Michael Chaiton, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Michael Chaiton (he/him) is an Independent Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Director of Research at the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, and Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

Alex Abramovich, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Alex Abramovich (he/him) is a Scientist at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Dr. Abramovich has been addressing the issue of LGBTQ2S youth homelessness for nearly 15 years.

Patrick Feng, Co-Investigator & Design Advisor

Patrick Feng (he/him/his) Role: co-investigator on this project. That means I am one of the researchers leading this project. I live in Toronto and work at the University of Toronto. My research covers participatory and co-design methods. That means involving the users of technology in their design. In non-pandemic times I like to travel.

Luc Grey (Blanchard), Project Coordinator, Program Support & Facilitator

I’m a 29-year-old pansexual cis male settler living in Toronto. I’ve experienced challenges with my mental wellness and navigating systems of care in Ontario & Quebec. When I’m not working on projects, I enjoy spending time with my partner, friends, exploring the city by foot, being on the water, and road trips.

Rebecca Billington, Former Co-Researcher & Facilitator

Rebecca Billington (she/her), Co-Researcher I’m 29-years-old, queer, and raised/residing in London, Ontario. I bring to this project my lens as a registered social worker offering substance use care in a hospital setting. My hobbies have kept me grounded during the pandemic, including Passion Planning, 30-day workout challenges, and vacationing to Isle Delfino in Super Mario Sunshine.

Rachel Thorburn, Co-Researcher & Facilitator

Hello! My name is Rachel (she/they) and I’m a Co-Researcher and Facilitator on the SMASH COVID team. I’m a 24 year old bisexual cisgender white woman living in London, ON. I started my own journey in youth engagement in mental health as a youth with lived experience, and have since been thrilled to continue lifting up the voices of other youth through facilitation and research roles to create systems change. In my spare time, I have taken up gardening and tennis- two things I never thought I’d be into before COVID! Looking forward to meeting you all.

Lani Copeland, Co-Researcher & Facilitator

Hi! My name is Lani Copeland (she/her) and I am a co-researcher and facilitator on the SMASH COVID team. I have lived in many cities across Canada over the last few years, however I currently reside in Toronto. I have personally witnessed the negative impact of COVID-19 on access to mental health and substance use services over the last year, and I am hopeful that this project will provide insight into how some of these barriers can be addressed. In my free time I enjoy staying active through hiking, walking and yoga. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family, and finding new and exciting recipes to try.

Mari Pullman, Data Analysist

I’m a 22 year old cisgender female, and identify as a biracial Japanese-Canadian. I moved from Japan when I was ten and have mostly lived in London, Ontario ever since. I have seen and experienced how COVID-19 has exacerbated both difficulties with mental wellness and accessing mental health care and resources. I am excited to be a part of this project to be able to find possible solutions to these barriers. During my downtime, I often enjoy snowboarding during the winters and spending time outdoors and going on hikes during the summers!

Mahalia Dixon, Co-Researcher & Facilitator

My name is Mahalia (she/they) and I’m a Youth Engagement Facilitator at CAMH. I love talking all things youth mental health and substance use and am so looking forward to meeting you all! When not working on cool projects like S.M.A.S.H COVID, you can find me chilling by the lake with a good book.

Jesse Clark, Co-Researcher & Co-Facilitator

Hi, my name is Jesse, I use any pronouns, I’m a student living in the west end of Tkaronto, and I’m super excited to be co-facilitating this project! I have many years of lived experience as a non-binary trans person navigating mental health and substance use services, and I’m passionate about statistics analysis and finding ways towards liberation of the working class. In my downtime I enjoy creating electronic music and rollerblading.

Amanda Moss, Planning Committee Member

(She/her) I’m a Research Analyst at CAMH, involved with the project Impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ2S Youth at Risk-Of, and Experiencing, Homelessness.Registered Social Worker/Psychotherapist at a group practice in North York, supporting youth/adults facing mental health and substance use challenges. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, playing soccer, being in nature, listening to music, and drawing and painting.

Chieng Luphuyong, Design Lead & Facilitator

Chieng Luphuyong (he/him/his) is a practicum student and design lead with the S.M.A.S.H COVID Project. He has a background in environmental design and is completing the Masters of Design for Health program at OCAD University. His research interests include the impact of the built and natural environments on human health and well-being. In practice, Chieng strives to promote social justice, health equity, and cultural safety. He couples participatory design with a strengths-based approach to identify opportunities that address health disparities faced by individuals from racialized and structurally marginalized groups. Chieng strongly believes that giving folx with lived experience a central role throughout the process will result in sustainable solutions that are generated with (and not for) end-users and their communities. Chieng identifies as a gay person of colour with lived experience with mental health and substance use challenges – and so he has a personal attachment to this project, and hopes its outputs can enact meaningful and lasting improvements of service offerings to address the unmet needs of 2SLGBTIA+ youth.ting.

Nikkie To, Design Team Member & Facilitator

Pui Yee Nikkie To (she/her/hers), Design Team I’m a 29-year-old cis female immigrant from Hong Kong living in Toronto. I have experienced challenges with my mental wellness, safety, and navigating systems of care in Ontario. When I have time, I enjoy painting, biking, walking for hours, and traveling to new places.

Grace Mendez, Design Team Member & Program Support

Hello! My name is Grace Mendez (she/her/hers), and I support the design team in the S.M.A.S.H. COVID project. I immigrated to Canada thirteen years ago from Ecuador. Based on my experience, I understood that accessing services and resources timely to meet my needs was vital to overcoming uncertainty and barriers found in a new place. I am thrilled to collaborate on this project! In my free time, I enjoy watching movies, being outdoors, and practicing rock climbing. places.

Patricia Kambitsch, Design Program Illustrator

Patricia “Patsy” Kambitsch (she/her) Graphic Facilitator/Live Illustrator I’m a cis female neurodiverse settler living and working in Toronto. I struggle with mental health and have learned to make sense of the world through art in its many forms. I believe my personal struggles help me to bring clarity to complex ideas and make difficult conversations accessible to everyone. When not drawing live, I read and make comics, dj at ecstatic dance events, and clown.

Chris Rice, Design Program Facilitator

Chris Rice, he/him, facilitator and a quality improvement specialist at NYGH. I identify as a white cisgender male living in North York. I’m working as a designer in healthcare, I see a lot of desire to provide the care people need, but not a lot of understanding about how to change the current system to do it. This project, and the people working on it, are taking the steps that many cannot. I believe this project will identify opportunities for many providers across Canada beyond the needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope to support the team as they help improve the services that gender and sexually diverse youth and young adults have access to. When I’m now working, I’m growing and maintaining a collection of plants (currently have 4).


Christina Yager, Manager COMPASS, Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH)

Dr. Neil B. Baskerville, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Dr. Patrick Feng, University of Toronto

Dr. Daniel Grace, University of Toronto

Dr. Carmen Logie, University of Toronto

Dr. Nicholas Mitsakakis, University of Toronto

Dr. Robert Schwartz, University of Toronto

Dr. Lori Ross, University of Toronto