Learn about our aims as a graduate student association and meet our council members.

Shan Dhaliwal


Shan is currently a 2nd year MSc Epidemiology student studying chronic kidney disease for his thesis. Outside of school, Shan can be found chilling with his dog, playing sports, binging netflix or reading a book. 

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Abi Kalanandan


Abi is currently a first-year MPH+ student learning French and specializing in Global Health. Her passion is to work on policies and initiatives focused on reducing poverty, ending homelessness, and addressing food insecurity. She is excited to join SEPH GSA and work with the VP of Academic Affairs to ensure that her peers are effectively supported in their academic endeavours. Abi spends her time outside of school eating at local restaurants, browsing Chapters for new books to read, and binge-watching Netflix shows.

Zobaida Al-Baldawi


Zobaida is a 2nd yr MSc student in Epidemiology at uOttawa, co-supervised by Dr. Potter and Dr. Graham. Her MSc thesis focuses on understanding health care networks of children with inherited metabolic diseases (IMDs). Her thesis work will contribute to the design of interventions that improve healthcare delivery for children with IMDs. As a person w/ a rare disease, she is passionate about all things patient engagement & advocacy. Outside of school, you can find her cycling through Ottawa or trying out a new coffee shop. 

Haben Dawit


Haben is a 1st year MSc student in Epidemiology at uOttawa, supervised by Dr. McInnes. As VP finance, my goal is to maximize the budget and assist in creating a fun/educationally-filled year, while ensuring that the budget remains sustainable for future classes. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy staying active, particularly through sports, re-watching old sitcoms and volunteering within my community.

Gabriele Zitikyte


Gabriele is a 2nd year MSc epidemiology student working under the co-supervision of Drs. Christian Vaillancourt and George Wells; her thesis work focuses on enhancing outcomes for severe traumatic brain injury patients. Gabby also works as a research assistant for the Emergency Medicine Research Team at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Outside of her thesis/work, Gabby is the President of the uOttawa chapter of CSEB, spends most of her time with her fiancé and 5 dogs (can you say crazy dog family?!), and is an active member of the Canadian-Lithuanian Youth Association. Feel free to reach out, you can find her on Twitter (@gzitikyte)! She can’t wait to collaborate with other council members to organize and host fun social events this year :)

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Mia Sapin


Mia is a 1st year MSc Epidemiology student interested in infectious disease epidemiology and working under the co-supervision of Dr. Curtis Cooper and Dr. Derek MacFadden. She is excited to be a part of the SEPH GSA and to collaborate with the other council members to plan fun and inclusive social activities throughout the year. Outside of school, she can be found reading a book, buying new houseplants, or exploring new restaurants!

Rola Hashem


Rola is a 2nd year MSc student in Epidemiology at SEPH as well as the VP Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the SEPHGSA. With an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science and a minor in psychology, Rola has found the perfect place for her in the world of psychiatric epidemiology. Her hobbies include reading, writing, learning more about mental health, obsessing over her cat (snowball), exploring new places, and of course talking/learning about anything Palestine (her home country). As VP EDI Rola plans to work on increasing the sense of belonging and security students feel at SEPH and advocating to make sure all students feel heard. 

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Amin Zahrai


Amin is a second year MSc Epidemiology student who is being co-supervised by Drs. Carrier and Delluc. His research interests are in the diagnosis, prediction and treatment of venous thromboembolism in cancer and other types of patients. As the co-VP administrative affairs, Amin will work with Ayni to prepare SEPHGSA’s meeting agenda/minutes, manage the website and assist with communications sent to or prepared by SEPHGSA. Outside of class, Amin enjoys playing and watching soccer/basketball, cooking and travelling.

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Ayni Sharif


Ayni is a 1st year MSc Epidemiology student and is working under the supervision of Drs. Dean Fergusson and Manoj Lalu. She’s excited to be part of the SEPH community and the SEPH GSA as co-VP of administrative affairs. She hopes to facilitate an ease of communication among the GSA and to SEPH students. Outside of research and school, she can be found on a spin bike, reading a good book, or watching crime documentaries.

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Carolina Soto


Carolina is a first year MSc student in epidemiology at SEPH, co-supervised by Dr. Lise Dubois and Dr. Ian Colman. As a Registered Dietitian, Carolina is interested in studying the relationship between diet and mental health disorders. Outside of school, she can be found chilling with her two cats, trying new restaurants, or playing basketball with friends.

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Junayd Hussain


Junayd is a first-year MSc Candidate in Epidemiology, under the supervision of Drs. Greg Knoll and Manish Sood. His research interests are in assessing the validity and reliability of patient-reported outcomes in clinical care, addressing barriers to chronic disease treatments in marginalized communities, and public health service evaluation. As an MSc Epidemiology Representative, he aims to advocate for the academic and social needs of his classmates in the program. Outside of class, he enjoys running, swimming, and playing video games.

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Amy Li


Amy is a second year MPH student in the public health practice stream at SEPH and is returning for her second year with SEPH GSA. Her work and passion is in community health and health promotion. As one of the MPH representatives, she is committed to bringing the perspectives of her fellow MPH student forward. Outside of school, Amy loves to play tennis, do yoga and travel!

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Felipe Gallego


Felipe is a first year MPH student in the Public Health Policy stream. His undergraduate studies in health sciences flourished his interests for public health, global health, health promotion, and the impacts of international trade agreements on health. Felipe intends to use the knowledge and experience he will gain through his MPH degree to fulfil his immediate career aspiration of becoming a health policy analyst. As a long-term career goal, Felipe aims to work towards a position in global health leadership. In these roles, he would like to focus his efforts on advocating for and designing equity-based health promotion programs, services, or policies. In his free time, Felipe loves watching and playing soccer. He has also gotten into the hobby of drone flying. Finally, Felipe aims to best represent his first year MPH cohort by advocating for their needs and helping the SEPH GSA in anyway he can!

Shannon Thompson


Shannon is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Epidemiology, and member of the APEAL laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Ian Colman. Her research interests are in the intersection between mental health and the justice system. This is Shannon's third year on SEPH GSA. Her overall goal for this year is to encourage and assist her fellow SEPH GSA council members in their roles so that we as council can deliver the best student experience for SEPH graduate students! 

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Charles Thickstun


Charles is a doctoral candidate in epidemiology conducting research on the spatial epidemiology of malaria and implications for the design of malaria vector control trials under Dr. Manisha Kulkarni. Charles has served on the SEPHGSA as Vice President and previously Vice President, Academic Affairs since 2017. Over the course of his tenure he has engaged extensively with other graduate students, the School of Epidemiology & Public Health, and the Faculty of Medicine to ensure extensive academic offerings and improve the student experience. He currently sits on the Faculty Council and Faculty of Medicine Graduate Studies Committees.

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