IHDCYH youth advisory council
The youth advisory council application period is currently closed. We anticipate the next application cycle will open in Spring 2024. We will announce when applications are being accepted in our newsletter, via CIHR’s social media channels, and on this web page. Thank you for your interest!
To find out when we are accepting applications to join the council, and to receive occasional other opportunities for youth engagement, please join our mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH)'s youth advisory council is a group of diverse young Canadians who are passionate about health and health research. The council brings the youth voice directly into conversations about priority development, policies and issues that impact Canadian communities from coast to coast to coast.
Youth council members meet online to share thoughts and ideas with each other and IHDCYH, and discuss health related topics that are important to them and their communities.
Council members represent regions across Canada and reflect diverse backgrounds and life experiences.
Meet the members and learn a bit about why they joined the council:
Nifemi is currently a third-year student pursuing an Honours Health Sciences Degree with a specialization in Global and Population Health at Queen's University. She is very passionate about equity and education and aspires to uphold these pillars in her future healthcare career pursuits. She spent most of her childhood in Brampton, Ontario and completed high school in a small suburb outside of Hamilton. Experiencing those two very different environments exposed Nifemi to the impact of surroundings on youth health and development, and the stark differences in different parts of Ontario. She hopes to use her position on the council to advocate for youth raised in at-risk environments and push for more inclusive and relevant research.
Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki / Mahone Bay, NS
Cassandra Bruhm is a Mi’kmaw youth from Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki (The great harbour, the land of the Mi’kmaq). She attends Mount Saint Vincent University where she’s enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Study degree. When Cassandra is not in school she can be found participating in her culture, working with the Indigenous Student Centre on her Campus and facilitating Urban Indigenous Youth Leadership Training. Cassandra strives to use her personal experiences to influence policy and to always include her community in everything she’s a part of. Having the experience of being part of the IHDCYH’s YAC will not only impact Cassandra’s life but also impact her peers she shares the journey with.
Robert recently graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an excellence award in Honours Health Sciences. Currently, Robert is studying as a Masters student in the Health Sciences program at Wilfrid Laurier University under the supervision of Dr. Todd Coleman on a quantitative study concerning health systems and marginalized populations. Robert hopes to pursue an academic position and community role that allows him to bridge quantitative and qualitative research with meaningful community action and believes IHDCYH's youth advisory council represents a crucial junction to engage other unique perspectives in the discussions about the future of Canadian healthcare research and delivery for youth and families. By serving on the council Robert hopes to advocate for the sovereignty and access of historically disenfranchised communities, including racialized 2SLGBT+ individuals, and frame it within public health for future health research. There is ample opportunity to focus on how vulnerable youth can shape the direction of healthcare research in Canada and instill meaningful change.
Ping Du Mont
Ping Du Mont, a grade 10 student at St. Joseph Morrow Park Catholic Secondary School, was adopted from China at two years old. As a pediatric patient with a rare disease, Ping has had almost 50 short stay experiences at SickKids hospital, and is making a difference in the patient and family experience by serving on the Children’s Council for SickKids. In 2022 she received a School Youth Grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada to plan an event focused on teen girls’ mental health and well-being through participating in sports. Ping is passionate about issues affecting 2SLGBTQIA+ youth and wants to contribute to an inclusive and diverse group of voices on the Youth Advisory Council. She is excited to work towards her goal of becoming a change-maker for policy and research related to youth well-being across Canada.
Saint John, NB
Eleanor is a first-year medical student and aspiring clinician-scientist at Dalhousie University, studying in Saint John New Brunswick. Through her undergraduate research studying the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, she deepened her understanding of how early life environments shape our lifelong physical and mental health. She is excited by the opportunity to work with youth from across Canada to advocate for strengthening research capacity in underserved areas, and is eager to engage in discussions that will inform policy and healthcare practices promoting a healthy start to life for all children and youth.
Jolie is a three-time non-profit founder, UN youth delegate, and health equity advocate. She is also a child cancer survivor, and has lived experience as a youth in care. She is part of multiple Asian ethnic minorities and brings an international focus to the council, having observed the healthcare systems of six different countries. She is always looking to leverage opportunities to improve health and healthcare for the most vulnerable. Jolie has participated in the United Nations General Assembly Youth Delegate Programme, and served on the Alberta Health Services’ Child and Youth Advisory Council. She received a Women of Inspiration™ Rising Leader award from the Universal Women’s Network in 2020, as well as the Diana Award in 2021, a prestigious international award for young people doing social work.
Vivek is a medical student at the University of British Columbia and an aspiring clinician-scientist with a particular interest in child and maternal health. Over his years on this council, Vivek has served as a youth advocate on the Inspiring Healthy Futures Executive Team, an emcee for the Healthy Youth Summit, and in several other leadership roles, enabling him to engage with diverse stakeholders and decision-makers across Canada. He is passionate about equity, diversity, inclusion, decolonization, and accessibility in health research, and is eager to create meaningful change within the Canadian healthcare system and health research ecosystem.
Jeremy Houchane is a grade 12 student currently completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Charlottetown Rural High School. He has won multiple awards in both music and academics, including high standings and honors with distinctions. He has served as a member of the Library and Archives Youth Advisory Council and the RCMP National Youth Advisory Committee. Jeremy is also a Shad Canada 2023 Alumni, completing the program at Mount Allison University. He is passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion in health research and is excited to be an advocate for youth in his community by being a member of this council.
Nathanael Ip is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta. As a visible minority, he is passionate about equity in access to health, equity in health research, and the links between socioeconomic factors and health status. He contributes to social epidemiology research at UBC and leads MusicXConnect, an organization aiming to empower marginalized youth through music. Having served on several youth committees - including the BC Health and Wellness Youth Advisory Council - in the past, Nathanael is excited to bring a wide range of perspectives to health issues. Nathanael is eager to learn from, and work alongside the other members of the council to promote greater equity within health research and healthcare in Canada.
Maxine is a second-year medical student at the University of Montreal. She is passionate about public health, community involvement and disruptive technologies that have the potential of optimizing patient care. She is the founder and president of “Et si on se racontait?” an intergenerational program in partnership with the non-profit Contact Aînés which aims to pair seniors and youth over the phone. From the phone exchanges, an intergenerational book is written, printed and published each year. Maxine volunteers with Kids Help Phone as a member of the National Youth Council and with the University of Montreal Digital Health Interest Group as the president and co-founder.
Having suffered a life-altering concussion, Ash sees the extreme value in the IHDCYH's youth advisory council to provide the youth perspective for Canadian health research. Through his membership, Ash hopes to learn more about Canadian policy and increase awareness of health problems facing youth in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles. Ash is currently completing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre at the University of Calgary to further understand concussion prevention in youth sport. He acknowledges funding for his degree from the CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best Doctoral Scholarship, the University of Calgary’s Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship, and the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship.
Alexandria is pursuing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba while working as a student researcher in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics and at the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. She has also continued to volunteer at the Health Sciences Centre and Women’s Health Clinic throughout her studies. She is thrilled to be a part of the IHDCYH Youth Advisory Council as it will provide her with the opportunity to actively participate in shaping health-related research, policy, and concerns affecting youth with a group of other knowledgeable individuals. Through her involvement with the council, Alexandria aims to continue gaining different viewpoints on healthcare issues that are currently important to young Canadians.
Sarah is in her second year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at MacEwan University. In 2022, she completed the Patient and Community Engaged Research (PaCER) program at the University of Calgary. Living with chronic health conditions, Sarah became passionate about healthcare delivery, policy, and research early on. She is the co-founder and co-chair of the Alberta Health Services Maternal Newborn Child & Youth Strategical Clinical Network (MNCY SCN) Medical Traumatic Stress Working Group. Additionally, Sarah is passionate about and works in the research areas of Pediatric to Adult Healthcare Transitions, Pediatric Inpatient QI, and Youth Mental Health Promotion. While on the council, Sarah plans to use her position to promote equitable healthcare delivery, intersectionality, and diversity within Canadian healthcare and health research. She is excited to work with and learn from fellow IHDCYH YAC members.
Eki earned a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining the IHDCYH youth advisory council, she served as the Youth Representative for Justice Canada's Advisory Group on Family Justice. Eki views the IHDCYH youth advisory council as an opportunity to include more youth perspectives in government policy. Through her membership on this council, she is committed to advocating for multifaceted and community-based approaches to address health and well-being needs of vulnerable families, children, and youth.
Ahastan is a first-year McMaster University student, pursuing an Arts & Science (BASc) degree. Since a young age, Ahastan has always been captivated by the field and study of medicine, healthcare, and research. He often finds himself getting carried away learning about such topics. Ahastan is very excited to be part of the IHDCYH Youth Advisory Council as he believes it is important for youth to become more involved in their community regarding the many policies, issues and determinants that concern youth health across the country. By joining this council, Ahastan strives to be a voice for the Canadian Tamil youth community as well as an advocate for mental health in youth as the co-founder of Mellness Kids Crew initiative.
Annika is incredibly passionate about health care, including the potential of technology to improve access and services for communities who may be underrepresented in the current health research domain. She currently lives in Montreal, Quebec and is a student at Marianopolis College in the Health Sciences program. She hopes to gain insight into the world of Canadian health research and is eager to collaborate with her new fellow council members.
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