CIHR Anti-Racism External Advisory Committee

The CIHR Anti-Racism External Advisory Committee will play a fundamental role in shaping CIHR’s community engagement initiatives and the CIHR anti-racism action plan. This important committee was formed in alignment with the commitment made in CIHR’s Action Plan for Year 1 (2021-2022) to engage with organizations and members of the research community with lived experience and expertise to co-develop an action plan to address systemic racism in the CIHR funding system. This committee, the planned engagements with members of racialized communities, and the action plan are key measures to ensure CIHR meets its mandate of supporting research excellence by engaging the diversity of perspectives and experiences that reflect Canada.

Recognizing that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are rights-holding as First Peoples of Canada and may not consider themselves to be part of equity-seeking groups, a second advisory stream under the leadership of the Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH) is being developed to ensure that the unique rights, interests, and circumstances of Indigenous Peoples are acknowledged, affirmed, and implemented.


Charmaine Dean (Co-Chair)
Vice-President, Research and International, University of Waterloo

Charmaine is the Vice-President, Research and International at the University of Waterloo. In this role, she is focused on building upon foundational strengths to heighten the emphasis on collaborations, and link related external portfolios in a systematic approach to industrial partners and entrepreneurship.

From 2011 to 2017, Dr. Dean served as Dean of Science at Western University. Prior to her service at Western, she played a major role in establishing the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in her capacity of Associate Dean of that Faculty. Previously, she was the founding Chair of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Simon Fraser University.

Dr. Dean is an engaged member of several relevant boards including Compute Ontario, the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform, the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy. Dr. Dean has also served as a board member for the US National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) Corporation, the National Institute for Complex Data Structures and the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute. She is dedicated to developing outstanding computing capabilities for researchers and for building capacity in Canada and is interested in bringing together diverse communities to drive forward a unified direction for data management activities and priorities.

Tammy Clifford (Co-Chair)
Vice-President Research - Learning Health Systems

Dr. Tammy Clifford is Vice-President Research – Learning Health Systems at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) where she provides leadership for the design, development, and administration of CIHR’s funding programs and science policies related to learning health systems. In October 2018, she joined CIHR as the Vice-President Research Programs.

Before joining CIHR, Dr. Clifford was the Chief Scientist and Vice-President, Evidence Standards, at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

Dr. Clifford received her PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Western Ontario, and her BSc and MSc from McGill University.

Chonnettia Jones
Senior Advisor, Michael Smith Health Research BC

Chonnettia Jones has more than two decades of experience in science and health research strategy, funding and policy in the US, UK/Europe and Canada.

As former Vice President, Research at Michael Smith Health Research BC, Chonnettia guided the foundation’s research portfolio, funding programs and strategic partnerships to increase the impact of British Columbia’s investments in health research. Chonnettia served on a number of international advisory boards on scientific publishing, open science, research assessment and anti-racism in research. She is a founding partner of the Research on Research Institute, an international consortium to make research systems more equitable, diverse and inclusive.

Chonnettia formerly held an executive leadership role at Wellcome in London, where she provided strategic leadership to maximize the impact of Wellcome's funding and strategic initiatives in global health research. Prior, Chonnettia managed an international scientific research program at the Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Fred Chou
Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies, University of Victoria

Dr. Fred Chou (周敏浩) is an assistant professor in counselling psychology in the department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria and a registered psychologist. He is a 2nd generation Chinese Canadian with ancestral roots from the Canton province. His research interests include the mental health and well-being of Asian communities in Canada, intergenerational trauma, and youth mental health literacy and suicide prevention. As a community-based researcher, he specializes in using participatory and narrative research to elevate underrepresented voices in academic spaces. At the University of Victoria, Dr. Chou co-founded the Victoria Migrant Mental Health Network, a network of local mental health practitioners and academics whose aim is to facilitate collaboration and social action to support the mental well-being of migrants.

Geetanjali Datta
Research Scientist, Cancer Research Center for Health Equity, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre

Dr. Geetanjali Datta is a Research Scientist in the Cancer Research Center for Health Equity at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She spent the previous decade teaching and conducting research at the University of Montreal. Her program of research focuses on explicating multilevel determinants across the cancer continuum and her current funded work focuses on individual- and macro-level determinants of inequalities in cancer-related behaviors, stage at diagnosis, and survival. Dr. Datta has served on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee of the Society for Epidemiologic Research, the Equity advisory committee for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and as a grant reviewer for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the French National Cancer Institute. Dr. Datta received her doctoral and postdoctoral training in Epidemiology and Social Epidemiology, respectively, from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Gbolahan Olarewaju
Medical student, University of British Columbia; Inaugural Chair, Black Medical Students Association of Canada

Gbolahan Olarewaju is a medical student at the University of British Columbia and inaugural Chair of the Black Medical Students Association of Canada (BMSAC). He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate education at the University of Guelph in Biomedical Science (BSc) and Human Health and Nutritional Science (MSc). As a queer Black immigrant, he has a keen interest in health access and equity for marginalized people including youth, immigrants, queer, Black, Indigenous and other people of color. Prior to medical school, this interest was cultivated into interdisciplinary advocacy and research work as the Coordinator of International, Multi-Faith and Refugee programs at the University of Guelph, and as the Vancouver coordinator for the national gay, bisexual and queer men’s health study Engage. While completing his medical education, he continues his advocacy work as vice-chair of the YouthCO HIV and Hepatitis C Society in British Columbia, and as Chair of the BMSAC Research Committee.

Juliet M. Daniel
Professor, Department of Biology, Associate Dean of Research and External Relations, Faculty of Science, McMaster University

Dr. Juliet Daniel is a Professor in the Dept. of Biology and the Associate Dean of Research and External Relations in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University. She received her BSc from Queen’s University and her PhD from the University of British Columbia and has been a Faculty Member at McMaster since 2000. Prof. Daniel’s research program is focused on elucidating the role of the transcription factor Kaiso in cancer and vertebrate development. Her team is also currently elucidating the molecular/genetic causes of the disparities in incidence and poor outcomes of triple negative breast cancer in Black and Hispanic women. Professor Daniel partners with The Olive Branch of Hope cancer support service in Toronto to organize “Think Beyond ‘Love Pink’ Breast Cancer Awareness” workshops for women of African Ancestry in Ontario and the Caribbean.

Prof. Daniel co-founded the African Caribbean Faculty Association of McMaster (ACFAM) in 2010 and serves on the President’s Advisory Committee for Building an Inclusive Community (PACBIC) at McMaster. Professor Daniel also serves as faculty mentor for student members of Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) and Black Aspiring Physicians of McMaster (BAP-MAC).

In recognition of her research, Prof. Daniel has received several awards including the inaugural Canadian Cancer Society Inclusive Excellence Award, a UWI Vice Chancellor’s Award, a WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award, a Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) Harry Jerome Award, a Hamilton YWCA Women of Distinction Award, a Barbados National Honor Gold Crown of Merit, an Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award, and an African Canadian Achievement Award of Excellence in Science. Dr. Daniel was recognized as one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian (ABC) Women in 2018 and she has also been featured in “Millenium Minds: 100 Black Canadians” and “Who’s Who in Black Canada”.

Lydia-Joi Marshall
President, Board of Directors, Black Health Alliance

Lydia-Joi Marshall is an advocate for community led research and policy change. This is exemplified in her work on the board of the Black Health Alliance, and her research in health disparities in Canadians who have been marginalized by race. Academically she lends her expertise from her BSc. in Biology from Western University and MSc. in Human Genetics from Howard University.

Manuel Montero-Odasso
Clinician Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute; Professor, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso is a Professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada (Departments of Medicine, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics) and the Director of the “Gait & Brain Lab” at Parkwood Institute (London, Ontario). He is also a geriatrician and clinician-scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and serves as team leader at the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) and the Ontario Neurodegenerative Research Initiative (ONDRI).

He leads the Gait and Brain Health Program with the goal of understanding mechanisms and treatments of mobility and cognitive decline in aging by focusing on the interaction between gait performance and cognition. He has established the use of “motor biomarkers” like slowing gait speed and dual-task gait to predict frailty, falls, and dementia. Currently, he leads clinical trials testing the effect of personalized medicine and lifestyle intervention to prevent dementia.

Dr. Montero-Odasso has created a successful research program while remaining an active clinician. His research has received more than $6 million of peer-reviewed funding, has published over 150 scientific articles, and he has received several accolades including the Top 10 Hispanic Canadians for his contribution in Medicine and Science. He serves as executive member and upcoming Vice-President of the Canadian Geriatrics Society (CGS).

OmiSoore H. Dryden
James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Faculty of Medicine, Associate Professor, Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University

Dr. OmiSoore H. Dryden, a Black queer femme, is the James R Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Faculty of Medicine, and Associate Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. Dr. Dryden is an interdisciplinary scholar and researcher focusing on Black LGBTQI people and HIV vulnerability within Black diasporic communities in Canada; systemic/structural issues that affect health and well-being, including experiences with blood donation; medical education; and Black health curricular content development. She is a Researcher-In-Residence and has affiliation with the African, Caribbean, and Black Program Science Scholars Lab at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. Dr. Dryden is the co-president of the Black Canadian Studies Academic Association (2019-2021) and is a member of the Black Feminist Health Science Studies International Collective based at Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts).

Saleem Razack
Professor of Pediatrics and Health Sciences Education, McGill University; Director, Pediatric Critical Care Unit, Montreal Children’s Hospital

Saleem Razack is a Professor of Pediatrics and Health Sciences Education at McGill University, as well as the Director of the Pediatric Critical Care Unit and practicing intensivist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. His research focus has been on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in health professions education. He is the inaugural director of McGill’s Office of Social Accountability and Community Engagement, which focuses on equity, diversity and inclusion within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Sume Ndumbe-Eyoh
Assistant Professor, Clinical Public Health Division, Director, Black Health Education Collaborative, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Sume Ndumbe-Eyoh is an Assistant Professor, Clinical Public Health Division, and the Director of the Black Health Education Collaborative, at Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. She is an experienced speaker, facilitator and writer on issues at the intersection of equity, social justice, racism and social determinants of health. Sume holds a Master of Health Science in Health Promotion and Global Health from the University of Toronto. She was previously a Senior Knowledge Translation Specialist at the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, where she lead initiatives focused on public health practice related to improve health equity and the social determinants of health in partnership with stakeholders across Canada.

Sume is a Director on the board of the Canadian Public Health Association and the Black Health Alliance and a member of the Black Health Education Collaborative. She has served in an advisory capacity for working groups and committees led by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Institute for Health Information and numerous academic partners.

Yipeng Ge
Public Health and Preventive Medicine Resident Physician, University of Ottawa

Yipeng Ge is a Chinese-Canadian, first-generation immigrant, and a humble and grateful guest of this land. He is a resident physician in Public Health and Preventive Medicine (including family medicine) in Ottawa, where he also received his MD degree. Yipeng is a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Public Health Association and Canadian Society for International Health. He is the incoming Chair for the College of Family Physicians of Canada Section of Residents. Yipeng is passionate about tackling health and social inequities through addressing the social and broader determinants of health, including anti-racism work and practice in medical education. In 2019, he was the first student/young professional co-chair for the 25th annual Canadian Conference on Global Health. In 2020, he was Canada’s official youth delegate with the Public Health Agency of Canada to the 73rd World Health Assembly and the 58th Pan American Health Organization Directing Council.

Please note that additional members may be added to the CIHR Anti-Racism External Advisory Committee. Their names will be added to this list as they are confirmed.

Date modified: