Aaron (he/him/his) is the Associate Director of Programs and Interventions at HIM (Health Initiative for Men). The programs and interventions at HIM involve a dynamic and eclectic set of holistic health programs and offering including counselling, coaching, groups, training, and customized health promotion that have been designed by and for gay, bi, and queer men (cis and trans) as well as two-spirit, and non-binary people. Aaron is also a Narrative Therapist (Registered Clinical Counsellor) in private practice at Eagle Wellness. Aaron specializes in identity, men’s health issues, gender and body, and the anxieties and trauma that may intersect with queerness.
Alvaro is a psychotherapist and clinical counsellor, and currently acts as the program specialist for mental health at HIM - Health Initiative for Men, where he assists queer men (GBTQI2S+) who look for mental health support, and maintains and develops relevant programming for this population, particularly around emotion regulation and coping skills. He is a Latin queer man, who moved to Vancouver in 2014, and is involved in mental health initiatives in support of queer POC communities in Latin America, particularly in Colombia and Peru.
Dr. A.J. Lowik (they/them) is the Gender Equity Advisor with the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. They are a trans scholar and trans health researcher, having earned their PhD from the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Lowik's work is primarily focused on trans and non-binary people's reproductive lives, health, decision-making and experiences accessing reproductive health care. They also work at the BC Centre on Substance Use, as a member of Dr. Rod Knight's team, on projects concerned with the applicability of alcohol use scales, measurements and guidelines for intersex, trans and non-binary people, and the use of gender- and sex-related variables in alcohol intervention research. Dr. Lowik is a Board Member with the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and an Advisory Member on the MindMap, TestNow and Trans Healthcare in BC projects. Dr. Lowik is a renowned expert in trans-inclusion, having worked with researchers, health care and social service organizations, lawyers and policymakers who are interested in trans-inclusive research and praxis, policy and practice, and legal reform.
Hannah Kia is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Social Work. Her current program of research addresses a variety of issues pertaining to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit, and other sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ2S+) populations. Hannah’s work centres, in particular, on questions related to LGBTQ2S+ health, LGBTQ2S+ aging, as well as social work and other professional practice with sexual and gender minorities. Most recently, she launched a study aimed at examining the constituents of effective social work practice with trans and gender diverse people. Hannah is additionally a co-investigator on various projects investigating issues such as poverty, along with sexual and mental health issues, among diverse LGBTQ2S+ populations.
Before arriving at the School of Social Work, Hannah completed her doctoral training at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, where she investigated subjugation and resistance in older gay men’s health care experiences. This study was funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) doctoral research award.
Prior to starting her academic career, Hannah practiced as a social worker in health care. In this capacity, she gained experience in general acute care and hospice palliative care. She is actively registered as a clinical social worker (RCSW) in British Columbia.
Gwen currently works at AIDS Vancouver providing direct services to LGBTQ2S+ folx, many of whom need access to inclusive and affirming mental health and substance use services. Gwen also coordinates mental health, substance use, and sexual health programming at The Corner (previously Boys R' Us) an evening drop-in for self-identified men, trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit sex workers. They/She recently graduated with a master's in public health and is a registered social worker. As someone with lived experience she/they have a personal commitment to strengthening and developing diverse and inclusive pathways to wellness and recovery.
Trevor is a Research Assistant with the SOGICE research project, where, in collaboration with Dr. Travis Salway, he is working toward identifying equity-oriented strategies to support the health and wellbeing of people who have experienced SOGICE (i.e., “conversion therapy”). Trevor is completing his MSN/MPH degree at UBC, is an Addition Medicine Research Fellow with the BC Centre on Substance Use, and is also a youth mental health nurse. His research pursuits and upcoming doctoral studies seek to advance health equity for people who use drugs – particularly, for 2SLGBTQ+ youth who use drugs.
Ashleigh Rich, MPH, PhD(c) is a social epidemiologist at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia School of Population & Public Health. Her research focuses on sex/gender, health inequities, and LGBTQ2S+ populations, with particular attention to HIV and transgender health. Currently, her research program centres on chronic illness comorbidities for trans people living with HIV in the US and Canada. Ashleigh also works in a number of other areas in sexual and gender minority health research including mental health, structural stigma, minority stress, and methods and measurement issues.
Working in the fields of education and mental health since 1994, Jeff provides counselling to a diverse range of clients of all ages. He specializes in helping LGBTQ2S folks and understands the impact homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism can have on mental health. He works in private practice and sees several clients through the Health Initiative for Men's counselling programs. Jeff's approach is client-centered, strengths-based, and integrative; he draws on a variety of therapy techniques tailored to the person. These include Narrative Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), EMDR - a somatic process for healing trauma, Parts Work Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, and Solution-Focused Therapy. Jeff is a Registered Clinical Social Worker (RCSW) with an office on Broadway near Burrard. He also sees many clients via Doxy, a secure, telemedicine website.
We are grateful to the following funders for supporting our research team: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative, BC SUPPORT Unit, BC SUPPORT Unit Fraser Centre, Andrew Beckerman, and the Victoria Foundation.