Speaker Bios

Dr. Allan Peterkin

Allan Peterkin has co-led a therapeutic writing group at Mount Sinai Hospital for men and women living with HIV for 15 years. This led to the creation of a new model of group therapy called Narrative Competence Psychotherapy. Dr Peterkin will share observations about how writing narratives works differently than other forms of therapy for people living with chronic illnesses and will share some of the stories of group members published in a collection called STILL HERE: A Post-Cocktail AIDS Anthology.

Allan Peterkin completed residencies in psychiatry and family medicine at McGill University. He is Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Toronto, where he heads the Program in Health, Arts and Humanities and serves as Humanities Lead for Undergraduate Medical Education. Dr Peterkin is the author of 14 books for children and adults, including works on cultural history, human sexuality and physician wellbeing and reflective capacity . He is a founding editor of the literary journal Ars Medica-A Journal of Medicine, The Arts and Humanities and has served as an editor for Medical Humanities (BMJ) and CMAJ. He helped to found a model of therapeutic writing called Narrative Competence Psychotherapy and has led a narrative group for men and women living with HIV for 14 years. Other titles: Keeping Reflection Fresh (Editor with Pamela Brett -Maclean PHD, at press, Kent State Press 2015) Staying Human During Residency Training - How To Survive and Thrive After Medical School (fifth edition) One Thousand Beards - A Cultural History of Facial Hair The Flyaway Blanket (a picture book) For more information, please go to www.adpeterkin.com

SarahRose Black

SarahRose is a Toronto-based music therapist specializing in psychosocial oncology and palliative care. She holds Masters degrees in music education and in music therapy. She is the founder and coordinator of the first music therapy programs at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Kensington Hospice, and her clinical work and research is focused mainly on quality of life for acute palliative care, hematology, and hospice populations.

Dr. Luis Fornazzari

Luis Fornazzari MD FRCPC, is a Behavioural Neurologist (Neuropsychiatry ), a graduate from de University of Chile, and a Consultant Behavioural Neurology on the Memory Disorder Clinic, and the Geriatric Mental Health Outpatient Program at St Michael Hospital. He is member of both the Division of Neurology and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. His clinical work is dedicated to Neurodegenerative Diseases affecting the Central Nervous System, particularly Dementia. The last twenty years , he has being studying artists from a neurological point of view, the way they create their work, and how the artist’s neural networks is preserved in Diseases of the Brain. His work has being published in Neurological Journals in Canada, North America, Europe, and Latin America. He presents his work frequently in these three Continents.

Julia Gray

Julia Gray is a Toronto-based research-informed playwright, theatre director, choreographer and emerging social scientist. Julia has collaborated on several theatre projects with health researchers and community members at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute - UHN, York University, University of Toronto, and University of Waterloo, with a particular focus on dementia, ageing and traumatic brain injury. Currently pursuing her PhD at OISE/UT, her PhD study explores the artistic process of creating a piece of research-informed theatre as a form of research. Julia is a former CIHR-STIHR Doctoral Fellow in Health Care, Technology and Place. www.possiblearts.ca

Karen Gold

Karen Gold works at Women's College Hospital as a clinical social worker, educator and researcher. In 2013 she completed her PhD on personal narrative and healthcare providers. She blogs about narrative and healthcare at www.ArtoftheStoryblog.com

Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown works at the intersection of art, mental health and recovery. She is the founder and Executive/Artistic Director of the award winning Workman Arts Project of Ontario. Lisa is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and most recently The Order of Canada. Lisa is a Senior Ashoka fellow and is currently working on scaling the organization nationally and internationally.

Rachel Bar

Rachel Bar is the Health Initiatives and Research Consultant for Canada’s National Ballet School, and in this role she has initiated and helped to facilitate the development of several dance programs for older adults. After retiring from a career as a professional ballet dancer, she completed her bachelor of arts (Hons.) at York University, and began to research the effects of dance on the brain in the lab of Dr. Joseph DeSouza. Currently, she is working on her PhD in clinical psychology at Ryerson University with a research focus specifically on the effects of dance in older adulthood

Joseph DeSouza

Joseph DeSouza is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University’s Centre for Vision Research. He received his graduate training at the University of Western Ontario, which was followed by postdoctoral training at the Robarts Research Institute and the Centre for Vision Research. His lab (http://www.joeLAB.com) focuses on how multisensory signals are attended and/or suppressed depending on the appropriate behavioural context and how the next decision is chosen or learned through improvised or trained motor movements during eye, hand, body or whole body movements such as dance.

Dr. Howard Abrams

Dr. Howard Abrams was one of the original co-founders of the Centre for Innovation in Complex Care (the CICC) and is the current founder and Director of OpenLab at UHN. He is the former Division Head of General Internal Medicine for the University Health Network, and for Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Abrams received a BSc in Engineering from the University of Guelph and his MD from McMaster University. He obtained his specialty certificate in Internal Medicine (FRCPC) while at Toronto General Hospital, and trained in Clinical Epidemiology both at McMaster and the University of Toronto. His expertise is in leveraging his over 30 years on the front-line of clinical care with his experience in optimizing processes to achieve successful integration of innovative solutions into the clinical environment. Despite this, his real beginnings were in anthropology and ethnomusicology, never really becoming proficient on the South Indian drum (the murdangam) much to the disappointment of his teacher. He hopes his career in medicine has been somewhat redeeming.

Dr. Lee Bartel

Lee Bartel, PhD, is Associate Dean of Research and Founding Director of the Music and Health Research Collaboratory (MaHRC) at Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and is a member of the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, cross-appointed to OISE, to the Institute for Life Course and Aging, and to the Rehabilitation Science Institute. In Music and Health Bartel has a broad interest ranging through music therapy, music medicine, music neuroscience, health in culture, musician’s health, music performance science, and music in human development. He has a special interest in applications of music in health conditions of aging and rehabilitation and is well known for his research and design of music for brain effects with 24 albums on Solitudes and SonicAid. His primary research interest currently is in Rhythmic Sensory Stimulation (RSS) with applications in fibromyalgia, depression, Alzheimers, and Cardio Rehab.

Robert Hawke

Robert Hawke is a speaker, author and cancer survivor. He has used his skills as a Second City Performer, and Canadian Comedy Award Winner to perform for physicians, nurses, medical students, cancer survivors and their families. Rob created The Hope Workshop For People Affected By Cancer which is offered at Princess Margaret Hospital. Rob has also crafted presentations for The University of Toronto School of Medicine, The Ontario Hospital Association and Ryerson University. He stars in and co-wrote “Norm Vs Cancer: A Terminally Funny One Man Show”, where he makes 14 characters come alive on stage. Robert’s books include Kicking Cancer's Ass: A Light-Hearted Guide to the Fight of Your Life and the upcoming Doing Happiness.

Isabel Fryszberg

Isabel Fryszberg has been providing innovative and creative programming in mental health for over 20 years. She is a multidisciplinary artist (filmmaker, musician and visual artist) and Occupational Therapist. Across disciplines and in through her multiple projects, Fryszberg specializes in art, music and health. Fryszberg is founder and Creative Lead of Creative Works Studio (CWS), an arts-based occupational therapy program of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto in operation for 18 years. She realized how an arts-based community program was needed for people living with mental health and addictions challenges, and spearheaded the program in collaboration with a hard working interdisciplinary team of staff and volunteers. She is lead facilitator and instructor of various elements of programming at the studio (painting, songwriting, etc.). She also collaborates in arts-based research and education. Her most recent film, What’s Art Got To Do with It? (2013); was an outgrowth of a knowledge translation project, which aired on CBC’s documentary channel. This documentary is now being used for education on art, mental health and stigma reduction at universities, hospitals and high schools. She is currently working on a music recording initiative of original songs written in collaboration with the members of the studio and collaborating with recording engineer and producer Don Kerr. Fryszberg has presented Creative Works Studio and its film nationally and internationally at Arts, Health and Mental Health Conferences. She is also a status lecturer at the University of Toronto Department of Occupational Science and Therapy.

Loree Lawrence

Loree Lawrence is the Multi and Inter-Arts, Community-Engaged Arts & Community Arts Councils Program Officer at the Ontario Arts Council. Together, these programs support the creation, production and presentation of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work including festivals and events; initiatives that bring artists and communities together to co-create new arts projects; and arts services for artists and arts organizations throughout the province. Loree is also responsible for OAC’s Cultural Animation Initiative which hires Cultural Animators in communities in Ontario to raise awareness about co-creative arts practices. Loree is a member of OAC’s Deaf and Disability Arts and Access Committee which developed a new funding stream for Deaf artists and artists with disabilities. Prior to joining the OAC she was a theatre director and a long-time community-engaged arts practitioner. Loree is the founding member of Red Wagon Collective, a community-engaged arts collective that is still active in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto.

Zal Press

Zal Press founded Patient Commando in 2010 as a social enterprise to develop patient storytelling as a method to increase patient engagement in health care. He produces narrative based programming as accredited continuing medical education, live stage events, storytelling workshops for patients and a website with the most diverse collection of patient stories in any medium whether in writing, art, photography, graphic novels and video, that informs and enriches our understanding of the lived illness experience. His experience of living with chronic illness for over 34 years prepared him for this role. For 25 years prior to founding Patient Commando, Zal was the president of a contemporary wall décor manufacturer after a career as a marketing and communications professional. Throughout this period his wife and 2 now adult children played pivotal roles in the 30+ years it took him to move up the patient activation scale.

Leslie Dolman

Leslie Dolman, BASC (Electrical Eng, UofT), BFA (OCADU) has been providing consulting services to nonprofit social service organizations, universities, technology start-ups and arts organizations since 2013. Prior to this, she served in a number of senior management roles at the University of Toronto including Director of Research and Innovation for the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. She has been involved with Workman Arts, a Toronto-based arts and mental health organization, for four years and has assisted in the areas of strategic planning, program evaluation, grant development and research related to scaling impact.

Heather Bambrick

Heather Bambrick has worked with a vast array of artists, including Phil Nimmons, Fred Hirsch, Guido Basso, Anne Hampton Callaway, Carol Welsman, Jackie Richardson, Ian Shaw, and late Canadian legends Rob McConnell and Peter Appleyard. Heather's recording experience ranges from the award-winning Beehive Singers, and the Caliban Quartet, to Peter Appleyard's final recording Sophisticated Ladies and the latest CD from the Breithaupt Brothers, Just Passing Through. Each of her own solo recordings (It's About Time and Those Were The Days) have been nominated for East Coast Music Awards and Heather, herself, has been named "Female Vocalist of the Year" at Canada's National Jazz Awards. Heather's latest project is "Broadsway", with Julie Michels and Diane Leah, combining Theatre, Jazz, and Comedy in a highly entertaining show. They've performed in Jazz clubs and theatres throughout southern Ontario as well as New York City, in support of their debut recording Old Friends, and will be releasing their follow-up in late 2015. More recently, Heather has brought together the music of her Newfoundland home with a Jazz sensibility, to create Heather Bambrick & Friends' Newfoundland Jazz Celidh. The show features some of Canada's finest musicians performing Newfoundland and Irish folk music with stylistic elements and influences of Jazz. Heather remains busy as a voice actor, working on jingles, commercials, and a number of animation series, as well as in broadcasting, hosting two shows on JAZZ.FM91, Canada's only all-Jazz radio station. She's twice been awarded National Jazz Awards' "Broadcaster of the Year".

Ian French

Ian French, aka 'IF', is a Performance Poet, musician, filmmaker, husband, father and friend. His poems channel the wisdom of Spirit, the rage of the wounded and the yearning that resides in every human heart. He says "every poem I write is a 'shout out' to the sacredness of our days, a three chord party jam, and a tribute to the triumph of love over fear?" IF is a member of the 2013 National Championship, Toronto Slam Poetry Team, winner of 2013 Buffalo International Slam and the 2015 Canadian Individual Slam Poetry Champion. On November 12, at 9:PM, CBC will be airing the documentary 'IF THE POET', which chronicles IF's poetic journey, beginning with his embarrassing Slam debut at age 50, and culminating in his attempt to win the World Cup of Slam Poetry, in Paris France, at age 55. IF writes his best poetry while walking and can often be seen wandering the streets of Toronto, gesticulating wildly and muttering to himself. He can be reached at: ifthepoet@gmail.com