Farihah Ali is the Scientific Lead and Manager for the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) Ontario Node at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Her current work focuses largely on research related to substance use and addiction, harm reduction, and specialty-based addiction treatment to help support the development of evidence-informed public policy and practice. Her goals are to conduct research to help improve the lives of people who use drugs.
Jes Besharah is a substance user in Brockville, ON with over 25 years of lived experience. She has initiated many conversations in the hopes of putting an end to the stigma surrounding substances and the people who use them. A graduate of the St. Lawrence College Addictions and Mental Health Program, Jes has become a passionate advocate for harm reduction and safer use. Currently working as a peer navigator & an outreach worker, she’s also a founding member of the Brockville Overdose Outreach Team (BOOT). She is a member of her local Municipal Drug Strategy and is a lived experience advisor for different policy and research teams throughout Canada.
Narges Beyraghi is an addiction psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and is an Assistant professor at the University of Toronto. She has worked in developing pathways and partnerships with community treatment centres to improve efficiency in addiction treatment service. In addition, in response to the challenges of COVID, Dr. Beyraghi has pioneered an innovative new service at CAMH providing intensive follow-up treatment to patients’ post-discharge in order to reduce harms related to high relapse rates.
Leslie Buckley is the Chief of the Addictions Division at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Dr. Buckley is an Addiction Psychiatrist and focuses on the outpatient treatment of substance use disorders. Leslie has a special interest in public health and policy as well as concurrent substance and psychiatric disorders in women. Dr. Buckley is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto with longstanding involvement in addiction education for medical students, residents and practicing physicians
Alexander Caudarella is a substance use physician and family physician. He is currently the medical director for Addictions at St. Michael’s Hospital. He is a previous member of the Ontario opioid task force and a current member of the TAHSN/TPH opioid joint task force. His areas of interest include innovative program development for substance use care in hospitals and low resource areas. He makes frequent appearances in English and French media to promote improved substance use care. Dr. Caudarella has extensive experience in substance use having worked in BC, Ontario and Nunavut as well as ongoing international work.
Karan Cheema is a Nurse Practitioner at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Her areas of interest include improving access to effective care for people who have mental health and substance use disorders.
Kellia Chiu is a postdoctoral fellow at the Bridgepoint Collaboratory for Research and Innovation, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System. Her work involves conducting an international comparative policy analysis on opioid use disorder treatment in primary care settings, aiming to explore how different health system, cultural, and political factors may influence models of care. She is a registered pharmacist in Australia, has practiced in community pharmacy, and has previous research experience in examining policy processes and the role of evidence in policymaking.
Nico Clark is the Medical Director of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room and AOD Programme at North Richmond Community Health. An addiction medicine physician by training, he is head of the Addiction Medicine Service at Royal Melbourne Hospital and Chair of the Victorian and Tasmanian Branch of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine with the College of Physicians. His most recent role was Clinical Director of Drug and Alcohol Services, South Australia. He is an experienced clinical researcher focusing on treatment of opioid and alcohol dependence and while based in South Australia was head of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Research into Drug and Alcohol Problems. He also has experience in epidemiology and public health and has worked in a variety of settings from remote indigenous communities to the World Health Organization in Geneva.
Tianna Costa completed her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Toronto, and went on to complete her residency at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Tianna is a now a Clinical Pharmacist at CAMH, where her practice focuses mainly on concurrent disorders treatment.
Alexandra de Kiewit is an HIV positive and IDU woman born in the era of mustaches, macramé and brown and orange tapestry. She has been involved in the community for over 10 years. She’s a harm reduction nerd. She sits on several boards of directors, including that of CAPUD, the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs, which she co-founded, and that of the HIV Legal Network. She is also a facilitator of the IDLP, a positive leadership development institute. where she inspires PLHIV to get involved in their communities.
She worked as a worker at the fixed site⁄SIS of Cactus Montreal for more than 10 years. Since 2021, she has been an educator and risk reduction worker at the Dispensary in St-Jérôme. It is with pride that she was part, as an expert and representative of IDU people, of the whole adventure leading to the establishment of supervised injection services in Montreal. She collaborates with health professionals on various committees. She is also a public speaker and takes every opportunity she is given to educate and reduce the stigma that weighs on more vulnerable populations.
She is amazed to have a harm reduction award in her name, given by AQCID while she is still alive.
Kirsten Dixon graduated from the School of Medicine at Queen’s University in 2006 and completed her residency in Family Medicine through St. Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto. Dr. Dixon’s clinical work is focused on the care of people experiencing homelessness, mental illness and substance use disorders. She works with a shelter-based outreach team through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and was the Lead Physician with Inner City Health Associates for Seaton House men’s shelter from 2017 to 2020.
Since 2015, Dr. Dixon has worked with the Safer Opioid Prescribing Program at the University of Toronto on course development and facilitation. She is dedicated to enhancing education on opioid use disorder and to improving the quality of care delivered to people who use opioids.
Katie Dunham is a primary care nurse practitioner with a focus in addiction medicine, and Nurse Educator for META:PHI, where she established and leads the Addiction NP listserv and monthly call. She has a background in emergency medicine and rapid access addiction medicine, and currently works in a community residential withdrawal management service setting. She was the lead and co-author of META:PHI’s Withdrawal Management Services Manual.
July Dupouy has been practicing general medicine since 2013 near Toulouse in the southwest of France. She has a specific training in addictology. She follows patients as a general practitioner and as an addictologist in the multi-professional health center of Pins Justaret. She coordinates in collaboration with a care center specialized in addictology a medical microstructure addiction in the health center. As a lecturer in general medicine, she teaches mental health and addiction medicine to future general practitioners. Her research work focuses on the care of patients with opioid addiction in primary care.
Joseph Friedman is a substance use researcher at UCLA and an MD/PhD trainee at the UCLA Center for Social Medicine. He completed master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington, focused on Global Health Metrics, and a data science fellowship at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Much of his current research focuses on mixed methods approaches, blending ethnography and data science, to measure health inequalities and trace their upstream structural drivers. He has applied these techniques especially to study the North American overdose crisis, and track rapidly emerging trends and social inequalities.
Tara Gomes is a Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital and Principal Investigator of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network. She is also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and holds a Canada Research Chair in Drug Policy Research and Evaluation. Her research program focuses on drug safety and drug policy research, with a specific interest in developing evidence to inform policies that address the ongoing overdose crisis across Canada and that integrate perspectives of impacted communities.
Colin H. Johnson identifies as a Gay, Black man, a long-term HIV survivor and a Person Who Uses Drugs. He works as a consultant with governments and private enterprise specifically on the issues of HIV, Harm Reduction especially as it impacts African, Caribbean Black and Queer issues. Colin is the Chair of the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance. A member of the Board of PASAN (Prisoners AIDS Support Network) and sits on the Toronto Decriminalization Working Group.
Gillian Kolla is a public health researcher who holds a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, University of Victoria. She uses community-based qualitative and ethnographic research to explore how to make health and social services more accessible to people who use drugs.
Sean LeBlanc left an abusive home situation in the Maritimes at age 13 and eventually put himself into university where the loss of his pregnant partner started a decade run long of addiction and homelessness. Sick and tired of being sick and tired he used his stubbornness and desire for positive change to eventually found a non-profit to advocate for drug users in Ottawa called DUAL, the Drug User Advocacy League in 2010. He spent years as a front line worker at Ottawa Inner City Health, and is now a Research Assistant and consultant w/ Mt Sinai, St Mike’s and a proud CAPUD (Can Assoc of People who Use Drugs) and ONPUD (Ontario Ntwk of People who Use Drugs) board member. He is a huge Red Sox, and loves punk rock, harm reduction, bass guitar and his partner Catherine and is very happy to be here.
Andrew McLeod is an individual with lived experience with addiction, specifically with OUD and who received OAT for nearly two decades. Andrew brings his experience with harm reduction, with patient centred care as well as with the challenges and successes of OAT.
Jason Mercredi is the was formerly the executive Director of Prairie Harm Reduction and had worked in CBO’s for over 17 years. He is a co-founder for Canada’s National HIV Testing Day, established Saskatchewan’s First Safe Consumption Site, successfully advocated for the provincial expansion of the take home naloxone program, established Prairie Harm Reductions youth home programing, and helped establish Saskatchewan’s drug checking program. He is now the Homelessness Manger with Metis Nation – Saskatchewan. Jason was born and raised in the Traditional Homeland of the Metis and Treaty 6 Territory. He is of Denesuline, Metis and Scottish ancestry & is a member of the Chipewyan Prairie First Nation.
Lara Nixon is an academic family physician working in outreach team-based inner city care with older adults with experiences of homelessness. Her research focuses on health equity and integrated inner city health and social service innovations grounded in close collaboration with community partners including service users and providers.
Michael Nurse is a passionate advocate of harm reduction and of the essentialness of lived experience to this work. He resides in Toronto where he has been a "Peer" Harm Reduction Outreach Worker for many years.
Patient Engagement Facilitator Sean Patenaude is an artist, educator and mental health advocate who has worked for CAMH for the past six years in roles focusing on restraint reduction, patient safety, and incident management. He is a graduate Fellow of LET(s) LEAD, Yale University’s Transformational Leadership Academy and a CPSI Certified Patient Safety Instructor. Sean has served as faculty on CAMH Education’s Opiate Agonist Treatment training program and has been a guest lecturer at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and the Mad Studies program at the University of Toronto. As a public speaker, Sean has shared his lived experience and his message about the harms of stigma and the importance of the patient experience with thousands of students, clinicians and decision makers.
Nanky Rai is a migrant settler from India-occupied Kashmir who is formally trained in public health and practices as a primary care physician in Toronto, on lands that should remain under the full jurisdiction of the Wendat, the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, and the Mississaugas of the Credit nations. She works closely with 2SLGBTQIA+ communities including Black, Indigenous and other racialized queer, trans and gender nonconforming people, those who use drugs, those who are unhoused and or undocumented, and those living with the infectious complications of structural violence such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. She has been active in anti-colonial and anti-imperialist grassroots movements for migrant and health justice for over 10 years. She is a member of the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society which set up unsanctioned Overdose Prevention Sites in Toronto as a response to the devastating overdose crisis. Her academic work focuses on conducting historical analyses of structural violence embedded within health care and learning from grassroots responses towards health equity. She is passionate about building anti-oppressive clinical education and practice, health activism and harm reduction.
Based in lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ territory (Victoria, BC), Corey Ranger [he/him] is a registered nurse and clinical nurse educator for the Victoria SAFER Initiative. He is also President of the Harm Reduction Nurses Association and a consultant for the Urgent Public Health Need Sites, Community of Practice.
Peter Selby is a Senior Medical Consultant and Clinician Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He is the Giblon Professor, Interim Vice Chair of Research, and Director of the Mental Health and Addictions Division in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto. His research focuses on innovative methods to understand and treat addictive behaviours and their comorbidities. He uses technology to combine clinical medicine and public health methods to scale up and test health interventions. His cohort of >300,000 treated smokers in Ontario is an example of this. He has received grant funding totaling over 100 million dollars from CIHR, NIH, and Ministry of Health and has published >150 peer reviewed publications. His most recent programme of research utilizes a Learning Health Systems approach to investigate how technology equitable collaborative care can enhance the delivery of evidence-based interventions to the patient while providing a more satisfying experience of care for both patient and provider.
Ashley Smoke is a First Nations drug user and community activist. They do a lot of advocacy work and research with St Michael's, U of T, U of Victoria and the Dr Peter's Aids Centre. They consult on a variety of projects with Public Health Ontario, Addiction and Mental Health Ontario, Mt Sinai, Camh, Ontario Opioid Policy Research Network, among others. They helped create the Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs and The Peel Drug Users Network.
Sanjeev Sockalingam is Professor and Vice-Chair, Education in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He is also Vice President, Education at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Psychosocial Director for the Toronto Western Hospital Bariatric Surgery Program at the University Health Network.
He is currently the co-lead for the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) Ontario Mental Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental and Health and the University of Toronto, which is a provincial hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing network model building mental health and addiction capacity in rural Ontario.
Dr. Sockalingam has >180 peer-reviewed publications and is a lead investigator on several peer-reviewed clinical and medical education grants. His clinical research interests are focused on increasing access to integrated models of medical psychiatry care, including in the area of obesity and mental health. His research projects include the development of remotely delivered psychological treatments. He has been the recipient of several national and international education awards including the 2018 Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (ACLP) Alan Stoudemire Award for Innovation and Excellence in C-L Psychiatry Education and the Association of Chairs of Psychiatry of Canada Award for Excellence in Education.
Abhimanyu Sud is a family physician based in Toronto, Ontario. He is an Assistant Professor at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and Research Chair, Primary Care & Population Health Systems at Humber River Hospital. His clinical, research, education, and advocacy focuses around the intersections of chronic pain, mental illness, and opioid use.
Jennifer Wyman is Associate Medical Director of the Substance Use Service at Women’s College Hospital, Medical Educator with META:PHI and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her academic and research interests are in improving care for people who use substances through education, evaluation and advocacy across health care disciplines an sectors.
Amy Yang completed her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Amy is a recovery coach at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, where she supports clients in their early recovery from addictions.