Jeannie Samuel, Inter Pares board member

voices : Personal Story

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Jeannie Samuel
 Credit: Marietou Diallo

In 2016, I travelled to Peru for research on marginalized communities’ access to healthcare. While I was there I visited DEMUS, one of Inter Pares amazing counterparts. I got to hear about their work to protect and promote women’s reproductive rights in Peru. This connection deepened my relationship with Inter Pares even further. As a member of the Board of Directors, I travel to Ottawa from Toronto four times a year to participate in board meetings. I have been on the board since 2010, but the years have flown by.

I became an activist when I was young. The social justice issues that I am passionate about are the environment, gender issues, access to healthcare. In my work, I have been involved with informal groups with shoestring budgets, community-based services, as well as the United Nations. These days, I am a professor at York University’s inter-disciplinary health program. This gives me the opportunity to link my past experiences to my current work on health and human rights, and bring these issues alive for my students.

Inter Pares’ international solidarity approach fits well with my values. I love that the work is firmly rooted in social justice, rather than in a charity model. And as a person who has travelled and worked in different parts of the world, I think it is important that we make linkages between issues in Canada and abroad. My own research on marginalized people’s challenges in accessing quality healthcare is echoed in Inter Pares’ work – in Canada through the Canadian Health Coalition, and in the Philippines with Likhaan Centre for Women’s Health. I am also an Inter Pares donor, and it is an honour for me to be part of the Inter Pares community.

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