Board

Everyone on YouthCO's Board of Directors is a youth! Together, we are responsible for providing organizational leadership, upholding YouthCO’s mission, values, and approaches, YouthCO’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and operating in the best interests of youth most impacted by HIV and Hep C.

New Board members are always welcome to get in touch and learn more about our responsibilities, and how to get involved in governance at YouthCO! To contact us, email [email protected]

Chenoa Cassidy-Matthews

Chenoa Cassidy-Matthews

pronouns: she, her, hers

Chenoa is a Nishnawbe:kwe of Sachigo Lake First Nation (she/her), and is currently a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Her research centers the experiences of urban Indigenous young people who use drugs and takes a positive action approach to better meet their access needs. Chenoa was raised in a small town near Ottawa, ON and moved to British Columbia to pursue graduate school. She holds a Master of Public Health specializing in Global Health from Simon Fraser University, and loves CrossFit, outdoor adventure sports, and trivia. Chenoa is a teacher at the Native Education College and a research associate at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

pronouns: she, her, hers

Chenoa is a Nishnawbe:kwe of Sachigo Lake First Nation (she/her), and is currently a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Her research centers the experiences of urban Indigenous young people who use drugs and takes a positive action approach to better meet their access needs. Chenoa was raised in a small town near Ottawa, ON and moved to British Columbia to pursue graduate school. She holds a Master of Public Health specializing in Global Health from Simon Fraser University, and loves CrossFit, outdoor adventure sports, and trivia. Chenoa is a teacher at the Native Education College and a research associate at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

James Infante

James Infante

pronouns: he, him, his

James Infante has a big heart and an even louder laugh. Focused on making life better for people, James has fought for the rights of workers and labour unions through public policy advocacy and community organizing. As a political communications strategist, he has managed and led campaigns at all three levels of government and with non-profit organizations. James has completed his degree in Political Science at UBC where he served as a Student Ambassador and has been a volunteer with YouthCO's Mycelium program. He currently serves as the board's Treasurer and you can usually find him in front of a karaoke mic and throwing up finger hearts in photos.

pronouns: he, him, his

James Infante has a big heart and an even louder laugh. Focused on making life better for people, James has fought for the rights of workers and labour unions through public policy advocacy and community organizing. As a political communications strategist, he has managed and led campaigns at all three levels of government and with non-profit organizations. James has completed his degree in Political Science at UBC where he served as a Student Ambassador and has been a volunteer with YouthCO's Mycelium program. He currently serves as the board's Treasurer and you can usually find him in front of a karaoke mic and throwing up finger hearts in photos.
Kristina Kattapuram

Kristina Kattapuram

pronouns: she, her, hers
 
Kristina joined YouthCo as a board member in 2021 and works at First Nations Health Authority managing provincial reports and publications on Indigenous health.  Kristina is passionate about health promotion and disease prevention and ensuring equitable access to culturally safe, trauma informed, and gender inclusive health information and services. She is originally from Toronto, Ontario, and moved to BC five years ago to pursue her Masters in Public Health at Simon Fraser University. In her spare time, Kristina enjoys drinking sour beers, walking on the seawall, and being a dog mom to her rescue dog, Baloo.

pronouns: she, her, hers
 
Kristina joined YouthCo as a board member in 2021 and works at First Nations Health Authority managing provincial reports and publications on Indigenous health.  Kristina is passionate about health promotion and disease prevention and ensuring equitable access to culturally safe, trauma informed, and gender inclusive health information and services. She is originally from Toronto, Ontario, and moved to BC five years ago to pursue her Masters in Public Health at Simon Fraser University. In her spare time, Kristina enjoys drinking sour beers, walking on the seawall, and being a dog mom to her rescue dog, Baloo.
Katrina Koehn

Katrina Koehn

pronouns: she, her, hers

Katrina joined YouthCO as a board member in 2018, and is currently in the final year of her studies at Simon Fraser. She has worked as a research assistant at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS for almost 3 years, and has studied topics such as food security and supportive housing. Katrina is passionate about community-based research, and turning knowledge into action. Growing up in Metro Vancouver, she enjoys cycling in the rain, dry humour, and getting lost in reddit forums. She also dabbles in the Vancouver brewery scene, particularly because they close early, which fits well with her bedtime schedule.

pronouns: she, her, hers

Katrina joined YouthCO as a board member in 2018, and is currently in the final year of her studies at Simon Fraser. She has worked as a research assistant at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS for almost 3 years, and has studied topics such as food security and supportive housing. Katrina is passionate about community-based research, and turning knowledge into action. Growing up in Metro Vancouver, she enjoys cycling in the rain, dry humour, and getting lost in reddit forums. She also dabbles in the Vancouver brewery scene, particularly because they close early, which fits well with her bedtime schedule.

Gerrilynn Manitowabi

Gerrilynn Manitowabi

pronouns: she, her, hers

Gerrilynn is an Anishinaabe kwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in northern Ontario. She completed both her undergraduate and Masters's degrees at Western University. Gerrilynn recently moved to North Vancouver for work as a Senior Policy Analyst, where her work focuses on palliative care, and home and community care. She is passionate about Indigenous health and empowering young people to live healthy, active lives and to become leaders in their communities. Before leaving Ontario, in her home community, Gerrilynn was a hockey coach, hosted youth information sessions on voting in federal elections, and was a board member with the Wikwemikong Nursing Home. When she’s not working, Gerrilynn enjoys playing hockey, hiking in North Vancouver, gin sodas on the porch with a friend, and trying to not kill her house plants.

pronouns: she, her, hers

Gerrilynn is an Anishinaabe kwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in northern Ontario. She completed both her undergraduate and Masters's degrees at Western University. Gerrilynn recently moved to North Vancouver for work as a Senior Policy Analyst, where her work focuses on palliative care, and home and community care. She is passionate about Indigenous health and empowering young people to live healthy, active lives and to become leaders in their communities. Before leaving Ontario, in her home community, Gerrilynn was a hockey coach, hosted youth information sessions on voting in federal elections, and was a board member with the Wikwemikong Nursing Home. When she’s not working, Gerrilynn enjoys playing hockey, hiking in North Vancouver, gin sodas on the porch with a friend, and trying to not kill her house plants.

Kristi Papamihali

Kristi Papamihali

pronouns: she, her, hers

Kristi joined YouthCO as a board member in 2020, and currently works as an epidemiologist for the provincial Harm Reduction Program at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Kristi’s work at the BC Centre for Disease Control informs the implementation of evidence-based harm reduction programming and policies that support people who use substances across BC. Kristi was born and raised in Albania, lived near Toronto with her family, and moved to Vancouver in 2016 to pursue a Masters in Public Health from Simon Fraser University. When she is not working, Kristi splits her time between exploring the outdoors, trying all the ice cream and beer Vancouver has to offer, and hanging out with her cat, Leeloo.

 

pronouns: she, her, hers

Kristi joined YouthCO as a board member in 2020, and currently works as an epidemiologist for the provincial Harm Reduction Program at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Kristi’s work at the BC Centre for Disease Control informs the implementation of evidence-based harm reduction programming and policies that support people who use substances across BC. Kristi was born and raised in Albania, lived near Toronto with her family, and moved to Vancouver in 2016 to pursue a Masters in Public Health from Simon Fraser University. When she is not working, Kristi splits her time between exploring the outdoors, trying all the ice cream and beer Vancouver has to offer, and hanging out with her cat, Leeloo.

 

Luka Poljak

Luka Poljak

Pronouns: he, him, his

Luka is a Canadian immigrant from Croatia and current undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia. He has been an advocate and peer mentor for sexual health and LGBTQ2+ voices for as long as he can remember, having founded students clubs in his highschool to provide safe and accepting spaces for his fellow queer and trans classmates. Upon moving to Vancouver, he volunteered with YouthCo as a camp counselor during our winter camp back in 2020. He is also a youth representative for the Patient Voices Network’s Oversight and Advisory Committee where he was involved in the planning and evaluation of various provincial healthcare projects including an online mental health database called MindMapBC. In his free time, Luka loves to act, write, and practice pole vault.

Pronouns: he, him, his

Luka is a Canadian immigrant from Croatia and current undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia. He has been an advocate and peer mentor for sexual health and LGBTQ2+ voices for as long as he can remember, having founded students clubs in his highschool to provide safe and accepting spaces for his fellow queer and trans classmates. Upon moving to Vancouver, he volunteered with YouthCo as a camp counselor during our winter camp back in 2020. He is also a youth representative for the Patient Voices Network’s Oversight and Advisory Committee where he was involved in the planning and evaluation of various provincial healthcare projects including an online mental health database called MindMapBC. In his free time, Luka loves to act, write, and practice pole vault.

Ariel Sernick

Ariel Sernick

pronouns: she, her, hers

Ariel moved to Vancouver from Toronto in 2016 and getting involved with YouthCO has been her favourite part about living on the west coast! Ariel loves youth-centred environments and has worked with young people in Vancouver, Toronto and New York in various capacities, including as a teacher, camp counsellor, and sexual health educator. Ariel is passionate about youth-focused health promotion and de-stigmatizing HIV in our community and globally. She strongly believes that HIV criminalization hurts everyone, especially youth living with HIV. Ariel is a masters student at UBC and works as a qualitative researcher at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. Her research focuses on how gender can shape experiences of the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, especially among youth and young women. She is enthusiastic about using law, policy and research to improve experiences of health and wellbeing. When she’s not at work or at school, Ariel enjoys binge-watching reality TV and snuggling with dogs!

pronouns: she, her, hers

Ariel moved to Vancouver from Toronto in 2016 and getting involved with YouthCO has been her favourite part about living on the west coast! Ariel loves youth-centred environments and has worked with young people in Vancouver, Toronto and New York in various capacities, including as a teacher, camp counsellor, and sexual health educator. Ariel is passionate about youth-focused health promotion and de-stigmatizing HIV in our community and globally. She strongly believes that HIV criminalization hurts everyone, especially youth living with HIV. Ariel is a masters student at UBC and works as a qualitative researcher at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. Her research focuses on how gender can shape experiences of the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, especially among youth and young women. She is enthusiastic about using law, policy and research to improve experiences of health and wellbeing. When she’s not at work or at school, Ariel enjoys binge-watching reality TV and snuggling with dogs!

Sarain Squakin

Sarain Squakin

pronouns: she, her, hers

Sarain
is a Syilx Okanagan, Jicarilla Apache and Belgian. She grew up in Snpintktn also known as Penticton in the Syilx Okanagan Nation. She currently resides on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, also known as Vancouver. She’s been here since she graduated from UBC Okanagan in 2018. Sarain holds a Bachelors of Business Management from UBC Okanagan. Sarain has worked in Indigenous health for three and a half years. She is passionate in Indigenous health and wellness. Sarain recently took the role as the new Learning Circle manager at UBC Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Health. She looks forward to facilitating conversations on Indigenous health and wellness.

pronouns: she, her, hers

Sarain
is a Syilx Okanagan, Jicarilla Apache and Belgian. She grew up in Snpintktn also known as Penticton in the Syilx Okanagan Nation. She currently resides on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, also known as Vancouver. She’s been here since she graduated from UBC Okanagan in 2018. Sarain holds a Bachelors of Business Management from UBC Okanagan. Sarain has worked in Indigenous health for three and a half years. She is passionate in Indigenous health and wellness. Sarain recently took the role as the new Learning Circle manager at UBC Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Health. She looks forward to facilitating conversations on Indigenous health and wellness.