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

Lana Wells is a top-ranked and globally respected scholar in the field of social work, public policy and violence prevention. She is a change-maker in advancing gender and social justice, equity, and social inclusion, engaging and mobilizing men in violence prevention while advancing systems and structural change through collaboration and innovative policy approaches. Wells created the first research hub in Canada to focus solely on stopping domestic and sexual violence before it starts – Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence. Shift’s focus is designing and testing new behavioural approaches to prevent gender-based violence by advancing equity and inclusion and integrating evidence into policy and practice. She has worked with hundreds of community-based organizations and all orders of government to transform our systems of oppression and reimagine new possibilities through an equity-lens. Since the appointment to the Chair position in 2010, Lana has held over $11 million in research funding, grants, and awards. In 2023, Lana received the prestigious Killam Professor Award and in 2022 she received The Order of the University of Calgary in recognition of her community work. She also was recognized by her colleagues and in 2016 she received the John Hutton Memorial Award for Social Action/Policy from the Alberta College of Social Workers. From 2012 – 2016 Lana led the MSW Leadership Program in the Faculty of Social Work where she also teaches leadership, advocacy & diplomacy along with 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 and violence 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 with her family in the rockies.

Elena Esina

Director, Operations & Special Projects, Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence

Elena is an accomplished leader with a profound commitment to fostering positive change in her community. With a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Management, she has built a solid foundation for her 20-year career contributing to both the non-profit and private sectors. As Director of Operations and Special Projects at Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, Elena expertly manages operations for large-scale research projects in domestic violence prevention while supervising students, conducting research and leading the pioneering Immigrant Women Work-Integrated Learning Hub that offers work experience placements for internationally trained women within an academic setting. Beyond her role at the University of Calgary, Elena is also a co-founder of Shift to Learn, an online platform empowering users to create the conditions for violence prevention and equitable communities, as well as a co-lead author of the bestselling book Landed: Transformative Stories of Canadian Immigrant Women. Elena is also an experienced board member with a strong commitment to community leadership. She currently serves on the City of Calgary’s sub-committee on Gender Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and the Fund Development committee for the O’Brien Institute for Public Health. Elena’s dedication to community leadership has been recognized with the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal and the 2016 Faculty of Social Work Management and Non-Academic Excellence Award. In her free time Elena enjoys spending time with family, doing yoga, 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.