REACH staff provide the infrastructure to help community members, policy makers, front-line agencies, and researchers develop effective interdisciplinary teams and conduct research that will have an impact.

seanSean B. Rourke
REACH Director

Sean B. Rourke is a clinical neuropsychologist and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and Scientific and Executive Director of the Ontario Ministry of Health AIDS Bureau-funded Ontario HIV Treatment Network, a leading research and policy organization in Canada. He is also the director of three national centres: the CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS (REACH 2.0), the CIHR CBR Collaborative: A Program of REACH, and Universities Without Walls (a CIHR program that is training the next generation of HIV researchers in Canada).

Sean is transforming how population health and community-based research is done to have a stronger impact on policies and front-line services, and to solve complex health problems for people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS. With his novel effective approach to community stakeholder engagement, partnership development across disciplines and sectors, and innovative KTE and research-to-action strategies, Sean is having a major influence in getting us closer to ending the HIV epidemic in Canada.

frannyFrancisco Ibàñez-Carrasco
Universities Without Walls Program Manager

Francisco Ibàñez-Carrasco, a lifelong educator, AIDS activist and teacher, has a passion for building education programs. The driving force, with Sean Rourke and Cathy Worthington, behind Universities Without Walls (UWW), he works collaboratively with faculty, students and the community to review applications, develop and deliver the curriculum, create service learning opportunities, and give UWW fellows an education experience not available in traditional programs. His goal is to connect and inspire students.

soniaSonia Gaudry
Centre Manager

Sonia Gaudry has a background in both biological and social sciences, and a Master’s in Health Services Research. The common threads throughout her academic training have been the health and wellbeing of all community members, and the intersection of various research methods, theories, disciplines, sectors, and partners. Sonia also has a history of involvement with community-based organizations, including HIV/AIDS and hospice support. Sonia draws on her expertise in project management and research analysis to support research teams across Canada. One of the things that attracted her to REACH was the project’s solution-focused, multi-sector way of working, and she enjoys creating a space where people who are passionate about HIV research can bring their ideas to life.

Michelle Sumner-Williams
REACH Coordinator

Michelle Sumner- Williams holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree, and upon completion of her medical internship in 2006, began work in the field of HIV/AIDS with not-for-profit, community based and international civil service organizations. She has successfully led these organizations in the development, implementation and management of local and internationally funded HIV programs with positions at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and most recently Interim Director with the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO). Much of her professional experience has been with racialized and marginalized communities. She is also a certified Behavior Change Communication specialist, and has previously assisted in the administration and dissemination of qualitative research. Having an understanding of the impact of the many social determinants of health, Michelle is continuously committed to improving the lives of people by working from an anti-racism, anti-oppression framework, promoting health equity and reducing systemic barriers to healthcare.



James Watson is the Coordinator of Community-Based Research & Peer Initiatives at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. James began his career in the HIV sector as a Peer Research Assistant with the seminal work of Positive Spaces, Healthy Places study. He then graduated to managing large scale community-based research projects for the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. He has been integral to the creation of the peer researcher training curriculum in Canada through Universities Without Walls. James also hosts and produces a podcast called pozcast, a show that brings HIV research to life.

janiceJanice Duddy (
Director, Evaluation and Community-Based Research, PAN

Janice Duddy, MES, works for the Pacific AIDS Network and is the BC Evaluator for the CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS. Previous to this role she was the Grants & Partnerships Coordinator with the CBR program at PAN and held a dual role with the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) as the Manager of the PHSA’s HIV/AIDS Program and the Operations Manager of the BC Centre for Disease Control’s Hepatitis Program. Janice has a passion for evaluation and has provided leadership on the Community HIV/HCV Evaluation and Reporting Tool at PAN and the BC Evaluation Advisory Committee. She is committed to building a stronger culture of evaluation in the region through engagement of stakeholders from across the sector and showing the value of moving research evidence into practice.

RingaertLaurie Ringaert (
Manitoba CBR Coordinator, Nine Circles

Laurie Ringaert started in early November 2015 with Nine Circles Health Centre. She brings experience in developing networks, community engagement work, collective impact, developmental evaluation,  community based research and evaluation methods, working with indigenous communities, remote and rural communities,  and  knowledge translation. She has a passion for working with and bringing together various sectors to work on complex issues.

Caroline PloemCaroline Ploem (
Community-based Research Manager, AIRN

Caroline Ploem began in December 2015 as the AIRN/REACH Atlantic Community-based Research Manager based at Dalhousie University. Caroline’s greatest passions are related to harm reduction, social justice and health equity. She holds an MA in Applied Psychology and more than 20 years experience in health-related program planning, management and evaluation. Most of her earlier career (1990-2004) was dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS-related research, focusing much of her work on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and HCV among vulnerable populations, particularly inmates and people who inject drugs.


Charlotte Guerlotté (
Community-based Research Coordinator, COCQ-SIDA

Charlotte holds a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Montréal. Passionate about identity issues and intercultural relations, she has developed several research projects on these themes. Her master’s thesis dealt with identity dynamics of Guadeloupean youth from hip-hop culture and from disadvantaged neighborhoods. She has maintained a particular interest in populations considered marginalized or stigmatized with the aim to work with community to move beyond prejudices.


Heather H photo for PAN post

Heather Holroyd (

CBR and Evaluation Associate, PAN

Heather joined in January 2017 and will be collaborating with PAN staff and the Peer Evaluators on the Positive Leadership Development Institute’s impact evaluation will be a major component of Heather’s work over the coming months. Heather recently completed a PhD in sociology at the University of British Columbia.

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