GSHI thanks the over 30 dedicated field staff who provide outreach and research support in the community and are the back-bone of the program.
Jaime Adams, Interviewer/Outreach Worker with the AESHA Project, has been working as a frontline support for women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside for nearly 10 years. She is dedicated to supporting women's wellness through harm reduction, advocacy, and support. Jaime is particularly passionate about supporting positive outcomes for women engaged in survival sex work. The majority of her time during the past five years has been devoted to connecting marginalized women to the healing power of nature through her work with Forest and the Femme, which she founded in 2012. Jaime loves being outdoors and spends as much time as possible on the mountaintops and lakesides of the coastal mountains.
Monica Akello, BBA, Project Coordinator (Gulu), is currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma in project planning and management from the Uganda Management Institute. She is the Uganda Project Coordinator for the Gulu Sexual Health Project, a collaboration with The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) – the largest indigenous AIDS organization in Africa – and many others.
Sarah Allan, BA, JD, holds a degree in law, with a specialization in social justice and the law, and an undergraduate degree in both anthropology and human relations. She is a lawyer who is passionate about plain-language information, access to justice, and empowerment of marginalized persons, particularly women and children. Sarah provides support to GSHI's knowledge translation and law and policy reform efforts. She is on the board of directors of Parent Support Services Society of BC.
Melissa Braschel, MSC, Statistician/Data Analyst, holds an MSC in Applied Statistics from the University of Guelph, where she focused on analysis of longitudinal and clustered data. She loves working with the passionate team at GSHI on quantitative research projects in AESHA and SHAWNA. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and hiking with her silly, lovable dog, Daisy.
Anita Dhanoa, RN, Clinical Research Associate, is a settler on the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. She graduated from BCIT's Nursing Program in 2015. She has previously worked in addictions research and volunteers for a program addressing social determinants of health in clinical practice. Anita is dedicated to working with under-served and multi-barriered communities. She is excited to be a part of the GSHI team on the AESHA and SHAWNA projects. In her free time, she loves birdwatching and playing with her nephews and dog.
Carly Glanzberg, Interviewer/Outreach Worker with the AESHA Project, is honoured to join GSHI and looks forward to getting to know project participants and working alongside a team that centres the voices of sex workers and provides low-barrier sexual health and harm reduction options. Carly has previously worked for YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society as a sexual health educator and peer education manager as well as for various youth and queer community organizations in Montreal and Toronto. Through her work, she hopes to help decrease stigma around HIV and advocate for individuals' rights to wellness. In her spare time, Carly enjoys playing heavy metal guitar and obsessively trying to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough.
Lulu Gurney, Peer Research Associate with the SHAWNA Project, previously worked at Hustle: Men on the Move, Red Road HIV/AIDS Network, and YouthCO. She is excited to be working with the SHAWNA Project to connect peers with one another for a greater cause: to find more information regarding women’s health and strategies. Lulu has connected with peers under a few agencies to help them have safe access to organizations within the Metro Vancouver area, and to help break down barriers that may hold back peers from changing or improving their personal well-being. To take care of herself, Lulu enjoys outdoor activities such as biking around the seawall and swimming outdoors. For quiet nights in, she enjoys reading a book or hanging out with friends.
Róisín Bán Heather
Róisín Bán Heather, LPN, Clinical Research Associate, has worked in the Downtown Eastside for many years in outreach positions, serving clients at SRO hotels and shelters, and in triage at the Downtown Community Court. She has worked with the BC Centre for Substance Use as a clinical research associate since 2014, with the VIDUS, ACCESS, and ARYS studies, and is excited to join GSHI in a similar capacity. Roisin is passionate about outreach work, and believes strongly in meeting people where they are at. In her spare time she enjoys crafts and critters.
Maya Henriquez, RN, Clinical Research Associate, has worked as a registered nurse in obstetrics and gynecology to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women, particularly among marginalized groups. She is passionate about continuing her career in public health as an MPH candidate working toward gender equitable policy through community-based participatory research. She is dedicated to understanding the lived experience of marginalized populations within their communities and health care structures and is thrilled to be doing this work with the GSHI team. In her free time, she enjoys baking and playing board games.
Emily Sarah Leake
Emily Leake, RN, Clinical Research Associate, worked in a variety of settings as a registered nurse prior to joining GSHI, including the the acute medical and HIV units at St. Paul's Hospital and the nursing resource team at BC Children's Hospital. Emily currently divides her time between the AESHA, SHAWNA, and ARYS projects, as well as InSite and CTCT. She is certified in STI management, allowing her to provide screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections as well as Pap tests. Emily is passionate about women's sexual health and grateful to be a part of a project that advocates for the safety and well-being of sex workers.
Sylvia Machat, Data Officer/Interviewer, finds great joy in getting to know participants through the interview process and is passionate about online outreach as a method for reaching the many sex workers who work invisibly behind the scenes. She is thrilled to be able to bring her skills and experiences to the AESHA and SHAWNA Projects.
Gail Madanayake, RN, Clinical Research Associate, has spent the majority of her nursing career working with marginalized populations and those living with HIV. She has worked on the Fraser Health STOP HIV Team since 2011, and is a strong believer in client-centered care, harm reduction principles, and the fostering of trusting professional relationship with clients. She is thrilled to be part of the AESHA and SHAWNA projects. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, and relaxing with her family.
Lauren Martin McCraw
Lauren Martin McCraw, Interviewer/Outreach Worker, is a writer and performer who believes in the healing power of shared laughter. She has been a frontline worker and harm reduction activist in the DTES for over six years. She is proud of the work she currently does at the supervised injection facility InSite. Lauren is passionate about advocating for better mental health care and elder care. In her free time, she volunteers with the elderly, takes long bike rides, and produces sketch comedy.
Anna Mathen, RN, Clinical Research Associate with the AEHSA and SHAWNA Projects, is a settler on the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. She also works as an RN on 10C at St. Paul's Hospital. Anna is a strong believer in the decriminalization of sex work and harm reduction, and she is thrilled to be part of the AESHA and SHAWNA projects. In her spare time she enjoys picking fruit, making food, and gardening.
Jenn McDermid, BA, Assistant Project Coordinator, SHAWNA Community Engagement, is a settler on the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. She has a strong interest in social policy and community building and has spent much of her professional life working with women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Most recently, Jenn has worked and volunteered with Megaphone Magazine, S.A.F.E. Vancouver, and WISH. She is the co-author of a report on homeless deaths in B.C. titled "Dying on the Streets." As part of her practice, she aims to promote harm reduction tactics, and is especially interested in the intersection between health and equitable, community-based approaches to care. She is a strong proponent of the decriminalization of sex work, and through her work hopes to mitigate the stigma that impacts HIV+ women and sex workers in Vancouver. In her spare time, she runs an art collective in support of female-identified residents of the Downtown Eastside and plays the drums.
Minshu Mo, BSW, Interviewer/Outreach Worker, graduated from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In the Maritimes, she was active with sexual and reproductive health movements and queer community building. In a previous life, she worked as a journalist in China and Toronto for years.
Sarah Moreheart, Research Coordinator, AESHA and SHAWNA Projects (Mat Leave), is a passionate advocate for people affected by structural violence and barriers including, but not limited to, mental health consumers, substance users, sex workers, women living with HIV/hep C, and women impacted by historical and current violence and trauma. Harm reduction and social justice are at the forefront of all her practices. At GSHI, Sarah is responsible for overseeing the SHAWNA and AESHA teams, including community linkages and collaborations with a range of stakeholders, the advisory boards, and the outreach and interview teams. Outside of the amazing GSHI work and team, Sarah can be found buried in a book, doing puzzles, or exploring online cat videos.
Nadina Morin, Interviewer/Outreach Worker with the SHAWNA Project, is from the Cree, Siksika, and Nuu Chah Nulth Nations. She has been a visitor on the unceded ancestral homelands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples for the majority of her life and feels honoured to work and play on their respected territories. Nadina has held many positions in agencies in our community including Positive Outlook Program, Aborginal Front Door, S.A.F.E., and RainCity Housing & Support Society. She has worked with community members of the DTES with a specific focus on Indigenous peoples. Nadina has also volunteered for many years as a youth educator raising awareness about HIV and prevention in Indigenous communities.
Jennifer Morris, Project Coordinator for the AESHA Project, works collaboratively with team members to conduct interviews, screen new participants, train staff, and manage the research office. Her primary focus is coordinating outreach efforts for follow-up and recruitment. Jennifer feels in her element out on the streets liaising with the women, the community, and service providers. She believes that building rapport and education around harm reduction in all capacities can make a difference in women's health and safety. She also works collectively with the nursing team to ensure that all samples have been obtained and any necessary referrals and treatment have been given. She has been a senior staff member at WISH for six years as well as RainCity Housing and other non-profits in Vancouver. These experiences have sculpted her values around sex work policies. She believes strongly in creating safer sex-work spaces and access to health care, harm reduction, and drug treatment services.
Alka Murphy, Interviewer/Outreach Worker, brings to the GSHI team over a decade and a half of experience in providing and coordinating experiential, harm reduction, and asset-based frontline support services, crisis intervention, and specialized victim services for sex workers. Her expertise includes sexual assault health, safety, and prevention; medical, legal, and social services advocacy; community development, outreach, and public education; community-based research; and activism. Alka believes sex workers are experts in their own experience. Her dedication to social justice drives her to ensure that marginalized and stigmatized populations are given equal access to rights and liberties and provided with non-judgmental care.
Flo Ranville, Peer Mentor/Qualitative Interviewer with the SHAWNA project, was born and raised in Vancouver and is the mother of seven children and two grandchildren. She has over 15 years of experience in the anti-violence field, having worked as an Aboriginal outreach worker, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder worker, and Program Coordinator for a parenting program reuniting families involved in the foster care system. Flo has survived personal experience living in the Downtown Eastside, substance misuse, violence, homelessness and sex work. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2000. Flo began in community-based research 10 years ago as a peer on the MAKA project involving sex workers in the Downtown Eastside. She volunteered at AIDS Vancouver for two years and worked as a peer research associate with the Dr. Peter Study in 2013-2014. With the SHAWNA project, Flo has been training peer research associates to facilitate and recruit new participants. She enjoys working in community-based research with the HIV community to help her peers be a part of the solution in the fight against HIV.
Abby Rolston, Assistant Project Coordinator - Administrative, is a settler on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. As part of her feminist and activist practice, Abby endeavours to act as an ally in the struggle for sex workers' rights and de-stigmatization, and believes strongly in community-informed policies around healthcare access, housing, and harm reduction. She has worked in the DTES for the last ten years, and in her spare time enjoys hiking, camping and knitting.
Heidi Safford, Interviewer/Outreach Worker with the SHAWNA Project, has been volunteering in the HIV community for the last five years, an experience she has found very rewarding and inspiring. She worked on the McLaren Housing Project, a partnership with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Heidi is a people person, who worked in the travel and tourism industry for 20+ years. She thought it was time to shift gears to something that nurtures and feeds her spiritual soul in a healthy, positive environment by giving back to the local HIV community and her fellow peers. Heidi loves to explore and travel, and is always up for an adventure! She likes to stay active with a variety of things such as cycling, rollerblading, badminton, hacky sack, movies, sunsets, and friends and family. It all helps her have a healthy, balanced lifestyle, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She loves anything chocolate too!
Erin Seatter, Knowledge Translation and Community Engagement Coordinator, holds a master's degree in communication from Carleton University, where her research focused on issues of racism and media. She has worked for years in the HIV and anti-violence sectors with a passion for the intersections between equity and health. A lover of words, she enjoys tackling weekend crosswords.
Bridget Simpson, RN, Clinical Assistant Project Coordinator, is a settler on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh). She is honoured to work with AESHA and SHAWNA project participants. Bridget believes passionately that sex work is real work and that all forms of criminalization run contrary to health promotion. She aims for a nursing practice that recognizes and works against systemic violence and oppression. In her spare time, she likes to listen to records, eat delicious treats, and gaze at pictures of poodles.
Jessica Stortz, MSc, Research Coordinator with the AESHA and SHAWNA projects(Mat Leave coverage), completed her Master's degree in Epidemiology at Queen's University. Her thesis work investigated the geographic distribution of pregnancy complications associated with cardiovascular disease risk to aid public health planning initiaitves. Jessica has worked with clinical research groups focused on oncology, genomics, and communicable diseases including hepatitis C. She is excited to be a part of the AESHA and SHAWNA projects. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, running, and snowshoeing, and trivia nights.
Brittney Udall, Assistant Project Coordinator for the AESHA and SHAWNA Projects, coordinates outreach teams, recruits participants, distributes harm reduction supplies, and interviews women about their lives and experiences with sex work, drug use, or with living with HIV. She has worked in the Downtown Eastside for many years, with previous experience as a tenant support worker in an SRO.
Peter Vann, Research Coordinator, has been with GSHI since 2010. He is responsible for the preparation of grants, ethics documents, reports, conference presentations and posters; the submission of manuscripts; and the ongoing development of interview questionnaires. Peter enjoys spending time with his family.
Sherry Wu, Interviewer/Outreach Worker, studied cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University before returning to Vancouver to continue her education in social justice. In her community, she is committed to implementing programs to improve the quality of life for seniors in long-term hospital care; advocating for Chinese-speaking clients in the areas of poverty reduction, crisis intervention, intimate partner violence, and legal information and referral through Chimo Community Services; and promoting active living and first-aid knowledge as a lifeguard and swimming and first-aid instructor. In her spare time, Sherry enjoys cooking for her friends and family, and petting other people’s dogs and cats.