MEET THE TEAM

Executive Team

  • Rachel Kiddell-Monroe

    Founder & 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.

TB Initiative Team

  • Malcolm Ranta

    Local Director

    Malcolm Ranta is the Executive Director of Ilisaqsivik Society. He is also Director of Operations for 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 the Regional TB Committee. In her free time, Sheila makes traditional hunting equipment and goes out to her cabin or hunting.

  • Madlen Nash

    Program Lead

    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 was a founding member of SeeChange and previously worked as a Research and Advocacy Associate at AIDS-Free World.

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.

  • Megan Corbett-Thompson

    Project Coordinator - Latin America

    Megan Corbett-Thompson holds a BSc in Ecological Determinants of Health from McGill University. She has gained diverse experience in protection work, community mobilization and environmental health promotion alongside NGOs in Latin America. Megan is committed to community empowerment and upholding the dignity of all persons.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

Funding Partners

  • lululemon Here to Be

    Here to Be is lululemon’s social impact program that disrupts inequity in wellbeing through movement, mindfulness, and advocacy.

    Learn more

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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May 28, 2021

CommunityFirst Women Leaders: María Micaela Jiménez Montejo

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Words byMaría Micaela Jimenez Montejo, Megan Corbett-Thompson

(Leer en Español) Today we celebrate the International Day of Action for Women’s Health. We would like to shine a light on María Micaela Jimenez Montejo, a nursing student based in the community of Esperanza del Porvenir in the municipality of Tumbalá, Chiapas Mexico and one of SeeChange’s community activators of the CommunityFirst Roadmap.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated gender and social inequalities that infringe upon women’s rights to health, equality, dignity, autonomy, information and bodily integrity. Micaela has stood as an advocate and an ally to provide health information to her community throughout the pandemic. As a young woman in her field, she tells us,

“Thanks to my nursing background, I have been able to do great things. The pandemic has been a turning point for me– I have realized what I want to be and what I want to do. Humanitarian work has always been the foundation of my career.”

As one of the few Spanish speakers in her majority Ch’ol community in Chiapas, and the only person with any health training, Micaela has been single-handedly leading the response to COVID-19. She explains to us why she took on this role:

“Why? Because no one else is going to take care of my health nor the health of the people I love if I don’t do it. And my work as a nursing student is always going to be to care for and ensure the health of all my patients– in this case my whole community. But not only my community– any community that needs health assistance. And if I had the economic resources to give them all of the assistance they need, I wouldn’t think twice about doing it.

That’s why I personally took this on, but in general, if we women don’t do it ourselves, no one will.”

As a woman activist, she describes her experience.

“I have encountered people who have put more barriers in front of me than there already were. But I have also encountered people who have joined me in all of the projects that I’ve put into motion in the most amazing way.

Until now, my experience has been very fulfilling, full of new learnings and experiences. In my community, the experience was very challenging. But thanks to CEMEX (who I met through the SeeChange Activators Network), I also had the opportunity to put that bitter experience behind me and work with a community (Villahermosa) that was truly invested in the wellbeing of its people.

I worked with young people, as well as older men and women. It was incredible– overall my whole experience as a woman activist has been incredible. In the community of Villahermosa, they told me that they expected me to be much older and they were shocked when they saw me and learned how old I was. I told them, “to follow your dreams and your goals, you just do what you love to do. You don’t need to be 30 or 40 years old– you can be whatever age you are and be what you want to be. The youth told me, “Wow, I want to be like you.” And at that moment, I told them, “You can all be who you want to be. Always follow your dreams and goals.” It was incredible to be told I was someone’s role model.”

Asked whether her work has had an impact on other women in her life, she responds without a doubt,

“In my community, I am the only person studying nursing, or who has any sort of health training whatsoever. People are studying other things– accounting, business, but no one else in any health or social service. In my community, I’m not sure I’ve had that much of an impact. But in Villahermosa, there was a big impact on the women. There were more women than men in the workshops. I think being who I am at these times has been a pillar for Indigenous women. I know that I am not only me, but that I can say with pride that in my region of Chiapas, I am the first one to do this type of work. Just in my region, because in the rest of Chiapas many amazing activist women are doing incredible work. They are doing everything that the government doesn’t care about.”

When asked what does it mean to be a woman she responded,

“For me, being a woman has been and always will be one of the greatest blessings. It is amazing to be a woman simply because I can break down the barriers and stereotypes imposed by our misogynistic society, and upon which our world is built. I am incredibly proud to be not only a woman but a woman from Chiapas. I am proud of being an Indigenous woman because I love my roots, culture, and people.”

Micaela’s wish for the women in her community is “that women study, gain skills, have a career; that they are then able to defend other women who need support and that they become an example to follow of how to get things done. I want them to realize that if they want to do this, they can do it. As the saying goes, to want to is to be able to. I want all the women in my community, and all the women in Chiapas to be able to study, to become someone in life and to defend their rights. I want there to be equality, but true equality, between men and women. This is my biggest desire in the whole world.”