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.

  • Huguette Ekambi Mbella

    Member

    Huguette Ekambi Mbella is a global citizen – Cameroon-born, Paris-educated, Washington DC-based – with deep expertise in governance, risk management, and control functions. She has had a distinguished career at the International Finance Corporation (IFC, member of the World Bank Group) and has served profit and not-for-profit international finance institutions across Europe and North America. Ms. Mbella is passionate about unlocking human potential, expanding financial inclusion, and all things Art related.

  • 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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Jul 19, 2021

Guest Blog – Vaccine Injustice: A call to action

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Written byAlice Finta
Published bySamuel Centre for Social Connectedness

This guest blog is written by Social Connectedness Fellow, Alice Finta, and originally appeared on the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness website.

Alice (she/her) is a 2021 Social Connectedness Fellow working with SeeChange Initiative. She is currently finishing an MSc in Inequalities and Social Science at the London School of Economics. She is passionate about the intersecting inequalities that migrant and refugee communities face and the importance of intersectionality in social movement building. In the future she hopes to work in a civil society organization that supports vulnerable and marginalized groups.

 

“The global vaccine gap grows “more grotesque every day” – Tedros Adhanom, WHO Director-General

As of May 24, 2021, over 75% of all vaccine doses had been administered in just 10 countries. Many Global North countries have vaccinated the majority of their adult populations, and are now turning their attention to vaccinating children, despite this population being at extremely low risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. Wales even announced that it had offered a first vaccine dose to its entire adult population by June 14. In contrast, Global South countries are still facing huge barriers to vaccinating their adult populations.

Figure 1.

Global North countries dominate vaccine development, and many have refused to waive patent rights, meaning that Global South countries cannot produce the vaccines themselves. Many Global North countries have also hoarded vaccine supplies. This means that even the Global South countries that can afford to buy enough doses to protect their most vulnerable populations are unable to. Canada, for example, initially purchased 10 doses for each of its citizens. Instead, Global South countries are forced to wait, with poorer nations reliant on the donations of Global North countries through strategies such as COVAX, a global scheme to provide equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

The importance of vaccination against COVID-19 has been demonstrated by the declining rates of infections, hospitalisations, and deaths in countries such as the USA, the UK, and Canada. As a result, restrictions in these countries are being lifted, and families, friends, and communities can be together again – proof that vaccines are the key to ending the social isolation caused by the pandemic. However, in poorer countries like Honduras where, as of July 8, only an estimated 4.6% of the population is vaccinated, this social isolation will last much longer. So too will the infections and deaths caused by COVID-19.

Vaccine injustice happens within countries too

Once vaccine supplies arrive in countries, the same pre-existing social hierarchies that disadvantage some, while privileging others, also structure the inequitable distribution of vaccines. Indigenous Peoples, ethnic minorities, migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are some of the groups whose vulnerability to health crises like COVID-19 is compounded by adverse socioeconomic conditions which arise from legacies of settler colonialism, xenophobia, and racism. They are also less likely to be appropriately prioritised or meaningfully included in vaccination efforts. This may be due to authorities failing to provide culturally appropriate vaccination efforts, institutional corruption, and bureaucratic processes that exclude migrants and undocumented persons, and Indigenous populations.

A case in point: The Lenca community of Reitoca

The municipality of Reitoca, located in the Francisco Morazón department of southern Honduras, is currently experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 infections. Much of Reitoca’s population of 10,000 identifies as belonging to the Indigenous Lenca group. The Lenca people’s struggle against COVID-19 has been compounded by the additional challenges of poverty, food insecurity, poor healthcare infrastructure, and geographic isolation, with the nearest hospital being a 4 hour’s drive away. The Lenca community has suffered neglect and indifference from local and national institutions throughout the pandemic. Lenca activists have also received threats and violence from the military and police for resisting a government-backed project to build a hydroelectric dam on their lands in the Petacón river. This has heightened feelings of abandonment by the state in the face of COVID-19.

On June 11, it was announced that the countries assembled at the latest G7 summit would commit to providing 1 billion vaccine doses for poorer nations over the next year. Whilst this is a start, it is not enough. Communities like those in Reitoca can’t wait a year to only vaccinate their most vulnerable. We need vaccines to be equitably distributed and produced throughout the world to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the loss of life now.

Until that happens, communities that haven’t received fair access to vaccines, healthcare, or preventative measures during the pandemic will continue to face new waves of COVID-19.

What can you do?

You can urge your institution to sign the Open Covid Pledge to make COVID-related intellectual property available free of charge, sign a vaccine equity petition in your country, and support global petitions for vaccine equity, like the WHO’s.

SeeChange Initiative works closely with ECO-RE and the Organized Women of Reitoca to support community-led responses to Covid-19 in Reitoca. SeeChange is currently hosting a CommunityFirst fundraiser to remove barriers to accessing essential supplies and resources to combat COVID-19 in Reitoca. You can learn more about it here.

Photo: Cecilia Hernandez, ECO-RE
Photo: Cecilia Hernandez, ECO-RE