As an advocate, public speaker, and change-maker, Joesh is a powerful voice for mental health & diversity. As the youth ambassador for the Stigma Free Society, Loran Scholar, and Terry Fox Scholar, Joesh has directly reached thousands of students in over 500 schools across Canada. He is also a TEDx speaker, multi-sport athlete, school president, and co-investigator for a national health research grant.
Opening Keynote: Child Health Inequity
Sharon Burey is a pediatrician and recognized leader for the health and well-being of children in Ontario, who has dedicated her career to children’s mental health, equity, and justice for those living in poverty, visible minorities, and other marginalized communities.
Dr. Burey emigrated from Jamaica in 1976 and has practised as a behavioural pediatrician in Ontario for over 30 years. She has been an adjunct professor of pediatrics at Western University since 2009.
As a health advocacy and policy leader, Dr. Burey has founded Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Windsor. She serves as a member of the Pediatricians of Ontario Executive Council and the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Health Policy Committee. Dr. Burey was also a pediatrics delegate to the OMA Council and a member of the OMA Women Committee.
Dr. Burey was the first woman of colour to hold the position of president of the Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario, which also serves as the Ontario Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Burey’s work as a health advocate has been recognized with numerous honours and awards. During her tenure as president of the Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario (PAO) the chapter received the Ontario Chapter Excellence Award and the Special Achievement Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics. She received the Excellence in Health Care Award from the North American Black Historical Museum and Cultural Centre. As Co-Chairperson of the Medical Issues Committee, Dr. Burey was also recognized for her outstanding service to the Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse in Windsor-Essex County. Most recently, Dr. Burey received the Section Service Award in recognition of her significant service to the OMA and medical profession.
Dr. Burey attended Western University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She completed her medical degree and specialty training in pediatrics at Dalhousie University, and she graduated with a Mini-MBA in Physician Business Leadership at York University. Her role in policy and advocacy has now led her to the Senate. Recently, she was honoured to be appointed to the Senate as the first woman and first person of colour from Windsor, Ontario.
Keynote Panel: Providing Effective and Equitable Support for Youth
Child Rights Advocate with The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children
Child Rights Consultant with TransCare+
Youth Policy-Maker with the Ontario Council for International Cooperation
Pan-Canadian Youth Network Member with People For Education
Website / LinkedIn
Clementine Jarrett is a child rights activist and honours student at Carleton University, who will soon earn a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in both Human Rights & Social Justice and Feminist Studies, with a minor in Community Engagement. They are situated on unceded Anishinaabe Algonquin Land, which is colonially known as Ottawa, ON. Clementine is passionate about intersectional advocacy that promotes child and youth wellbeing. They are presently lending that passion to their position as a 2SLGBTQIA+ Child Rights Consultant with TransCare+. Clementine also serves as a member of People For Education’s Youth Network and am a Youth Policy-Maker with the Ontario Council for International Cooperation.
Cynthia is the founder and CEO of Voice Found, a non-profit organization rooted in lived experience, that drives meaningful change and provides fundamental recovery support for survivors of human trafficking and childhood sexual abuse.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation, Cynthia used this experience to create a trauma-informed, survivor-led organization that includes a specialized NP-led health clinic, as well as several programs and services for those at risk for, exiting, and have exited human trafficking.
She has devoted much of the last 20 years to this cause and envisions a future free of human trafficking, child sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation and where all survivors are heard, supported, and empowered.
Pallavi Banerjee (she/her)
Associate Professor and UCalgary Research Excellent Chair, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary
Chair, Gender Division, Society for the Study of Social Problems
Co-chair, Sociologists for Women in Society, Sister to Sister Committee
Website / Website / Book
Dr. Pallavi Banerjee is a sociologist of families, gender and immigration, and works as an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary. Pallavi received her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in December of 2012. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Sociology Department at Vanderbilt University from spring of 2013 until summer of 2015. Pallavi’s research interests lie at the intersections of sociology of families, immigration, labour, gender, transnationalism and critical feminist theories.
Moderated by: Mateo Vitale
Advisory Committee Member, National Newcomer Navigation Network (N4)
Employment Specialist, Prospect Human Services
Mateo Vitale’s journey began in war-torn Lattakia, Syria, where he spent his early years before seeking refuge in Canada with his family in 2016. Showing incredible resilience, Mateo quickly immersed himself in the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth (CBFY) Mentorship Program, becoming a peer mentor and positively impacting the lives of fellow newcomer students. His dedication extended beyond the school walls, as he volunteered and worked with non-profit organizations serving vulnerable populations, including refugee and newcomer youth and families, individuals suffering from mental illness, and the homeless population in Calgary. Notably, he made a significant impact working as a resource specialist at the Distress Centre, offering support and compassion to individuals that are battling homelessness. He also served on the CBFY board of directors, where he learned from experienced resettlement professionals and advocated for the needs of newcomer youths.
Mateo now works with Prospect Human Services as an employment specialist, offering employment support to individuals grappling with high acuity mental illnesses. Mateo’s dedication to education and personal growth has led him to complete an honors degree in Psychology at the University of Calgary. Leveraging his expertise, he is currently engaged as a researcher, focusing on examining the housing needs of Syrian refugees in Canada, and serves as a member on the advisory committee of the National Newcomer Navigation Network (N4). Through this vital work, Mateo strives to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions that address the unique challenges faced by refugees in their resettlement journey.
Keynote Panel: Rethinking and Creating New Possibilities to Address Health System Inequities
Amy Gajaria MD FRCPC (she/her)
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Dr. Amy Gajaria is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is also the Associate Director, EDI Education and Training, for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Gajaria’s clinical, research, and education work is largely focused in working with historically marginalized children, youth, and families in order to reduce mental health disparities.
Anna Gunz MD FRCPC FAAP
Paediatric Intensivist & Clinical Lead Planetary Health & Sustainability, Children’s Hospital LHSC
Medical Director, Children’s Environmental Health Clinic Ontario (ChEHC ON)
Child Environmental Health Section President, Canadian Paediatric Society
LinkedIn / Threads / Website / Instagram
Dr. Gunz is a paediatric intensive care doctor at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Center, Clinical Lead for Planetary Health & Sustainability, Children’s Hospital LHSC, Founding Medical Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Clinic Ontario, Policy & Clinical lead for Climate Change & Health Collaborative and Associate Professor at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University. Prior to medicine, her degree focused on the ecological, social, economic and political aspects of climate change. Currently, she is working on various advocacy and research endeavors in the field of Planetary Health, including health monitoring of climate change, meaningful supports for youth with eco-distress and increasing community and healthcare facilities’ understanding of the urgent need for mitigation & adaptation measures, including the holistic benefit of nature-based solutions.
Samir Shaheen-Hussain MD CM FRCPC (he/him)
Author of Fighting for A Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism against Indigenous Children in Canada
Associate Professor (Department of Pediatrics) & Associate Member (School of Population and Global Health), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University
Twitter / Website / Website
Samir Shaheen-Hussain has been involved in anti-authoritarian social justice movements – including Indigenous solidarity, anti-police brutality and migrant-justice organizing – for over two decades. He is a member of the Caring for Social Justice Collective, and has written or co-written about state violence and health care for several publications. Fighting for A Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism against Indigenous Children in Canada (foreword by Cindy Blackstock; afterword by Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel) was awarded both the Concordia University First Book Prize and the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction by the Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF) in November 2021; the French translation (by Nicolas Calvé), Plus aucun enfant autochtone arraché: Pour en finir avec le colonialisme médical canadien, was awarded the Cole Foundation Prize for Translation by the QWF in November 2022.
Samir is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and an associate member of the School of Population and Global Health, both in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University. He works as a pediatric emergency physician in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal).
Gabrielle Fayant is an off-Settlement Metis woman, whose family is from Fishing Lake Metis Settlement, AB, one of the 8 land-based Metis Settlements in Canada. Gabrielle is an award winning woman for her work in community, youth empowerment and Indigenous rights awareness. She is the co-founder of Assembly of Seven Generations (A7G) which is an Indigenous owned and youth-led, non-profit organization focused on cultural support and empowerment programs/policies for Indigenous youth while being led by traditional knowledge and Elder guidance.
Gabrielle also opened an Indigenous owned boutique called Adaawewigamig as a social enterprise to support the work of A7G. The boutique has been able to support youth employment and over 90 Indigenous businesses and artists as well as some land-based activities such as hide tanning, medicine harvesting and workshops to build skills such as beading and ribbon skirt making. Gabrielle has dedicated her life to supporting cultural resurgence and justice for all Indigenous peoples.
Closing Keynote: Relational Health
Richa Agnihotri MD FRCPC (she/her)
Community Paediatrics Section President, Canadian Paediatric Society
Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct), Pediatrics, McMaster University
Dr. Richa Agnihotri is a Community Paediatrician and Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) at McMaster University. Her practice in the Niagara Region is focused on child development, mental health, and lifestyle medicine. She has completed additional training in these areas, including a certification in plant based nutrition. She is involved in medical education, is a member of the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) Antiracism Medical Education Working Group, and has completed the Teaching Scholars Program at University of Toronto. She is the current President of the CPS Community Paediatrics Section. She is a member of the CPS Early Years Task Force, where she is involved in team efforts to weave Early Relational Health into medical education, clinical practice, and her local community.
Robin Williams MD FRCPC CM (she/her)
Chair of Early Years Taskforce, Canadian Paediatric Society
Member of the Order of Canada
Dr. Robin Williams is, a past President of the Canadian Paediatric Society, retired member of the Department of Paediatrics at McMaster University and a past strategic advisor to MOHLTC in Ontario (to March 2022). She received both her Honours B.Sc and M.D. at the University of Toronto, and her paediatric fellowship training at McMaster. Dr. Williams is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Paediatrics and has also earned a Diploma in Public Health from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Williams ran a consultation paediatric practice in Niagara Falls for twenty years before serving as Niagara Region’s Medical Officer of Health until June 2011.
In July 2011, she assumed the position of Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario. Over the past 12 years, she has worked on child health initiatives, the government’s emergency response to the 2013 ice storm, and Panorama, an initiative focussed on electronic recording of immunizations. Most recently she worked as an advisor on the public health response to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Dr. Williams is currently a member of the Canadian Paediatric Society and is the Chair of its Early Years Taskforce. She was also served on the Board of Governors for Brock University (8 years), and was the vice chair, in 2018-2019. She has served as a member or chair for countless other organizations including the Council for Early Child Development, the Ontario Medical Association’s Child Health Committee and the Greater Niagara Medical Society.
Dr Williams is currently a member of the Niagara on the Lake Library Board (2019 – present) and chairs the medical advisory group of the Canadian Childrens’ Literacy Foundation since its founding.
Dr. Williams is a member of the Order of Canada (2013) which was awarded for her contributions as a public health leader promoting effective policies in early childhood development.