Director, Humanitarian Innovation
Chris Houston is the Director of Humanitarian Innovation at Grand Challenges Canada managing the Humanitarian Grand Challenge program.
Prior to joining Grand Challenges Canada, Chris completed his bachelors in Risk Management from Glasgow Caledonian University. He worked as an Associate Vice President for Marsh Risk Consulting before his humanitarian career. Since then has worked for Médecins Sans Frontières in Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Turkey, Ethiopia and Pakistan as a Logistician, a Project Coordinator and a Deputy Head of Mission. He served on the board of directors of Médecins Sans Frontières Canada from to 2012 to 2018. He has worked for the Canadian Red Cross in Lebanon and Nepal evaluating and overseeing health projects. In early 2017, he managed logistics and operational support for World Health Organisation in Yemen. He co-founded kid-E-care pediatric urgent care clinic in Toronto and teaches the Complex Humanitarian Emergencies module at University of Toronto’s Global Health Education Initiative.
Follow Chris Houston on Twitter @chris_m_h.
Improvement Lead at Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
Ayah Nayfeh is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Prior to starting her PhD, Ayah worked in the Maternal and Child Health program at Canada’s International Development Research Centre. Her role was to manage and support implementation research activities aimed at improving women’s, youth, and refugee health in the Middle East and Francophone West Africa, particularly around sexual and reproductive health and rights in fragile and conflict settings. Currently, Ayah is supporting the implementation and evaluation of an initiative aimed at reducing the inappropriate use of antipsychotics among residents with dementia in 100+ long-term care homes. She has also held positions in Health Economics and Policy Research at the Conference Board of Canada and in Knowledge Translation at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Beyond academia, Ayah is actively engaged and deeply committed to community service and youth engagement. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community. She was also recently selected by the Government of Canada to serve as Canada’s 2019 Youth Delegate to the 72nd World Health Assembly and the 56th Directly Council for the Pan American Health Organization.
Ayah has won numerous awards for her leadership and academic achievements, including the 2019 Michael Decter Scholarship Award in Health Leadership and Policy; 2019 Esta Wall Award of Excellence; Bruyere’s Health Sciences Award; and uOttawa’s Dean’s Scholarship, among others. She currently sits on the Global Advisory Board for Economists Without Borders, and serves as an Associate Editor for theInterdisciplinary Journal of Health Sciences and reviewer for several leading journals and conferences.
Program Manager – Global Health, CARE Canada
Rebecca Davidson has over 10 years’ experience working in international development, and currently holds the role of Program Manager on CARE Canada’s Global Health team. With a passion for improving access to quality health care in low resource settings. She has an M.A. in International Development with a specialization in Human Rights. Her thesis research, funded by HIVOS, focused on maternal mortality in Tanzania from a rights based perspective. She has additional experience in East Africa implementing health programming for Helen Keller International, and with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA). Prior to joining CARE, she held the position of Global Lead – Health for Cuso International overseeing global health programming and partnerships. Rebecca is committed to rights based approaches in development, and has extensive training and experience developing gender transformative health programming.
Erick M. Carreras
Field Support- Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
Erick M. Carreras has a background in clinical surgical research, nutrition and methylmurcery assessments in the Amazon of Peru, and was recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Faculty of Health Science at McMaster University when he graduated with a Master’s of Science in Global Health. During his MSc, Erick took a term to study abroad in the Netherlands at Maastricht University to specialize in a branch of Sociology known as Science and Technology Studies, where his scholarly work investigated the economics of capitalism as a contributing driving force to the establishment of psychiatry as we know it today. Since the completion of his studies, Erick Carreras has worked to promote Gender Equity and Social Inclusivity in the workplace of the private sector in Barranquilla, Colombia; completed free-lance English to French translation work for a non-profit that helps establish Syrian Refugees coming to Canada who identify as a part of the LGBTQ2+ community; and now supports the field work and administration of social programs created by, and for, urban Indigenous residing in Ontario. Using his website, some social media platforms, public presentations (such as this one), and his upcoming book, Erick hopes to raise the consciousness of the world, at scale, to make the impact he hopes to have on the world: contribute to empowering the collective so we may all iteratively co-create a holistically healthier world for all, by all.