Our Team

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Yasmeen Persad

Yasmeen Persad is a Trans /Activist who has been providing education and training around LGBT related issues for the past 10 years. Her experience ranges from working with Trans Youth, HIV Positive Women, Sex Workers and many diverse populations. She provides training to service providers around Trans community inclusion and support. Yasmeen has presented at many Conferences across North America on various topics about access for Trans people. She
is currently a Research Coordinator at Women’s College Hospital, working with Trans Women and HIV.

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Mona Loutfy

Dr. Mona Loutfy is a Professor, Infectious Diseases Specialist and Clinician Scientist at Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto. She launched the Women and HIV Research Program at the Women’s College Research Institute in 2006 to carry out social justice research related to women, reproductive health, stigma, retention in care and HIV and HCV. She works from a community-based research model involving the people that her research will affect at all stages. In 2017, Mona received a CIHR Foundation Grant for her Research Program with the launching of the Trans Women Research Initiative as one of the objectives.

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Angela Underhill

Angela Underhill is currently a PhD student studying Family Relations and Human Development at the University of Guelph. Angela is is passionate about social justice, health and social equity, and community-based research approaches. As the Research Coordinator for the Women and HIV Research Program (WHRP) at Women’s College Hospital, Angela works closely with the Trans Women HIV Research Initiative and the Canadian HIV Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study team in research and knowledge translation activities that address and optimize the care women living with HIV desire.

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Mina Kazemi

Mina Kazemi completed an HBSc in Global Health with minors in African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Toronto, and an MSc in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has strong interests in health equity and the social and structural determinants of health. Mina is also the Ontario coordinator for the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study. Mina is committed to community-engaged approaches to research and to working collaboratively towards evidence-based policies that best represent the diversity and unique needs of women living with HIV.

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Jaspreet Soor

Jaspreet Soor is a physician with experience in East Africa and Canada working with community, government bodies, healthcare organizations and other related stakeholders in promoting healthcare access within marginalized and hard-to-reach populations. She is passionate about bridging the gap between community resources and healthcare in creating a seamless, efficient and equitable environment fostering overall well-being for all. With a special interest in sexual health and mental health, she has been involved in various research and community projects in Toronto over the last 4 years.

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Jana Kurrek

Jana is an undergraduate student at Trinity College at the University of Toronto. Her research is centralized around intersectionality-based policy analysis, focusing specifically on indigenous affairs. She earned the Canadian Lieutenant Governor Award after initiating a semi-annual medical outreach program for young First Nations students. Jana has pursued these interests further through her work for the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Women's College Research Institute.

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Brenda Varriano

Brenda Varriano is a MSc. Candidate with the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto. Her major research interest includes neurodegenerative disease, concussion in sport and women’s healthcare access, primarily in the context of HIV. As a member of the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CHIWOS), Brenda hopes to understand drug-drug interactions and experiences of HIV-related healthcare for trans women.

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Ashley Lacombe-Duncan

Ashley Lacombe-Duncan is a fifth year PhD candidate in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. Her major research interests include health equity, with a particular focus on healthcare access for women who experience multiple forms of intersecting oppressions.  As a co-investigator of the CIHR-funded Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CHIWOS) and a student member of the CHIWOS team, Ashley works to understand issues of access to and experience of HIV-related healthcare for trans women.

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Monica Brundage

Monica is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Global Health, with minors in Biology and Chemistry. Her main interests include disease transmission and how to address health inequities on a global scale. She hopes to attend medical school after she graduates, where she can help patients attain equal access to care for transmittable diseases.

Wangari Tharao

Wangari Tharao is the Director of Research and Programs at Women’s Health at Women’s Hands, a community health centre that provides primary healthcare services for African, Caribbean, Black, Latin American and South Asian women in Toronto and surrounding areas.  She is also a community based researcher, with a focus on research that bridges knowledge generation, programmatic and policy practice to support effective actions on HIV. Wangari is also a recognized HIV advocate and has co-founded several provincial, national and international networks including, the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO), the Canadian HIV/AIDS Black, African and Caribbean Network (CHABAC) and the African and Black Diaspora Global Network on HIV and AIDS (ABDGN) to support Black populations living in Canada and other developed countries mount effective responses to HIV/AIDS.

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Carmen Logie

Dr. Carmen Logie is an Assistant Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Adjunct Scientist at Women’s College Hospital, and Ontario Ministry of Research & Innovation Early Researcher (2016-21).  Carmen conducts community-based global research (Canada, Jamaica, Haiti, Swaziland, Lesotho, Uganda) focused on the social contexts that shape wellbeing. She is particularly interested in understanding and addressing intersectional stigma associated with multiple marginalized identities, including race and ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity and expression, HIV, poverty, sex work, and substance use. Carmen has been working on mixed-methods community-based research initiatives with trans women living and affected by HIV in Canada, Jamaica, Swaziland and Lesotho for the past decade.

Heather Wong

Heather is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, double-majoring in Public Policy and Health Studies. Her combination of research experience at Women's College Research Institute and the University of Toronto with frontline sexual education work at two separate student organizations provide her insight on both micro and macro-level changes needed for health equity. She is passionate about inclusive social policy and accessible institutions.