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Conference Speaker Biographies

Dane Griffiths

Dane Griffiths has been working in the community led response to HIV and gay men’s health promotion for almost a decade. His experience spans the development of a sexual health programs and campaigns, scaling up interventions including online outreach, contributions to numerous research projects, and hosting a range of capacity building and knowledge exchange events. His current role as Director of the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance sees him leading a network of HIV service organizations from across Ontario who provide sexual health education and outreach services for 2SGBTQ+ people.

 

Joanne Lush

Joanne is the Manager of AIDS and Hepatitis C Programs. She joined the Ministry in 2003 to lead implementation of the funding program. Joanne is deeply committed to the use of a community-based response to HIV and Hepatitis C as a highly effective way to implement social change and improve the health of Ontarians living with or affected by HIV and hepatitis C. She joined the first volunteer program at her local ASO in 1990.

 

Jack Saddleback

Riveting, captivating, real, insightful, grounded, and illuminated, these are just a few words that have been used to describe Jack Saddleback’s presentation of his life as a Cree Two-Spirited Champion. Saddleback has won numerous awards, including Red Cross’s 2018 SK Young Humanitarian of the Year, CBC’s 2016 Future 40 Under 40, and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network 2015 Young Eagles Award. Jack’s life story embodies how one person’s spirit can help transform a community, while providing validation to struggling trans youth.

“Everyone has an identity. Mine just happens to be rarer than most.

Jack Saddleback In his wake, Jack Saddleback leaves gender barriers shattered. As a Cree Two-Spirited Transgendered Gay Man, he was the first elected Transgender Student Union president of University of Saskatchewan and only the fourth Indigenous person to hold that position.

Jack captivates his audience when sharing his validating message of Embracing Two Spirits, Conquering Mental Health, and Finding One’s Identity.

Jack has found many struggles not only from the world at large but from his own Indigenous community. This has not stopped him from reaching new heights. He embraces life with an open mind and a child-like curiosity that helps push his own limits in the pursuit of happiness.

He spent the first four years of his life on his home reservation of the Samson Cree Nation, before moving with his Family to Calgary, Alberta at the age of four. This however, did not stop him from being instilled with Cree values that shine through in everything he does. Helping audiences to see gender identity through an Indigenous lens, Jack now uses these traditional teachings of the Cree to provide validation and acceptance to the LGBTQ community.

Currently, Jack works for OUT Saskatoon as Co-Interim Director as well as Cultural & Projects Coordinator. His work continues to embody his values and his spirit as a truly caring world changer dedicated to creating safe spaces for people of all genders and orientation.

An artist, Speaker and lifelong learner, Jack possesses a powerful zest for life. His message of sâkihito-maskihkiy (love medicine), identity, and embracing our authentic self, certifies Jack Saddleback as a force for positive change in our society.

 

Rick Galli

Rick Galli is the Director of Testing and Clinical Trials Implementation at the CIHR Centre for REACH at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. Rick began his extensive career in research and diagnostic laboratory sciences with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Public Health Laboratory in Toronto in 1973 and has continued to work in senior positions in health-related settings including the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and bioLytical Laboratories. Rick joined REACH in 2019.

 

Patrick O'Byrne

 

Patrick O'Byrne RN-EC PhD is a Full Professor of Nursing at the University of Ottawa and a licensed Nurse Practitioner. His work focuses the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

 

Christopher Draenos

Christopher Draenos is CBRC's full-time National STBBI Testing and Linkage Implementation Manager and a Registered Nurse. He is enrolled in a Masters of Nurse Practitioner program at Athabasca University. He oversees CBRC's Test Now work as part of REACH Nexus to implement and evaluate testing options that will help reach the undiagnosed, and reduce new HIV and STBBI infections in GBT2Q communities. He brings clinical expertise in public health, healthcare access, GBT2Q sexual health, and HIV.

 

Alexandra Musten

Alexandra Musten is the Senior Lead of Testing and Clinical Initiatives at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, where she coordinated the implementation of Pharmacist-delivered HIV POCT in Ontario. Ms. Musten is the co-lead for the GetaKit project.

 

Adrian R. Betts

A gay man and long-term survivor, Adrian is the Executive Director of the AIDS Committee of Durham Region (ACDR). Adrian began working in the HIV/AIDS sector in 1989 at the Toronto PWA Foundation and over the years has worked at many ASOs and other social justice services. He is a sci-fi & comic book geek who loves to travel; used to breed horses and lived in Australia. 

 

Shiva Archarya

 

Shiva is an HIV/AIDS Educator and Lead Researcher at 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations. He is leading a Positive Living Program, HIV Self Testing Campaign, HIV Treatment Adherence, and SEMAA Research Project. Shiva moved to Canada in 2019 and has 15 years of community working experience in HIV/AIDS, Harm Reduction, and Human Rights Count! Consultation. Shiva has completed his M.Phil. in Social Anthropology, completed a number of research projects, and published a dozen of academic publications.

 

Robin Robinson

Robin Robinson holds Bachelor degrees in General Counselling Psychology and Teacher Education. He has worked across both sectors, not-for-profits, and government, and is familiar with HIV/STBBI prevention and transmission. With over 15 years of work experience, Robin works at the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention in Health Promotion as the MSM HIV Testing Coordinator. He focuses on HIV Self Testing -GetaKit, a study targeting ACB/gbMSM to increase testing amongst the gbMSM population 16 years and older in Toronto and the GTA. Robin also facilitates workshops and training geared towards awareness building and increasing knowledge around HIV/STI and Biomedical HIV Prevention Strategies. He is passionate about monitoring and evaluating programs.

 

Praney Anand

Praney Anand, Executive Director at ASAAP has over 10 years of experience in sexual health education, counselling, and research. He has worked on several sexual health research projects such as the Gay Couples Study in San Francisco, and the Momentum/Engage study in Vancouver. Most recently, he worked at UofT on several behavioural science research projects examining intersectional aspects of health within gender and sexual minority communities. He has previously taught medical students at Stanford and UCSF.

 

Barry Adam 

Barry D. Adam has an extensive research record on the dynamics of domination and empowerment, LGBT studies, and HIV prevention. In 2007, he received the Simon-Gagnon Award for a distinguished career in the study of sexualities; in 2012, the Community Partners Award of the Ontario AIDS Network, in 2013 the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and in 2017 the Anselm Strauss award from the U.S. National Council on Family Relations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_D._Adam

 

Kevin Woodward

Dr. Kevin Woodward is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at McMaster University. During the course of his career he has worked at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton in inpatient infectious diseases as well as clinical work in the areas of HIV and sexual health. He is involved in provincial and national projects for HIV prevention and PrEP.

 

Tim Guimond

Tim Guimond is the Mental Health Director at HQ. He is a psychiatrist and biostatistician with interests in substance use, psychotherapy, mental health and health service utilization. His clinical work is in concurrent disorders and research in mental and sexual health.

 

Osmel Guerra Maynes

Osmel B. Guerra Maynes (he/him) is a social justice activist, non-profit sector executive, and seasoned event planner. He was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda. Osmel identifies as an Afro-Latino queer man.

Osmel immigrated to Canada as an international student in 2003 to pursue a Political Science Degree at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. Osmel has called Canada home for 10+ years.

During his time working with 2SLGBTQ+ community-based organizations in Ontario, British Columbia and the Yukon, Osmel focused his work on advancing effective grassroots and province-wide social programming, enhancing the inclusion of marginalized voices, pushing for sound public policy, and overseeing effective strategic planning in the non-profit and charitable sectors. Osmel strongly believes in the power of inclusion to affect lasting social change.

 

Abigail Kroch

Abigail is responsible for supporting HIV surveillance activities through the Ontario HIV Epidemiology and Surveillance Initiative (OHESI) and is the Principal Investigator and Director of the OHTN Cohort Study (OCS). Her work focuses on translating epidemiological data for use in program planning, policy making and to support community engagement. She uses surveillance data and the OCS to describe the HIV epidemic in Ontario, and develops KTE products directed at government, community, and clinical stakeholders.

 

Sean Colyer

Originally from Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario, Sean earned a Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science, 2007) degree and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM, 2010) degree from the University of Guelph. After six years of companion animal practice in Toronto, he returned to academia to earn a Master of Science in Public Health (MScPH) from McGill University, graduating in 2018. He has since worked as an epidemiologist at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network.

 

Jordan Goodridge

Dr. Jordan Goodridge is a Family Physician in downtown Toronto with a focused practice in LGBTQ+ Health and HIV Primary Care. After completing his foundational training, he completed an Enhanced Skills Program in HIV Primary Care with the University of Toronto. He has a strong interest in medical education, working closely with healthcare providers in various stages of training to help build confidence and competence in areas such as sexual health, HIV, and gender-affirming care.

 

Dr. Jon

Dr. Jon is a primary care physician who practices underserved medicine on the south side of Chicago. He uses social media as @thatgaydoctor to educate, and to increase LGBTQ+ visibility in medicine.

 

Cameron McKenzie

Cameron McKenzie is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research has examined the contribution of political and social structures on social (health) inequities in the LGBTQ+ community, with an emphasis on social determinants of health. In the process, he has contributed to the development of the emerging Queer Liberation Theory.

 

Ryan Peck

Ryan graduated from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law in 2000. Since 2007, he has been executive director of the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO), where he was previously both an articling student and a staff lawyer. Ryan has worked as a staff lawyer at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and in the Tenant Duty Counsel Program at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. He has also served as criminal duty counsel at Toronto’s Old City Hall.

 

Nick Boyce

Nick is Director of the Ontario Harm Reduction Network, a Board Member with Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, and was a volunteer co-organizer with the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society. He’s worked in harm reduction and drug policy since he started using drugs at raves in the late 1990’s. He still uses currently-illegal-drugs, though as a housed, white, cis-gender, gay man, his drug use is very privileged.

 

Dr. OmiSoore Dryden

Dr. OmiSoore H. Dryden, a Black queer femme, is the James R Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Faculty of Medicine, and Associate Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. Dr. Dryden engages in interdisciplinary scholarship and research that focuses on Black LGBTQI communities, blood donation systems in Canada, systemic/structural issues that affect health and well-being, medical education, and Black health curricular content development. Dr. Dryden is the Principal Investigator of #GotBlood2Give / #DuSangÀDonner a research project that seeks to identify the barriers Black gay, bisexual, and trans men encounter with donating blood and also analyzes how anti-black homophobia/transphobia shapes the blood system in Canada.

 

Will Nutland

Will Nutland is a researcher, activist and educator. He's an honorary assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he undertook his doctoral studies into the acceptability of PrEP among gay men in London. He's the co-founder of PrEPster, a non-profit project that educates and agitates for PrEP and it parent non-profit company The Love Tank CIC. Will is a founding member of the International Network of People Using PrEP.

 

Marc Thompson

Marc is the Director of The Love Tank CIC, a community interest community that promotes health and wellbeing of under-served communities through education, capacity building and research. He is the co-founder of Prepster.info, a community-based intervention that works to improve sexual health globally and Blackout UK, a movement working to create safe spaces for Black gay men. His work has focused on Black and queer communities, sexual health, and HIV with a particular interest in the intersection of race, sexuality and HIV.

 

Drew

HIV Pharmacist, Ontario Prevention Clinic IG: @theprepclinic fb: Ontario Prevention Clinic/The PrEP Clinic

 

Darrell Tan

Darrell Tan is an infectious diseases physician and clinician-scientist at St. Michael's Hospital, where he leads the OPTIONS Collaboratory on HIV/STI Treatment and Prevention Science (www.optionslab.ca). He is a member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society and co-leads the HIV Prevention Core of the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network.

 

Ahmed Muslimani

Ahmed (he/him) is the Manager of Partnerships and Strategic Development MAX Ottawa. He began his career in community work nearly 12 years ago after arriving in Canada as a refugee claimant. His work has largely focused on newcomers and queer communities, anti-oppression, and sexual health education and promotion.

 

Greg Owens

Greg works both as a conflict resolution practitioner and within the HIV sector as an outreach worker in London, Ontario. He holds an Honours, Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Mental Health from Carleton University, as well as college certification in Labour Relations and Alternative Dispute Resolution. He brings a passion for health equity, queer mental health, and implementing community- driven, anti-oppressive policy and practice.

 

Darryl

Representing Positive Living Niagara and Niagara's PrEP Clinic, Darryl has been working and volunteering with Niagara's sexual and gender diverse community for over 10 years. With his newest adventure at Positive Living Niagara, as their gbMSM Community Development & Education Coordinator, Darryl delivers his programming through dedication, enthusiasm and passion.

 

Sean Hosein

Sean Hosein is a cofounder and Science and Medicine Editor at CATIE.ca. He is engaged in a number of fields including the biomedical prevention and treatment of viruses including HIV, HCV, and key sexually transmitted infections. Most recently his work has expanded to include COVID-19.

 

Holly Gauvin

Holly is the Executive Director of Elevate NWO in Thunder Bay and serving the region of northwester Ontario. She has an HBSW from Lakehead University and a diploma in Native Mental Health from Confederation College. She has been serving her community in health and social services for the past 25 years serving in the justice system, mental health addiction and housing and anti poverty work. She also spent 13 years teaching counseling skills to the next generation of social services workers in the north. Holly is passionate about two things…Indigenous Rights and the love of her life…her dog Finnegan

 

Alex Ma

Alex Ma is the Support Program Coordinator at Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS). He has been working at ACAS since 2018 and is currently supporting the East/Southeast Asian HIV and queer community. His role includes case management, organizing community events, and community development.

 

Andre C.

 

Since 2008, Andre has worked in different ASO’s in Toronto. Lately, Andre’s has focused on engaging PHAs as peers by empowering, preparing, and supporting them to use their lived experience to support others in the community. Andre is an advocate for the meaningful engagement of PHAs and strongly supports community-based research initiatives. He believes any PHA involvement should be an empowering experience for them. Andre is a co-producer of the podcast Positively Speaking.

 

Joël Xavier

Joël Xavier has been working in CATIE's Education and Capacity Building team since April 2021. He brings over 13 years of community work experience in the field of sexual and mental health, with a focus on serving fellow cis and trans GBQ guys. When he's not facilitating workshops or attending Zoom meetings, you can find him working on his MSW thesis, which, unsurprisingly, is on gay sex and wellbeing.

 

Tim McCaskell

Tim McCaskell is a long-time writer, activist and educator. He was a founding member of AIDS ACTION NOW!, an activist group which won access to experimental treatments and funding for medications. He is the author of Race To Equity: Disrupting Educational Inequality, a history of the struggle for equity in Toronto public schools, and Queer Progress: From Homophobia to Homonationalism, a history of queer activism in Toronto.

 

Randy Davis

Randy is the Sexual Health Coordinator at the Gilbert Centre in Barrie, ON. He also manages their new sexual health clinic; the InclusHIV Care Clinic. Randy began working in the sector just over three years ago but has been active in HIV activism and advocacy since 2017 and is a loud and proud supporter of the U=U message and movement. Randy has been living with HIV since being diagnosed in February of 2015. Randy also sits on the board of directors for the Ontario AIDS Network and on the international steering committee of the Prevention Access Campaign. In 2020 Randy created and launched the global, stigma fighting, "I Can Give U" campaign. HIV is a virus, Stigma is the disease!

 

David Soomarie

David Soomarie has dedicated two decades of his life to advocating for those less fortunate in society, specifically the sexual health and reproductive rights for young people and women, people living with HIV, and members of the LGBTQ community. He was one of the founding members of a national coalition and openly advocated for the inclusion of sexual orientation in Trinidad and Tobago’s laws and led a national HIV/AIDS organization, Community Action Resource (CARe), for six and a half years before he migrated to Toronto in 2016. In 2019, he was the recipient of the INSPIRE LGBTQ person of the year and the POZTO awards. He is currently sitting on the board of PASAN and the PHA advisory committee for the Ontario AIDS Network. He openly identifies as indo- Caribbean, queer, and HIV positive.

 

Jermane

Jermane, like all of us, has multiple identifiers. He is a Black Gay man, an immigrant, a creative, a brother, a son, a friend, and most importantly, a human being with dignity. He is driven by passion, and a need to build a secure world for queer folks around the world.

 

Alphonso King Jr.

Originally from Tampa, FL, moved to NYC in 1992 and relocated to Toronto in 2010 when he married his husband John Richard Allan. Together they have built a network of online groups and events for the HIV+ Community of Toronto. From using his drag and DJ talents, Alphonso has made a name for himself as an openly HIV+ Activist.

 

Devon MacFarlane

Devon MacFarlane, a consultant, led the Trans Interweaving Project for GMSH. Devon is one of Canada’s leading experts in the intersections between LGBT2SQ health and organizational and systems change - work that is close to Devon’s heart as an out trans and queer person. Across time, Devon has consistently applied approaches grounded in “nothing about us without us,” as in advancing systems change, every part of the system needs to be engaged. Devon served on the Board of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health from 2012-2015 and chaired two conferences. Devon recently started working as the manager of a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit at Health Canada.

 

Shaz Islam

Shaz Islam (they/them) is a CHIWOS Research Associate & KTE "Beyond the Data" Champion Coordinator with Angela Underhill, KTE Champion Coordinator & Supervisor. Shaz also works at Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP) as the CHAMPS in Action Project Coordinator and fulfilling their role in the Trans Interweaving Project (TIP) and Trans Pulse Canada. Shaz wants to become a lawyer and an author. Or, just an author. 

 

LaRon Nelson

Dr. Nelson investigates strategies to reduce racial disparities in HIV in Black communities. Currently, he leads a 16-city community-randomized controlled trial of a multi-level intervention to increase rates of PrEP use and HIV viral suppression among Black gay men in the southern United States. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, a Fellow in the New York Academy of Medicine and is an affiliate scientist of MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions.

 

Leo Wilton

Leo Wilton has research expertise in the areas of health disparities and inequities (HIV and AIDS prevention); Black psychological development and mental health; integrative community-based research; and mixed- and multi-methods research. His scholarly research on the HIV epidemic focuses on the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality, as situated in macro- and micro-level inequities in Black communities, both nationally and internationally.

 

Roberta Timothy

Dr. Timothy is an Assistant Professor in the Teaching Stream, Black Health Lead, and is the inaugural Program Director for the upcoming MPH Program in Black Health at Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Timothy is also an Adjunct Professor in Critical Disability studies at York University. She specializes in the areas of Black health; intersectionality, violence, transgenerational trauma, and ethics in health work; health and racism; art-based methodologies; transnational Indigenous health; and anti-oppression/anti-colonial approaches to mental health.  Dr. Timothy has worked for over 30 years in community health working on resisting anti-Black racism and intersectional violence strategies. Dr. Timothy is also co-founder and consultant at Continuing Healing Consultants where she implements and teaches her intersectional mental health model "Anti-Oppression Psychotherapy". She is an interdisciplinary scholar, health practitioner, and political scientist, who examines global health and ethics from a critical trauma-informed decolonizing framework. Her current research is entitled: "Black Health Matters: National and Transnational COVID-19 Impact, Resistance, and Intervention Strategies Project /  La santé des noirs compte:  le covid-19 et son Impact - un projet de recherche national et transnational sur nos actes de résistances et stratégies d’intervention " .  For more information  see:  https://blackhealthmatterscovid19.ca/  

She has been living with a visual disability for over 25 years.

Kevin A. Ormsby

Artistic Director of KasheDance and Program Manager at Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), Kevin A. Ormsby has performed with companies in Canada, USA, and the Caribbean. Recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch – Staunton Award (2014) and an inaugural TAC Cultural Leaders Fellow (2015), he has been a Guest Artist at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts - University of the West Indies (Mona), University of Wisconsin – Madison and Northwestern University.  Kevin's research and creative practice through his company's technical approach to dance exists in a space of constant interrogation and navigation of Caribbean cultural nuances towards, a methodology of understanding space in creation, research, and presentation. He is on the Boards of Dance Collection Danse, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and has served on the Boards of Canadian Dance Assembly, Prologue to the Performing Arts and Nia Centre for the Arts.

 

Ann Burchell

Scientist, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael's Hospital, Unity Health Toronto; Research Director, Department of Family and Community Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital, Unity Health Toronto; Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

 

Curtis Cooper

Dr. Curtis Cooper (MD 1994 – U of S, Internal Medicine 1997, Infectious Diseases 1999 – U of M, HIV Research Fellowship, MA Epi 2002 – U of O) is a Professor with the University of Ottawa’s Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Consultant with the Ottawa Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases, Senior Scientist with the Ottawa Health Research Institute and Director of the Ottawa Hospital and Regional Viral Hepatitis Program.

 

Rahim Thawer

Rahim is a registered social worker and psychotherapist based in Toronto. He joins us this year from Johannesburg where he is serving as a Visiting Scholar at the South African College for Applied Psychology. He's interested in GBTQ2S mental health and innovation in queer relationships.

 

Moustafa Abdelrahman

Moustafa Abdelrahman, is a psychotherapist at themindfulpractice, instructor and advisory member of the histories and philosophies of mindfulness meditation courses at the University of Toronto, core faculty at the Nalanda Institute’s compassion-based resilience program, and co-founder of the LGBTQ+ focused Mindfulness program at the 519 Community Center. Having lived in both Canada and the Middle East, he is familiar with the cultural complexities and offers equity, diversity, and inclusion training to various organizations.

 

Ozhawa Anung Kwe (Yellow Star Woman)

Ozhawa Anung Kwe (Teddy Syrette) is an Anishnabe 2Spirit gender-fluid person of Baawaating/Batchewana First Nation. They are an award winning advocate for 2Spirit and LGBTQ+/Indigenous communities and people. Ozhawa/Teddy has been volunteering, organizing and contributing within their communities for over 20 years. Teddy has a background in social work, theatre and bingo. They opened their own queer-Indigenous advocacy business in February of 2021 and live alone (voluntarily) with their two dogs Hortus and Jack.

 

 Dr. Andrew Spieldenner

Andrew Spieldenner, Ph.D. is Executive Director of MPact: Global Action for Gay Men's Health & Rights, Associate Professor of Communication at California State University-San Marcos, and a Visiting Scholar at Concordia University. Dr. Spieldenner is a community-engaged researcher and advocate with over 25 years of experience in HIV. Openly living with HIV, Dr. Spieldenner is currently North American Delegate to UNAIDS and Vice-Chair of the United States People Living with HIV Caucus.