People Category: Staff

Our dedicated, experienced staff focuses on organizational operations, supports the Leadership Council and is vital in assisting applicants and grant recipients.

Julia Kaisla – She/Her

Executive Director

Julia has over 12 years of experience working in B.C.’s mental health and substance use sector.  Prior to joining CAI, Julia worked as the Executive Director at the Canadian Mental Health Association North Shore branch where she worked alongside the provincial office of CMHA to co-create the province’s Peer Assisted Care Team model. She also worked closely with partner communities and knowledge keepers across the province to build a curriculum for Indigenous peers. Her work with health authority partners led to the launch of Metro Vancouver’s first Recovery College. Before that role, Julia worked as the Director of Community Engagement at CMHA BC

She holds a Master of Arts degree in Conflict Analysis from Royal Roads University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UBC.

Outside of work, Julia’s passions involve everything to do with food (including baking), being in the forest with her family, and travel.

Janine Stevenson – She/Her

Director of Strategic Initiatives & Special Projects

Janine’s heritage is of Orkney and English descent. She has raised her daughter, worked and played in the unceded and occupied territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) people for the past 29 years.

Janine was with the BCCDC as a street nurse for 16 years throughout BC and in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside during which she worked with street youth, sex workers and people who struggle with addiction. She has been involved in creating and teaching workshops for public health nurses and healthcare professionals and peers regarding sexual health, harm reduction and addiction throughout BC including First Nation communities for over 2 decades. Most recently, Janine was at the First Nations Health Authority in the role of the STBBI and Harm Reduction CDC Nurse Specialist, manager of the Indigenous Wellness Team and Lead for the Compassion, Inclusion and Engagement Team (CIE), a FNHA & BCCDC initiative. The teams were part of the FNHA response to the overdose crisis throughout the province.

These days when not at work, during Covid times she and her partner enjoy biking, gardening and spoiling their cat, Tom.

Mira Abou Farrage – (she/her)

Program Manager - Grants & Community Funding

Mira is responsible for supporting the coordination, management and implementation of CAI’s grant funding, training, and capacity building initiatives to ensure quality and efficiency in the granting process. Mira holds a Bachelor of Science and is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health degree at Simon Fraser University. She is keen on better understanding and reporting on the needs of individuals and families experiencing mental health and substance use challenges and is inspired by the innovative work happening in local communities across the province that address them. She believes continued support for community leadership is essential to building an equitable, community informed health system of care.

Andrea Derban – She/Her

Clinical Lead, Episodic Overdose Prevention Sites (e-OPS)

Andrea Derban is a seasoned Public Health Nurse with over 30 years of experience in 3 of BC’s 5 Regional Health Authorities, BCCDC, FNHA and the Ministry of Health. Driven by a passion for social justice, Andrea is a dedicated team member striving for systemic changes required to better serve people who use substances. Andrea is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a baccalaureate degree in nursing and has been working towards a Masters degree in Theology at Regent College. When not at home in Coal Harbour, Andrea is walking the seawall with her partner or hiking with her puppy in the mountains.

Zavi Swain – He/Him

Manager, Community Grants

Zavi is responsible for a province-wide capacity-building grant program and other projects in the supportive recovery sector. He is a queer and trans community educator and a white settler living and working on the traditional, unceded and occupied lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. Zavi holds a Master of Arts degree from UBC in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. He has worked in community development for over 12 years in the non-profit and public sector and his own lived experience with mental health and disability informs his work in the community. In addition he loves connecting with people about gardening, pets, video games, cooking shows and other passions.

Jermia Foncham – She/Her

Project Manager, OPEN

Jermia Foncham has a clinical background with a Bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science from the University of Buea, Cameroon. She also holds a Master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Osaka, Japan and a Master’s degree in Community health and Population Science from the University Saskatchewan.

Jermia has had experience working in different areas of research throughout her educational career which includes working as a research assistant in the following areas: typhoid, malaria, microbiology, cancer, and different areas of population health research. She also worked with the Public Health Agency of Canada as a student public health officer, particularly in updating the health status report of the Northern Intertribal Health Authority from 2016-2022 (including areas such as communicable disease, COVID-19, immunization and community wellbeing).

She has also worked as a support worker for the Light House Supported Living, Saskatchewan where she supported persons with mental health and substance use. She has also worked as a program coordinator with the Sickle Cell Foundation, Cameroon and the BC Centre for Excellence for HIV/AIDS Research as a Research Coordinator focusing on evaluating barriers. and health care experiences among persons with substance use and other risk groups living with HIV across BC.

Noah Chalifoux – He/Him

Project Manager - Community Development/Local Leadership United

Noah holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University in Human Geography. He is passionate about community development and has worked on a diversity of community health projects, including research, community programming, outreach and engagement activities with queer communities, Indigenous communities, and other oppressed groups.

He believes that change is a collective process and that it should be led by communities themselves. Grounded in queer ethics of solidarity, Noah is committed to supporting community-led harm reduction across BC. Outside of work, Noah enjoys hiking, camping and gardening.

Peter Hoong – He/Him

Project Manager - Community Action Teams

Peter has a Master of Public Health from Simon Fraser University. His background in public health research has given him the opportunity to work with diverse stakeholders living with HIV, mental health issues, and/or substance use issues. He is especially passionate about LGBTQ/2S health and capacity building. Equity is the guiding principle behind his work, and he hopes to aid and facilitate communities in driving change.

Adrienne Yeung – They/Them

Community Grants Manager - Community Counselling

Adrienne manages a portfolio that increases access to quality, publicly funded, community-based counselling across BC. They come to CAI with a MPH in Social Inequities and Health from SFU and a BSc. in Neuroscience from the University of Winnipeg. Their diverse background of experiences includes counselling, project management, qualitative research, workshop facilitation, education, entrepreneurship and the arts. Adrienne is excited to do work that highlights the importance of mental health and the inseparability of health equity and social justice.

Anna Harcourt – She/Her

Manager, Grants & Community Initiatives

Anna manages CAI initiatives that offer grant, training, and capacity-building opportunities to community-based organizations in BC. Her role is to support community-led interventions that protect and promote mental health and wellness. Anna’s Master of Public Health gave her an acute awareness of the important and often complex interactions between the social, biological, economic, and environmental determinants of health, and her studies also fostered an interest in community development. She appreciates having the opportunity in her work at CAI to address mental health and substance use challenges experienced by people across the province.