Reimagine Health

Our being, our thoughts, our communities.

Did you know that about 44% of people in Canada are impacted by at least one chronic disease like Diabetes and Hypertension? These chronic diseases impact underserved communities at much higher rates than the general population.

Wonder why? 

Through the Reimagine Health program, we hope to explore these issues with people who are curious about systems change and want to tackle issues!

The Reimagine Health Program is a six-month cohort-based program that supports community members and leaders to explore health equity issues in their communities and build ideas to prevent chronic diseases.

Over six months, you will connect with people in your communities and work collaboratively with leaders in diverse communities and systems. By learning and working together, you will produce new and better initiatives that address the systems that actively influence health disparities. 

We aim to challenge ourselves as a community of innovators as we center healthy equity, grow and learn together to take part in systems change work.

Applications are now closed for our 2021 cohort.

Who Should Apply?

You should apply if: 

  • You are passionate about reducing health issues in your community
  • You are curious about systems change
  • You come from a community that is disproportionately impacted by the health issue you want to address
  • You are committed to promoting healthier lives within your communities and want to do so by addressing their root causes
  • You have the capacity to engage, in person, for roughly 2 full day sessions per month with a total of 12 days over 6 months
  • You have an idea for ways to tackle health challenges in communities but haven’t found people to share and test your ideas with yet
  • You are open to exploring different ideas and interacting with people from diverse disciplines and backgrounds
  • You are open to feedback, engaging with others working within systems, and drawing on new networks to enhance your vision

Program Overview

Through the Reimagine Health Program we provide a collaborative space for people from impacted communities to innovate, curate, and bring together diverse ways of knowing to tackle real-life health challenges and strategize sustainable solutions. By working together and sharing the collective cohort’s experiences and ways of thinking, you will build ideas and test solutions that aim to reduce avoidable health challenges in your communities.

Through collaborative sessions and engaging opportunities, you will connect with mentors and community members to share your ideas and build resources. Our intention is to learn and build relations alongside you and the communities we work with, as we challenge ourselves and commit to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Program Benefits

By participating in this program, you will:

  • Build meaningful relationships: develop a collective network  within communities
  • Build on knowledge: learn from others in community and learn different ways of knowing to tackle preventable health challenges
  • Build opportunities: engage in meaningful and intentional health equity work as you build on your skills
  • Build confidence: gain leadership skills and impactful ways to communicate your ideas to influence power dynamics 
  • Build ideas: develop and test ideas that challenge traditional ways of engaging with health systems 
  • Leave a positive impact on yourself and those around you

Program Content

This program will take place over 6 months. You’ll get to know each other as participants, take part in engaging sessions, learn about health equity, brainstorm, and test ideas within your communities! 

We are looking for committed and passionate individuals who are available program to attend 12 sessions in the following months:

  • Meet & Greet March 18, 2021
  • Virtual Retreat March 30- April 1
  • Sessions on May 7 & 8
  • Sessions on June 3, 4 & 5
  • Sessions on July 7 & 8 
  • Closing Celebration end of July TBD

Wondering if You're a Fit?

That’s fine! Read on to hear about some hypothetical program participants and what their work, lives, and commitments look like. 


Jasmine is a health advocate and nutritionist by training who works in her community to help clients learn about healthy eating and share resources with them. She works 9-5 throughout the week and spends that time meeting one-to-one with her clients and trying to understand how to best support them. In her spare time, she takes part in dance classes and yoga to maintain an active lifestyle but notices that there aren’t many people in her community taking part in recreational programming. She’s curious to find ways to address healthier eating in addition to promoting physical activity while building a network of like minded professionals and community members.


Kevin decided at a young age that he wanted to run his own business. He decided to take an alternate route and drop out of business school to start his own not-for-profit organization for youth. Following his passion for youth work, he spent a lot of time mentoring youth and organizing in his community. Kevin is looking to create a branch within his organization to work with youth to promote healthier lifestyles but realized it’s much more than creating an app to get them moving. He is looking for an opportunity to develop and test ideas, engage in critical dialogue and address the root causes of health issues


Aisha came to Canada 15 years ago as a newcomer and spent most of her years in Canada learning English and thinking about the perfect career. Spending time in a new school, Aisha was quite shy and hesitant in meeting new people but was always determined to make a change within her community. She now works full time in retail as she continues to complete her undergraduate studies in health sciences. From her own lived experience of coming to Canada as a refugee and witnessing the health challenges her family and other refugees in her communities face, Aisha noticed a gap in health services. She’s always wanted to take part in meaningful work that centers her communitys’ experience and takes into account the many barriers to accessing services they experience. She has an idea for how to get her community’s health needs met but doesn’t know how to get it started.


Ready to Apply?


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Questions About Health Promotion Lab?

If you still have questions about Health Promotion Lab, email Ilhan Abdullahi at

The Program Team

The Reimagine Health Program is stewarded by the following team of individuals.

Ilhan Abdullahi

Program Manager, Health Promotion Lab

Ilhan is a Somali-Canadian whose parents’ migration journey brought her to these unceded Coast Salish Lands at a very young age. Stemming from her family’s experience of being racialized newcomers, Ilhan has been passionate in addressing social and health inequities and developed a commitment to social justice. Having spent some time in community activism, youth work and health promotion in the Lower Mainlands of Vancouver, Ilhan then moved to Toronto to pursue her Masters in Public Health and gain a critical intersectional analysis on what promotes vulnerability to health inequities. She has recently returned to BC and is ecstatic to get involved in health equity and community work. When she’s not working, you can find her embarking on solo travels somewhere in the world.

Halah Zumrawi

Coordinator, Health Promotion Lab

Halah is gradute student in clinical counseling with a keen interest in the biopsychosocial and spiritual aspects of addiction and recovery. She’s spent the last few years in the biotech startup world as well as working in her communities to lower barriers to epistemologically relevant mental health care. She is grateful to live on the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh nations. Halah always makes time to read, cultivate her love of languages and be near the ocean.

Skikhank Sharma
Venture Activator
Shikhank has been actively involved in the social impact space academically and professionally for a number of years in areas of social innovation, impact investing, education, and sustainability.
His journey to grow and learn led him from his home in the vibrant city of Delhi in Northern India to North America over ten years ago. During this time, Shikhank has been grateful for the communities that he has been a part of, his own lived experiences, and the shared knowledge of those around him for helping him better his understanding of the world in all its brilliance and juxtapositions. Over the years, Shikhank has collaborated with various impact organizations – nonprofits, universities, and social enterprises – in roles and projects related to strategic planning, community engagement, capacity building, and research.
It brings Shikhank utmost joy when he is able to help individuals and groups facing a sticky issue related to an idea or a project have the “a-ha” moments where they are able to figure out a path forward.

2020 Program Contributors

Laura Gaaysiigad Cuthbert


Gaaysiigad hín uu díi kya’áang, ga yáalaast gúust uu díi k’wáalaagang, díi gwaayk’aang hlk’yáan ñ’ust’áan uu íijang. 

I grew up in the sands of Brunette Creek in New Westminster, where I learned to skip stones, catch fish, and tread lightly on unceded land of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, sc̓əwaθenaɁɬ təməxʷ, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ, S’ólh Téméxw, Stz’uminus, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm. The creek bed and city have been a connecting place for thousands of years, and I work to feel a part of those connections.

Those connections have been best felt when organizing in community around sense of place, isolation, language preservation, heritage reform, and Indigenous sovereignty. These connections have also woven themselves into roles and opportunities: as Curator and Co-Founder of Kudoz, Director of Organize BC, and Director of Populous Map.

I learned to use my Masters of Anthropology to document these connections, but I honour and evaluate them by sinking back into the creek’s soft sand. Reciprocity in community and home are what I innovate for. Thanks, I’m happy to be here.

Kashif Pasta (Dunya Media)


Kashif is an award-winning writer, director, and producer with a laser focus on telling stories that treat underrepresented people like… regular people.

He directed Dunya’s hit digital series Welcome to Surrey, creatively drove our South Asian health platform, co-created the Untitled BTR Project with Sameer Gardezi for Paul Feig’s Powderkeg, and was a 2018 ABC Television Comedy Lab fellow for his pilot Long Distance.


Shyam Valera (Dunya Media)


One of the Canadian Media Producers Association’s Next Generation of Producers to Watch, Shyam is a writer, producer, and co-founder of Dunya. He is a champion of stories that entertain while creating a sense of wonder, fun, and meaningful social good.

Shyam co-created, co-wrote and produced the hit digital series Welcome to Surrey, winning countless awards including Best Webseries at the South Asian Film Festival of America and multiple nominations at the BC Leo awards. 

Practitioner by day. Dreamer by night.

Alia Sunderji


Alia is a social entrepreneur and lecturer at Simon Fraser University where she teaches Sustainable Innovation and Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Passionate about the fields of sustainability, poverty alleviation and impact investing, Alia is the Founder of Luv The Grub an emerging social enterprise that operates at a number of levels in the food system by capturing produce seconds that would otherwise go to waste, hires newcomer refugees and immigrants through a paid employment training program and produces delicious chutneys and spreads for the local market. In addition, Alia is also the Co-Founder of Liv & Lola; a fair trade home decor business which works with artisans in rural areas of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Thailand where employment opportunities are scarce in an effort to lift them, their families and their communities out of poverty.

Paola Ardiles

Curriculum Contributor

Paola Ardiles BSc (hons) MHSc MBA (far right) is a public health advocate, an educator and a social entrepreneur. Throughout her career she has led various collaborative and innovative approaches in research, policy and practice, to enable a broader understanding of our collective role in promoting health and well-being for all. Paola came to Canada as a refugee child in the mid-seventies and formed part of the Chilean diaspora who established itself in Toronto during the military dictatorship. Since then Paola has been driven to create social change by sharing knowledge and creating space for people’s voices to be heard. Today, she serves as a bridge or a “knowledge broker” through her roles as a educator, mentor, advocate, policy analyst, entrepreneur, advisor, facilitator and public speaker. In 2017, Paola was recognized as one of TD Bank’s 10th Most Influential Hispanic Canadians.



Making the RADIUS Health Promotion Lab Reimagine Health Program Possible