MEET THE TEAM:
Our research program is run by a small group of highly dedicated women who accomplish a considerable amount of work. They consult with community, write grants and reports, coordinate with peers and seek creative way to share knowledge with the women we serve. They always find the time to show up at community events in support of collective work and harness the energy to advocate for better policies from roundtables to rallies.
Please get in touch with us for all your research related questions.
MAINLINE: 416 593 7655
Wangari Tharao, Director of Research and Programs
Wangari Tharao is the Director of Research and Programs at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (WHIWH), a community health centre that provides primary healthcare services for African, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian women in Toronto and surrounding areas. WHIWH research program links knowledge generation, service delivery and policy as a continuum and its one of the largest programs focusing on the research needs of racialized women in Canada. Wangari is also a recognized community-based researcher, researching HIV issues relevant to women living in Canada who have migrated from countries with generalized HIV epidemics, mainly from Africa and the Caribbean to support effective actions on HIV.
Wangari is also a strong HIV advocate and has co-founded several local, provincial, national and international networks including, the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO), the Canadian HIV/AIDS Black, African and Caribbean Network (CHABAC) and the African and Black Diaspora Global Network on HIV and AIDS (ABDGN) to support Black populations living in Canada and other developed countries mount effective responses to HIV/AIDS. She is currently one of the two North American representatives on the NGO Delegation of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB).
Marvelous Muchenje, Community Health Coordinator
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Marvelous Muchenje is currently the Case Manager at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, Community Health Centre in Toronto. Marvelous is an outspoken HIV activist for the prevention, education and compassionate treatment of people living and affected by HIV. With her humor, she battles tirelessly for both public recognition and respect, giving thousands of women a voice in the fight against stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV. She believes in human potential and that if HIV-positive women are given the right nurturing and support they not only become good at what they are hired to do, but they can even achieve greatness, resulting in meaningful involvement of women living with HIV/AIDS. Diagnosed with HIV in 1995, she continues to participate passionately in the HIV movement, being the voice of the voiceless.
Denese Frans, Research Coordinator, Stigma Reduction Intervention
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Denese Frans works as the Research Coordinator for the Stigma Reduction Intervention at Women's Health in Women's Hands CHC. She has also worked as the Community Health Worker where she coordinated HIV prevention projects serving African, Caribbean and Black women in Toronto. She is currently a member of the Toronto Urban Health Fund Review Panel (2018) and a Master of Public Health Candidate (2020) at the University of Waterloo. She has served as a Board member for the Black Health Alliance, which looks to reduce the racial disparities in health outcomes and promote health and well-being for people from the diverse Black communities in Canada. She has a number of years of experience in health promotion, program evaluation, and community-based research both in Toronto and overseas with the Organization for Social Services for AIDS (OSSA), a USAID funded agency in Ethiopia.
Muna Aden, Research Coordinator
Muna Aden is a research coordinator and consultant based in Toronto. She is a member of a provincial research team investigating the prevalence of HIV and associated factors among key populations in addition to the prevention transmission and the engagement of newly diagnosed people into care. As a research consultant her work focuses on implementation sciences and the evaluation of clinical and community based interventions. She is a community advisory board member of the “Because She Cares” project and is also a mentor to research trainees. Muna regularly engages in capacity building/capacity sharing initiatives and strives for the greater representation and meaningful involvement of community members in research.
Anisha Garga, Research Nurse
Anisha is a Registered Nurse currently completing her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Waterloo. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences from McMaster University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Nipissing University. She recently joined the WHIWH team and previously worked as an Integration Specialist at a multi-site hospital, implementing corporate projects. Her prior experience as Public Health Nurse in maternal and infant health fostered her interest in women’s health. As a Research Nurse at WHIWH, Anisha is working on studies that aim to better understand how vaginal health can be optimized. In her spare time, Anisha enjoys drinking coffee, travelling, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.
Amma Gyamfowa, Young Black Women’s Mentorship Coordinator
Amma Gyamfowa is a Ghanaian-Canadian feminist, and social justice advocate. Engaged in the field of social work for last 6 years, her work has been rooted in holistically supporting women and queer-centered communities within the Greater Toronto Area. Amma holds a Master of Social Work from Ryerson University, and leads Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (CHC) netWORKING: Young Black Women’s Mentorship Project.
Entisar Yusuf, FLOURISH Project Coordinator
Communities Collaborating to Address FGM/C
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Entisar is a Nurse-Midwife by training with experience in clinical, academic and community settings for over twenty years in various organizations. She Joined WHIWH as program Coordinator for FLOURISH: Communities Collaborating to Address Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) which is a collaborative community-based project that aims to engage, empower and support peoples affected by FGM/C through arts-based workshops and advocacy initiatives. The project aims to improve access to dignified and appropriate health care by providing training and tools for health care and media professionals on FGM/C. Entisar is multilingual and speaks, English, Somali, Oromo, Amharic, Harari and Basic Arabic.
Hella-Genet Feshaye, Peer-Driven Point of Care Testing Coordinator
Hella-Genet Feshaye is the Peer-Driven Point of Care Testing Coordinator at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. Graduating from the University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus with an Honours Bachelor of Science, Hella picked up her strong interest in the social determinants of health within her final year double majoring in Psychology and Health Studies. At the time she was also volunteering with Women’s Health in Women’s Hands as a Community Health Ambassador aboard the Know Your Status Project. Since graduation, Hella has also been recruited as an Peer Research Associate, HIV Point of Care Tester and a Study Interviewer. Hella migrated to Toronto with her parents as a toddler, leaving behind extended family, friends and 13 months of sunshine. When she’s not at work, she’s usually either scouting out a good read, local coffee shops or YouTube tutorials on basically anything.
Growing up in the northwest end of Toronto, she found the familiar feeling of warmth and community in the neighbourhood she’s called home for most of her years. Her experiences as an immigrant and woman of colour like many of her peers, has influenced her efforts and eventual triumphs. They are what contribute to her interest in working with marginalized populations, in hopes of bringing forward the voices and interests of these communities.