Speakers and Workshops

Stay tuned for our 2021 speakers! Check out the list of speakers from last year’s 2019 conference below.

Seminar Speakers

Susan Gapka

susangapkaSusan Gapka is a dedicated campaigner for social justice highlighting
her record on affordable housing, homelessness, mental health, harm
reduction & lesbian, gay, bisexual & trans issues since coming out as
a community leader 20 years ago.
As founder and chair of the Trans Lobby Group Susan helped lead a
lengthy campaign to persuade the Minister of Health to fund Sex Reassignment Surgery for trans people in Ontario, helped change the Vital Statistics Act sex designation so that trans people’s legal documents more accurately reflect their lived identity, and amended the Ontario Human Rights Code to include ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’. Susan also successfully advocated for trans human rights protection at the federal level across Canada.

Ms. Gapka’s seminar will focus on the Toronto Trans Coalition Project as well as needs assessment on social determinants of health.

Irwin Elman


Mr. Elman brings an extensive background as an educator, counsellor, youth worker, program manager, policy developer and child and youth advocate to the position – borrowing from the courage and hope of the young people he served to create innovative approaches for others in Ontario, Jamaica, Hungary and Japan. Prior to becoming the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Irwin was the Manager of the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre in Toronto (PARC), an award-winning organization that supports young people as they leave child welfare care,for more than 20 years. He later served as the Director of Client Service at Central Toronto Youth Services, a children’s mental health centre.He will demonstrate why the child participation is not only a right under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child but a crucial factor in the health of a child.

Dr. Teresa Bennett


Dr. Bennett is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies and assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry and Beha vioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.  Her research focuses on addressing health inequalities by understanding the social factors that influence how children develop.

Danielle Denwood 


Danielle is a Certified Professional Midwife with over 10 years of working in the field of maternal, child and reproductive health as a midwife, researcher and educator. She has experience working in rural settings in Uganda with Mother Health International and Shanti Uganda.

Her seminar will focus on outlining midwifery from a historical perspective, identifying key issues and barriers for childbearing women in accessing care, and midwives in providing quality of care. Her session will give insight into the depth and fortitude of the profession – examining positive and practical solutions to strengthening midwifery globally.

Dr. Janice Du Mont


Dr. Janice Du Mont is a Senior Scientist at the Research Institute of Women’s College Hospital and Professor in Public Health at the University of Toronto, where she is also Director of the Collaborative Specialization in Women’s Health. She was a member of the former Government of Ontario’s Roundtable on Violence Against Women and is a member of the University of Toronto’s Sexual Violence Climate Survey Advisory Board. She has also served as a consultant to the World Health Organization. Her research, which focuses on improving the care provided to diverse survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse, was recently acknowledged by the International Association of Forensic Nurses with the Distinguished Fellow Award. Dr. Du Mont is currently working on developing, implementing and evaluating a comprehensive hospital-based intervention to address the abuse of older women and men.

Dr. Anne Niec


Dr. Niec, MD, FRCPC is a Professor with the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University having completed her Pediatric Residency Training at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto and holds a fellowship in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry from the Children’s Hospital/Judge Baker Children’s Centre, Harvard University, Boston, MA.

Within McMaster she is Director to the Child Advocacy and Assessment Program and the Gender and Health Initiative at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS). She holds an appointment as Faculty Lead, Professionalism to the FHS and provides ombuds and mediation services in this capacity. She was President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada 2016 – 2017. Her interests lie in social justice issues involving gender, violence and in education of learners at all levels.

Workshop Presenters

Kaitlyn Axelrod and Kelsey Johnston on Safer Spaces and Eating Disorders

Kaitlyn Axelrod (MSW, RSW) is the Program and Outreach Coordinator at Sheena’s Place, where she facilitates an Adult Support group and a Young Adult Support group. Kelsey Johnston (MSW, RSW) is the Program Manager at Sheena’s Place, where she facilitates a Support for Binge Eating Disorder group and a Mindfulness-Based Wellness group.

In this interactive workshop, participants will explore themes relating to body image, self-esteem, and weight stigma. Participants will be given the opportunity to build on skills to combat negative body-based messaging and to create healthy and affirming environments.

Tessa McFadzean on Women and Homelessness 

Ms. Kalinowski is the Director of Women’s Services of Good Shepherd Centre of Hamilton. She will be discussing the unique challenges faced by women experiencing homelessness.

Rosemary Aswani, Bothaina Mohammed, and Monica Van Overbeeke on Immigrant Health Issues 

Ms. Aswani is the manager of Frontline Settlement Services. She will be discussing the specific difficulties and strengths of women who are new to Canada.