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Career Conversations with Faculty of Health Alumni

Wondering what to do with your Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Health? Want to meet York Alumni and other professionals working in the field?
Connect with Faculty of Health graduates currently enjoying their careers and get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to work in this field. During this panel, professionals will share their personal stories about breaking into the 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 the 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.
Registration is required. Click here to register for this event.
Participating Panelists

Richa Chodha, Healthy Workplace Specialist, City of Brampton

Richa Chodha
Healthy Workplace Specialist – City of Brampton
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.

Lucy Di Santo, Addiction Counsellor, Bellwood Health Services/EHN

Lucy Di Santo
Addiction Counsellor – Bellwood Health Services/EHN
Alumna: BA, Honours, Psychology, 2014
As a person who started my university career in Journalism, I took my intro to psych course at night – and it became my passion. I also was taking music – learning to play bass guitar – and that became an even bigger passion at the time! I took a hiatus from school – and formed an alt-rock band. After a fairy tale story of a record label president hearing our demo – the band I was signed to a US major label deal and boom -I was on tour, recording making videos. School was on hold… During a down time of touring, I was struck by some unexpected issues with mental health. Dedicating myself to my treatment and recovery, going back to school to complete a degree in my first love, psychology, was a definite recovery goal. Today I work in one of the premier treatment centres for addiction and mental Health, Bellwood Health Services/ EHN, where I thrive as a therapist and a person. I get to live my dream through sharing knowledge, experience and hope to those who are on their individual recovery journey. It is truly an honour and part of who I am today.

Harjot Dhaliwal, Health Analyst, Public Health Ontario

Harjot Dhaliwal
Health Analyst – Communicable Diseases and Emergency Preparedness and Response,Public Health Ontario
Alumnus: Masters of HR Management & BBA Honours, 2012
Each day I have the privilege of doing work in which I am able to make a difference in the lives of Ontarians. The journey, though convoluted and filled with curveballs, was rather interesting and worthwhile. I can attest that no matter what life throws at you, you will succeed if you just keep moving forward.

Melinda Machado-Cayley
Geriatric Mental Health Clinician,University Health Network
Alumna: BA, Kinesiology and Health Sciences, 2006
(MSc. O.T) Master of Science in Occupational Therapy 2007-2009
• McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
Master’s research project: Exploring inclusivity in Canadian Occupational Therapy Education: Perspectives of Students across Canada
Diploma in Fitness and Lifestyle Management 2000-2002
• George Brown College
Current Career: Geriatric Mental Health Clinician
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.


Oct 09 2019


2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


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