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Meet the TWIRI Team


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.


Angela Underhill

Angela Underhill is currently a PhD candidate studying Family Relations and Human Development at the University of Guelph. Angela is passionate about social justice, health and social equity, and community-based research approaches. As a Research Manager and Associate 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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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.


Harshita Iyer

Harshita is the research coordinator for the Trans Women HIV Research Initiative. She received her MSc in International Migration, Public & Social Policy at the London School of Economics (2020) and her BA in economics and gender studies at McGill university (2018).  She has worked in the AIDS service sector and gender-based violence sector in Peel Region and the Greater Toronto Area. She has research interests in health and social policy, health equity, and the social determinants of health with a focus on immigrant and trans women in Canada. 


Mona Loutfy

Dr. Mona Loutfy is a Professor, Infectious Diseases Specialist and Senior 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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Ashley Lacombe-Duncan

Ashley (she/her) received her MSW (2010) and PhD (2018) from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto.  Her community-based interdisciplinary research agenda advances two overarching areas: (1) Sexual and reproductive healthcare access among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (trans), queer and other sexuality and gender diverse (LGBTQ+) people and women living with HIV, with a substantive focus on trans women living with HIV; and, (2) Social ecological, intersectionality and multi-level stigma theoretical approaches applied to understand and address LGBTQ+ and women living with HIV’s health in local and global contexts. Lacombe-Duncan’s work informs interventions to remove multi-level barriers and increase access to intersectionally affirming healthcare.


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.


Ian Armstrong

Dr. Ian Armstrong is a family physician with a clinical focus on HIV care, transgender health, and sexual health. They joined the Transgender Women HIV Research Initiative in 2019. He is interested in addressing gaps in knowledge about HIV drug-hormone interactions and treatment satisfaction, so that trans women and non-binary folks can make fully informed decisions about their health. They also see patients in the Hassle Free Men & Trans Clinic, and the CAMH Adult Gender Identity Clinic.

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