MEET THE TEAM

Executive Team

  • Rachel Kiddell-Monroe

    Executive Director

    Rachel Kiddell-Monroe is a lawyer, a humanitarian practitioner and an advocate. She is a Board Director at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a founding President of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and a Professor of Practice at McGill University. Rachel believes putting people and their community first is key to creating a more humane, just, and fair society.

  • Samantha Poncabare

    Executive Assistant

    Samantha Poncabare holds a BA in International Development with a minor in International Relations and Environmental Sciences from McGill University. Previously, Samantha worked in the sales department of a startup, organized a course on Humanitarian Action at the McGill Summer Institute in Global Health and volunteered with SeeChange on fundraising and event planning.

  • Peter Saranchuk

    Medical Director

    Peter Saranchuk is a medical doctor with more than a dozen years of international experience with the humanitarian medical organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). In addition to performing HIV-TB clinical work in resource-limited settings, he has worked as a TB-HIV Advisor in MSF’s Southern African Medical Unit. He currently works in a Community Health Centre in southern Ontario.

  • Sumeet Sodhi

    Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator

    Sumeet is a family physician in the Toronto Western Hospital Family Health Team, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and the Academic Lead for the Indigenous Health Partners Program at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Sumeet has led many global health initiatives, including indigenous health, diabetes, HIV, TB, primary care integration, community-based programming and chronic illness care.

  • Liz McLellan

    Content Manager

    Liz McLellan is a writer, editor and visual artist who has worked with various organizations and publications, as well as freelance. She holds a BA in Cultural Studies from McGill University. In her spare time, she creates a collection of sustainable silver jewellery. Liz cares deeply about advocating for accessibility of health care resources for all, using words and images to broaden cultural understanding of the need for deepened care and diversified approaches to health.

TB Initiative Team

  • Malcolm Ranta

    Local Director

    Malcolm Ranta is the Executive Director of the Ilisaqsivik Society. He also manages the Ittaq Heritage and Research Center and the social enterprise Tukumaaq Incorporated. Malcolm has years of experience working in Nunavut in government and non-profit sectors. He has worked in public health and community development with remote and urban Indigenous communities. Malcolm is also a wannabe weekend hunter.

  • Sheila Enook

    TB Project Coordinator

    Sheila Enook has a business degree from Queen’s School of Business. She worked for the Government of Nunavut as Manager of Finance with Arctic College and Director of Finance for the Department of Health. She is a member of Regional TB Committee. In her free time, Sheila makes traditional hunting equipment and goes out to her cabin or hunting.

COVID-19 Initiative Team

  • Jessica Farber

    Community Readiness Coordinator

    Jessica Farber works with community leaders to organize, prepare and respond to COVID-19 using the CommunityFirst COVID-19 Roadmap. She has experience in outreach, advocacy and project coordination with forced migrants and asylum seekers in Montreal and Mexico. Jessica holds a B.A. in International Development from McGill University.

  • Violeta Chapela

    Medical Advisor for Community Health

    Violeta Chapela is a doctor with humanitarian experience in the areas of sexual violence, migration, sexual and reproductive health, mental health for victims of violence and primary healthcare in exclusion and war zones. Violeta also has an interest in strengthening community networks from a gender perspective.

Board of Directors

  • Denis Blanchette

    President and Treasurer

    Denis Blanchette has spent 30 years bringing community first. He worked with communities in Africa and Latin America. After working at the Supreme Court of Canada, he is now a partner at one of Canada’s leading law firms supporting Indigenous communities. Denis is recognized as a leading practitioner in Indigenous law in Best Lawyers in Canada 2020.

  • Madlen Nash

    Board Secretary

    Madlen Nash holds an Honours BSc in Microbiology and Immunology and an MSc in Epidemiology, both from McGill University. She has led several global health research studies in India and authored academic articles in leading scientific journals. Madlen is a founding member of SeeChange and currently works as a Research and Advocacy Associate at AIDS-Free World.

  • Jasper Monroe-Blanchette

    Member

    Jasper Monroe-Blanchette studies Forestry at Cégep de Chicoutimi. Through his studies, he is working towards getting involved with Indigenous communities in relation to forest management. Jasper loves wild places and finds his calling in mountains and forests. He is a yoga teacher and finds his peace in practicing traditional forms, which include qigong and kung fu as well as yoga.

  • Michelle Osry

    Member

    Over the past 25 years, Michelle Osry has worked across North America, Europe and Africa as an academic and investment banker She is now a partner at Deloitte Canada, where she leads the firm’s Family Enterprise Consulting practice. Michelle is Vice Chair of the Family Enterprise Xchange, a Canadian organization dedicated to empowering enterprising families and their advisors.

  • Carol Devine

    Member

    Carol Devine was a founding member of SeeChange and is a Humanitarian Affairs Advisor with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada. Carol was a 2016 fellow of the Ecologic Institute’s Arctic Summer College. She is a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Humanities Expert Group and a Community Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research.

Board of Advisors

  • Jennifer Furin

    Dr. Jennifer Furin is an infectious diseases clinician and medical anthropologist who has spent 25 years working to address TB and HIV in vulnerable populations. She is a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and serves as a consultant for a variety of organizations to support person-centered care. She specializes in the care of children with drug-resistant forms of TB.

  • Daniel Solomon

    Daniel Soloman is a businessman and trustee of the Heathside Charitable Trust which is a family charity based in London, United Kingdom. The charity funds projects both in the UK and overseas.

  • Grace Yang

    Grace Yang is the Chief Trouble Maker at TEDxMontrealWomen, curating and encouraging speakers to step outside of their comfort zones to deliver their most compelling talks. She leads a dynamic team of volunteers and fosters a creative culture where everyone can grow together. Previously, Grace worked in the investment industry on both the buy and sell sides of the Street.

  • Stephen Lewis

    Stephen Lewis is co-director of the international advocacy organization AIDS-Free World and co-chair of the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. He has previously served as the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, as Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, and as Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations.

  • Courtney Howard

    Dr. Courtney Howard is an Emergency Physician in Canada’s subarctic, and board President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). She was the first author on the 2017 and 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Briefings for Canadian Policymakers, as well as being the 2018 International Policy Director for the Lancet Countdown.

  • Jerry Natanine

    Jerry Natanine was born and raised in Clyde River, Nunavut. He has been working with Ilisaqsivik for several years. He completed Ilisaqsivik’s Our Life’s Journey: Inuit Counsellor Training Program. Jerry has held many leadership roles in Clyde River, including Chair of the Hunters and Trappers Organization. Jerry is currently Mayor of Clyde River for a second time.

  • Igah Sanguya

    Igah Sanguya currently sits on the Board of the Ilisaqsivik Society and serves as the Community Health Representative of Clyde River, Nunavut. In the past, Igah has also served on the Board of Directors of Pauktuutit and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network.

  • James Orbinski

    James Orbinski is professor and Director of York University’s Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. As a medical doctor, a humanitarian practitioner, a best-selling author, and a global health scholar, Dr. Orbinski believes in actively engaging and shaping our world so that it is more just, fair, and humane.

  • Georgia White

    Georgia White is a Strategy and Policy Associate at the international advocacy organization AIDS-Free World. Over the past decade, Georgia has worked in the United States, Cambodia and her home country of Australia as an advocate and policy expert on health and social justice issues.

Interns & Volunteers

  • Béatrice Petitclerc

    Volunteer

    Beatrice is a student in the Law-MBA co-op program at the Université de Sherbrooke, with an interest in humanitarian and environmental issues, as well as Indigenous law. Previously, Beatrice has travelled globally for humanitarian and scientific projects. She completed an internship in Iqaluit through College Sainte-Anne de Lachine, as well as a contract with the Government of Nunavut, focused on long-term health in the region.

  • Emanuelle Lyons

    Communications Intern

    Emanuelle is a recent graduate of McGill University, holding a Graduate Diploma in Public Relations & Communications Management. She also holds a BMus in Opera Performance from the University of British Columbia where her passion for communications and storytelling began. A recipient of the McGill Integrated Internship Award, Emanuelle is thrilled for the opportunity to work with SeeChange.

Partners

  • Ilisaqsivik Society

    Community initiated and community-based Inuit organization located in Clyde River, Nunavut. Ilisaqsivik Society is dedicated to promoting community wellness by providing space, resources, and programming that helps families and individuals find healing and develop their strengths. Ilisaqsivik Society is a Canadian registered charity and brings two decades of Inuit-based experience in training and community empowerment.

    Learn more about the Ilisaqsivik Society

DONATE

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Together with our partners, we co-create innovative solutions to health and social challenges. We invite community-led organizations to reach out to explore how SeeChange Initiative can support your work.

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Nov 10, 2020

Community Spotlight: CommunityFirst Responses to COVID-19 in Reitoca, Honduras

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Words byMegan Corbett-Thompson and Jessica Farber
Photos byCecilia Hernandez

Reitoca is a municipality nestled in the mountains of the Francisco Morazán department in southern Honduras. With a population of around ten thousand inhabitants, many of them identifying as part of the Indigenous Lenca group, communities are dotted around the centre of Reitoca.

COVID-19 hit these communities in late May, compounding multiple other crises. For years, the Council of Indigenous Lenca in Reitoca has been actively resisting a government-backed hydroelectric company wanting to build on their lands. As such, the community has received little to no support from local or national governments to respond to COVID-19. Many residents of Reitoca were already living in extreme poverty before COVID-19 and levels of food and water insecurity are high.

The nearest hospital is a four hour’s drive away, and access to testing for COVID-19 is limited. Residents must pay high prices for testing out-of-pocket, and results can take over two weeks to come back. The community is simultaneously fighting an outbreak of Dengue – similar symptoms can make it challenging to distinguish between the two illnesses. In addition to lacking essential supplies and resources, the Lenca of Reitoca also lacks accurate information about COVID-19 and the rates of transmission in the region.

“The government is failing us because we are not sure how many positive cases there are of coronavirus. People are dying with a diagnosis of “suspected case of COVID”, but without the result of tests we just don’t know.”

Joanna

In July, SeeChange partnered with the Honduran social and environmental justice organization, ECO-RE to accompany the Council of Indigenous Lenca in Reitoca and the Organized Women of Reitoca as they organize, prepare and respond to COVID-19. Reitoca is one of several communities in Latin America using the CommunityFirst COVID-19 Roadmap as a tool to drive their response.

But these communities are still in need of material supplies. In August, SeeChange began a fundraising campaign to support the communities using the Roadmap: to deliver essentials to those who need it the most. In Reitoca, the women’s group distributed Hygiene Kits (masks, alcohol, soap, antibacterial gel and disinfectant) as well as
communication materials and food provisions for the most vulnerable.

To reach Reitoca, Cecilia, the Gender Justice Coordinator at ECO-RE, left Tegucigalpa with the supplies to meet up with the Organized Women’s Group of Reitoca.

ECO-RE and the Organized Women of Reitoca began their mission to raise awareness, deliver materials and focus on high-risk and vulnerable groups. They coordinated the distribution into two parts:

The first was for the small businesses and public spaces in the heart of town. The women handed out and plastered posters and stickers in churches, meeting centres, the health centre and school on health promotion practices such as mask-wearing and hand-washing.

Materials were also handed out to the transit workers and small businesses.

“Thank God the donation came before our transport started up again last Friday. It was an important moment giving them the protective materials… We explained the security measures to the passengers, this way we can protect those who go back and forth into the city.”

Joanna

Provisions were handed out at the Reitoca health center, meeting centers and the school where the Organized Women raised awareness on prevention measures during a meeting with parents.

“We have been handing out alcohol, gel, masks, spray bottles, provisions to seniors and women – we are focusing on the most vulnerable, but not excluding anyone, everyone is important.

– Joanna

The second part of the donation was to the more isolated and remote communities on the outskirts of town where the majority of vulnerable populations live. Along with masks and soap they were also able to distribute food kits of milk, oats, rice and sardines. With the rainy season comes rough conditions. The roads that led to these communities were difficult and treacherous.

It’s extremely hot here! Around 36C, so it’s quite a challenge and very tiring wearing a mask. We sweat, we got wet. For me it was a lot!

We would arrive in the communities exhausted and the people would look at us like – we do this every day! And often double! Life is very hard here, there are communities that walk two and a half hours, but they are very beautiful!

– Cecilia, Coordinator of Gender Justice, ECO-RE

It has been a blessing and a great joy to bring our communities this help, not only to the families but also seniors who can’t work anymore, and a lot of times have health problems and are vulnerable to this disease.

We were able to reach them bringing them food and masks. It has been a great success and it is worth it; to leave behind our daily tasks and our families to reach these areas, our brothers & sisters. I am very proud to be a part of this group of women, we have potential and with your help we can achieve a lot.

– Reina Margarita

These are very positive and good actions because it is to help others, dedicate yourself regardless of weather conditions, daily tasks, housework, and our professional jobs. We are giving a bit of ourselves to help others.

– Joanna

The pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on the emotional wellbeing of people in Reitoca. Our partners on the ground tell us that people live in fear, from bereavement to isolation, to anxiety and worry for basic protection. With a continued rise in dengue and exceeding misinformation and stigma this crisis has many faces.

The central authority of the municipality has failed us… It is up to us to build our community. Many times as women we have to play this important role within our society.

– Joanna

This doesn’t end here, we have to protect the most vulnerable people, that’s the most important. Reitoca has had a hard time, they’ve felt very alone, so it is important that they at least feel there are people that support them.

– Cecilia

We can’t slow down our efforts now. Despite the hardships, the women of Reitoca are committed to mobilizing their community to respond to COVID-19. , We can continue to stand in solidarity with the Lenca of Reitoca, and communities around the world facing similar challenges.

Join the movement! To donate, visit the link and share with your friends.