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Career Conversation Panels: Health

In Partnership with Stong and Calumet College
Want to meet York Alumni and other professionals who are putting their degree to use in a variety of fields?
Connect with professionals currently enjoying careers in a variety of settings and get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to work in these fields. During this panel professionals will share their personal stories about breaking into their field, how their career paths took them from graduation to where they are now, what knowledge, skills and experience helped them succeed in their jobs and what types of opportunities are available in their field. The panel will be moderated by one of the Career Centre’s team members and followed by an open forum where students will have an opportunity to ask the panelists their own questions.
Connect with Bachelor of Health grads to gain insight and guidance. Meet professionals to learn about different roles and get strategies and tips for entering the field.
Registration is required.You may register for this event on theCareer Centre’s online system(you must sign up for an account before you will be able to register for any events on the system).
Participating Panelists
Amanda Joaquim
Physiotherapist, Toronto Raptors
Alumna: BSc. Hons Kinesiology and Health Science, 2008
If you would have asked me what I want to be when I grow up, I would have told you either a scientist or a professional baseball player. While it turns out I wasn’t quite cut out to be a professional athlete, I did get my call up to the pros, only as a physiotherapist. I have a very rewarding career where I get to combine my love of sport and interest in the human body every day!

Léa Muamba
Bilingual Community Health Worker, Black Creek Community Health Centre
Alumna: BHS Health Studies, 2016
As a young professional still building my career, I love being able to interact with students to empower them in their own academic journey. Working in the health promotion field allows me to connect community members to resources for health and social services. Sharing my experience with students is also a way for me to give back to the community of York University.

Artem Safarov
Director of Health Policy and Government Relations, The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Alumnus: BSc Psychology, 2006
I am a big believer in constant personal growth through learning. My experience in marketing, research, project management, advocacy and government relations taught me that you can apply lessons you learned in a variety of settings to evolving life circumstances. My goal is to be proud of my work and feel that I am making a positive difference in communities and society that I am a part of.

Melinda Machado-Cayley
Geriatric Mental Health Clinician, University Health Network
Alumna: (BA) Honours Bachelor of Arts, Kinesiology and Health Science, 2006
– McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
(MSc. O.T) Master of Science in Occupational Therapy 2007-2009
Master’s research project: Exploring inclusivity in Canadian Occupational Therapy Education: Perspectives of Students across Canada
– George Brown College
Diploma in Fitness and Lifestyle Management 2000-2002
My first experience working with persons with mental health issues was when I was a personal trainer at Sports Clubs of Canada. I had several clients with anxiety and depression and was interested in helping them better manage their symptoms on a day to day basis. I had learned about progressive muscle relaxation and other mind body connection interventions in a course I took at York University in my Undergraduate Degree. I used these skills with clients with excellent outcomes and knew that working in mental health was my destined path!
Once I began my Masters in Occupational Therapy (O.T), I quickly started honing my skill set so that I could work within the mental health field upon graduating. I even decided to explore how mental health issues impact O.T students. My thesis was titled, Exploring Inclusivity in Canadian Occupational Therapy Education: Perspectives of Students Across Canada with Invisible Disabilities.
My first real position in the mental health field was when I got a job as a crisis worker in the psychiatric emergency room at Humber River Regional Hospital. I was chosen to run a pilot project that facilitated a seamless continuum of care for clients by providing linkages to a range of community supports. My job was to assess the client’s current mental state and then provide appropriate community resource, diverting them from unnecessary emergency room visits and providing then with the right care, in the right place at the right time.
From this position, I moved onto University Health Network (UHN) where I ran another pilot project as the Behavioral Support Specialist. My role at UHN was to conduct comprehensive assessments and develop intervention plans for persons presenting with unmanageable responsive behaviours as a result of a persistent and severe metal illness or dementia diagnosis. The goals of the project was to decrease hospital length of stay, repeat emergency room visits and to find hard to place persons, permanent homes where they could thrive.
I then moved onto my current position as a Geriatric Mental Health Clinician with UHN. I currently provide clinical and psychiatric services to persons living in long term care (LTC) and work with an amazing interdisciplinary team. The team’s aim is to identify and improve the behavioral and psychological symptoms in persons with severe or persistent mental illness or dementia before they decompensate in community. We do this by working with the LTC team, with families and with external resources. We provide comprehensive assessment, behavioral and pharmacological recommendation, follow-up and assist with transitions.

Wendy Li
Peel Region
Alumna: BScN 2nd Entry Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 2015
Often when I tell people I’m a nurse, I hear, “Which hospital/unit do you work at?” In today’s world, we’re seeing that preventative care is just as important as acute/reactive care. I believe it is crucial that we consider the proactive approach focused on health promotion and education. When we work from an upstream approach, we are able to significantly influence determinants of health, and as a result, the overall health of our community.

Emma Isai
Alumna: BA honors, History and Psychology, 2009
I am a forensic psychometrist at CAMH, whose clinical duties include conducting cognitive and risk assessments, providing individual and group therapy, and coordinating the Substance Use Community of Practice for inpatient and outpatient forensic clients. My areas of interest include cognitive and risk assessments in individuals who have violently and sexually offended, addiction treatment, psychopathy, and treatment of men who have sexually offended.

Dr. Jasdip Purba
Centro Health Clinic
Alumna: BSc. Kinesiology and Health Science, 2009
I started my undergraduate studies at York University envisioning a different path for myself. That changed, but the one thing that stayed consistent was my interest in the human body. With a strong foundation from the Kinesiology and Health Sciences program, I was able to continue into Chiropractic, follow my passion, open my own clinic delivering quality care and empower my patients.

Richa Chodha
Program Lead, Well-being, Rogers Communications Inc.
Alumna: BSc. Kinesiology and Health Science, 2012
I completed an HBSc in Kinesiology at York U and went on to complete a Post-Grad program in Workplace Wellness & Health Promotion at Centennial College, as well as a Masters in Public Health from the University of Waterloo.
My area of expertise is health promotion in an organizational/corporate setting. It’s quite a unique field but surely growing as we continue to emphasize the importance of employee well-being and link it to our performance at work and at home.


Nov 13 2018


2:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Stong College, Room 101 (Master's Dining Room)
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