MTO events and initiatives are organized by a team of diverse MTO members, each tasked with a focus area.
President - Sabin
Sabin is a graduate student in Dr. Matthew Hill’s lab. He is part of the Leader’s in Medicine MD/PhD program. His research focuses on how the amygdala (a brain region involved in emotional processing) acts to regulate value attribution to external stimuli and coordinate behavioural decision-making during stress and homeostatic need. Sabin earned his Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours Degree in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary. In his time outside of the lab, Sabin loves playing frisbee, riding his bike, reading classics, and engaging in as much banter as he can.
Communications - Savannah
Savannah is a doctoral student in Dr. Matthew Hill’s lab, where her research investigates how cannabis exposure can influence the processing of valanced stimuli. Specifically, her research is focused on how cannabis can influence activity within the amygdala (a limbic brain region) to amplify positive stimuli and diminish the subjective effect of negative stimuli. Savannah earned her Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours Degree in Neuroscience and Mental Health at Carleton University and her Master’s Degree (MSc) in Cognitive Neuroscience from Queen’s University. In her free time, Savannah enjoys reading, spending time outdoors and being in the mountains.
Community Outreach - Ti-Amo
My name is Ti-Amo DeRuz Richards, and I am pursuing my Master's of Science in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary. My research project looks to discover the link between objective hardship, subjective stress, and discrimination experienced by pregnant mothers during the Covid-19 pandemic and infant brain outcomes, as well as the link between this altered child brain development and child social behaviours. Of course, as a both a minority and immigrant, I have emphasized the weight that social structures have on health disparities in both my own project and the projects of my colleagues and peers, hoping that my lived experience can contribute to the holistic view of society in clinical neuroscience research. I enjoy empowering others as well as any form of exercise. Although I am currently in research, my career goals are to go to medical school and become a neurosurgeon.
Community Outreach - Joseph
Joseph Bahhadi is a graduate student in the Community Health Sciences program and is currently investigating the history of Music Therapy as a treatment for Dementia under Frank Stahnisch. Previously, Joseph's research interests have been in disability and accessibility studies under the supervision of Dr. Adam Bell. Joseph graduated with a Bachelor of Music Performance in 2020 and is an avid performer in the Calgary music scene as well as an active teacher of music theory, Jazz improvisation, and trombone. In his spare time Joseph plays guitar in a punk band and supports the German football club Borussia Dortmund.
Education - Sandy
Sandy Rao formerly held the role of Director of Mental Health & Addictions at Ontario Health overseeing the strategy, planning, funding and evaluation of mental health and addictions programs and services for approximately 5 million Ontarians by the end of her tenure. Before leaving Ontario to pursue her PhD in the Faculty of Social Work as an Eyes High scholar, she was appointed to setting up Ontario’s first Centre of Excellence for Mental Health & Addictions and had the distinct privilege of leading the COVID-19 Mental Health and Addictions strategy for the Central Region when the pandemic first began. She also held the role as guest Mental Health Expert for CTV, was a Preceptor for the University of Toronto’s IMAGINE clinic, and a member of the Health Care Providers Against Poverty. Sandy continues to practice as a Registered Social Worker and Registered Psychotherapist licensed in both Ontario and Alberta. She has been a clinician for over a decade in the hospital, community and primary care sectors. Sandy received her Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University. Upon graduating she worked in research at McMaster University and the Population Research Institute. Sandy continued her academic career and pursued a Master’s in Social Work at the University of Toronto where she specialized in Mental Health and Health. A lifelong learner, Sandy has since studied at the Rotman School of Business, Harvard University and has been certified in Community Engagement (IAP2), Indigenous Cultural Safety, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and User Experience Design. Sandy is co-supervised by Dr. Gina Dimitropoulos and Dr. Scott Patten.