Meet our team
Our Founders
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Dr. Modupe Tunde-Byass

Dr. Tunde-Byass is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and the UK. She received her medical degree from the University of Ibadan in 1987. She completed her OBGYN training in both the UK and Canada. She has been an active staff at NYGH since 2004. Dr. Tunde-Byass has held major administrative positions e.g. Residency site coordinator and Interim Chief of OBGYN at NYGH. She was the Co-chair for the Quality Standard on Increasing access to Vaginal Birth After Cesarean section and an expert panel member for Early pregnancy complications and loss (Joint projects of PCMCH and HQO).

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Dr. Tanzila Basrin

Dr. Tanzila Basrin is a Family and Emergency physician in Ontario. She completed her bachelor's degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University, followed by medical school training at the University of Ottawa and most recently, her residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Basrin’s passion about medical educational and leadership is demonstrated through her community work which spans from working with various NGOs to multiple medical organizations including, the Muslim Medical association of Canada, as a board member and their Women's health lead.

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Salwa Farooqi

Salwa Farooqi is a third year medical student at the University of Toronto. She graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Health Sciences in the Global Health specialization, and a Masters in Science and Clinical Epidemiology from the Health Research Methodology Program. Salwa is passionate about social justice and seeks to use her platform as a healthcare provider for advocacy as evidenced by her work as the co-director for IREACH and UofT's Invisible Challenges in Medicine Conference, among other roles for marginalized people.

Our Executive Team
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Thirushi Siriwardena

Thirushi Siriwardena is a medical student at the University of Toronto. Previously, she completed her Bachelor of Science with an Honours Specialization in Neuroscience at Western University and was distinguished as a Western Scholar. Her interest in the field of women’s health was initially sparked during a co-op position where she worked with obstetric physicians and nurses on the Labour and Delivery floor of The Scarborough Hospital. In addition to WHEMS and the former hospital position, Thirushi’s other experiences in women’s health involves co-founding a sexual violence education and support initiative for UofT medical students.

Carleigh Clarke

Carleigh Clarke is a first year medical student at the University of Toronto. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at McMaster University.  She attributes her own personal success and accomplishments to the assurance and support her family has given her. This has inspired her to seek opportunities that allow her to support and empowerwomen. Carleigh has been involved with initiatives that seek to increase the exposure of STEM disciplines to young girls and women. In addition, she is currently mentoring three racialized women who are working towards their undergraduate degree and hope to pursue a career in the health sciences.

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Tharani Anpalagan

Tharani Anpalagan is a medical student at McMaster University. She graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Medical Sciences with a Double Major in Physiology and Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences and was also in the Scholar’s Electives Program. Tharani’s interest in Women’s health first started when she volunteered at a Women’s shelter in Costa Rica. To further pursue this passion she helped at a global health lab at Western University and assisted with the “Training, Support and Access Model” project which increased maternal, newborn and child care specific training and support for healthcare workers in Rwanda.

Sonia Dancey

Sonia Dancey is a medical student at the University of Ottawa. Before joining the Faculty of Medicine, Sonia completed three years of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Sonia has always been interested in women’s health and supporting issues relating to women. She has served on the executive committee in organizing the Aspire Conference, designed to empower women in various disciplines, and has been involved in several research projects focused on placental pathology and adverse pregnancy outcomes. 

Bianka Bezuidenhout

Bianka Bezuidenhout completed her BScH in Translational and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She is now in her first year of Medical School at the University of Toronto.

“Growing up in South Africa, a developing third world country with a large economic gap, I witnessed firsthand the disparity in healthcare resources to different demographics of the population. I noticed the unfairness and devastating effects of this disparity which is one of the reasons why I feel so strongly about inclusivity and equity in health care services. WHEMS believes in providing health resources to women to help them understand and treat their bodies better. 

Unfortunately, even in first world countries such as Canada, healthcare disparities are still common and will be the responsibility of our generation to address. Being part of the WHEMS team and this initiative has shown me how new ways can be used to make healthcare services more equitable and inclusive. Social media can be a powerful tool that (if used responsibly) can make health care information and resources accessible to marginalized communities or women.

I hope that through our efforts with WHEMS we will take the first of many steps towards more accessible and inclusive health care information while also empowering women to make well-informed decisions about their bodies!”

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Nadin Abbas

Nadin Abbas is a medical student at the University of Ottawa. Prior to entering the field of medicine, she pursued a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Biology and Pharmacology at McMaster University. Nadin is excited to join the WHEMS Team and contribute to the promotion of all aspects of women’s health. She is particularly interested in refugee health, having been involved in a number of refugee-focused projects such as the Refugee Health Initiative and the University of Toronto’s Helping Hands program. 

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Mehar Sasan

Mehar Sasan is a medical student at McMaster University. Mehar’s passion for women’s health stems from her personal life and childhood as the daughter of immigrants in Canada. Mehar is a strong advocate for patient empowerment, patient-centered care, and health information accessibility. As an undergraduate student, Mehar contributed to health education through her undergraduate thesis project, which was focused on investigating clinician perspectives on the InterRAI Changes in Health, End-Stage Disease, Signs, and Symptoms (CHESS) tool. 

Sandra Bojic

Sandra Bojic is an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa currently in her 4th year of Health Sciences.

“Women’s health remains an unfinished agenda. There is a lack of evidence-based, accessible, and easy-to-understand health information. My participation in WHEMS emerged from my desire to improve the current situation through safe, open, and thought-provoking conversations. I am proud to be a member of a team that highlights diseases and health challenges common to women, while also providing opportunities and strategies to cope with and prevent health problems. Every time we create a video, share expert perspectives, and contribute new ideas, we build a knowledge-base to combat the inequities that underly women’s health. These goals will continue to motivate me until women can make well-informed decisions about the things that are most important to them.”

Dr. Hossai Furmli

Dr. Hossai Furmli is currently a medical resident in the department of Family Medicine at Queen's University. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in Human Biology, Sociology and Literature and Film. She then completed her medical degree at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Furmli has previously completed research assessing the mental health of women with assisted reproduction, social media's impact on breastfeeding among teenage women, and factors affecting the educational outcomes of Afghani youth in Toronto. Understanding the many barriers that minority and immigrant women face in accessing care, in the future she hopes to continue to advocate and care for these populations. 

Kasthuri Selvarajah

Kasthuri Selvarajah is an incoming medical student at the University of Toronto. She completed her undergraduate studies at McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science, followed by a Master’s in Public Health at Brock University where she graduated with the Distinguished Graduate Student Award. As evidenced by her Master’s, she is interested in serving both patients and populations, focusing on using community-based interventions to promote health. She has done this through her work with the Community Health Assessment Program-Philippines, where she helped develop a risk screening and education program to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in low-resourced regions of the Philippines. At the local level, she works with nonprofits to serve marginalized populations, including refugees and low SES groups. During the pandemic, she worked with Vasantham Tamil Wellness Centre to hold addiction support groups and virtual health education workshops for immigrants in her community. With a passion for teaching and her leadership on various gender equity teams, she looks forward to combining her interests to improve health literacy and empower women with WHEMS.

Interested in joining the WHEMS team?