UWW/REACH 2.0 Intervention Research Fellows
I previously trained and practiced as a general practitioner veterinarian and am now pursuing my MSc in Public Health at McGill University, which includes a practicum placement at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. I absolutely love to dance and sometimes I’m even somewhat good at it. For my UWW Fellowship, I will be working with a sexual health clinic in Montreal’s gay village, Clinique Medicale L’Actuel, doing quantitative analysis of data from patients on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), along with engagement of committees of gay and bisexual men (GBM) in the community and clinical staff and physicians, in order to effectively delineate key structural, social and/or individual level barriers that are limiting access to HIV combination prevention among GBM, so that they can be correspondingly addressed and used to inform future targeted HIV prevention strategies.
I am currently the coordinator of the Investigaytors program in Toronto, a weekly training program for young gay/bi/queer guys interested in HIV and community-based research that is based off of the Investigaytors program in Vancouver and run by the CBRC. I am a queer person of colour who is passionate about youth empowerment, health equity, and community building. In my spare time, I enjoy eating brownies and shopping for overalls. I am currently on a mission to protect my vegetable garden from all of its leaf-eating predators. For my UWW fellowship, I will evaluate and scale up activities for MpowermentPG, a peer-led, community-based HIV intervention for young gay, bi, queer, and 2-Spirit guys aged 16-30, working with youth leaders in Prince George, BC. I will be pursuing Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of British Columbia.
Desmond Chuang (Deng-Min)
I am a doctoral candidate in Social Work at the University of Toronto. My doctoral thesis will use syndemic theory as a framework to examine the impact of complex adversities and familism on sexual risk behaviours among gay men and other men who have sex with men in Taiwan. I am a licensed social worker, HIV case manager, and community-based researcher. I have been actively involved in HIV care and HIV prevention in Taiwan and Toronto for more than a decade. Once established in Toronto, I worked closely with several community-based organizations to improve community engagement and capacity building among racialized immigrants, refugees, and non-status people living with HIV/AIDS. During my UWW fellowship, I will conduct a community-based intervention, Asian PHA Resiliency Dialogues, in the city of Toronto, and will collaborate with Asian Community AIDS Services, Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention, and Ontario Positive Asians to implement the intervention. A pre- and post- survey and follow-up focus groups will be applied to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention.
I am a General Internal Medicine specialist in Terrace, Northwestern BC and I also provide outreach Internal Medicine clinics in neighbouring communities. I am also a trainee in the Clinician Investigator Program at the University of British Columbia and a PhD student in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the University of Toronto. My research focus is on optimizing access to chronic disease management in remote, rural and Northern regions of Canada. In my free time I enjoy backcountry skiing and mountain biking with my partner and dogs (Baloo and Panda). As a REACH UWW Fellow, I will aim to build research capacity in Northwestern BC while assessing the feasibility and acceptability of implementing routine offering of HIV testing in the acute care setting.
I am currently working as the Community Health Coordinator at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, CHC. Diagnosed with HIV in 1995, I continue to participate passionately in various initiatives in the HIV movement. I am a human rights activist engaged in supporting reforms and interventions that promote and protect human rights of all people living with HIV. I believe in human potential and that if HIV-positive people are given the right nurturing and support they not only become good at what they are hired to do, but they can even achieve greatness, resulting in meaningful involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS. As a result, I am immensely involved in the development and roll out of studies that seek to address the barriers faced by people living with HIV namely: Project PEER: PHAs Engaged in Employment Roles – Uncovering the Impact of GIPA/MIPA and the Wise Practices of Informal and Formal Peer Support; and The Canadian HIV Stigma Index CBR Project: Examining the social and structural drivers of stigma to shape the actionable solution(s) to support people living with HIV and their affected communities.
As a UWW Fellow, I will conduct a community based intervention in Ontario, working hand in hand with people living with HIV and community-based organizations, to pilot and evaluate The PRAs Essential Tools for Support and Stability toolkit aimed at improving and sustaining the wellbeing and resilience of persons living with HIV who work as Peer Research Associate. Currently, I am now pursuing my Master of Science in Global Health at McMaster University.
I first started working in sexual health during my undergraduate studies at Carleton University. Since then, I have worked as a researcher, educator, and health promoter in Kigali, Iqaluit, Guelph, and Vancouver with a focus on reducing social inequities. Now, I am the Executive Director at YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society, a youth-driven organization that uses peer support and education to reduce stigma. I wear many hats at YouthCO, including supporting programs by-and-for youth living with HIV, fostering youth leadership among staff and volunteers, and stewarding YouthCO’s values and approaches to sexual health and harm reduction. In 2017 summer, I’m taking time off to see my favourite animal, beluga whales, in Canada’s St. Lawrence River. Once I’m back, I’ll be moving into my UWW fellowship program with YouthCO’s amazing Indigenous team! Together, we will engage a group of Indigenous youth to steer our project activities, offer monthly programming that blends traditional activities and knowledge with sexual health and harm reduction education, and implement impactful, manageable, youth-led evaluation.
I am a PhD student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Community Psychology, the Executive Director of the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area (ACCKWA), and a member of the Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS. In 2014, I co-founded the Audre Lorde scholarship for Black LGBTQ youth in Hamilton, Ontario. My doctoral studies with Dr. Ketan Shankardass focus on intersectoral population health initiatives in HIV prevention. My work engages intersectionality as an overarching framework for systems-level interventions supporting equitable outcomes for the most complexly marginalized communities impacted by HIV, including the disproportionately surveilled and incarcerated African, Caribbean and Black communities, Indigenous communities and people challenged by injection drug use and addictions. I am a member of the OHTN ACB Chair Scholar’s program through the High Impact Field-based Intervention (HiFi) Laboratory at St. Michael’s Hospital under the mentorship of Dr. LaRon Nelson. I also received the 2017-2018 ACB Scholar’s Challenge Award which provides $10,000 to lead a collaborative team-based research project in HIV program science. My UWW fellowship-related work will explore the development of mechanisms for facilitating an HIV prevention, care and treatment cascade within local health regions.
I am a doctoral candidate at Simon Fraser University working at the Vancouver site of the Engage Study. Originally from the US, My partner moved to Vancouver in 2015 with our two pet ferrets after finding out how beautiful it was here on our first road-trip together. My research focuses primarily on the intersection of technological, social, and behavioral change and the implications these changes have for population health. Working with the Momentum and Engage Studies, I hope to develop a research program evaluating the use of respondent-driven sampling for network model parameterization with the aim of informing the rollout, expansion, and maintenance of biomedical prevention strategies such as HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis), and NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing).