2022 Undergraduate Winner

Sukhmeet Sachal

Sukhmeet Singh Sachal is an award-winning social entrepreneur, speaker, author, and humanitarian. As a medical student, he serves as the Health and Wellness Ambassador for the Canadian Medical Association, and a member of the Council of Health Promotion for Doctors of BC. He is also the co-founder of Break The Divide Foundation, an international organization which connects youth globally with one another to discuss climate change and mental health, and drive local solutions to global problems.

Sukhmeet is the founder of the Sikh Health Foundation, which aims to improve public health interventions in South Asian communities across Canada. During the pandemic, this charity made waves globally for creating awareness about COVID-19 in a culturally effective manner. Through his advocacy and innovations, he received $175,000 in funding to help bring an end to COVID-19 and inform policy changes at the national level. Sukhmeet has been named as one of Canada’s Emerging Leaders, been recognized by Dr. Theresa Tam in helping keep Canadians safe, and recently honored as one of ten COVID-19 Commonwealth Youth Heroes worldwide. His love for research, medicine, innovation, and his effective leadership skills have resulted in Sukhmeet being named this year’s undergraduate recipient of the Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership.

I would like to thank CaRMS for naming me as the recipient of the prestigious Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership. In Sikhism, there is a concept known as Seva, which means selfless service. Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to have many wonderful mentors who have guided me to this path of selfless service. Having gone through medical school through a pandemic was challenging to say the least. However, seeing the heroic actions of physicians, allied health workers, and my fellow medical student colleagues inspired me to take action.

A lot of what I do stems from seeing the problems or barriers around me and trying to find ways to work with community members to enact change. This is how the Sikh Health Foundation was born. I am proud that this organization has helped educate over 250,000 people across Canada since the pandemic started. As well, the organization now serves as a hub for youth to get involved with research, knowledge translation, and enacting policy changes. I would like to thank the entire CaRMS committee for this honour. I dedicate this award to every single person across Canada who did their part to help bring an end to this pandemic. As we continue into new health challenges, I urge us all to bring out the leaders within us to continue making a difference.

2022 Postgraduate Winner

Rahel Zewude

Rahel Zewude is a third-year internal medicine resident at UBC. Rahel completed her medical school at University of Toronto (UofT) where she served as co-president of Black Medical Students’ Association. Through this role, she worked on launching initiatives such as MCAT Support Program and Summer Application Support Initiative to provide underrepresented students one-on-one mentorship. She created a Black Health lecture series, and designed the first Canadian Black medical student application program. These mentorship, advocacy and leadership efforts, have helped transform representation of Black medical students at UofT.

After relocating to BC for residency, Rahel founded Black Physicians of British Columbia (BPBC) to create a community for Black medical trainees and physicians, mentor young students and advocate for improving the experience of Black patients and physicians in BC. As president of BPBC, Rahel worked to tackle institutionalized racism by identifying structural barriers faced by Black trainees and physicians at UBC Medicine. She communicated a call-to-action to the faculty and outlined targeted interventions through presentations to the Dean of Medicine and President of UBC. She advocated for the creation of a Black MD application pathway, and development of mentorship programs to address the scarcity of Black physicians and subsequently designed UBC’s first Black MD application pathway.

For her trailblazing leadership work and effective advocacy, she has been awarded by the Government of British Columbia as 2022’s Emerging Leader and received Resident’s Advocate award by Resident Doctors of BC. Rahel’s SBSAL award will support her attendance of Harvard Macy Institute’s Leading Innovations course.

I am very honored to be the recipient of the SBSAL award. I would like to thank the board members and advisors at Black Physicians of British Columbia as well as the board members of Black Physicians of Canada for their constant encouragement and guidance in my leadership and advocacy work. I would also like to thank the SBSAL award committee, Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Dr. Modupe Tunde-Byass and Dr. Mark Roberts for their support with my SBSAL award.

2021 Undergraduate Winner

David Zheng

David is a third-year medical student at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. Prior to this, David completed a BSc in Biomedical Sciences at uOttawa.

For the last seven years, David has volunteered as a piano performer in several long-term care homes. At the start of the first lockdown last year, David recognized the disproportionate socially isolating effect these restrictions would have on the elderly and founded Creative Connection, a federal non-profit aimed at combatting social isolation and its associated morbidity and mortality for older adults of healthcare institutions across Canada, and increasing accessibility of this social interaction through providing video call live musical performances, paint nights, and health education in 1-on-1 or small group formats. Since its inception, Creative Connection has connected with >1000 patients among >20 institutions.

In addition, David has spearheaded other volunteer initiatives including The Interact Project which facilitates the implementation of virtual reality (VR) programs in healthcare institutions to bypass mobility limitations that seniors may have and provide continued cognitive engagement through VR meditation, beach visits, rollercoaster rides and childhood home visits. These VR visits are also used as behavioral activation in adult and pediatric inpatient wards.

David has also been involved in several other student-led programs including the Student Support Team, and the University of Western Ontario Medical Journal (UWOMJ) as a senior associate editor. He has been fortunate to be recognized by several awards including the Alex Trebek Leadership Award, and the Associates in Psychology Volunteering Award.

David’s SBSAL award funding will go towards expanding Creative Connection (a federal non-profit aimed at combatting social isolation and its associated morbidity and mortality for older adults of healthcare institutions across Canada) to support the recruitment and formal training for the professional development of more volunteers and outreach coordinators across Canada.

I would like to thank the CaRMS awards committee for selecting Creative Connection to fund, and I am honored and humbled to be recognized with the 2021 Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership. I wish to acknowledge that this award is not for individual accomplishment alone, but a testament to the combined efforts of many likeminded volunteers.

The impact achieved through this initiative thus far would not be possible without the ongoing generosity and talents of the many volunteers from across Canada who are connecting with individual long-term care homes staff to provide these virtual activities/performances. Facilitating these interactions are also the recreation therapists and nursing staff of these facilities who reliably assist with video call setup and performance scheduling.

In particular, I would like to share this award with my fellow medical student peers Alexandra Hillyer, and Heidi Li who have helped co-found this initiative, as well as the rest of the executive team who have been working hard to help expand this initiative further. In addition, I am grateful for the support of the OMSA innovator grant and the Accel Labs incubator.

I’d also like to thank my parents for introducing me to the joys of music at a young age and instilling in me the values of leadership and advocacy which I will undoubtedly carry forward in my medical career.

Finally, I hope to encourage other students to recognize and seek out areas of health inequality in their local communities and leverage their own experiences and privilege to continue to make lasting change.

2021 Postgraduate Winner

Dr. Amanda (Amy) Khan

Amanda (Amy) Khan is a first year radiation oncology resident at the University of Calgary. Before relocating to Alberta for residency, Amy completed her MD/PhD degree at the University of Toronto, concurrently earning both her MD medical degree and PhD in biomedical/surgical engineering as part of the dual degree clinician scientist program. She previously completed both her undergraduate degree and Master’s degree in Medical Biophysics at the University of Western Ontario in London, ON.

Amy is a strong advocate for social accountability and equity and founded the Research Application Support Initiative (RASI) at the University of Toronto (UofT) to help students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or those who self-identify as a minority to gain admission to graduate school in STEM fields or medical school via research opportunities and mentorship. RASI is a part of the larger Community of Support (COS) program at UofT that aims to help those not traditionally represented in medicine gain admission to medical school. She has been a mentor to premedical students for 7 years as part of the COS, a board member of COS and has been a Black Student Application Program interviewer as well. She is currently helping establish the COS in the province of Alberta.

For her leadership and research skills, Amanda was awarded Canada’s Most Powerful Women – Top 100 Award (Future Leaders Category), the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame – Student Award for Innovation/Leadership, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and was featured on CBC’s Canada’s Smartest Person.

Amanda’s SBSAL award funding will help facilitate the training of medical student and resident peer mentors as part of the University of Calgary’s Community of Support (COS). The COS is a new initiative that Amanda helped launch this year that matches medical student/resident mentors to premedical students in undergraduate studies from low socioeconomic backgrounds, those who are differently abled or are of visible minority status, who often face barriers in gaining admission to medical school.

It is with great pleasure that I accept the 2021 Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership. I would like to first and foremost thank CaRMS for establishing this award and funding leadership opportunities for medical students and residents to help foster the next generation of healthcare leaders.

I am passionate about advocating for social justice and equity in the field of healthcare because studies show that current Canadian medical students do not reflect the socioeconomic or racial backgrounds of Canadians as a whole. For example, Black (1.2% of students, compared to 2.5% in the general population) and Aboriginal (0.7% of students, compared to 4.5% in the general population) students are severely under-represented in medicine across Canada. Financially, medical students come from extremely affluent backgrounds, with 43.5% of Canadian medical students coming from families with annual household incomes that exceeded $80,000. An additional 17% of students came from families of incomes greater than $160,000 (compared to the overall 2.7% of Canadian households with this income). My own medical school class at the University of Toronto, in one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, had only one Black student, out of a class of 259 future doctors. Through the work of the Community of Support (COS) and the Black Student Application Program, UofT welcomed a class of 24 Black students last year, the largest cohort in all of Canada. I hope to emulate this success at the University of Calgary and in the province of Alberta by bringing the COS to this province and I am excited to see the effect we have on helping Canada’s healthcare workforce to accurately reflect our richly diverse population as a whole.

Without the strong support of the University of Calgary’s (UofC) Cumming School of Medicine, and especially the Office of Professionalism, Equity and Diversity and Dr. Pamela Chu, this award would not be possible. UofC is actively championing the creation of a respectful, fair and inclusive community of learners and their dedication to equity and diversity should be highlighted.

I would also like to thank the University of Calgary’s Radiation Oncology’s residency program director Dr. Shaun Loewen and my fellow residents, David Wu, Jaime Kwok, Nina Samson and Steven Xu for strongly supporting me in my advocacy efforts and helping me make the transition from Toronto to Calgary. My husband Matt MacDonald and my cat Grannu have also been my number one fans and whose support means the world to me.

The most important of thanks however belongs to Ike Okafor, the senior officer in service learning and diversity outreach at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is the original founder of the Community of Support and the Black Student Application Program and has helped literally hundreds of students facing systemic barriers get accepted into medical school in Canada and the US. Ike is the person who has encouraged me to “fight the good fight” and to never give up in our advocacy efforts.

2020 undergraduate winner

Kacper Niburski

Kacper Niburski is a third year McGill medical student with a keen interest in social change. He founded the Community Health and Social Medicine (CHASM) Incubator at McGill to help students build projects that address the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities. With mentorship, a curriculum, and funding, CHASM provides sustainable project development for those who need it most in Montreal.

Winning both national and provincial awards, CHASM is one part of Kacper’s larger deeply held principles regarding the social aspects of medicine. To make lasting change, Kacper believes one needs to first carefully, slowly acquire the skills to ensure lasting impact. In clinical practice, this has meant founding Sonoist, an ultrasound initiative that teaches pathological ultrasound; ddxed, a differential diagnosis tool to improve clinical acumen; and McGill’s first narrative medicine workshop, which is focused on developing the softer, more slippery parts of medical empathy and written communication.

Kacper’s SBSAL funding will support the Community Health and Social Medicine Incubator (CHASM), an initiative he founded for medical students to develop projects that address the needs or social determinants of health of a select population, in order to improve the health outcomes of local, historically marginalized communities.

2020 postgraduate winner

Dr. Anees Bahji

Dr. Anees Bahji is a fifth year psychiatry resident at Queen’s University. Before relocating to Kingston for residency, Anees completed an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University and later, medical school at the University of British Columbia. During medical school, he developed an interest in infectious diseases, addictions, and mental health as a result of living and working in Vancouver—particularly the Downtown Eastside community. These early experiences led Anees toward further training in psychiatry as it seemed like the best way to explore his various interests.

Since starting residency, Anees has enjoyed learning about all areas within psychiatry. His main areas of focus are General and Addictions Psychiatry, with a special interest in chronic pain, personality disorders, and trauma—particularly Borderline Personality Disorder. Recently, Anees has been exploring his skills in individual and group psychotherapy.

Over the past few years, Anees has been developing his ability as a teacher by working with the Queen’s University School of Medicine as a clinical skills instructor in both psychiatry as well as more generally. He has also developed a passion for research and for developing online educational materials. This has led to collaborations with the TED-Ed organization to create short, animated videos on a variety of topics.

In July, Anees will be starting a fellowship in Addictions Psychiatry at the University of Calgary, which will supplement his psychiatric training with specific skills and competencies. He is excited to see how the next part of his journey will unfold.

Anees’ SBSAL-funded leadership activity will be used to attend the Fifth Annual Addiction Leadership Conference taking place (virtually, due to COVID-19) between March 31 and April 1, 2020. The conference focusses on addiction leadership and clinical skills training, as well as connecting with an international network of addictions mentors, educators, leaders, and visionaries.

Dear CaRMS,

I would like to start by thanking you. It is an unbelievable honour and privilege to be recognized with the 2020 Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership.

I have to start by thanking God for bestowing upon me the blessings of this life. To be here on Earth, to enjoy this moment, to be breathing—these are truly beautiful things.

I would like to share this award with the extraordinary resident physicians who I have worked with in the past—and who I hope to work with in the future. The fearless work that they do every second of every day to sustain the life force of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic is truly immeasurable.

Thirty-five of them, who I have grown deeply fond of, are my colleagues and friends in the Department of Psychiatry at Queen’s University. They are a truly exquisite group, and they inspire me beyond words.

Within this group, I would like to honour my fellow co-chief resident, Dr. Josie Altomare. Her friendship and loyalty means the world to me, while her ‘charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent’ exemplify the type of person I hope to become one day.

I consider myself very lucky to have not one, but two incredible program directors. Through their tutelage, it has become clear to me that meaningful connection to other people is as essential to health as the air we breathe.

I’d like to thank my family for giving me the chance to live this life and to live my truth. I want them to know that everything that I value most in this life are there because of them.

And finally, I’d like to share what leadership means to me. Leadership is ‘truth’, but in a different way. Like a poem, it doesn’t have to be factually true, but you can appreciate it for its beauty, and its truth. The truth is beautiful. Beauty will enter our lives in so many different ways and in so many different places. And even when beauty enters your life cloaked in darkness and despair, the leader within us tells us that there is still beauty there because there is beauty in everything.




2019 undergraduate winners

Mohammad Asadi-Lari
Mohammad is a first year MD/PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Mohammad has been constantly moving around the world: born in Iran, spending around 7 years of his childhood in the UK, his teenage years back in Tehran, and settled in Canada in 2013, where he completed school, followed by undergraduate studies in physiology at UBC.

His fascination for science and innovation started to blossom when he was in grade 9, back in his Iranian high school’s chemistry lab, and thanks to some incredible teacher-mentors. Since then, he’s explored (and published) in nano chemistry, cancer immunology, neurosurgery and neuroscience.

Four years ago, Mohammad co-founded STEM Fellowship – a national student network that creates opportunities for fellow students in big data education and scholarly communication. SF is now one of Canada’s largest and most well-known grass-roots STEM initiatives, with 300+ volunteers and a presence on 20 campuses in almost every province.

Mohammad has led and/or advised initiatives within the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Canadian Red Cross, CIHR and multiple start-ups within the health and education spaces. He’s a Board Director at Apathy is Boring, Pre-Health Science Curriculum director at NextGenU.org, VP Global Health jr. at U of T’s Medical Society, and World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shapers community member.

Mohammad is a TEDx speaker, and recipient of a 3M National Student Fellow, UBC Faces of Today Leadership awardee, Society for Scholarly Publishing fellow, 2018 RBC Top 75 Immigrant and recipient of the Governor General and Science Olympiad medals.

Mohammad’s SBSAL funding will go toward a multi-campus Big Data Challenge, with the challenge focus being on the spectrum of health issues (both biological, and population-level) associated with substance abuse.


Charles Yin
Charles Yin is a fifth-year MD/PhD student at Western University where he is currently completing his PhD in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. His graduate thesis work has focused on unraveling the complex role of macrophages in the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Prior to his time at Western, Charles completed a BSc in Integrated Science at McMaster University.

Throughout his medical studies, Charles has had a special interest in the social determinants of health and how healthcare providers can address the systematic injustices in our society that lead to disparities in health status. To this end, Charles help found the Alliance of Students Providing Interprofessional Resources and Education (ASPIRE), an organization that seeks to build a student-led primary care clinic in London, Ontario that would provide health services to marginalized populations who lack access to care. Working with the dedicated board of directors and the passionate student volunteers that make up ASPIRE has been a highlight of Charles’s medical school experience.

Charles has also been heavily involved in youth science outreach as a site coordinate for Let’s Talk Science and as a board member of the Thames Valley Science and Engineering Fair. He has also been involved in health and science policy work through the Canadian Federation of Medical Students and the Clinician-Investigator Trainee Association of Canada.

Charles has been fortunate to be supported in his studies by several scholarships and awards, including the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, CIHR MD/PhD Studentship and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology John A. Thomas Award.

Charles’ SBSAL funding will go directly towards ASPIRE, a non-profit organization he co-founded and currently leads as co-president of the board of directors. ASPIRE’s goal is to improve the health of the local community in London, Ontario through establishing a student-led clinic that provides primary care services and health education to marginalized populations in the community who lack access to other means of accessing primary care.


2019 postgraduate winner

Dr. Yassen Tcholakov
Yassen Tcholakov is a fourth-year Public Health resident at McGill University. He has completed medical training at the University of Montreal, he holds master’s degrees from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as well as from the University of Copenhagen.

Yassen currently serves as the deputy chair of the Junior Doctors’ Network (JDN) of the World Medical Association (WMA). He has previously served on the board of several international organizations including as Chair of the Trainee Advisory Committee of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) and as council member of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA).

Global health diplomacy, the interface of international trade and health, and environmental protection are among his many interests. He has varied advocacy experience in representing organizations like the World Health Organization, the World Medical Association, and the International Federation of Medical Students Associations in front of the United Nations.

Yassen’s dedication to education has been constant alongside his effort to translate personal experiences into opportunities to share with colleagues. As a medical student he was involved in peer education on medical ethics and pre-departure training for students doing electives abroad. He also contributed to the creation of a global health course at the University of Montreal which he is still delivering to this day. As a resident, he pursued involvement in capacity building by organising local and international training events students and young professionals.

Yassen’s SBSAL funding will support his attendance at the Executive Board Meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Health Assembly (WHA), and the organization of a pre-WHA meeting for Junior Doctors from around the world.


2018 undergraduate winner

Olivia Monton
Olivia Monton is a second-year medical student at McGill University. Prior to pursuing medicine, she completed a B.Sc. and B.Ag.Env.Sc. at McGill University.

Olivia’s experiences fundraising and volunteering led to the creation of her foundation, Live for the Cause (LFTC), in 2014, which supports local and grassroots charitable organizations in Montreal. As a community-oriented foundation, LFTC’s mission is to engage, empower, and educate people of all ages on the important and rewarding aspects of becoming involved in philanthropy, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the Montreal community at large. Olivia aims to encourage Montrealers to deepen their understanding and appreciation of philanthropy through participation in initiatives that strengthen the local community and help support those in need.

Olivia is also involved in several student-led committees, which allow her to contribute to the improvement of medical education and simulation-based training for medical students, in addition to promoting interdisciplinary collaboration between various healthcare professions.

Olivia’s philanthropic achievements have been recognized by her country. She was recently awarded The Senate of Canada 150 Medal by the Honourable Judith Seidman and is the recipient of the Governor General of Canada’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. She was also awarded the Dr. Dave Williams Leadership Award by the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University.

Olivia’s SBSAL funding will support her registration in a three-day Dale Carnegie leadership training course, “Leadership Training for Managers”, which aims to help high-potential and seasoned leaders strengthen leadership and communication competencies, build effective coaching techniques, master problem-solving and decision-making skills, recognize team success, and strengthen delegation skills.


2018 postgraduate winner

Dr. Kimberly Williams
Dr. Kimberly Williams is currently the Past President of the Resident Doctors of Canada, the national organization representing over 9,000 Canadian resident physicians.

Kimberly is a PGY4 resident doctor in psychiatry at the University of Calgary and was a co-chief resident this past year. She has been a member of the Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors and was the Social Medical Affairs Officer of the Junior Doctors Network of the World Medical Association. Previously, she was the Vice-President Global Health for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students. She also has an BSc in pharmacology and an MSc in Global Health.

Kimberly (with Dr. Watterson, a fellow resident) created Kolabo, an organization associated with the University of Calgary that works collaboratively with the Catholic University of Allied Health Sciences in Tanzania to create collaborative, broad-based mental health education for trainees. Since 2014, Kolabo has taught over 600 medical and graduate students and funded the training of the second psychiatrist for a population of over 10 million people in Tanzania. She is a global health enthusiast, which includes writing about key topics in this area including a chapter author in Millennials Speak: Essays on the 21st Century, in Upstream Medicine: Doctors for a Healthy Society, and in Essentials of Global Health.

One of the most exciting parts of her medical career thus far has been witnessing the amazing work done by peers and colleges who are leading the way collaboratively to improve the health of the population both within Canada and abroad.

Kimberly’s SBSAL funding will allow her to attend the World Medical Association (WMA) Junior Doctors Network (JDN) meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland from October 1 – 6, 2018.


2017 undergraduate winner

Dr. Kristen Barton
Dr. Kristen Barton previously completed the Integrated 4+1 BSc/MSc Program the Faculty in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary, where she completed both degrees within five years. Currently, as a combined MD/PhD student the University of Calgary, she is in the “Leaders in Medicine” program. Dr. Barton successfully defended her PhD thesis in 2016 in joint injury and arthritis research and plans to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery after medical school. Her career goal is to continue to promote health outcomes to improve the lives of Canadians who suffer from chronic conditions, such as osteoarthritis. She has found a passion in educating youth and adults involved with high-level sport on sports injuries and post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

Dr. Barton has been heavily involved with on-campus student programs including the Leaders in Medicine Executive, the Cumming School of Medicine Faculty Council, the Council of Foothills Departmental Graduate Association, and the Graduate Students’ Association Senior Leadership Team. Further to this, she is the Assistant Coach of the University of Calgary Dinos Women’s Soccer Team and an exercise physiologist for both the University of Calgary Active Living Joint Effort Program and Sport Injury Prevention Centre. Currently, she serves on the Undergraduate Medical Education Student Appeals Committee and the Student Academic Review Committee.

Dr. Barton has been honoured several times for her outstanding academic and leadership skills, most notably the Vanier Canada Gradate Scholarship, the Alberta Innovates Health Solutions MD/PhD Graduate Studentship, the Alberta Graduate Citizenship Award (five times consecutively), and the Dr. Lydia Sikora Memorial Award.

Kristen’s SBSAL funding will be applied toward tailoring the Leaders in Medicine (LiM) Executive Leadership Coaching Program, with the assistance of Mr. Gork Aker (professional Executive Coach), to the unique needs and challenges faced by LiM students.


2017 postgraduate winner

Dr. Hasan Merali
Dr. Hasan Merali is a second-year academic fellow at the Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), where he also practices paediatric emergency medicine. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in paediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and his fellowship in paediatric emergency medicine at SickKids. In 2015, he was awarded the highest scholarship at Johns Hopkins University, the Sommer Scholarship, to complete his Master’s in Public Health. He is a co-author on 11 peer-reviewed articles and two book chapters, and was awarded a three-year grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics to implement the Helping Babies Breathe program in rural Cambodia.

Most recently, he co-developed a three-week Specialized Newborn Care Education (SNCE) program at the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health aimed at reducing neonatal mortality in Malawi, Ethiopia and Tanzania. He has delivered the education in Malawi and will be teaching it in June in Tanzania. A total of 135 frontline health workers will be trained in SNCE through nine rounds of courses, as part of The Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM). This is a program implemented by a consortium of Canadian organizations funded by Global Affairs Canada.

Dr. Merali also holds an Associate title at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, where he works with the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit. His current research focus is examining factors associated with child passenger helmet use in Cambodia. In addition, he holds research funding to utilize novel methods to estimate helmet use in Bangkok, Thailand.

With his SBSAL funding, Hasan will be able to attend the June 2017 conference “Understanding Global Healthcare Delivery” at Harvard Medical School.


2016 undergraduate winner

Christopher Charles
Christopher Charles, PhD is an epidemiologist with extensive experience in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of large public health nutrition projects aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged rural women and children in Asia. Christopher has a PhD in Biomedical Science and Population Medicine from the University of Guelph, Canada and is currently completing a medical degree at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Canada.

Christopher is the inventor of the Lucky Iron Fish™, a novel, in-home iron fortification technique currently in use in over 75,000 households around the world. He has worked as a public health and nutrition consultant for various NGOs and UN agencies in the region, and advises the Cambodian Ministry of Health in the development of national nutrition policy. His research interests are related to healthy equity and social justice, food-based approaches to improving nutrition, maternal and child health, and innovative methods of improving food security. Christopher will begin his residency training in Anesthesiology at the University of Toronto this summer.

Christopher’s SBSAL funding will allow him to host an in-person meeting with his “Upstream Medicine” publication co-editors.


2016 postgraduate winner

Ashley Miller
Ashley Miller is a fourth year resident in General Internal Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she completed her core internal medicine residency training. She is a graduate of the MD program at the University of Ottawa, where she was selected as an inaugural participant in the leadership curriculum. Her clinical interests include complex chronic disease and end of life care, and she aspires to cultivate a career that will combine generalist practice with health policy leadership and administration.

Ashley’s journey through medical school and residency has been defined by her multiple contributions to the Canadian medical education and health policy environments. As Vice President of Advocacy for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, she lobbied for enhanced socioeconomic diversity through medical school admissions. In her various roles on the board of Resident Doctors of Canada, most recently as Vice President, Ashley has been a strong advocate for socially accountable physician resource planning. She is a longstanding member of the Canadian Doctors for Medicare board, where she has been privileged to learn from inspiring champions for evidence based health care reform. She is an active contributor at the local level, as resident board member for the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association and key contributor in the development of her newly accredited subspecialty training program.

Ashley’s SBSAL funding will help support her Master of Science in Health Policy, Planning, and Financing through the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


2015 undergraduate winner

Eve Purdy
Eve Purdy is a graduating fourth-year medical student, soon to be emergency medicine resident, at Queen’s University with a passion for education delivery, scholarship and leadership. Throughout her time at Queen’s she has advocated for her peers on a number of school committees. These efforts have precipitated a focused curriculum on resiliency and she continues to champion an evaluation of the medical student learning environment.

Eve’s inquisitive and collaborative nature contextualize her significant involvement in the world of Free Open Access Medical Education. Online, she has emerged as a leader through her blog manuetcorde.org, as an advisor to medskl.com, as a social media coordinator for the CFMS, as a student organizer of the international Social Media and Critical Care Conference, and as an editor for BoringEM.org and the ALIEM.com MedICs case series. She consistently uses skills and knowledge gained in these roles to shape the educational milieu at her home institution, finding and creating ways to contribute as a lecturer, facilitator, curriculum developer, and mentor. Eve deliberately fosters a positive online space for Queen’s students and faculty to interact. A scholar at heart, she is dedicated to investigating how online resources and environments affect learning and the most important downstream outcome, patient care. To strengthen her ability to perform high-quality research and continue innovating in the domain of education, she intends to complete a Masters in Medical Education to which this award will be applied.

Eve’s SBSAL funding will go toward her tuition for a Masters’ program in Anthropology with a focus on culture in medical education.


2015 postgraduate winner

Jesse Kancir
Jesse Kancir is a resident physician at the University of British Columbia in Public Health and Preventive Medicine and a 2014-2015 Chevening Scholar at the University of Cambridge where he is a Masters of Philosophy candidate in Public Policy focusing on innovation and system integration in healthcare. He is a 2014-2015 Action Canada Fellow and also currently serves as a public member on the Board of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.

Jesse’s background blends experiences from the public, private, academic, and not-for-profit sectors to shape his interests in health and medicine. His interests in medical education and health policy have their roots in his undergraduate work at the University of Waterloo and his graduate training at the London School of Economics where he was awarded the Brian Abel-Smith Prize for best performance in the International Health Policy (Health Economics) program.

While completing his medical training at the University of Toronto, Jesse was involved with several efforts that increased the presence of medical humanities in undergraduate medical teaching. He also maintained active involvement in student leadership activities at the local, provincial, and national level. He served as the President of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students and as Board Director of the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Resident Matching Service.

Jesse’s SBSAL funding will support his enrollment in the Institute for Corporate Directors’ Not-for-Profit (ICD NFP) certificate program.



Sarah McIsaac
Sarah is a strong advocate for innovation in healthcare education and continues to work towards fostering an environment of cooperative, collaboration and leadership amongst medical students, residents and staff alike.  Sarah graduated with honours from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2010.

During her medical undergraduate career in Ireland her leadership skills and interest in education expanded through activities such as Sports Union Captain and peer led lecturer. Returning to Canada for her residency training, Sarah is indebted to the mentorship of her program directors Dr. Desiree Persaud and Dr. Rob Anderson. Through a collaborative team approach, Sarah worked on the creation, design and implementation of an innovative e-learning platform for postgraduate anesthesiology trainees at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

In addition, Sarah took on many leadership roles during her residency training. She is the current assistant chief resident of the University of Ottawa/NOSM Anesthesiology program. She also takes an active role in provincial leadership and is the current resident representative on the OMA Section of Anesthesiology executive committee.

Sarah’s SBSAL funding will support her enrollment in a week-long leadership course at Harvard Macy Institute, “Leading Innovations in Health Care and Education”.



Paxton Bach
Paxton has a strong interest in global health and health advocacy. He filled various local, national and international leadership positions during his time as a medical student at Queen’s University, including serving as the 2011-12 Vice President Global Health of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, as well as the President of CFMS-Canada to the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations.

In these roles, he helped support student-run programs, steer advocacy initiatives and foster improved global health opportunities for medical students across the country.

Paxton’s SBSAL funding will allow him to attend the 64th General Assembly of the World Medical Association in Fortaleza, Brazil, October 14-19, 2013.

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