laws. When not crunching numbers, she enjoys spending time with family, camping, fishing, cooking and playing a variety of sports.


Winta Abera

Project Coordinator, Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence

Winta holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree majoring in International Tourism Management. Before moving to Canada in 2015, Winta had lived in Europe and the Middle East. Her previous experience included working as a Human Resources Associate in one of the major players in the Global Hospitality Industry. Winta initially joined the Shift team as a practicum trainee at the end of 2018 before assuming her current role as a Project Coordinator. Winta’s responsibilities include coordinating team’s activities, ensuring smooth day-to-day running of organizational matters, and providing research support to the various projects and studies as and when needed. During her free time, she loves cooking, trying new activities, and spending time with her family and friends.

Winta Ghidei 

Postdoctoral Fellow, Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence

Winta holds a PhD in Public Health, and a master’s degree in Epidemiology. She has more than ten years of mixed methods research experience supporting various applied public health research projects in Canada and abroad. Since 2019, she held various management positions including as a senior research associate with Shift and as a research manager with Collaborative Applied Research for Equity in Health Policy and Systems (CARE) Research Lab at the University of Alberta. Winta’s research interests and goals include advancing gender equality and inclusion within underserved racialized communities as integral to the prevention of gender-based violence. During the tenure of her postdoctoral fellowship, she aims to develop and support sustainable and equity-focused approaches to advancing gender equality and violence prevention in racialized communities in Alberta. In her spare time, Winta loves to create nutritious recipes, bake desserts, and spend time with family.



Shift would like to acknowledge and thank all of our funders who have contributed to the project over the years.