We are a team of dedicated alumni from the University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine's Summer Mentorship Program and University of Toronto staff, committed to providing information, inspiration and insight to the next generation of health care professionals. This is an active initiative of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.
Dream Tuitt-Barnes is a Queens University student in the 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.
Mesai James is from Toronto, ON and is a student at the 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.
Soliana Lijiam is a Life Sciences 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 Ottawa and is a first-year Health Sciences student at Carleton University. She is passionate about learning more about Black and Indigenous Health and the intersections of health and women's issues. 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.
Cedric Campbell is a Grade 12 high school student who aspires to study computer science for post-secondary. He is a determined individual who relies on the full extent of his own abilities to complete tasks and excel in all realms of his academic and personal life. He is thrilled to be a part of the BIPOC Health hub project, where he can make a positive impact through his contributions. In particular, he is passionate about supporting Black and Indigenous students in navigating the post-secondary selection process.
Chelsea Martins-Ezeifeaku is an incoming Carleton Health Science student with a concentration in biomedical science. Sparked by her curiosity in the brain and her love for life, she aspires to become a neuropsychiatrist. She enjoys practicing mindfulness by basking in nature and crocheting. Through the BIPOC Health Hub, she aims to provide BIPOC with a pragmatic resource to start their journeys into professional work with the hope that users will help each other, overcome societal barriers and strengthen the network of their communities. Her goal is to increase representation of BIPOC in STEM.
Esther Momanyi is an incoming Toronto Metropolitan University nursing student from Scarborough, Toronto. She is passionate about technology, medicine and all things STEAM related. In her free time she is either reading books or coding. She is passionate about BIPOC Health Hub Project because the initiative allows her to work alongside students that share her interest in medicine and healthcare. Through the Health Hub she hopes to utilize her skills to create resources to empower the youth to have an understanding of various fields in healthcare.
Isaiah Shafqat is Mi’kmaq First Nation from Miawpukek First Nation reserve. He is a grade 12 student in the TDSB and incoming university student for law and sociology. Isaiah is dedicated to Indigenous rights and ensuring Indigenous youth can access programs to foster their success. As a team member of the BIPOC Health Hub he is committed to ensuring Indigenous students are able access opportunities to further their education within the health sciences.
Chloe Panganiban is a 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.
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.
Renée Huntley joined the Temerty Faculty of Medicine as the Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Access and Outreach in April 2022. She coordinates the Summer Mentorship Program, SMP Discover, and supports the BIPOC Health Hub, among other outreach activities. Renée has worked in post-secondary environments since 2015, mainly in community engagement and science outreach roles advocating for equitable access to post-secondary education. She co-developed the Traditional Knowledge Keepers in Residence Program at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and was awarded UCalgary’s 2021 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award (staff). She is currently pursuing an MEd in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE.
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