Meet the Current Cohort

Clara Back (she/her)

Clara is in her last year of a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences concentrating in public health and data. Clara joined the semester in dialogue to learn from experts and to put into practice the concepts and knowledge explored throughout her degree. She is passionate about health system delivery, population-based prevention initiatives and more effective health policies.  In her free time, she enjoys being outside including hiking, biking and skiing.

Leah Bains (she/her)

Leah is currently in her final semester of a Bachelor of Arts in Health Sciences. She is a second-generation Canadian of South Asian descent and is proud fulfill the wish of her grandfather by being the final grandchild in her family to receive a university education. Leah has keen interests in nutrition, food systems, community interventions, and public health. She hopes to incorporate these interests into her future career path. She is currently deciding between continuing her education in either naturopathy or nursing in the public health sector. Leah currently spends her time volunteering at a local hospital in the ICU ward as well as taking on a leadership role at SFU as a peer mentor to incoming Health Science students. Through these experiences she has fostered genuine connections in the health care sector and hopes to continue her demonstration of compassion and kindness throughout her future endeavours.

Clemance Bisamu (she/her)

Clemance is a first-generation Canadian with Rwandese heritage. Clemance moved to Canada in the fall of 2019 and have since resided in British Columbia. The anticipation of the semester in the Dialogue program was exhilarating for Clemance. The topic of the future of healthcare, coupled with the unique class format, instantly piqued her interest. What sets this semester apart from Clemance's previous experiences at SFU is its emphasis on active classroom engagement. The thematic focus on distinguishing between complex and complicated aspects, particularly within the healthcare domain, has enriched her perspective. It aligns with Clemance's long-term goal of pursuing a career in medicine, as it has equipped her with valuable knowledge and insights into the healthcare system. Beyond the academic sphere, Clemance enjoys listening to music and working out, and she have recently started hiking. These interests have brought new opportunities for connection and personal skill development.

Hemanshu Dave (he/him)

Hemanshu is a 5th year Health Sciences student. Hemanshu was born in India and grew up in Kenya before his family immigrated to Canada in 2013, and he has dreams as vast as the horizons he has experienced and lived. Hemanshu has always been extremely passionate about helping other people and improving their happiness, and this Semester in Dialogue has given him a profound sense of purpose as to what he needs to do as someone that is going into the healthcare field and how to navigate the future of it. Every step Hemanshu takes on his journey is a testament to his dedication to the betterment of others, and Hemanshu is driven by empathy in all he does. Hemanshu dreams of wearing the white coat of a pediatrician one day, and aspires to heal, comfort, and make a difference in every life that he comes into contact with.

Liv Hansen (she/her)

Liv is in her final semester of her BA in Health Sciences program here at SFU. Currently, she is also in her "off" semester from KPU School of Nursing where she is pursuing a BScN to become a Registered Nurse. As a future nurse, she believes that it is important to have awareness of the current issues and barriers that many individuals and communities are facing within the current healthcare system. In turn, she hopes that it will allow her to better advocate for patients in order to positively impact their experiences during their most vulnerable times. Liv hopes to advance her practice in the future by specializing in maternity, pediatric, or emergency care. In her free time, you can find her going for runs, shopping, travelling, trying new breweries, or being out on the water.

Isma Ishtiaq (she/her)

Isma is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Health Sciences at SFU. Isma is excited to be participating in the Semester in Dialogue program, which has provided her with the opportunity to build strong connections with her peers and healthcare industry leaders. This course has ignited Isma's passion for exploring the potential of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare and its ability to reshape patient-doctor interactions from transactional to relational. Furthermore, this course has also given Isma the tools to think critically, and tackle complex healthcare challenges through systems thinking and considering innovative, multidisciplinary approaches. In the future, Isma hopes to make a positive impact on the healthcare system. Imsa also hope to witness the collective growth of the class, as they shape their roles as potential future healthcare professionals and leaders!

Joe Lee (they/them)

Joe is a fourth year Health Science student with a concentration in Population Health and Quantitative Analysis with a minor in Psychology. They’re a second generation immigrant with parents from Hong Kong and Guangzhou and have lived in Richmond their whole life. Most of their studies focus on improving the health of Canadians through health policy, policy development, and public health prevention efforts. They’re passionate about evaluating the complex problems that many people are experiencing in the healthcare system and improving access to care for Canadians. Outside of class Joe enjoys challenging and scenic hikes to enjoy the journey and the destination. Goals he has for the future is to establish a career in health policy and promote healthy living for Canadians. They hope that by taking Semester in Dialogue they can practice facilitating events for public engagement and promoting collaboration with team members.

Devin McCrae (he/him)

Devin is a 5th-year Behavioral Neuroscience student at SFU, who also works as a Peer Cousin at ISC and as an RA at Tom Spalek's Laboratory of Attention Memory and Perception. Devin's major has primarily focused on the mechanistic aspects of physiology and psychology, so this year’s offering of SiD was an excellent opportunity for him to do a deep dive into some of the most wicked issues in healthcare. As an aspiring physician, SiD has enriched his understanding of healthcare complexities and policy. Devin is  particularly intrigued by the integration of technology into patient-centered care. Beyond academics, Devin enjoys trail running, hiking, swimming, and volunteering as a wrestling coach.

Jasmine Sall (she/her)

Jasmine is a SFU undergraduate student pursuing a BSc degree in Health Sciences. When Jasmine heard about this course, she knew it was the perfect opportunity to dive deeper into the complexities of the healthcare system. As someone who wants to work as a project manager/coordinator and is interested in timely access, equitable access, and person-centered healthcare, the multifaceted structure of this course allows her to learn about relevant topics and transferrable skills. This course enables an environment where Jasmine can engage with talented peers and guests of various healthcare backgrounds, as well as practice teamwork, public speaking, and project management skills. Jasmine is also very happy about the beautiful views outside the Vancouver classroom!

Luigi Sammarelli (he/him)

Luigi is a 4th year Health Science Student in the concentration of Public Health and Data. Family was a pillar of Luigi's childhood growing up as he has two older brothers with whom he shares Italian and Filipino heritage. Outside of academics Luigi works as an emergency medical responder for BCEHS, a medical office assistant for a walk-in and urgent care clinic, and a high school science tutor. Luigi is a sports lover with a passion for boxing and wrestling where he has competed competitively. Luigi's aspirations for the future include pursuing a medical education in Canada. 

Luigi came into the semester in dialogue with no expectations. To say that this has been his most immersive learning experience has been an understatement. With new perceptions from various esteemed guests and being exposed to unique approaches, timeless and complex healthcare issues appear solvable.

Priya Toor (she/her)

Priya Toor is in her last semester of completing her Bachelors in Health Sciences at SFU. As a South Asian woman residing in the Lower Mainland, Priya has grown up witnessing inequities within healthcare towards minorities and rural communities. With her passions rooted in creating accessible and equitable care, Priya aspires to be in a position within healthcare where she can make change and better the lives of patients as well as providers. With her experiences in Semester in Dialogue, Priya hopes to gain the tools and insight to re-write the narrative of what healthcare looks like tomorrow.

Christiana Stebbings (she/her)

Christiana, a resident of North Vancouver, enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as exploring the natural beauty of her home through hikes. Her four years working as a caregiver ignited her passion for elderly care and drove her to advocate for better healthcare quality and accessibility, spurred by witnessing firsthand the impact of healthcare system deficiencies on real people. As she approaches the final year of her bachelor’s in health science, Christiana eagerly anticipates a career dedicated to fostering public policy change. Her focus includes active public engagement, open dialogues, and health promotion initiatives, all aimed at dismantling power imbalances and removing barriers hindering essential healthcare reforms.

Rachelle Tri (she/her)

Rachelle is a 2nd year HSCI major concentrating in public health and data. Rachelle's parents immigrated to Canada as war refugees after fleeing Vietnam and Rachelle and her two older siblings grew up here in Surrey. Rachelle is especially interested in the importance of representation in healthcare since she believes diverse representation will better serve the well-being of our communities. 

Rachelle was drawn to this course because it offers a platform to engage with various perspectives and connect with others through their personal life experiences. Rachelle believes that we will be able to make real changes to our healthcare system for the better through our interactions and collaborations. Overall, taking part in a course that promotes open dialogue, relationship building, and actively addressing community issues is an incredible opportunity that she hope more students will take part in!

Khoa Vo (he/him)

I am a 5th-year SFU student taking a Bachelor of Arts in Health Science.  When I was four, I immigrated to Canada and have lived on the North Shore since then.  Outside of my studies, I like to enjoy our amazing nature in BC, spend time with friends and family, and travel to see family abroad.  Learning wise, I am most passionate about the process of considering the complexities and intersectional components of issues and how to solve them in collaboration and dialogue.  The mechanisms in which change is made is a very poignant effort currently in our rapidly-paced and evolving times, ultimately being a driving factor behind my excitement for this semester in dialogue.

Perusi Wanyancha

Perusi Wanyancha is a Tanzanian international student majoring in Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. Perusi loves listening to music and one of their favorite artists is Beyonce. Perusi was looking forward to attending her concert here in Vancouver, and it certainly did not disappoint. Perusi is also a food connoisseur and enjoys trying out different food spots from various cuisines. Vancouver is the perfect place to explore the variety of cuisines it offers. Perusi's introverted nature finds comfort in creative ways of expression, and singing in the shower has been the most effective form of meditation. Exploring different perfumeries brings Perusi joy and appreciation for the arts through aromas, who knows? Maybe one day Perusi might create a masterpiece.

Noor Zehry (she/her)

Noor is a fourth-year Health Science student specializing in public health and data. This semester is focused on exploring the future of healthcare, a topic that deeply resonates with Noor. Noor's diverse background adds a unique dimension to her perspective, as she was born in Egypt and raised in both Dubai and Canada, which offers her a rich tapestry of experiences and viewpoints of the different healthcare systems that she have encountered. Noor is very excited about her experience in the semester in dialogue due to its interactive nature that emphasizes dialogue and creates a distinctive and invigorating dynamic that places both students and instructors on an equal footing, which I find refreshing and unique. This collaborative environment aligns perfectly with Noor's passion for data-driven public health solutions. Noor believes that through open and honest discussions, we can unearth groundbreaking ideas that will shape the future of healthcare. Together, Noor believes we can create a healthier and more inclusive future for all.