Electoral Group

Listed in order of submission

Electoral Group : Toronto Psychiatry | Positions : 4 | Currently Running : 12

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Dr. Ari Cuperfain

PGY-6 | Toronto | Psychiatry-Geriatric

  • Bio
    Hello Psychiatry residents,

    Representing you over the past five years through PARO has been one of the most rewarding experiences during my residency. I hope to have the chance to continue this important work, which is why I am running for re-election to PARO GC.

    I’ve served on PARO for the past five years, first as a GC rep in PGY1, then as Site Chair at UofT in PGY2, and these past three years between PGY3-5 as Treasurer on the Board. I also served as the PARO PHO rep for RDoC for the past two years. I am so proud of what we have accomplished during this time including pandemic pay, MRRP development and implementation, re-evaluating licensing exams for ongoing relevance, promoting EDI principles, addressing learner mistreatment, and this past year, securing a substantial increase in resident salaries through the Bill 124 re-opener. In my role, I had the privilege of overseeing these initiatives and contributing to our collective success.

    As a senior resident with the Psychiatry program, and having held leadership roles in both PARO and UofT Psychiatry, I am able to advocate effectively for residents in our program. This coming year, I am hoping to advocate for UofT Psychiatry residents specifically around the following issues:

    1.Our PARO-CAHO collective agreement is up for re-negotiation, and as cost of living in Toronto continues to rise, we need fair and sustainable compensation.
    2.We need clearly defined pathways to obtain independent licensure in a CBD curriculum especially for subspecialty residents.
    3.Ensuring appropriate supports for residents while on call given increasing patient volumes across sites.

    We need strong, experienced leadership on PARO to ensure residents are appropriately represented at this crucial time, and specifically those within our Psychiatry program. I would be honoured to represent you as one of these strong voices.

    Thank you for considering me as a candidate for PARO GC!

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Dr. Derek Zhang

PGY-5 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    Thank you for the opportunity to represent the Psychiatry program in the PARO General Council.

    Throughout my residency, I have seen many changes and I hope to create a more positive environment for junior learners through advocacy initiatives and wellness activities. My previous role as the PRAT Events Officer helped provide me the organizational skills, as well as the social benefits, to listen to the needs of others and support a community where the resident body can thrive. I strongly believe that the connections we build together with one another are paramount to keeping our sanity in these high-stress environments. I will endeavour to advocate on behalf of the resident body and continue to make strides in areas of collective negotiation, resource allocation, and management of pertinent issues to ensure the best experience for us all.

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Dr. Laura Rivera

PGY-3 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    I am writing to express my enthusiastic interest in running for a position on the PARO General Council for the 2024/2025 term. As a PGY3 Psychiatry Resident at the University of Toronto, I am deeply committed to enhancing the resident experience and believe I can make a meaningful contribution to PARO’s mission.

    My background includes active involvement at the national level, where I advocate for psychiatry residents within the Canadian Psychiatry Association (CPA) Members-in-Training committee. In this role, I have participated in developing resources and opportunities for psychiatry residents and have represented the resident voice within the CPA's various sub-committees and initiatives. I hold a graduate degree in public health, which has given me valuable experience working within government and policy-making settings. I have developed policy briefs and have experience advocating for policies that address public health concerns, skills I am eager to bring to the PARO General Council.

    I have been consistently impressed by the impactful work PARO has accomplished in advocating for residents; the positive changes to our collective agreement and the support for residents who become parents during training are particularly commendable.

    If elected to the General Council, I will be committed to being an approachable ambassador in representing local resident physicians, ensuring their views and concerns are addressed at both local site and full General Council meetings. I will effectively support fellow members by understanding and communicating contract details and disseminating important information and updates through various channels. Additionally, I will help organize and attend local events to foster a sense of community among residents, and I am prepared to represent PARO on various liaison committees to ensure resident issues are heard and addressed.

    I am eager to bring my passion for advocacy, my experience in national representation, and my commitment to improving the resident experience to the PARO General Council. I am grateful for your time and consideration!

    Laura Rivera, MD MPH, PGY3 Psychiatry Resident, University of Toronto

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Dr. Nabil Hawwa

PGY-3 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    Hello everyone,

    My name is Nabil Hawwa, and I am currently a PGY3 Psychiatry trainee at the University of Toronto. I am excited at the opportunity to represent and advocate for our resident body as a member of the PARO General Council.

    I believe that education, advocacy, and mentorship are at the heart of what it means to be a medical trainee. Throughout my medical journey, both before and during residency, I have prioritized making contributions in these foundational areas. For example, I have represented resident voices at the post-graduate medical education (PGME) level by serving on the curriculum and psychotherapy subcommittees. These roles have provided me with real-world experience in driving meaningful change at the departmental and resident levels. Additionally, I have actively contributed to curricular development at the undergraduate level and volunteered my time toward the MD admissions process.

    Before residency, I was involved in a small game design start-up, where I gained practical experience in navigating and negotiating complex conversations with multiple stakeholders. This greatly enhanced my ability to effectively communicate and collaborate, skills that I believe are crucial for advocating on behalf of residents.

    Looking forward, I am dedicated to advocating for residents by finding innovative ways to improve the resident experience. My goal is to identify and address the challenges that residents face, ensuring that their professional and educational concerns are heard and acted upon. By fostering a supportive and enriching training environment, I hope to contribute to the overall well-being and success of my fellow residents.

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Dr. Shadi Hadj-Youssef

PGY-1 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    As a dedicated advocate for mental health and an experienced leader in medical education, I am honored to apply for the role of Toronto Psychiatry representative with the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO). My journey in medicine has been deeply rooted in service, advocacy, and a commitment to fostering mental health awareness.

    I hold a Master of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford, where I was honored as a John McCall MacBain Scholar, and a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from McGill University, graduating with First Class Honours.

    Throughout my medical training, I have actively engaged in various roles that reflect my passion for psychiatry and mental health. I have served as the Class of 2024 Representative for the McGill Psychiatry Interest Group, organizing events to promote mental health awareness and demystify psychiatric practice. My leadership extends to my role as the Medical Students Society Representative for the McGill Student Association for Collaborative Mental Healthcare, where I fostered interdisciplinary collaboration on mental health projects.

    My commitment to service is further exemplified by my volunteer work with the Centre de Prévention de Suicide de Montréal, where I provide crisis intervention and train new volunteers. Additionally, I have taken on leadership roles, such as President of the Graduate Student Society at the University of Oxford and Chair Executive of the Sentinel Training Committee at McGill University, where I led peer suicide prevention training.

    As a PARO General Council Representative, I pledge to be a visible and approachable ambassador, dedicated to representing the views and concerns of my fellow members. My experience in advocacy, leadership, and mental health equips me to effectively communicate and address the needs of residents. I am committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for all members, ensuring their voices are heard and valued.

    Thank you for considering my nomination. I am eager to contribute to the PARO community and advance our collective mission of excellence in medical education and resident well-being.

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Dr. Kenya Costa-Dookhan

PGY-1 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    As a new PGY-1, I am eager to engage in leadership and advocacy opportunities for the resident body. I am writing to express my interest in serving as a PARO General Council member. Drawing from my experiences in medical school, I believe I can effectively represent my fellow residents and contribute to PARO's General Council.

    During medical school, I served as one of five Temerty Faculty of Medicine Orientation Week Committee Leads, where I planned and organized the 2025 Orientation Week and secured sponsorships totaling ~$70,000. This role sharpened my collaboration skills with student leaders and faculty, which I believe are crucial for my role as a PARO General Council representative.

    Also in medical school, one of my largest advocacy efforts included co-leading a Transgender Patient Care Conference and organizing national conferences focused on gender-affirming care for medical trainees. Additionally, as a mentor in the Black Medical Student Association Longitudinal Mentorship Program, I provided support to BIPOC medical students and applicants throughout their training. These experiences have provided me with a deep understanding of the challenges a diverse body of learners can face and how I can advocate for students' professional and personal needs.

    If elected, I am committed to early involvement with PARO as a PGY-1 and will collaborate closely with the General Council to work towards addressing residents' needs. I aim to serve as an Ambassador of PARO, ensuring visibility and approachability. It is my priority to represent all members by effectively conveying their views and concerns to the General Council and Board. I also aspire to enhance communication with PARO and collaborate with local organizations like PRAT at UofT to organize community-building events.

    I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to PARO's General Council and enrich the residency experience for all residents. Thank you for considering my candidacy!

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Dr. Orly Taub

PGY-4 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    Thank you for considering me as one of your General Council members! I found my experience as GC member in 2023/2024 to be incredibly rewarding--most of all because I learned that change can happen quickly with strong advocacy. This year, I am committed to advocating for U of T Psychiatry residents on the following issues:

    1. Ensuring hospital and program compliance around call-related issues, particularly site safety, adequate support for residents with increased patient volumes and acuity, and increased costs of parking across sites.

    2. Equitable and transparent access to support and accommodations for residents requiring support around illness, pregnancy and parenthood, and other personal circumstances.

    3. Holding the program accountable for their procedures around resident mistreatment and retaliation; more than half of residents experience some form of mistreatment every year.

    4. Reducing the burden of the CBD curriculum on residents; we need to focus on learning and patient care, not filling out forms.

    As residents, our work matters. My goal is to be a strong, experienced voice on the PARO General Council, and I would be honoured to represent you in 2024/2025.

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Dr. Aceel Christina Hawa

PGY-1 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    I am keen to be running for a position on the PARO General Council as a way of representing the interests of Psychiatry residents across all years! I feel excited about the opportunity to enhance the resident experience and to contribute meaningfully to my new community.

    By way of my previous experiences, I have held leadership positions during both my undergraduate and medical school years. For example, I helped advocate for and organize programming that brought students from medicine and allied health together for case-based learning sessions and procedural workshops (including Narcan training!), as this was identified as an unmet need by the broader student body. I also helped advocate for the re-introduction of a longstanding tradition at our medical school—an annual sports competition between the students of medicine and law—which required extensive logistical planning, fundraising and faculty liaising. These roles helped me feel more comfortable participating in campus advocacy efforts and collaborating with likeminded peers.

    One of my strongest traits is my ability to get things done, bring attention to issues, and give oxygen to necessary discussions. If elected, my vision for PARO is one in which General Council meetings and their agendas are well-advertised, such that our community has the time to understand the issues at hand and reach out with questions. As someone who has always had to fight hard for a seat at the table, I hope to be a General Council member who is open and approachable, who can help demystify any technical PARO jargon (especially for new junior residents), and who can act as a committed voice for our vibrant community.

    Thank you so much for considering my candidacy!

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Dr. Kien Crosse

PGY-4 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    Hello all,

    It was a great pleasure to serve as one of your PARO General Council representatives last year and I am running for the opportunity to continue to represent you.

    I’ve been honoured to meet many of you during my time in the program, and I look forward to continuing to connect with you all. I consider this an essential foundation for the core role of a PARO representative, serving as a liaison. I’ve learned over my time in PARO that it takes time understand the organization. It has been invaluable for me to learn both what PARO can do to enhance our residency experience, and what falls outside its purview.

    I am the proud recipient of a PDF file certificate from PARO for good attendance at Toronto Site Meetings and General Council Meetings. I also had the opportunity to serve as a liaison to the Faculty Council and Faculty Council Executive, allowing myself and PARO members more insight into the ongoing discussions among faculty which affect our training. It is my intent to apply what I’ve learned and collaborate with all of you all transparently, to help clarify the opaque organizational structures that shape our residency experience.

    As the incoming PGY4 representative on our very own PRAT, I am committed to using my role to support and advocate for you. Serving as a liaison both through PRAT and PARO will enable me to regularly discuss and understand the challenges residents face in our program, while gaining insights from resident experiences across UofT and Ontario. This perspective will help in identifying appropriate stakeholders to effectively guide advocacy efforts.

    Key issues I want to discuss with you, PRAT, and hopefully PARO include:

    1.The impact of new medical schools in Toronto as well as

    2.The impact of Bill 60 (allowing for increased scope of private practice in Ontario) on the experience of learners.

    3.Key priorities for our residents to leverage effective use of PARO’s Resident Enhancement Fund

    More importantly I want to hear from you. Above all, both through PARO and in life, I strive to be approachable and to keep it real. I want to hear your questions and concerns, and work with you to find answers and solutions.

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Dr. Alexander Bourdon

PGY-3 | Toronto | Psychiatry

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    My name is Alex, and I am (almost) a PGY4 psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto. I am also proud to call myself the father of 2 beautiful, energetic children. Otherwise, I am always trying my best to find time for athletic pursuits between residency and parenting. I am from Sudbury originally, and before moving to Toronto to pursue my psychiatry residency, I completed medical school at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. There are several reasons I would be an ideal candidate for the position of PARO General Council representative. First and foremost, I aspire to take on a leadership position in the ongoing improvement of the overall residency experience for my fellow residents, and see this role as a clear means to accomplish such a goal. Moreover, I have had a number of key experiences which inform both my desire and readiness to pursue this position. One was serving as the CFMS Government Affairs and Advocacy Committee representative during medical school, during which it was my responsibility to solicit feedback and input on specific issues affecting medical students, and advocate for policy changes at the government level. In addition, I have had a variety of experiences working with medical students during residency (i.e., soliciting learning goals; orienting to the expectations of various clinical settings), and this has prepared me for some of the key facets of the representative role as well, including collecting issue-specific feedback from residents, and ensuring residents feel supported in their clinical and professional development. In summary, I would relish the opportunity to be a PARO General Council representative, as I have always sought out leadership/advocacy positions, and know that this is an excellent opportunity to further hone my skills for leadership, which I plan to use throughout my career in psychiatry.

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Dr. Fatimah Roble

PGY-1 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    Hello everyone,

    My name is Fatimah Roble, and I am a PGY-1 psychiatry trainee. I am excited to serve as your representative on the PARO General Council.

    My passion for equity, diversity, and inclusion is deeply rooted in personal experiences and a strong commitment to empowering marginalized communities. I believe in the importance of recognizing and supporting the unique needs of individuals from diverse backgrounds within our large training program.

    Throughout my academic journey, I have been involved in advocacy. As an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo, I successfully advocated for increased budgets and enhanced pathways to health and wellness. Additionally, I played a key role in expanding accommodations for learners with disabilities through accessibility services. I also co-developed and supported the implementation of Policy 42, aimed at preventing and responding to sexual violence, which laid the groundwork for heightened awareness, education, training, and support services.

    During my time at University of Toronto as a medical student, I continued my advocacy efforts. Serving as the Pediatrics Clerkship Representative, I successfully advocated for increased sick and personal days to support students during clerkship. I also represented the interests of underrepresented students in faculty meetings and advisory boards as a member of the Black Medical Student Association.

    I am eager to bring this wealth of advocacy experience to the PARO General Council. I am committed to ensuring that all trainees have their voices heard and their needs met. With your support, I look forward to advocating for policies that promote inclusivity, fairness, and support for every member of our diverse training community.

    Thank you for considering my candidacy. I am ready and enthusiastic to serve as your advocate on the PARO General Council.

    Warm regards,


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Dr. Andrew Nguyen

PGY-1 | Toronto | Psychiatry

  • Bio
    Hi everyone,
    My name is Andrew Nguyen (PGY-1), and I am thrilled to run for the PARO GC! I completed my medical studies at Western University and recently received the 2024 PARO Citizenship Award where I connected with PARO Board Members and learned about their impactful work. I am passionate about learner wellness, advocacy, and equitable opportunities.
    During my studies, I co-founded Schulich’s first Peer Support Program, creating a resource and training database for peer supporters to help their peers in crisis within the Faculties of Medicine & Dentistry. As VP Internal and Admissions Rep on the Hippocratic Council, I advocated for student affairs concerns and drafted policies via Schulich’s Access pathway that included increased EDI training for medical admissions.
    As the President of the United Vietnamese Association of Eastern Canada, I collaborated with the Hong Fook Mental Health Association to increase stakeholder collaboration through a culturally competent lens, which involved spearheading a Mental Health Summit and creating 12 internship opportunities with various non-profit organizations.
    I aim to leverage my past experience and if elected to GC, focus on these P.A.R.O. goals:

    1) PARO-OTH Agreement: The collective agreement will be up for renegotiation this year. I will implement a policy for equitable wages to reflect rising costs, as well as increased transparency with vacation days for our on and off service rotations.

    2) Accessibility: PARO members are represented at various liaison committees at both the university and hospital levels and have contributed to notable initiatives and policies. I will work to increase the visibility of such changes to better inform the resident body.

    3) Resources: We are often inundated with various resources during residency. I will maintain an updated, user-friendly resource database that consolidates existing guides

    4) Optimal Experience: Engage residents with inclusive professional capacity building various professional and social events, fostering diversity and community.

    Thank you so much for considering my candidacy and reading my nomination. Best of luck to the start of the year for everyone!