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Board of Directors
Michel Frojmovic holds a Master of Urban Planning (1993) and a Bachelor of Arts (1991) from McGill University, and is a full member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Project Management Institute. He has practiced in Canada and overseas since 1993, directing, managing or participating in numerous projects in the areas of strategic planning, community planning, monitoring & evaluation and policy analysis.
Michel is the Director and Owner of Acacia Consulting & Research, established in 1999 to help urban, municipal and community-based organizations make better use of data, information and knowledge in order to inform policy and effect change. Michel has taken on an active role in neighbourhood development over the past decade, notably in issues related to community planning and design. In 2004, he founded Creative Neighbourhoods, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing good planning and design to Ottawa. In 2006, he led a process which resulted in the establishment of the Wellington West Business Improvement Area, of which he is currently a board member. Michel and his wife moved to Ottawa in 1994 and have lived within five minutes walking distance of Wellington Street West since 1995. Michel is father to four daughters.
Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s in Public Health (Global Health stream) from Simon Fraser University. She has worked in clinical, community, and public health settings across Canada and internationally before calling Ottawa home.
Jennifer is currently a Program Officer with the Knowledge Mobilization and Liaison Officer team at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health (CADTH). She is passionate about food security, harm reduction and health equity.
Chad Meda has lived in Ottawa for over 25 years and works as a Rental Officer for Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation. He is passionate about community development and urban design and believes that affordable housing is a fundamental element of a healthy community. Previously, Chad has volunteered on the Board of Directors of Alex Laidlaw Housing Co-operative as the Communications Director and Treasurer.
He lives with his partner Lisa and their daughter Ariana a few blocks away from Somerset West Community Health Centre.
A social worker by profession, Dick worked for 33 years in municipal government in Ottawa in front line and senior management roles. He was the Commissioner of Social Services with the region of Ottawa-Carleton and the general manager of the People Services Department for the City of Ottawa. Since retiring, Dick has devoted his energy in support of community issues and the non-profit community service sector. Dick is the past chair of the Partnership Council of the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP).
Nimao Ali is the principal of Abraar Secondary School, a full-time private located in Ottawa.
Principal Ms. Ali has been working as an educator for both adults and children for the past 15 years in Ottawa. In her spare time, Ms. Ali has initiated several community projects including a long running youth mentorship program, which saw some of the participants meet with the Prime Minister and a Nobel Laureate Malala Yousaf in 2017.
Ms. Ali also served the Minister of Children and Youth Services of Ontario as an external advisor and the Ottawa Carleton Immigrant Board as a member. Ms. Ali is a mother of three whose greatest joy is teaching and mentoring youth.
Andrew Burdeniuk works at an innovation centric Government of Canada cyber security organization building effective teams and working collaboratively to deliver outcomes in a high accountability environment. As a resident of Somerset West, he is keen to engage with his community and share his passion for harm reduction, affordable housing, and quality health care.
Victoria has over 10 years of nursing experience with a focus in community health. After graduating from Queen's University, she worked in rural Ontario as a communicable disease nurse. She then moved to Vancouver to pursue a Masters degree in Nursing with a focus on intimate partner violence. To complement her graduate degree, Victoria worked for BC's Sexual Assault Service. While studying, she also worked in the Downtown Eastside at a drop-in center and for NAOMI (the North American Opiod Maintenance Initiative). After the completion of her graduate degree, Victoria worked on the Children and Youth team in public health. Since her return to Ottawa in 2008, Victoria has been employed by Ottawa Public Health.
Hanaa Dwidar holds a master of gynaecology and obstetrics from Alexandria University, Egypt. She specialized in the area of preventive medicine with a focus on child and maternal health. She worked in different health promotion programs in Egypt. She was chosen to travel to Niger, West Africa, to work on developing programs to decrease maternal and child mortality in 1997. She succeeded with a dedicated team of health professional and community representatives to establish a school where children can receive quality education, scheduled nutritional meals and operate as a venue for health information workshops designed to empower families towards better health practices. The school initiative was widely successful, leading to two additional schools in the region which continue to operate today, returning outstanding benefits to the community. She is currently working with Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre in the Infant Hearing Program.
Jennifer Holtzman has been a scientific evaluator at Health Canada since 2009 where she works on the assessment of microbiological risks in food and the pre-market safety assessment of novel foods. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Yale University where, in addition to conducting research, she served as a board member of the Women in Science at Yale and as the co-founder and principal editor of a student newsletter about technology licensing initiatives. Before that, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biopharmaceutical Science from the University of Ottawa. She has experience with project management, stakeholder relations, and meeting facilitation. Jennifer grew up in Ottawa and has lived in the Wellington Street West neighbourhood since 2011.
Arlo Litman is a lawyer with the Department of Justice (DOJ), where he has been counsel for over 13 years. He possesses significant experience in Constitutional, Administrative, human rights and privacy law. Arlo has volunteered representing refugees before the Immigration and Refugee Board and was a member of the Governance Committee of the HIV and AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario. His interest in joining the Board of Directors stems from a desire for increased community involvement and a recognition of the importance of CHCs in serving underprivileged communities.
As a public health nurse with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), Janice has over 30 years experience in acute care, public health and nursing education. She has worked in many capacities to build supportive environments and strengthen community action, including work as an OPH Social Determinants of Health Nurse. Janice also held the role of OPH liaison with the Ottawa English Second Language school boards to advance the use of the English Second Language Health Lesson Plans.
Iman Mohamed is a health policy and advocacy professional with expertise in policy research analysis, government relations and strategic planning. She is a long-standing resident of the Somerset West community and has been a client of the Centre for over 20 years. She is an active member of the Centre’s Advocacy committee, and is looking to gain an even deeper appreciation of the role SWCHC plays in our community. Iman’s experiences as a resident of the community provide her with the ability to view issues from a number different perspective: new immigrant, daughter of a low income single mother, client of the SWCHC clinic, student, renter, and resident of co-op housing, working professional and homeowner in the community.
Carole Saab’s interest in being a board member stems, first and foremost, from her love of this vibrant community. She believes fundamentally that a healthy community means that it is diverse, accessible and engaged and she has spent her career working to build and advocate for public policy around this objective at a national level. As a mother, raising a young toddler in this community not only gives her added perspective on the critical role of SWCHC, but on a daily basis reminds her of her responsibility to contribute to the important work of community building.
Ryan was born and raised in Vancouver and moved to Ottawa in 2009 to work for Health Canada. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Adult Education focusing on Organizational Learning, Evaluation, and Performance Improvement. Ryan has a diverse professional and volunteer background, with experience in disability advocacy, LGBTQ health and wellness, strategic planning, and project management. He is especially interested in supporting the Centre in building a vibrant, inclusive, and healthy community.
In his personal life, Ryan enjoys staying active, indulging his curious and adventurous spirit, and traveling around the world.
Non-Voting Staff Representatives
Hector is an educator, a health promoter and community developer who is passionate about reducing poverty among Canada’s immigrant population. He has developed many programs aimed at addressing the social determinants of health and empowering immigrants to be self-employed and entrepreneurs.
At Somerset West Community Health Centre, Hector played a prominent role in starting the Multicultural Health Navigation (MHN) program as well as Ottawa’s Language Access (OLA) program. Currenly, Hector is the program coordinator for the African Caribbean and Black Community Development and HIV Health Initiative and serves on the Centre’s Health Equity Committee.
Nimo Farah joined Somerset West in 2015 as the Program Administration for the Ottawa Language Access program. Under her leadership, what began as a modestly sized service offering free interpretation services for healthcare providers has grown exponentially. Nimo has a background of international development and specializes in refuge development, education and health. She is passionate about community based projects designed to increase access for marginalized individuals advocating for health equality, poverty reduction and increased service provision for newcomer and immigrant populations.