About the session
What you don’t know but you think you know: What researchers/evaluators need to hear that they’re not always prepared/equipped to hear.
This session brings together six members of MAP’s Community Expert Group (CEG) in a panel discussion. The CEG is comprised of researchers with lived experience of poverty and homelessness to help guide research and evaluation activities on various projects at MAP. The panel discussion will focus on how to appropriately engage people with lived experience in research and evaluation in order to be inclusive and have research with impact.
1:00pm-2:00pm: Panel discussion
2:00-2:30: Q&A from the audience
Rene Adams wears many hats in the community: Maytree Leader for Change, Community Advocate, Peer Advocate, Facilitator, Community Animator, Mental Health Support Professional, Provincial Government Advisor, Blogger and Health Equity Research Consultant. She uses her own experience of marginalization and living with multiple hidden disabilities to educate others and advocate for meaningful systemic change by promoting the empowerment of marginalized community members to find creative solutions to individual and community challenges.
Daniela Mergarten has been a social activist for the last 35 years, involved with several social service agencies and the City of Toronto. She is the Chair of the Lived Experience Caucus at the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness, sitting on the human rights working group and the Steering committee. Daniela is
involved with 2 research projects through St. Michael’s Hospital, MARCO and MAP. She serves on the MARCO Steering Committee and Community Group as well as the Encampment Project, Community Committee, KT Committee and the Peer Research Evaluation Committee. Daniela currently sits on the MAP Community Expert Group.
Veronica Snooks – I am here as a Woman of Indigenous heritage. A Person with Lived Experience, a parent, a grandmother, auntie, daughter and friend to many. My education includes Indigenous mental health and addictions, addiction worker program, Peer worker training, wrap facilitator training, pathways to recovery facilitator training, non-violent communication training, Storytelling training, Presentation training .research training, grant writing training, marketing, computer training, and many more. I work with: lived experienced advisory group (LEAG) (alumni member), EC Empowerment Council –CAMH (board member), The Dream Team (working member), MAP Community Expert Group, Beyond Housing, MARCO (MAP), and TAEH-PWLE Caucus.
Opal Sparks has done research projects with Daily Bread Food Bank (provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy), Wellesley Institute, Caledon Institute, Tamarack Institute, Atkinson Foundation, People’s Blueprint, Social Assistance modernization process and Social Planning Toronto. Opal participated in a year-long Maytree Leaders for Change program. She has consulted with Access Alliance, Dr. Gary Bloch’s poverty health initiative, CAMH (Empowerment Council), spoken for the United Nations and United Way GTA. Opal participated in the pilot Advocate program at the Stop.
Bee Lee Soh is a member of the City of Toronto’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Lived Experience Advisory Group. From September 2017 to August 2018, Bee was also a member of the federal government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Poverty leading up to the first National Poverty Reduction Strategy. Bee is an active community volunteer and anti-poverty activist with non-profit advisory committees and community groups. Bee currently sits on the MAP Community Expert Group.
Sa’ad Talia, whose lived experience includes Supportive Housing, Mental Health Challenges, Addictions, Poverty and Social Isolation, advocates for PWLE rights, inclusion, and advancement, with the TAEH and MAP Community Expert Group.
George Da Silva (moderator) – HIV positive for over 20 years, a Peer Researcher since 2017 and a volunteer within the community. George became a Peer Researcher to be able to share his life experiences and learn to listen to others telling their stories. He’s been involved in a number of projects ranging from HIV to Homelessness research. Treasuring each and ever story shared with him and adding his own lived experience to help others while they share.