To get in contact with a board member, please contact Corinne Christie at corinne.christie@allianceON.org
Aniko Varpalotai: Chair
Board member at Central CHC, St. Thomas. Aniko Varpalotai has earned a BA/BPHE (Physical and Health Education) and M.A. (Sociology of Sport) from Queen’s University, and a PhD in Sociology in Education from OISE/UT. During her 25 year academic career as a Professor with the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario, she specialized in education policy, health education, rural education and social justice issues. Her research and publications have included collaborations with colleagues in Hungary, Wales, Tanzania, Kenya and across Canada. She served as President of UWO’s Faculty Association and was involved with collective bargaining on behalf of the faculty union for many years. Through her roles on local, provincial, national and international boards she has continued to focus on equity issues with a particular interest in gender issues in sports and recreation, the status of girls and women, and health care in rural and Indigenous communities. With several decades of experience gained from raising goats on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, she provided assistance to a women’s micro-business initiative in rural Tanzania. Aniko recently completed six years on the Board of the South West LHIN where she was Chair of the Governance Committee.
Mike Bulthuis: Vice-Chair
Board member at Centretown CHC in Ottawa. Over 20 years, Mike has worked at the intersections of policy, research and community practice, both on the ground and within broad systems of support, to enable individuals and communities to thrive. Mike rejoined Employment and Social Development Canada in November 2018, currently engaged in skills and employment policy. Prior to that, he worked in various capacities addressing homelessness - as national Director of Making the Shift, a Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, and earlier, as the Executive Director of the Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness. Between 2000-2013, alongside graduate studies in social policy and social geography, Mike was employed in the federal public service, in policy units addressing homelessness, social infrastructure and Canada’s cities. As a consultant, he has also provided policy support to Vibrant Communities and convened support towards the City of Ottawa’s Community Development Framework. Mike has served on local and national non-profit Boards, including the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, Citizens for Public Justice, and the Centre for Social Enterprise Development, while also volunteering in his neighbourhood and with Ottawa Capital Pride and Bruce House.
François Seguin: Treasurer
Board Chair of l'Équipe de santé familiale communautaire de l'Est d'Ottawa, a mid-sized Francophone CFHT in Ottawa and an Alliance Board Liaison. François is also a former staff at the Centre de santé communautaire de l'Estrie. He has worked as a volunteer or employee in centres advocating for comprehensive primary health care for five years. He has a Masters in Health Administration and a Certified Health Executive (CHE) designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders.
Marc Bisson: Secretary
Graduate of Laval University in Quebec and the National School of Public Administration in Montreal, Marc Bisson has worked in the community health field for over 20 years. Before moving to Cornwall in 1993, he worked in Mali, Rwanda, Bolivia and Quebec in the community development field. Since June 1993, he has worked for the Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie (CSCE), a non-profit organization which serves the franco ontarian populations of Cornwall, Alexandria, Crysler, Bourget, Embrun and Limoges. Marc has participated on numerous local, regional and provincial committees and Board of Directors. He has advocated tirelessly for the rights of Franco Ontarians so that they may benefit and access high-quality services.
Denis Constantineau has been the Chief Executive Office of the Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury since 2007 and is also the Executive Director of Association des jeunes de la rue. He is also an accreditation reviewer for the Canadian Centre for Accreditation. A lawyer by training and a member of the Law Society of Ontario, Denis practiced primarily in Family Law. He left private practice to teach Business and Law courses at Collège Boréal and Laurentian University and eventually became Head of Adult Education at Collège Boréal, working with community-based agencies in the area of literacy. From 2000 to 2007, Denis was Executive Director of Service familial de Sudbury, a counseling agency working primarily in the area of violence against women. Denis has been working as a volunteer and board member with community-based agencies for over forty years. He has devoted a great deal of time and energy to representing and defending the rights of Francophones in Sudbury and across the province. With a keen interest in governance issues, Denis works with boards and senior leaders, offering training in a variety of areas including policy governance.
Clinical Director at Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, a large urban CHC and is the chair of the Alliance’s Rainbow Communities Advisory Committee (formerly the LGBT Working Group). Cliff has a wide range of board experience including on Access Alliance, South Riverdale CHC, Open Studio National Print Gallery and Craft Ontario. He has worked over 27 years in the CHC sector in both primary care and health promotion with diverse populations with a focus on marginalized and vulnerable populations.
Board member at Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre in Sudbury. She is the former Executive Director for Noojmowin Teg Health Centre. Mariette is the unanimous recommendation of the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC), a council of Indigenous primary health care members including the Aboriginal Health Access Centres. Mariette is currently a volunteer on the Manitoulin Anishinabek Research Review Committee lead by the Noojmowin Health Centre board to advise on community research projects. Mariette has worked for over 15 years in Indigenous communities developing health system supports in a culturally safe manner. She is culturally grounded from her lived experience as an Anishnaabe kew living and working in her home community of Whitefish River First Nation. As one of the Elders expressed “she’s a wealth of knowledge, skills and kindness”.
Elise Harding-Davis, African Canadian Heritage Consultant, is one of the foremost authorities on African Canadian history and events connected to the development and progress of North America. Her unique perception reveals the early presence of African origin pioneers and freedom fighters in British Canada revealing the invaluable roles of “The Black Thread in the Canadian Tapestry”. A seventh generation African Canadian born in Windsor, Ontario, she resides in Harrow, Ontario.
Elise retired as the Curator/Administrator of the North American Black Historical Museum & Cultural Centre Ltd. She taught Black Studies at St. Clair College for several years networking widely with numerous international educational facilities. Additionally, Elise organized/managed the office of the Member of Parliament for Essex riding for eight years.
Harding-Davis’ passion has given her the opportunity to travel globally, lecturing and promoting the history of people of African descent at Universities and Canadian Consulates across North America and to African countries as well as China. Elise‘s impressive volume of work includes numerous guest articles in various newspapers and magazines internationally and several books. She has helped to preserve and attain heritage status for thirteen Black burial sites.
Ms. Harding-Davis was an Executive Administrator at Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital for six years; her portfolio dealt with Physician/Staff complaints and the review/revision of policy and procedure to ensure diversity/cultural competency. She worked at the Hospice of Windsor and Chairs the Harrow Health Centre carrying on a lifelong concern for Racialized healthcare. Alliance Board membership would further her commitment.
I am an Associate Professor at Trent University starting management leave (sabbatical) on July 1, 2021. I have just completed a 10-year term as Dean of the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing. I am a nurse and epidemiologist and during my career I have held numerous clinical practice positions, as well as teaching, research, and administrative positions in the fields of both nursing and epidemiology. I am committed to both my academic and local community, serving on the board of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (past-president and presently treasurer); working to address the peer support needs of amputees in my region; and serving as chair of the board of the local nurse-practitioner-led clinic. On a beautiful day in the summer of 2017, I sustained life-threatening injuries, including the loss of my left leg, as a result of a motorcycle accident, giving me the opportunity to live healthcare from the patient perspective.
Meet Suzanne Obiorah: a catalyst for change, and relentless advocate for health equity and inclusivity. With a wealth of senior leadership experience, Suzanne has dedicated her career to ensuring that health programs and services are accessible, culturally competent, and most importantly, reflective of the diverse communities they are meant to serve.
As a co-founder of the Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition, Suzanne spearheaded the establishment of a regional mental health strategy, empowering Black residents in Ottawa to access the care they deserve. Suzanne's impact on mental health support for racialized communities has been transformative, pioneering new programming to provide culturally responsive care. Her commitment to expanding access to primary care for racialized communities is evidenced by her successful efforts in securing funding for additional nurse practitioners and other health care provider, focused on serving newcomers, immigrants, seniors, street-involved individuals, and Ottawa's Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian communities.
Her passion for driving change extends beyond community organizations, as she served as the Director of Gender and Race Equity, Inclusion, Indigenous Relations, and Social Development for the City of Ottawa. In this role, she demonstrated extraordinary leadership by overseeing the implementation of a groundbreaking community funding framework, allocating nearly $27 million annually to uplift the social services sector. Moreover, Suzanne played a pivotal role in the development and execution of the City of Ottawa's first Anti-Racism Strategy, dedicated to improving outcomes for Indigenous, Black, and racialized communities.
Through her unwavering dedication, Suzanne secured over $9 million in funding to strengthen community programming and infrastructure in Ottawa’s priority neighborhoods, to support programming for racialized youth in their communities.
In the constant pursuit of transformative and inclusive healthcare, Suzanne has actively shaped discussions on health system reform at regional and provincial levels, advocating tirelessly for the integration of health equity principles in the planning. As a member of various influential tables, including the Champlain Mental Health and Addictions Table, the Ontario Health East senior leadership health equity forum, and the Ottawa Guiding Council, she has played a pivotal role in shaping alternate responses to mental health crisis interventions.
Suzanne has Bachelors Degree in Applied Sciences from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on Health Management from St. Mary’s University. She brings not only her expertise but also her unwavering commitment to driving change.
Executive Director of TAIBU CHC, a mid-sized CHC in Toronto. TAIBU has a mandate to serve the Black community in the GTA. As the leader of the organization for the past ten years, Liben has lead TAIBU to live their commitment to equity, anti-black racism and social determinants of health. Under his leadership, TAIBU has also become a pioneer in engaging racialized and marginalized communities including engaging the Francophone communities that are mostly racialized and new immigrants and the Indigenous communities in Scarborough. Liben sits on various regional and provincial committees including LHIN, Health Quality Ontario and Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.