Past Forum fellows
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Past Forum fellows

Forum Fellows 2016 - 2017


Padmaja Sreeram,

Padmaja is entering her third year in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program, specializing in global health. Padmaja’s interest in global health stemmed from her realization that health disparities within health systems can be addressed by targeting factors that extend beyond a medical setting. She gained a deep appreciation for health policy research and health-systems strengthening in the past year as a Research Assistant at the McMaster Health Forum`s Impact Lab. Her passions lie in encouraging the consideration of socioeconomic factors and multidisciplinary areas of research in shaping health-system frameworks, particularly in regards to women’s health. She hopes to use the Fellowship to better understand the inner workings of health systems to shape upstream interventions to address today’s pressing global challenges.

As an outgoing Queen Elizabeth Scholar, she will be travelling to Sydney, Australia to intern with the New South Wales Ministry of Health. Padmaja will have the opportunity to shadow senior government officials and observe the daily processes within government which will strengthen her knowledge within areas in which she is particularly interested including analyzing the impact of health policy on populations and finding ways to optimize their ability to improve health outcomes.

Malcolm Hartman

Malcolm Hartman,

Malcolm is an undergraduate in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program and a Fellow at the McMaster Health Forum. While at the Forum, Malcolm has contributed to initiatives including synthesizing evidence for evidence briefs and rapid responses, evaluation of the citizen panel program, and co-chairing the Student Leadership Team.

As an outgoing Queen Elizabeth Scholar, he will be travelling to Johannesburg, South Africa to intern at the Africa Centre for Evidence. Malcolm’s research will focus on the implementation of national health insurance and strategies to improve evidence informed decision-making. Malcolm is thrilled to work with the Centre and through this work he hopes to further his understanding of how research evidence is translated to policy decisions.


Forum Fellows 2015 - 2016


Ben Li,

Ben is a third year student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program, specializing in biomedical sciences. His interests in global health developed through his involvement in several student-run organizations at McMaster, where he learned about the widespread inequalities in access to healthcare throughout the globe. Hoping to address this issue, he served on two international medical volunteering trips to underserved regions of Costa Rica and Guatemala, where he witnessed first-hand the struggles of those who could not afford quality healthcare. Back in Canada, he took on a research assistantship with Forum adjunct faculty member Steven Hoffman to analyze transnational health threats and social inequalities. As a Forum Fellow, Ben hopes to continue working towards addressing pressing health challenges at the local, national, and international level. He has a keen interest in analyzing the impact of health policy on populations and finding ways to optimize their ability to improve health outcomes. Ben is excited to work under the mentorship of Forum staff to develop evidence briefs and organize stakeholder dialogues to mobilize policymakers to tackle pressing health issues in an evidence-informed manner.

Matthew Hughsam

Matthew Hughsam,

Matt Hughsam’s work aims to leverage evidence-informed scientific, social, and business innovations to address health disparities among marginalized groups. He has broad experiences working across academia, healthcare organizations, non-profits, and in government, and has led several teams to conduct health advocacy, impact evaluation, and research. 

Matt co-teaches (with Jake Hirsch-Allen) two fourth year undergraduate courses on global health advocacy and governance for McMaster’s Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program. He also co-leads a research team with the Global Strategy Lab at the uOttawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, sits on UNITY Charity’s Programs and Evaluation Committee, and consults for several student-led health advocacy initiatives.

Matt kicked off his global health career assessing the impacts of the 2012 cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program and working to improve refugee access to healthcare in Canada. He has worked extensively with the McMaster Health Forum to support evidence-informed health systems, and with Grand Challenges Canada to measure and communicate the long-term impacts of global health innovations. Matt recently completed a stint as Research Fellow with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in The Presidency of The Republic of South Africa, where his team mapped housing and human settlements research evidence for decision-makers.

Matt holds a BHSc. (Honours) with a specialization in global health from McMaster University.


Forum Fellows 2014 - 2015


Hark Randhawa,

Throughout his student career at McMaster, Hark has pursued his interests in several health topics, including global health epidemiology, public health, nutritional sciences and neurosciences. His role as a Forum Fellow will allow him to continue to gain a deeper understanding of health systems, stakeholders involved with and affected by decisions about health systems, and the many factors that influence decision-making processes related to healthcare. His interest in health systems was advanced during a semester he worked with La Isla Foundation in León, Nicaragua on a public health research project focused on kidney disease among sugarcane workers in a small community. He witnessed firsthand how a health crisis affects a population. In addition to working on evidence briefs to inform stakeholders, during his term as a Forum Fellow, Hark is also the co-chair of the Forum’s student subcommittee, and will collaborate with other organizations in the McMaster and Hamilton communities to help engage students in meaningful discussions about pressing healthcare challenges. He is in his final year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences program, with a specialization in global health.

Mathura Mahendren,

Mathura has developed a keen interest in the development and functioning of health systems both locally and around the world, and will use her term as a Forum Fellow to advance her knowledge of agenda-setting and decision-making related to healthcare. Her involvement in the development of evidence briefs and rapid syntheses to inform various levels of stakeholders in healthcare will advance her understanding of health systems, and prepare her for a career in which she hopes to work to bring about meaningful change in health systems. She is in her fourth year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences program, with a specialization in global health. Her interest in health systems in low-income countries was fostered during a semester spent in Mzuzu, Malawi, where she worked with the local non-governmental organization Ungwero, to facilitate discussions among community groups, and helped conduct a survey gauging students’ understanding of HIV transmission and prevention. Mathura is also working on a research project that is analyzing post-crisis communications by groups such as the World Health Organization.


Forum Fellows 2013 - 2014


Zain Rizvi,

Zain’s primary academic interests are based at the intersection of health policy, human rights and law. As a Forum fellow, he hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the research-to-policy process and the underlying complexities involved in evidence-informed decision making. He has worked as a research assistant on numerous projects related to health systems, international law and global governance. Building off these experiences, Zain currently serves as a research analyst for Incentives for Global Health, a non-governmental organization (NGO) devoted to improving global access to medicines through the Health Impact Fund proposal. He also coordinates the child sponsorship program for True Vision Ghana, a grassroots Ghanaian NGO that works with children affected by HIV/AIDS. Zain is completing his final year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program with a global health specialization. He plans to eventually become a lawyer. For his thesis, Zain is undertaking an empirical study that examines the relationship between the legal recognition of the right to health and health system outcomes.

Cheryl Young,

Cheryl is passionate about understanding the social determinants of health in both rural and urban communities worldwide. As part of her studies in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program, she spent one semester in rural northern India working with local social workers to promote maternal and reproductive health awareness, gender equality, and access to healthcare for marginalized populations. Cheryl has also worked at St. Michael Hospital’s Centre for Research in Inner City Health, where she pursued epidemiological research projects to better understand the health outcomes of Canada's immigrant populations. In Hamilton, she extends her academic interests to her community work with various at-risk populations. As a Forum Fellow, Cheryl plans to advance her experience and knowledge in using innovative and sustainable initiatives to bring about social change. She is also the co-chair of the Forum’s student subcommittee, and will help lead events to engage students in discourse on pressing health challenges. Cheryl is in her final year of the B.H.Sc. program, specializing in global health. She is completing a thesis on local perceptions of malaria-like symptoms in rural Zambia.


Forum Fellows 2012 - 2013


Emily Milko,

Emily’s particular research interests are in the field of chronic disease prevention and management on a national and global scale. Her interest is partially based on her personal experience with diabetes, and in spring 2011 she founded the support group All Things Diabetes, to facilitate collaboration and discussion between adults with Type 1 diabetes. She has also been a team leader with the McMaster chapter of Leave the Pack Behind, which allowed her to experience the challenges and intricacies of health promotion and disease prevention related to smoking cessation. In her role as a Forum Fellow, Emily helped to synthesize research evidence for a stakeholder dialogue on chronic disease management. Emily is also interested in the intersection of social media and health, and usee her knowledge of community building with social media to expand online engagement between the student subcommittee and the McMaster community and beyond, via the Forum’s student-led blog and Twitter. In her role as co-chair of the student subcommittee, Emily focused on producing tangible outcomes for online dissemination from student-led events. She has completed the Honours Arts and Science program with a minor in biology, and is now attending medical school at McMaster.

Sherna Tamboly,

Sherna’s interest in the complexities of health systems began at an early age, when her family helped operate a local charitable hospital in India that relied on limited resources. Her studies in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at McMaster, with a specialization in global health, has given her the opportunity to investigate theoretical and practical approaches to addressing challenges related to the delivery of healthcare. During the summer of 2012, she spent time in India working with the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development, on projects that promote sustainable and comprehensive rural development in local villages. Through her role as a Forum Fellow, she pursued her interest in understanding how research evidence can help decision-makers effectively address pressing health issues, and used her experience in coordinating student activities to aid in events planned by the student subcommittee. Sherna has also been active in several other student groups on campus, including the Health Sciences Outreach Club, the Bachelor of Health Sciences Society and the McMaster Student Union Teaching Awards Committee.


Forum Fellows 2011 - 2012


Ariela Rozenek,

Ariela’s principal interests include the use of research evidence to improve the healthcare provided to individuals and communities. Her semester of field work in a rural community in Ghana fostered a unique appreciation for the need for evidence-informed policymaking and implementation. As a Forum Fellow, Ariela plans to develop a sound understanding of the intricacies involved in shaping health policy, and will explore the use of social media vehicles to tap into the potential of the student community in helping to advance the Forum’s work in addressing health policy challenges. She is a fourth-year student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program. She previously worked on a pediatric neurology study at McMaster Children’s Hospital, to further her understanding of the impact of quality of life research on health care, before deciding to specialize in global health studies.

Harrison Niznick,

Harrison’s interest in health policy, international development, and the health impacts of climate change stems from his work in Costa Rica, Kenya, Panama and Tanzania. He hopes to channel these interests as a Forum Fellow by promoting student discussion and debate about the future of Canadian healthcare, improving Canadian Aboriginal health systems, and overcoming water-borne disease in developing countries. He also plans to advance his interest in mediation and policy development by contributing to the planning of a series of stakeholder dialogues. Harrison is in the fourth year of the Arts and Science (Honours) program with a specialization in economics. He is writing his thesis in health economics. He served as events coordinator of the McMaster Health Forum’s Student Subcommittee in 2010-2011, helping to organize workshops, a global health speaker series, and a debate on the changing role of evidence-based medicine. Harrison founded the McMaster chapter of Net Impact, a San Francisco based NGO focusing on sustainable-business, and has pursued clinical research on HIV/AIDS transmitted drug resistance. 


Forum Fellows 2011

A unique opportunity provided by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research - which is housed withing the World Health Organization office in Geneva, Switzerland - resulted in two additional Forum Fellowships being awarded mid-year in 2011.


Justin Neves,

Justin is pursuing a specialization in global health through his studies at McMaster, and has a particular interest in public health issues. He is in his third year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program, and undertaking field work in Kenya for the fall semester. He is working to advance his knowledge on the complexities of access to healthcare, which includes looking at the social, economical and cultural factors that influence whether and how citizens access healthcare. Justin’s experience as a fellow and his role on the Forum’s student subcommittee has provided valuable insight into the organization of various health systems, including health financing, human resource development and other key factors that affect health policy and its implementation. He is also active with the McMaster Student Union.

Margherita Cina,

Margherita, a third-year student in the Arts and Science program at McMaster, is focusing her academic interests on knowledge translation and the application of research findings to create effective policies to improve population health. She began her Forum fellowship with a two-month internship at the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, which is housed within the World Health Organization office in Geneva, Switzerland. She worked on a scoping review to identify and provide a preliminary synthesis of what is known about mentorship programs for policymakers. Margherita previously worked at the Program in Policy Decision-making, assisting with a research project evaluating knowledge translation platforms in low- and middle-income countries. She is now contributing to the work of the Forum in various capacities.


Forum Fellows 2010 - 2011


Ahmad AlKhatib,

During his fellowship, Ahmad focused on developing his understanding of the role of knowledge translation (KT) practices in facilitating the uptake of health systems evidence by policymakers at both regional and national levels. In particular, Ahmad was involved in the evidence synthesis and planning for two stakeholder dialogues, on enhancing patient transitions from treatment in regional cancer centers and on addressing health and emerging global issues in Canada. As part of his fellowship, Ahmad completed an internship at the World Health Organization in the Department of Knowledge Management and Sharing, where he participated in research on the role of KT strategies in facilitating the uptake of implementation research by policymakers in low- and middle-income countries. This work was published in the journal of Health Research Policy and Systems. Ahmad is now completing his medical education at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University. He hopes to use the KT knowledge and skills acquired during his fellowship to aid in current efforts to bridge gaps between evidence and medical practice.

Theresa Tang,

With a keen interest in both healthcare and business, Theresa will use her experience as a Forum Fellow to pursue an understanding of unmet needs in the healthcare system, consider the future of healthcare, and engage in activities to foster innovative solutions to health challenges. As a fourth year student of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program, and as a summer employee with the McMaster Health Forum, Theresa has gained insight into many health-focused initiatives while emphasizing collaborative problem solving. Last summer, she travelled to Morocco to volunteer in the area of improving rural education in small villages, which intensified her desire to learn more about improving healthcare systems internationally. Theresa also has a strong interest in electronic communication, and will use her experience in managing projects and bringing ideas to fruition, to enhance her learning opportunities, particularly in regards to electronic health records. She recently developed an integrated academic event communications system for McMaster University, where she called on her passion for networking to successfully bring together the support of key stakeholders within the University. As a Forum Fellow she will be involved in synthesizing research evidence that can inform deliberations and decision-making on particular issues by healthcare system stakeholders.


Forum Fellows 2009 - 2010


Ameya Bopardikar,

Ameya's interests lie in supporting the development of tools for knowledge translation, and he has a wide variety of health-related experiences from many international contexts. As a Forum Fellow he was involved in developing an issue brief for a stakeholder dialogue on the engagement of civil society organizations in health systems. Ameya continued his international experience at the World Health Organization with the Evidence-Informed Policy Networks (EVIPNet) program, where he was involved with the development of a new relationship between EVIPNet and the Micronutrition department. After graduating from McMaster University’s Bachelor of Health Sciences program, Ameya entered the medical school at the University of Toronto, and is involved in health systems as a LEAD Scholar. He has worked on projects that support models of care for the aging population in Ontario, and has worked with the University Health Network – Mount Sinai Hospital’s Division of Geriatrics, in understanding models of emergency avoidance, and developing and testing tools for family physicians to address the needs of frail homebound adults. More recently, he was involved with the Centre for Health Market Innovations in developing their framework for performance measurement in health.

Ben McCutchen,

Having grown up in rural Ontario, Ben's research interests include the impact of policies aimed at improving primary healthcare in rural and remote areas. As a Forum Fellow, during his final year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences program, Ben was involved in the preparation of evidence and issue briefs for stakeholder dialogues on chronic pain management and on the involvement of civil society in supporting research use in health systems. He also did an internship at the World Health Organization in Geneva, where he was involved with the monitoring, evaluation and strategic planning for EVIPnet, a social and collaborative network that promotes the systematic use of health research evidence in policymaking. Now completing his final year at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, his current research interests include the role of Family Health Teams in preventing urgent care usage, and the role of risk assessment in outpatient psychiatric populations.


Forum Fellows 2009


Ali Hamandi,

Ali's research interests lie in the areas of knowledge transfer in policymaking processes and refugee heath. Under the supervision of John N. Lavis, Ali was involved in a scoping study of approaches to brokering knowledge and research information. As his interest in public health grew, Ali pursued an internship at the World Health Organization's Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean Region in Cairo, Egypt. As an intern, Ali's work was mostly dedicated towards the expansion of WHO's Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) to the Middle East. Ali also acts as a legal advisor to refugee groups in North Africa, and in his spare time he enjoys running and contemporary art. Ali is completing his final year of the B.H.Sc. Program at McMaster University.

Andrew Cheung,

As a forum fellow, Andrew Cheung worked with John Lavis in evaluating the Evidence-Informed Policy Networks (EVIPNet), an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO). During his internship at WHO, he worked with the EVIPNet team to map the context of EVIPNet's African jurisdictions and assisted in designing an e-learning module on knowledge-translation for WHO personnel. After obtaining a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at McMaster University, Andrew began studying towards a medical degree at the University of Ottawa. He is now in his final year of the program. In Ottawa, he has been involved in thrombosis and patient safety/quality improvement research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Recently, he has started working on 2 Minute Medicine (, a new collaborative effort involving medical students from across North America with the goal of providing detailed summaries of the latest, high-impact health research.


Lindsay Fleming,

Lindsay, a Forum/CHEPA fellow, is in her fourth year of the B.H.Sc. (Hons) program at McMaster University with a minor in French. Under the supervision of John Lavis, Lindsay assisted in the development of the framework for the Forum's exciting simulations course, which will be offered to fourth year students in the winter of 2010. She has completed an internship at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, working in the Research Unit of the Health Systems Planning and Research Branch. As an intern, she worked on developing a comprehensive contact database of the ministry's major stakeholders, which will allow policymakers to retrieve information about Canadian researchers' areas of expertise. Once completed, this database will encourage and further enable evidence-supported policymaking. Lindsay is hoping to pursue international health and governance in her future educational endeavours.

Tyler Law,

Tyler Law's research interests include health policy and health systems organization, knowledge translation and global health. He is currently a second year medical student at Queen's University, having recently completed a B.H.Sc. at McMaster. He worked as an intern at WHO headquarters in Geneva, at the Alliance for Health Systems Research. Through contacts he met there, he went on to complete another internship at the UK Department of Health in London. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the National Health Science Students' Association (NaHSSA), and is focused on completing his medical studies.


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