Dream Tuitt-Barnes is a student from Mississauga, Ontario who will be attending Queens University in the Fall for Honours Health Sciences with the QuARMs (Queens University Accelerated Route to Medicine) Program. She intends to pursue a career as a plastic surgeon. Dream is extremely passionate about providing minority youth with supportive outlets to build confidence, help them share their truth, and help them feel comfortable “taking a seat at the table”. She is passionate about the BIPOC Health Hub Project because the initiative allows her to assist in providing educational support to help youth make informed decisions regarding potential careers. For Dream, the most rewarding aspect of this project is inspiring students to pursue careers in medicine, despite what barriers they face.
Elizabeth Agyei is an incoming Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Waterloo. She's very passionate about the world and loves educating herself on various topics, especially those related to STEM. In her free time she reads, listens to music or gets herself busy with new personal projects. Her passion for the HealthHub project stems from the program’s vision to educate and empower diverse youth in the various fields of healthcare. Elizabeth's time at SMP taught her the importance of knowledge mobilization and believes that through this tool, more youth like herself can have access to the information they need to help them secure a brighter future.
Joshua Lefort is a prolific black poet based in Durham Region who has been able to amplify black advocacy through his work. In his latest work with Bipoc Health Hub, he hopes to shed light on underrepresented health approaches that predate western medicine. His passion stems from his unrelenting desire to share the wealth of knowledge the world has to offer.
Mesai James is from Toronto, ON and is an incoming student at University of Toronto studying Life Sciences. The research he has done on the career exploration aspect of this project made him passionate about learning about various fields, especially since there is not one sole way to get into the medical field. Thus, it was a good way to branch out and learn new modes of employment. Moreover, it allows for the subsequent generations to learn about the numerous pathways in a digestible manner that Mesai wished he was able to when he was their age.
Ruweyda Osman is an incoming Toronto Metropolitan University nursing student from Etobicoke, Toronto. She is passionate about the Health Hub project because it allows her to take part in an initiative that benefits students that share her interest in medicine and healthcare. Ruweyda says that is very rewarding to see the team's efforts pay off and be able to put resources out there that were not very accessible for previous students that were in the same position.
Soliana Lijiam is an incoming Life Science Student at UofT from Toronto, Ontario. She is a passionate visual artist and enjoys integrating her interest in both the arts and science wherever she can. As a contributor to the BIPOC Health Hub, she believes that it is incredibly important for BIPOC youth to have reliable access to the resources they need in order to pursue a future in the field of health & medicine.
Zahra van Gaalen
Zahra van Gaalen is currently based in Waterloo Region and will be studying Health Sciences at Carleton University. She is passionate about learning more about Black and Indigenous Health and the intersections of race and gender with health. As an SMP alumnus, Zahra hopes that this e-module project provides other Black and Indigenous students with perspectives on health that they may not have known about and offers a space to reclaim cultural and traditional knowledge.
Chloe Panganiban is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, specializing in Global Health. She is passionate about working towards better representation in the field of medicine, specifically through education, accessibility, and inclusion. As a former Academic Don for the Summer Mentorship Program, Chloe is incredibly excited to be a part of this initiative that broadens the audience that the program can reach.
Hodan Mohamud is a medical student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. She is passionate about youth empowerment, health equity, and supporting youth from underrepresented backgrounds along their journeys in STEAM. She has worked in youth outreach for many years, is a founder of the STEAM-D program at the University of Toronto, and excited to support this initiative to share resources and engage with further youth.
Ike Okafor is the Senior Officer for Service Learning and Diversity Outreach at the University of Toronto’s (UofT) Faculty of Medicine. As a first-year student in 1999, Ike Okafor founded the University of Toronto Black Students' Association, and he is a past president of the group. Eleven years later, the association is one of U of T's most active organizations, with programming that engages students, faculty, staff, alumni and the local community.
Christie Anderson is a Module Lead for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. She is proud to have supported this initiative and to share the amazing resources created by the team with other students. She is passionate about educating, engaging, and empowering youth and communities.
La Toya Dennie
La Toya is committed to ensuring the University of Toronto reflects the richness of the city that we serve. As the former Outreach Coordinator, La Toya coordinated the SMP for more than 8 years and is passionate about the opportunity to support students in their academic and career journeys. La Toya values being an advocate and a steward for change and supports workshops focusing on an anti-racism, anti-Black racism, and Indigenous cultural safety, and allyship community. As the Advisor, Anti-Racism Projects, La Toya supports work to dismantle the long history of racism that impacts our health system, the institutions, and the health of our society.
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