Ontario & Nunavut
REGIONAL/NATIONAL LEAD: CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV
The CIHR Centre for Research Evidence into Action for Community Health (REACH) in HIV was established in 2009 as a highly effective national collaborative leadership network of over 125 researchers, front-line community agencies, people with lived experience of HIV, service providers, public health practitioners and policy makers that is committed to making a real difference in Canada’s epidemic. Our focus is on HIV with supports to HCV/other STBBI efforts.
To build upon this vibrant network and further develop a highly connected and coordinated applied implementation science research Centre that conducts highly relevant research, trains and educates the next generations of scientists, and moves research evidence into action to have a measurable impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with and at risk for HIV, HCV and STIs.
To be a major national network and broker of pragmatic solutions to end the HIV epidemic in Canada in the next 5-10 years, and in so doing, influence the course of HCV and other STBBIs.
Our Aim and Approach
Over the years, our national Centre has had a major impact within the regions and across the country. REACH 3.0 will further advance these national success and continue to enhance/strengthen an innovative, nation-wide interdisciplinary collaborative platform and network for implementation science, intervention research, and participatory evaluation focused on testing, reaching the undiagnosed, linkage and retention in care and stigma reduction for people living with HIV, HCV and STBBIs in order to: reduce new infections (especially those at high risk); improve the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV; and demonstrate the importance of having the health/social services available and accessible where people need them in their communities. We provide the national-level infrastructure that allows our members to collaborate across geographic boundaries.
Our priority is to end the HIV epidemic by 2025. To accomplish this, we will sharpen our focus and efforts, set goals and targets with metrics to measure our progress and success, and implement and scale-up /sustain coordinated solutions that will prevent/reduce new HIV infections, reach the undiagnosed, link people to treatment and care, reduce the effects of HIV stigma which persist, shift policy barriers – and continue to significantly improve access to care and the health of people living with and at risk for HIV. We also recognize the need for national/regional leadership required to be bold but nimble and pragmatic about the research, interventions and knowledge mobilization (KM) solutions needed to support priority populations affected by HIV/STBBIs in Canada, complexity of contributing factors, and diverse communities/contexts.
Another arm of the REACH Centre – the CBR Collaborative Centre in HIV/AIDS began in July of 2012. The goal of this Centre is to build and promote HIV-related community based research (“CBR”) in Canada. This national network consisting of HIV/AIDS researchers, people living with HIV, community based organizations, clinicians, and policy-makers is structured around seven Regional Core Teams that stretch from coast to coast. Each Core Team is led by a community leader and an academic leader, and decides on its own regional research priorities. A National CBR Leadership Committee identifies opportunities for cross-regional initiatives, encourages Core Teams to collaborate to advance shared goals, and ensures that all Core Teams receive appropriate and targeted support.
Core REACH staff in Ontario
Megan Deyman is a Research Coordinator responsible for communications and knowledge translation at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael's Hospital, supporting the work of REACH and The Positive Effect.
She holds a Master’s of Public Health degree with a specialization in Social Policy from the University of Victoria, and her involvement in HIV/AIDS research began while working with PAN’s Positive Living, Positive Homes study for her master’s dissertation. In addition to her experience in research, Megan has experience in community-based programming gained from working with an Ontario & Nunavut AIDS service organization and coordinating a regional drug strategy for the HKPR District.
Megan is committed to moving good evidence and research into the hands of engaged citizens to improve programs, policies and population health. She strongly values collaboration and community-led initiatives, and endeavors to bring the principles of harm reduction, health equity, and MEPA/GIPA forward in the work that she does.
James Watson has been living with HIV for over 25 years and began his career in the HIV sector in 2006 as a peer researcher. He is currently the Coordinator for Community-Based Research and Peer Initiatives at Unity Health Toronto and the National and Ontario & Nunavut Coordinator of the Canadian HIV Stigma Index study. He is an investigator on multiple national studies using his expertise to mentor, support and train people living with HIV to work as peer researchers. He is the host and producer of “pozcast: your community voice, upfront and out loud.”
Leanne works with the regional BC REACH team and the REACH National Evaluation Department. She helps to build and implement evaluation tools, coordinate these tools across the regions, and supports the development a national evaluation plan. She has gained research and evaluation experience through her Master of Public Health from the University of Alberta and her work in non-profit organizations.
Jason Lo Hog Tian
Jason is a graduate student working primarily on the Canadian implementation of the HIV Stigma Index. He investigates different types of stigma and their impact on health and wellbeing. He also works on initiatives in HIV testing, U=U, and increasing collaboration with peer researchers.
Darsh has over 10 years of experience in healthcare and research within publicly funded systems. He is a trained physician, completing his master’s in public health and professional certification in clinical research. His experience as a research coordinator has involved clinical public health and health services research in areas such as primary care, access to medicines, and HIV and other STBBI care.
The latest from the region
Ontario HIV Stigma Index team publishes BMC paper on the health impacts of internalized HIV stigma and depression
Paper’s findings are a valuable contribution to the literature on HIV stigma
Opening the Curtain on Stigma: Tackling the “isms” Collectively Event
Building relationships and opening minds to change