GHIS CEO AND FOUNDER
I am a leading provider of training and education on sexual and gender minorities (2SLGBTQ+), cultural and clinical competencies, and integrative medicine in Toronto, Canada. I love what I do, and I have pursued this field since 1996. With a Master of Science in Integrated Healthcare, I have provided training at more than 500 organizations, and for an estimated 200,000 people on a regional, national and international level.
My training programs include an intersectional lens on human diversity and 2SLGBTQ+; Anti-oppression and Anti-racism; policy review and analysis; HIV treatment education; and mind-body modalities and Integrative Medicine to healthcare practitioners and social service providers, educational institutions, researchers, governments and policy analysts in Canada, the United States and globally. As a queer cis-gender racialized man, I always bring into my teachings and training, the connections between sexuality and spirituality and self-love and acceptance.
I have traveled extensively, studied with various spiritual teachers, monks, mystics and gurus in the Himalayas and physicians in south India and practiced various mind-bodytreatments such as yoga, energy work, breathing practices, ethno–botanical and herb use, traditional medicines of various cultures and its integration with allopathic/ Western medicine for 20 years (1981 to 2002). In the 21 years, I trained in yoga, meditation and breathing techniques (pranayama), philosophy and practice in India and Canada. I studied Hatha yoga, Kriya yoga, Siddha yoga meditation via various masters and teachers and Raja Yoga meditation at the Sivananda Centre. I continue to teach these modalities to bridge ancient wisdom with new scientific discoveries.
During my travels, I met with many spiritual leaders, yogis, monks and gurus in India. My spiritual gurus include Lahiri Mahasaya, Bhagavan Nityananda Ramana Maharishi, Shri Shri Shri Shivabalayogi, Swami Bhoomanada Tirtha, Swami Shantananda Puri and Mata Amritaanandamayi. In an attempt to truly understand the links between spiritualityand integrative medicine, I travelled to Vasishtha Gua(cave), Kedarnath and Badrinathin the Himalayas. My style of teaching yoga and meditation is to bring the essence of our spiritual self to our daily experiences. In knowing the essence of our true self (Atman), a Sanskirt term for our true nature, soul, eternal essence in all of us, we learn to gradually become aware of our true self in all of us, transcending race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, social status and other identities.
My catalyst for a deeper personal exploration of my true sense of self, meaning of life and mortality began in 1988 with a series of life altering experiences. It has been an incredible personal growth and many spiritual lessons and wisdom learned over the years. My lived experiences has taught me much about the psychosocial issues of grief and loss, stigma, trauma, shame, and its impact on the human psyche and moving to self-acceptance, love, compassion and empathy. Moreover, my lived experiences have propelled me to a stronger advocate of social justice and human rights.
In 1998 I went to Chennai, India to study under the guidance of Dr. Anandakumar and Dr. Deivanayaga, on the use of Siddha medicine to boost immune function in HIV-infection. This was the perfect opportunity to put compassion and social justice to action at Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine. I was deeply moved by the suffering of the patients and lack of access to basic care and affordable medications. I resolved to do something about the disparities I had witnessed. From 1998 to 2002, I started Care Shed Project, an anti-HIV drug recycling program for women and children at the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine in Tambaram Sanatorium, Chennai, India. At Care Shed Project, I funded raised monies with the assistance of Patricia Bartlett Richards in Toronto to build an outdoor facility for families of patients to cook food for their loved ones and a place to rest after a long travel to the hospital. In 2002, I received the honor roll award from the Ontario AIDS Network, and in 2006, I won the Canadian AIDS Society Leadership Award.
My Canadian contribution to HIV resources bloomed during my 10-year stint at the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. I co-authored four national publications. These include A Practical Guide to Complementary Medicine, A Practical Guide to Herbal Therapies for PHAS (CATIE, 2004), Practical Guide to Nutrition for PHAS (CATIE, 2007) and Managing Your Health (CATIE, 2009). All these are available online at CATIE.
I have worked on various reports and research. Some of the highlights include, Co–Investigator of the national Trans*Needs Assessment Project, Canadian AIDS Society (2013-2015); Co-principal investigator of Improving the Capacity of the HIV Sector to respond to the Ethno-Racial MSM: Tapping Front-Line Expertise and Wisdom, Ontario HIV Treatment Network (2007-2008) and Project Manager for Mobilizing Ethno-racial Communities Leaders against HIV. Committee for Accessible Treatment, Regent Park Community Health Centre.
Since 2010, I am a guest lecturer on cultural and clinical competencies to provide inclusive care to 2SLGBTQ+ clients and patients. Some of the universities include, PGY2 Residents. Family Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston and Family and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; Brock University; University of Waterloo, Kitchener; George Brown Activation Coordinator, Gerontology program, George Brown College; Psychology Internship/Residency Programs. CPA Accredited Doctoral Internship; and Canadian College of Chiropractic Medicine, Toronto. I have served on numerous boards, committees, and Ethics Review Board at University of Toronto and Community Research Initiative of Toronto.
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