Branka Agic
Mehrunissa Ahmad Ali
Kim Begg
Judith K. Bernhard
Marcela Durán
Marlinda Freire
Carolina Gajardo
Nadia Hall
Cindy Kwan
Margaret Leslie
Suzanne Liou-Robinson
Patricia Mousmanis
Valerie Rhomberg

Branka Agic, M.H.Sc.

Dr. Branka Agic has a Master of Health Science in Health Promotion with the Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies at the University of Toronto, and a medical degree from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.  She is working toward her Ph.D. in Health and Behavioural Sciences at the Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

Dr. Agic has extensive experience in research, counselling, program planning and community development with immigrants and refugees.  Dr. Agic is currently a Community Health and Education Specialist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.  She is also a lecturer at the Women and Gender Studies department at the University of Toronto.

Mehrunissa Ahmad Ali, Ed.M., Ph.D.

Dr. Mehrunnisa Ahmad Ali has a master's degree in Teaching and Learning from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Curriculum, Teaching and Social Policy with a concentration in Teacher Education.  She currently teaches at Ryerson University in the School of Early Childhood Education and the Immigration and Settlement Program.  She is also the Ryerson Director of CERIS - The Ontario Metropolis Centre.  Dr. Ali's research focuses on immigrant children, youth and families; parent-teacher relations and preparation of teachers to work with diverse populations.

Kim Begg

Kim Begg has been with the Children's Aid Society of Toronto (CAST) for almost seven years.  For most of that time, she has worked in the intake department, both as an investigative intake worker and also as a telephone intake worker.  Ms. Begg has also done some work as a Family Service Worker for CAST.  She spends a lot of her free time volunteering with children and families in the Regent Park community, and she is an active member of that community.  Prior to working at CAST, Ms. Begg worked as a community worker in Regent Park and in the shelter system as a counsellor and case manager.

Judith K. Bernhard, Ph.D.

Dr. Judith K. Bernhard is a Professor in the School of Early Childhood Education at Ryerson University and Director of its Masters of Arts program.  Her research program focuses on the social determinants of migrant and refugee children's performance in the educational systems of the United States and Canada.  Dr. Bernhard has investigated structural alterations of such families as they affect the children's social functioning.  She has studied and proposed innovative practices tailored to meeting the needs of immigrant children and their families.

Marcela Durán

Marcela Durán is an educator who has had extensive experience working in Teacher Education and Public Education in Ontario in the areas of Equity in the Curriculum, Curriculum Development, Administration of Programs and Professional Development design and delivery.  She currently teaches in the Concurrent Teacher Education Program, Faculty of Education, York University and coordinates the first year Community Field Experience Practicum.  Her past experience also includes having worked as a consultant with the former North York Board of Education and the Toronto District School Board.

Ms. Durán would like to be known as an Antiracist, Human Rights Educator who advocates for the rights of children and families in multicultural-multiracial societies.

Marlinda Freire, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)

Dr. Marlinda Freire is a psychiatrist, with a background in pediatrics who arrived in Canada as a refugee in 1974 following the military coup in Chile.  Dr. Freire's primary areas of expertise are: women's issues, including domestic violence, mental health and trauma-related issues affecting immigrants, refugees, and victims of human rights violations, including torture, dynamics and cross-cultural aspects of life in exile, second language acquisition in traumatized and displaced populations, academic and learning disabilities in the school population, and effects of poverty on mental health.  Dr. Freire is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.  Dr. Freire has extensive clinical as well as community-based work experience in dealing with traumatized and displaced populations.

Carolina Gajardo

A former refugee from Chile in 1990, Carolina Gajardo joined COSTI Immigrant Services working largely in the area of initial reception, settlement, housing and language instruction for newcomers.  Ms. Gajardo has counselled hundreds of victims of trauma and engaged in assessment and crisis intervention as well as developing support groups for refugees and immigrants.  She has trained settlement, housing and shelter workers, cultural interpreters, teachers, doctors and government workers providing services to newcomers in Canada and overseas.  She now manages COSTI's North York Housing Help program, which serves an average of 10,000 people per year.

Today as a citizen of Canada and a resident of Toronto, Ms. Gajardo sits on a number of boards and committees dedicated to social justice, human rights, community development and newcomer settlement issues.

Ms. Gajardo has played a key role in the development of newcomer orientation materials used worldwide; most recently developed a training manual for housing workers in the area of cultural competence.

Nadia Hall, M.Ed., Dip.C.S., M.A.

Nadia Hall is a professor at the School of Early Childhood Education at Seneca College in Toronto where she teaches course on infancy, curriculum design, and families.  She has delivered workshops and addresses all over Canada, the United States and New Zealand.

Ms. Hall's primary focus has always been mental health.  She has held positions as an infant therapist in a home intervention program and manager of early childhood training programs at Canadian Mothercraft.  She has worked as a policy analyst for the Ministry of Health's Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program, created and delivered training curricula to support professionals working with high-risk families at Invest in Kids.  She has also written two texts on anti-bias education and has co-authored the recently published Your Guide to Nurturing Parent-Child Relationships (Brookes, 2008).

Ms. Hall is pleased to draw on her expertise in various areas to develop the content for "Caring for Canada's Children; An On-line Course on Settlement Work with Newcomer Families and their Young Children."

Cindy Kwan, RECE., B.Sc.

Cindy Kwan, a dedicated Mothercraft graduate, has worked with families and young children aged 0 to 6 years for over 10 years in numerous early learning settings.  Currently on faculty at the Mothercraft College, Ms. Kwan is also the Coordinator for the Mothercraft Early Childhood Education (ECE) Bridge to Work program supporting internationally trained individuals to acquire their ECE Diploma at Mothercraft.

Margaret Leslie, Dip.C.S., C.Psych.Assoc.

Margaret Leslie is the Director of Early Intervention Programs at the Canadian Mothercraft Society.  For over 20 years, her clinical experience has been in the areas of prevention and early intervention services for families and young children living in conditions of risk.  Her expertise is in the areas of infant and child assessment, infant mental health, and parent-infant therapy.  She was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Breaking the Cycle program, which was recognized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as a best practice program serving pregnant and parenting women with substance use problems, and their young children.

Ms. Leslie is a member of the Steering Committee and Education Committee of the Infant Mental Health Promotion Project of Toronto.  She is a member of the Advisory Committee for the FASD Information Service of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of FAS International.  She has co-authored numerous national publications on pregnancy, parenting, substance use, and FASD issues, and provides training and consultation nationally and internationally.

Ms. Leslie is the recipient of the 2006 National Harm Reduction Award for Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use Programming. She is a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Suzanne Liou-Robinson

Suzanne Liou-Robinson's education background is in Early Childhood Education.  This has given her the skills and knowledge in child development to work with families and children from prenatal to age 10.  She has worked within the child care field for the past 20 years, of which 16 years have been as a Supervisor, also specializing in infant development.

In 2007, Ms. Liou-Robinson changed career paths and started working as a settlement counsellor for the Immigrant Settlement Adaptation program at The Learning Enrichment Foundation.  As a counsellor she assists clients with information and referrals, case-management, translation, interpretation, escorting and assistance with document and focused counselling to newcomers.  She also has facilitated workshops for parents and professionals both locally and nationally.

Patricia Mousmanis, M.D., CCFP., FCFP.

Dr. Patricia Mousmanis is a community based family physician who works as the Coordinator of the Healthy Child Development Program for the Ontario College of Family Physicians.  She is a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Medicine (June 1983) and completed her family medicine residency program at the Mount Sinai Hospital in June 1985. Dr. Mousmanis has been involved in the Greek Community as the Coordinator of Public Educational Programs for the Hippocrates Hellenic Medical Association from 1989 to 1999 where she worked closely with the Greek Orthodox Family Services Violence Against Women Program to organize educational workshops.  Dr Mousmanis is on staff at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill and the Markham Stouffville Hospital in Markham.  She works in York Region and Toronto in a group practice and also provides consulting services to the Public Health Units across Ontario with regard to Integrated Services for Children.

Valerie Rhomberg, RECE., ECEC., B.A.

Valerie Rhomberg manages the Academic Programs at Mothercraft College, Toronto.  She has over 25 years experience working with children, families, practitioners and communities, working as an instructor, trainer, licencing specialist, consultant, curriculum developer and researcher.  She co-authored "The Affective Curriculum: Teaching the Anti-bias Approach to Young Children" text and has written and presented extensively locally, nationally and internationally on topics such as diversity, brain development, and children's behaviour.