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Dr. Sepali Guruge is a Professor at the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing. Dr. Guruge obtained her education in Sri Lanka, the former Soviet Union, and Canada. She focused her doctoral dissertation in Nursing at the University of Toronto on the influence of gender, racial, social, and economic inequalities on the production of and responses to intimate male partner violence in the post-migration context. Her post-doctoral work at the University of Western Ontario examined the effects of intimate partner violence on women's health. Both her doctoral and post-doctoral studies were supported by Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Fellowships. Dr. Guruge's nursing experience includes practice, teaching, research...[Read More]

Sepali Guruge, RN, PhD

Current Research Staff

Kerith Paul,  MA

Research Project Manager

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Kerith Paul obtained her M.A. in Immigration & Settlement Studies at Ryerson in 2009 and since then has worked for the YMCA of Greater Toronto in the Ontario-wide CSS Government-Assisted Refugee Program, coordinated the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Project (RULSC), a private refugee sponsorship project, and most recently worked for the International Department at Trent University. Kerith received the Ryerson Julia Hanigsberg Make Your Mark Staff Award in 2016 for her work with the RULSC project.

Ernest Leung,  MA(s)

Research Assistant

Immigrant Health Research

Ernest Leung is currently an MA student in the York & Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture at York University. His research interests surround comedy studies, communication and health, and Asian literature. In particular, he is interested in understanding how media affects identity formation. He completed his BA in English at the University of Toronto.

Vathsala Jayasuriya, MD, PhD

Research Assistant

Immigrant Health Research

Dr. Vathsala Jayasuriya is a Consultant Community Physician in Sri Lanka and a former Senior Lecturer in Community Medicine at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardene. Dr. Illesinghe has led/collaborated on a number of research projects focused on examining the prevalence, risk factors, and responses to inimate partner violence against women.  She has received several awards/orations for her work in Sri Lanka. She served as the Chairperson of the Expert Committee on Women's Health at the Sri Lanka Medical Association, as a mentor of the South Asian Network to address Masculinities (SANAM) and has also worked with the WHO international network of Violence Against Women (VAW) researchers.

Hasina Amanzai, MScN

Research Assistant

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Hasina Amanzai is a lecturer at the Daphne Cockwell School of nursing and Yeates School of Graduate Studies Nurse Practitioner Program. Hasina has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ryerson University and a Master of Nursing -Nurse Practitioner degree with Global Health focus. She is currently practicing as an acute care (Emergency) and primary care nurse practitioner. Hasina’s research interests are in the areas of women's health, immigrant population, and well being of the elderly. She is currently working with Dr. Sepali Guruge as a research assistant and conducting research on social distancing among immigrant populations in the GTA within the context of Covid-19.

HeeJin Zhou,  MSc

Research Assistant


HeeJin Zhou received a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Neuroscience from Queen’s University and has completed a Master of Health Science Education at McMaster University. She is a dedicated education researcher with a strong passion for promoting program accessibility in higher education. Her research interests include learner resilience, diversity and inclusion, and professional identity formation. 

Parvathy Kanthasamy,  PhD

Research Assistant

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Dr. Parvathy Kathasamy has been involved in community-based research projects for over 30 years. She is an avid advocate for immigrants' and refugees' rights in Toronto. She is the Founder and current Director of Vasantham, A Tamil Wellness Centre that has been serving the Tamil community in the Greater Toronto Area for over 20 years. Dr. Kanthasamy has received numerous awards that honour her works. She obtained her PhD in Linguistics from Monash University, Australia.

John Tadeo,  BScN(c)

Research Assistant

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John Tadeo is an undergraduate nursing student minoring in sociology at Ryerson University. He has previously worked as a research intern in Brazil, funded by the Mitacs Globalink Research Award, in a project that explored obstetric violence. His research interests include participatory research, psychosocial health, and immigrant health. He has a passion for applying principles of visual design in all stages of research.

Roberta Liti,  BScN(c)

Research Assistant

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Roberta Liti is currently completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ryerson University. Her research interests are in nursing education, public health and community health. Her ultimate goal is to become a primary health care nurse practitioner and work towards increasing healthcare accessibility in underrepresented communities.

Sharan Khela,  MA(s)

Research Assistant

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Sharan Khela is an incoming Master’s of Public Policy and Administration student at Ryerson University. She holds a BAH in Criminal Justice & Public Policy with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Guelph. She is currently working as a Research and Policy intern with the Ryerson Leadership Lab. Her other research experiences include working as a Research Coordinator for Laadliyan, Advisory Committee Member for the Youth Secretariat’s State of Youth report, and as a Research Associate for an EDI and Anti-Racism consultant where she worked on a contract for the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). Sharan is passionate about community building, youth development, and advocating for marginalized immigrant communities.

Sara Sadeghi,  BSc(s)

Research Assistant


Sara Sadeghi is a Biomedical Science student at Ryerson University. Her research interests include health related topics such as palliative care, elder caregiver support, home care, and the needs of immigrants and newcomers. In the future, she wishes to pursue a medical degree and to explore more research topics.

Bruce Danesh,  BHS(s)

Research Volunteer

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Bruce Danesh is currently a Health Sciences undergraduate student majoring in Community and Population Health at University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). His research interests surround Immigrant and refugee health and  working for community development is his career goal.

Shahed Ghadban,  BScN(c)

Research Volunteer


Shahed Ghadban is currently a fourth-year Nursing student at Ryerson University. Her research interests focus on refugee and immigrant health, specifically mental health. In the future, she wishes to further her education to be able to work with underserved communities –specifically refugees and immigrants.

Japleen Thind,  BHSc(c)

Research Volunteer

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Japleen Thind is a fourth-year undergraduate student at McMaster University in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program. She is interested in research on human health, public health, and health policy. She has previously contributed to research projects in dermatology and is currently involved in research analyzing physical distancing policies and the epidemiology of COVID-19 in numerous jurisdictions. Japleen is passionate about South Asian history, youth mentorship, empowering marginalized communities, and other equity-centered initiatives. She aspires to pursue a career in healthcare and participate in projects related to immigrant health.

Kasey Chim,  BScN(c)

Research Volunteer

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Kasey Chim is a fourth year nursing student in the Ryerson, Centennial, George Brown Collaborative Nursing program. She was introduced to research in her second year of nursing school and is thrilled to be given the opportunity to expand her knowledge. She is excited to contribute to research and nursing knowledge as it can facilitate learning and evidence informed practice.

Germayne Flores,  BScN(c)

Research Volunteer

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Germayne Flores is a fourth-year nursing student in the Ryerson, Centennial, George Brown Collaborative degree Nursing Program, pursuing a minor in Psychology. Prior to nursing, she completed a Bachelor’s of Kinesiology at the University of Toronto. She has previously contributed to research projects related to topics of gun violence, and the impact of virtual simulations on students' clinical nursing practice. She has a strong and growing passion for research, and is excited to be part of the Immigrant Health Research team. Her research interests include community violence, immigrant population, global health, and public policy. She plans to complete a Master’s of Public Health and aspires to become a Humanitarian Nurse one day.

Previous Research Staff

Robert Ta                                                  Research Assistant          2020

Summer Weiga Chen                   Research Assistant          2020

Jamie Jiangrong Zhuang           Research Assistant          2020

Grace Ting                                               Research Assistant          2020

Sarah Humes                                       Research Assistant          2020

Truong Thanh Binh Nguyen   Research Assistant          2020

Tenzin  Kunsang                               Research Assistant          2020

Dianne  Foran                                     Research Assistant          2020

Christina Usanov                           Research Assistant          2020

Laura Collins                                       Research Assistant          2020

Noah Wardak                                     Research Assistant         2020

Mikael Wardak                                 Research Assistant         2020

Simona Kolarova                             Research Assistant         2020

Seoan (Annie) Oh                             Research Assistant         2020

James Valenciano                            Research Assistant         2020

Manzu Man Ara                                 Research Assistant         2020

Nirmalan Kaththalingam         Research Assistant         2020

Mandeep Kaur Sharma               Research Assistant         2018

Martha Cedeno                                   Research Assistant         2018

Berenice Chavez                                Research Assistant         2018

Selasi Dorkenoo                                 Research Assistant         2018

Abinet Gebreegziabher                  Research Assistant         2018

Deon Castello                                          Research Assistant         2018

Stephanie Pietrantonio                 Research Assistant        2018

Daniela Maldonado Castaneda Research Assistant        2018

Abeer Omar                                       Research Associate         2018

Christine Soobin Lee                     Research Assistant         2018

Kristina Hyunjee Lee                     Research Assistant         2018

Haya Umar                                     Research Assistant          2018

Shine Jiyoun Chung                     Project Manager                 2018

Sen Wang                                        Research Assistant          2018

Matthew Maelzer                           Research Assistant          2018

Thuvaraka Rajaratnam                 Research Assistant         2018

Mairead  Cavanagh                            Research Assistant         2018

Souhail Boutmira                                 Research Assistant         2017-2020

Mia Hershkowitz                                 Research Coordinator     2017-2019

Rajini Tarcicus                                 Research Assistant         2017

Anupam Aery                                    Research Assistant         2017

Parthiban Vadivelu                          Research Assistant         2017

Cajaani Velautham                          Research Assistant         2017

Ssad El Hakmi                                 Research Assistant         2017-2019

Younglee Ha                                      Research Assistant         2017

Radamis Zaky                                   Research Assistant         2017

Cindy Ou                                            Research Assistant         2017-2018

Carlos Enrique Pardo                       Research Assistant         2017

Guanglong Pang                                Research Assistant         2017

Paola Ortiz                                         Research Assistant         2017

Ivy Li                                                    Research Assistant         2017-2018

Mari Kozak                                   Research Assistant         2017-2018

Laura Hogarth                              Research Assistant         2017

Dayana Gonzalez                         Research Assistant         2017

Hector Goldar Perrote                 Research Assistant         2017

Lodi Awad                                     Research Assistant         2017

Abir Al Jamal                                Research Assistant         2017

Catherine Maule                          Research Coordinator     2017-2018

Ahmad Kanji                                Research Assistant          2017

Nicole Jeffery                                Research Assistant          2016

Micheline Jackson                       Research Assistant          2016

Kristian Piraino                           Research Assistant          2016

Udit Bhandari                              Research Assistant          2016

Chantel Spade                               Research Assistant          2015

Laura Zahreddine                        Research Assistant          2015

Mary Wei                                      Research Assistant          2015

Mainka Tandon                            Research Assistant          2015

Patricia Julian                              Research Assistant          2015

Sayani Paul                                  Research Assistant           2015

Birpreet Saini                                           Research Assistant           2014-2015

Maria Bernard                                          Research Assistant           2014-2015

Melanie Selvadurai                              Research Assistant           2014-2015

William Moo                                             Research Assistant           2014-2015

Sadaf Grace Seifi                                    Research Assistant           2014-2015

Arthur Ze Yu Wang                     Research Coordinator      2014-2018

Melissa Giacomini                               Research Assistant           2014-2015

Sathiya Sivahurunathan                Research Assistant           2014

Chee-Mei Chan                                        Research Assistant           2014

Alexandra Machacek                         Research Assistant           2014

Hissan Butt                                                 Research Assistant           2013-2014

Shamette Hepburn                               Research Assistant           2013-2014

Valerie Molina                                          Research Assistant           2013

Ferzana Chaze                                          Research Assistant           2013

Mary Susan Thompson                    Project Manager                2011-2014

Nigel Kingwell                                          Research Assistant           2011-2012

Jasmine Kwong                                       Research Assistant           2011

Frederica Gomes                                    Research Assistant           2011

Kimberly Bryce                                        Research Assistant           2010-2011

Chula Madamage                                   Research Assistant           2011