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 Adeoye
Waterdown, ON

Nifemi is currently a second-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 her last three years of 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.

Malvina Chhina
Vancouver, BC

Malvina is currently a high school student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, in Vancouver BC. As a member of the IHDCYH Youth Advisory Council, she brings with her the perspective and lived experiences of a first generation Canadian, as well as a youth growing up as part of a visible minority. She is a passionate and firm believer in equitable and accessible healthcare for all, and especially underrepresented communities such as First Nations.

Robert Chin-see
Brampton, ON

Robert recently graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an excellence award in Honours Health Sciences. Currently, Robert works at the Community-Based Research Centre as a Peer Research Associate, and as a Research Assistant in several other capacities. Robert hopes to pursue an academic position and community role that allows him to bridge quantitative and qualitative research with meaningful community action, and feels that joining 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. 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 from everyone.

Ping Du Mont
Toronto, ON

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.

Eleanor Duffley
Burton, NB

Eleanor recently completed a degree in Health Sciences concentrating in Disability and Chronic Illness at Carleton University. After graduation she worked as an inclusion support worker for the City of Ottawa, working with children with disabilities to facilitate inclusive recreational environments. She is now based on her family farm in rural New Brunswick and works for the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data, Training, evaluating provincial health programs. Shortly after moving, she became a coach with Special Olympics NB to establish her community’s first soccer team for differently-abled youth. She also volunteers in a community-based family medicine practice, learning first-hand about rural patient care and the NB healthcare system. Her volunteer efforts have expanded her awareness of unique challenges faced by differently abled children and youth in urban and rural settings, and strengthened her focus on finding solutions to address those challenges.

Jolie Gan
Calgary, AB

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 Gill
Vancouver, BC

Vivek is a first-year medical student at the University of British Columbia and an aspiring clinician-scientist. Through his role on this council, Vivek has served as a youth advocate on the Inspiring Healthy Futures Executive Team, enabling him to engage with diverse stakeholders across Canada. He is passionate about equity, diversity, inclusion, decolonization, and accessibility in health research, and is eager to participate in discussions that will create meaningful change within Canadian healthcare and health research.

Ash Kolstad
Calgary, AB

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 and the University of Calgary’s Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship.

Midhula Madhu
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Midhula is completing her graduate studies in counselling psychology through the University of Ottawa. She is currently completing her thesis on self-compassion for healthcare trainees, under the supervision of Dr. Diana Koszycki. She works as a clinical counsellor in the Yukon; providing counselling for diverse populations with unique needs. She has previous experience working as a respite worker and as a counsellor for youth with different mental health challenges. By joining IHDCYH’s youth advisory council, she hopes to share her insights and ideas on health research. She hopes to bring a holistic view on health and health promotion to explore the different gaps in health research. Midhula is excited to be part of this council. She sees this as an opportunity to learn more about the wellbeing needs of youth and children in different parts of Canada through her fellow council members.

Alexandria Martin
Winnipeg, MB

Alexandria is beginning her Bachelor of Science program at the University of Manitoba on a pre-medicine path while working as a research assistant at the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. She is excited to join the IHDCYH youth advisory council as it will allow her to be actively involved in influencing health-related research, policies, and issues with a group of other experienced individuals. Alexandria aims to focus on gaining different perspectives on matters in healthcare that are currently important to young Canadians.

Sarah Mooney
Edmonton, AB

Sarah is earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at MacEwan University while finishing her training as a Patient and Community Engaged Researcher 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 fields of STBBI healthcare delivery, pediatric medical traumatic stress, and youth mental health promotion. While on the council, Sarah plans to use her position to promote equitable healthcare delivery, intersectionality, and diversity in health research. She is excited to work with and learn from fellow IHDCYH YAC members.

Eki Okungbowa
Toronto, ON

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 Surees
Markham, ON

Ahastan is currently a grade 12 student at St. Augustine Catholic High School. 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 very important for youth to become more involved in their community regarding the many policies and health issues that concern youth across the country. By joining this council, Ahastan wishes 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 Waschke
Montreal, QC

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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