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Global Health Student Podcast Series

The world’s biggest problems need changemakers – ones from different disciplines, working together to come up with solutions.

Current global health challenges are multiple and complex, from the rising burden of disease to the climate crisis to health disparities. These are the same challenges impacting our local communities. The Global Health Collective is a podcast series created to explore some of these issues and the research and work being done in response.

With a focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this podcast invites students, faculty, staff, and global health changemakers from the broader community to share their stories about the differences they’re making towards a more sustainable, brighter world.

Shania Bhopa
Shania Bhopa

Meet the Host

Shania Bhopa is a current McMaster Global Health graduate student who is passionate about health communications and knowledge translation.

She is the founder and executive director of The Canadian Courage Project, a GTA based non-profit organization striving to assist homeless youth with animal companions.

She is also an educator, with a micro-credential to teach children and young people about the Sustainable Development Goals.

Shania spends her free time learning about mental health and health promotion and is currently writing a wellness book with an aim to help women with their health and well-being.

SEASON THREE: International Collaboration and Virtual Mobility

With pandemic-related travel restrictions, the 2021 mobility options pivoted to online and virtual.  Hear from graduate students Evelyne Onari, Alison Tidmarsh, and Yordan Stoyanov about their experience in the virtual mobility options at Maastricht University and Universidad del Rosario.

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You can also watch a short video of the episode here 

Have you ever wondered what it is like starting a project or a non-profit organization .. during a pandemic! Well look no further, we present to you a conversation between 4 young founders (and full-time students) on how they went from an idea to a full-blown operating organization.

Shania Bhopa – Founder of The Canadian Courage Project sits down with Luke Kyne; Founder of the Hamilton Homeless Hub, Sukhmeet Sachal founder of the Sikh Health Foundation, and Adamo Donovan founder of PPE portraits Canada.

This conversation is created to inspire, empower and showcase the details behind starting an organization and balancing life as students.

Being the change they wish to see and hope to see you be a part of as well.

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This episode is all about female empowerment, ecology, and environmental health.

Welcoming Avanti Wadugodapitiya an Ecologist from Colombo, Sri Lanka, and currently works at the Department of Health, Ethics and Society at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

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Avanti Wadugodapitiya works on the Global Health programme at Maastricht University. She is also an alumna of the programme and participated in the Learning Symposium in 2015. She is originally from Sri Lanka, but is currently based in the Netherlands.

Welcoming Dr. Arathi Rao a phenomenal Global Health Leader and Coordinator for the MPH Program, Department of Health Policy and the Coordinator for the Manipal Health Literacy Unit at PSPH, MAHE, Manipal.

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Arathi Rao is the program co-ordinator for the Masters in Public Health (MPH) program in the Department of Public Health, Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

Her roles and responsibilites include teaching concepts of community and public health to undergraduate medical students (MMMC) & Master’s degree in Public Health (Manipal Academy of Higher Education), facilitating and teaching students from international universities, and co-ordinating student research and field exposure trips to various public health organizations.

Season Two

Karen Mossman, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, and Vice President Research at McMaster University, Canada.  She completed her undergraduate Honors BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Guelph in 1992, her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1997 and her Post-doctoral Fellowship in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in 2001, both at the University of Alberta. Dr. Mossman is the recipient of the Milstein Young Investigator Award and Christina Fleischmann Award from the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research. Dr. Mossman has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has contributed as author and editor to numerous books, including virology textbooks.

Dr. Mossman joined McMaster University in July of 2001, with a research focus on understanding the interactions between viruses and their hosts, both in normal healthy cells and in cancer cells, with the goal of developing novel therapy approaches for emerging viral infections and cancer. These studies of virus-host interactions led to the development of herpesvirus-based oncolytic viruses for cancer immunotherapy. She is currently working with industry to develop Bovine herpesvirus type I as a clinical oncolytic virus vector.  More recently, her group helped isolate SARS-CoV-2 from Canadian patients and is actively working on COVID-related studies.  Dr. Mossman currently serves on the Board of Mitacs, the Board of McMaster HealthLabs, as co-chair of the Council of Ontario Universities COVID task force and as Chair of the Board of the McMaster Innovation Park.

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Hayley Mundeva is the Founder and CEO of ThriveHire, an online career and community platform for the global health industry. Before this, Hayley worked on Global Health research projects in Tanzania, Malawi and Ethiopia and earned 2 degrees in Global Health. Despite starting her career in research, Hayley was surprised to find little information on ways to launch and develop a GlobalHealth career. This is what sparked her interest in founding ThriveHire. Since then, Hayley and her team have formed partnerships with universities and global health organizations including the Red Cross, theClinton Health Access Initiative, and the World Bank’s Global Financing Facility. Hayley is currently based in Rwanda where she is spearheading partnerships with local and international organizations.

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Dr. Sonia Anand is the Associate Chair, Equity, and Diversity, Department of Medicine and Director, Population Genomics Program, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  Dr. Sonia Anand was only 33 years old when she landed the Eli Lilly Canada-May Cohen Chair in Women’s Health. Although her present research involves the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular and peripheral vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, she is most recognized for her research on women’s health issues, particularly in the area of cardiovascular disease. The care and treatment of women’s cardiovascular disease, unique in its latent and non-specific symptoms, must differ from the standard employed for men to be successful, and Dr. Anand’s research is innovative in making this a priority.

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Ahmad Firas Khalid is a medical doctor and a Ph.D. graduate from the Health Policy Ph.D. at McMaster University, having been supervised by Dr. John Lavis. Previously, Firas worked as a health policy researcher at the Research Unit on Humanitarian Stakes and Practices (UREPH) at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Geneva, Switzerland. He also worked in the Department of Child and Maternal Health at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Firas consulted on a number of health policy projects for the department of information, evidence, and research department in the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean and for Health Canada in Ottawa. Firas has expertise in medicine, education, health policy, knowledge translation, and health emergencies working with relief and intergovernmental organizations. Currently, Firas lectures at McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences.

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Brighton Kaoma, is a young health activist, MPA graduate from Columbia University with a vast track record in working at the intersection of sustainable development, business development, corporate sustainability,  He is has worked in communication for development, and youth development in over 20 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, and America. Brighton has been awarded and recognized by President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, Angela Merkel, WWF International President, UN Environment, and Junior Chamber International (Osaka, Japan).

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Mika Tan has been working with youth in the environmental scene for the past decade. Her expertise lies in youth empowerment, urban biodiversity, systems thinking, capacity building, public speaking, and hosting and facilitation. Currently, she is the Coordinator of the ASEAN Youth Biodiversity Programme (AYBP) at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, as well as the Co-Founder of the Urban Biodiversity Hub (UBHub). As AYBP Coordinator, Mika works with the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) to craft training and mentorship programmes, forge connections to bridge the policy-implementation gap, and empower youth in the ASEAN region to fight biodiversity loss. As Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Urban Biodiversity Hub (, Mika leads an international team of professional collaborators, building partnerships to enable local governments to plan with nature. An interdisciplinary thinker, Mika holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Conservation Biology) from Middlebury College, USA, and is an inaugural Middlebury Social Entrepreneurship Fellow and a Loke Cheng-Kim Scholar.

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Claire Bodkin is a queer femme, community organizer, and resident physician in Family Medicine at McMaster University. She is a white settler living on the territory of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee nations covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum treaty. As a family doctor-in-training, her clinical and research interests are the care of people who use drugs, people who experience incarceration, and people who are queer and trans. She is a co-organizer with Hamilton Social Medicine Response Team (known as HAMSMaRT), who has been working with Hamilton’s harm reduction group Keeping Six to support the needs of people who are homeless and people who use drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic. She looks up to her Mom, her sister, and all of the rad community organizers, elders, and youth working towards collective freedom and health.

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Season One

Bonny Ibhawoh is Professor and Senator William McMaster Chair in Global Human Rights at McMaster University, Canada. He teaches in the Department of History and the Centre for Peace Studies. He is currently the Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice at McMaster University.

He Chairs the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. He has taught in Universities in Africa, Europe and North America.

He previously worked as a Research Fellow at the Danish Centre for Human Rights, Copenhagen and at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, New York. He has authored several books on human rights, legal studies and peace/conflict studies.

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Tina Moffat is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. Her area of interest is nutrition and food insecurity as it relates to the sociocultural and physical environments. Her research perspectives are grounded in biocultural and political-economic approaches, and her main geographic areas of focus are Canada and South Asia.

Moffat’s current research focuses on knowledge translation and support for pregnant women regarding Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) as it relates to maternal diet and child health outcomes. This community study, called “Mothers to Babies” (M2B), is based in Hamilton.

Moffat currently holds a SSHRC Research Engage Grant for evaluation of youth food programming at the Hamilton Community Food Centre (HCFC), part of a movement to support food insecure populations in accessing nutritious food in a dignified manner. She has also done research on food security and dietary change among Canadian immigrants and refugees, vitamin D intake in North America, and the social and cultural determinants of child obesity.

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Listen to UN75 Dialogue/ The Climate Crisis: A Race We Can Win 

Josipa Petrunic is the President & CEO of CUTRIC. She is leading the formulation of several national transportation technology trials related to zero-emissions transportation and “smart vehicles” innovation, including the Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trial, the Pan-Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Demonstration & Integration Trial, and the National Smart Vehicle Demonstration Project.

Dr. Petrunic has built up CUTRIC’s consortium to include more than 100 private and public sector companies and organizations across Canada. Previously, she served as the lead researcher in electric vehicle policy studies at McMaster University, and as a senior research fellow in the history and philosophy of mathematics at University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom in Science and Technology Studies. Dr. Petrunic continues to lecture in Globalization Studies at McMaster University.
She currently sits on the Board of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Foundation and Women’s Transportation Seminar – Toronto (WTS Toronto).  In 2018, she was named as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 by Bloomberg News and Canada’s Top Clean 50. In 2019, she was named Aspioneer Top 10 Influential Women Leaders.

Tasha Goldberg is a writer and video producer. She has travelled the world reporting at United Nations negotiations and events on the topic of sustainable development. Tasha is also an ongoing contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit, focused on the topics of food sustainability and ocean sustainability. In 2004, she founded a business consultancy Sustainable Solutions to implement strategic sustainability programs globally and maintaining an active voice in the ongoing planetary dialogue of sustainable development. Her efforts focused on empowering indigenous communities, adding value throughout supply chains, cultivating carbon awareness, and fostering the sustainable use of natural resources.

With a GHG Accountant Certificate from the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute, Tasha has collaborated with businesses, governmental agencies, elders, scientists, and artists. She has worked with a colorful range of clients such as the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), the International Trade Center (ITC, a joint agency of United Nations and World Trade Organization), IISD Reporting Services, Ethical Coach, Estee Lauder, Aveda, Neill Corporation, and others.

Tasha has recently founded Evidence of Hope, a series of portraits featuring people and projects from around the world who are addressing global challenges, successfully! Each portrait engages the audience through a positive narrative, presenting what is working and how it is working. Evidence of Hope documents and supports progress that is happening right now, demonstrating the reason we should have hope for a sustainable future.

Dr. Peter Singer is the former Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada. He is also Professor of Medicine at University of Toronto, Director at the Sandra Rotman Centre at University Health Network, and Foreign Secretary of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.  In 2007, Dr. Singer received the Michael Smith Prize as Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year in Population Health and Health Services. In 2011, Dr. Singer was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to health research and bioethics, and for his dedication to improving health in developing countries. In 2014, he was named by the UN Secretary General’s Office as Co-Chair of the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Working Group.
Dr. Singer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). Dr. Singer has published over 300 articles and mentored hundreds of students and staff. He studied internal medicine at University of Toronto, medical ethics at University of Chicago, public health at Yale University, and management at Harvard Business School.