Professor Joseph Wong - Principal Investigator

Joseph Wong is the Ralph and Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation at the Munk School of Global Affairs, Professor of Political Science, and Canada Research Chair in Health, Democracy and Development. He was the Director of the Asian Institute at the Munk School from 2005 to 2014. Wong is the author of many academic articles and several books, including Healthy Democracies: Welfare Politics In Taiwan and South Korea and Betting on Biotech: Innovation and the Limits of Asia’s Developmental State, both published by Cornell University Press. He is the co-editor, with Edward Friedman, of Political Transitions in Dominant Party Systems: Learning to Lose, published by Routledge, and Wong recently co-edited with Dilip Soman and Janice Stein Innovating for the Global South with the University of Toronto Press. Wong’s articles have appeared in journals such as Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Politics and Society, Governance, among many others. Professor Wong has been a visiting scholar at institutions in the US (Harvard), Taiwan, Korea, and the UK (Oxford); has worked extensively with the World Bank and the UN; and has advised governments on matters of public policy in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Wong’s current research focuses on poverty and innovation. He is also working with Professor Dan Slater (Chicago) on a book about Asia’s development and democracy, currently under contract with Princeton University Press. Professor Wong teaches courses in the department of Political Science, the Munk One program and the Munk School of Global Affairs. Wong was educated at McGill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kirstyn Koswin - Research Officer

Kirstyn Koswin is the Research Officer for the Reach Project. In addition to serving as a lead researcher, Kirstyn coordinates teams of student researchers as they conduct desk and field research on the provision of social services to those who are hardest to reach. She holds a Master of Global Afffairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from McGill University. She has worked in business development and project management in the energy sector, serving clients in developed, developing, and post-conflict countries. She has also spent time living in Tunisia, working in the Political Section at Canada’s Embassy to Libya. Kirstyn is particularly interested in the provision of services to populations affected by conflict.

Anita M. McGahan - Faculty Lead

Anita M. McGahan is Professor and Rotman Chair in Management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.  She is cross appointed to the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Physiology Department of the Medical School; is Senior Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard University; is the Chief Economist in the Division of Health and Human Rights at the Massachusetts General Hospital; and is the immediate past President of the Academy of Management.  In 2014, she joined the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance. McGahan earned both her PhD and AM at Harvard University in two years. She holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School, where she received highest academic honors as a Baker Scholar, and a BA from Northwestern University. She also spent several years at both McKinsey & Company and Morgan Stanley & Company and was previously on the faculties of both Harvard Business School and Boston University. McGahan’s credits include four books and over 150 articles, case studies, notes and other published material on competitive advantage, industry evolution, and global health. Her current research emphasizes entrepreneurship in the public interest and innovative collaboration between public and private organizations.

Avni Shah - Faculty Lead

Avni Shah is an Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Department of Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough, with a cross-appointment to the Marketing area at the Rotman School of Management. Using a mixed-method approach of field experiments, laboratory and online experiments, as well as archival and panel data she investigates how a) different payment factors (i.e., payment method, pricing structures, payment timing) and b) social influences (i.e., peer effects) influence consumer spending, saving, and well-being particularly in financial and health contexts. Her research has covered a broad range of topics such as looking at how paying with different forms of payment influence purchase behavior, how paying a surcharge on unhealthy food items influences unhealthy food consumption, how nudges and mobile payment can influence retirement contributions, and whether peers influence how households make mortgage decisions. Avni’s work has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, and Psychological Science.

Stanley Zlotkin - Faculty Lead

Stanley Zlotkin CM, OOnt, MD, PhD, FRCPC is a Professor of Paediatrics, Public Health Sciences and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, a Senior Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute and a Clinician/Scientist in the Department of Paediatrics at SickKids. He received his MD degree from McMaster University, his fellowship training in Paediatrics at McGill and his PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto. In the late 1990s Dr. Zlotkin led the development of ‘home fortification’ with micronutrient powders.  By partnering with United Nations agencies over the past decade, essential minerals and vitamins have been distributed to millions of infants and young children globally for the control of nutritional anaemia. His current research and advocacy is focused on preventing malnutrition in children. He was awarded the HJ Heinz Humanitarian Award in 2001 for his international advocacy work for children, the CIHR National Knowledge Translation Award in 2006, the Order of Canada in 2007 and the Order of Ontario in 2016, for his contributions to improving the lives of children.  Dr. Zlotkin was appointed as the inaugural Chief of Global Child Health at SickKids in 2012.

Reach Researchers (past and present)

Natalie Boychuk is currently completing her degree in Peace, Conflict, and Justice and French. She was a Reach researcher from 2017-2018, working with the Jordan team to better understand the efficiency of UNHCR's biometric cash assistance program for Syrian refugees. Natalie is currently working with Grand Challenges Canada as a research assistant for the Humanitarian Grand Challenge, which aims to enable local manufacturing of innovations for the most vulnerable trapped in conflict. She is particularly interested in how innovation can address challenges women face in accessing services.

Nina Da Nobrega Garcia is currently Director of Business Development at the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) based in Toronto. She holds a Master of Global Affairs (MGA) degree from the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Toronto. Nina participated in the first cohort of the Reach Project researching the Bolsa Famila cash-transfer program in Brazil, most specifically travelling to Brasilia, Salvador and São Paulo.Previous to joining the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce, Nina worked as a Research Officer for the Global Justice Lab, as a Consultant for the Open Society Foundation (OSF), and as a Consultant for the Advanced Energy Center (AEC) within MaRS. Nina is Brazilian and speaks fluent Portuguese, Spanish, English and French.

Nicoli Dos Santos was a member of the first Reach Project research cohort which conducted their research on Brazil’s Bolsa Familia Program in 2015. Since completing the Munk School of Global Affair’s Foundational Year Program and an Honours B.A. in Health Studies and African Studies, Nicoli has continued her studies at the University of Toronto as a Master of Social Work student. Her research interests include inner city health care delivery; and the relationship between basic income and child welfare and development.

Kara Grace Hounsell is a student in the MD program at the University of Toronto. She has a strong interest in health equity and the social determinants of health. As part of Team Sri Lanka, Kara worked with a group of students and researchers to uncover the story behind the country's successful elimination of malaria. The project provided an opportunity to explore the challenges of identifying, treating, and preventing malaria within a conflict setting.

Kourosh Houshmand is a recipient of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Award for his work in tech innovation and media. He was an Artificial Intelligence Strategist at the Associated Press in New York, researching methods to algorithmically quantify human emotions in text and speech. Before that, Kourosh was documentary host and content developer for VICE. He serves as an education technology advisor at the MaRS Discovery District — one of North America’s largest innovation hubs— and is an alumnus of Canada’s leading startup accelerator, the Next 36 program. Kourosh completed his M.S. in data science and journalism at Columbia University on academic scholarship. Raised in Toronto, Kourosh received his B.A. from the University of Toronto (Trinity College) and was on the South Africa birth registration team for the Reach Project.

Stephanie Lim was a member of the South Africa team (2016) focused on investigating improvements in birth registration rates. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto where she completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies. Her primary research interests include topics in forced migration, transnational labour migration, and citizenship. She has previously worked in Myanmar with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) as an intern with their Electoral Support program (STEP Democracy). She is currently studying towards her Master's degree in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford and in her spare time enjoys participating in outdoor activities.

Andrea Macikunas is a second year medical student at the Schulich School of Medicine in the University of Western Ontario. She previously completed her Honours Bachelor of Science at Trinity College within the University of Toronto, with double majors in Global Health and Immunology. Andrea was part of the 2016-2017 Reach Project cohort working on the Thailand case team studying the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and has a strong research interest in the social determinants of health.

Anthony Marchese is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, Trinity College, where he studied International Relations with double minors in Political Science & European Studies. As a member of the Reach Project, he conducted research on the case of birth registration in South Africa. Anthony is currently pursuing his Master's in China Studies at the Yenching Academy of Peking University, where he studies Chinese international affairs.

Marin Macleod is the Knowledge Management & Translation Coordinator at Grand Challenges Canada, where she focuses on the systems and processes used to capture results and share knowledge generated by innovators and through the organization’s unique innovation platform. Marin holds a Master in Public Health - Global Health Emphasis from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Marin researched UNHCR Jordan’s biometric cash transfer program during her time with the Reach Project.

Aylin Manduric competed her undergraduate studies in International Relations and Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies at the University of Toronto in 2017. She traveled to Thailand with the Reach research group to study the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. She is now entering the second year of law school at the University of Toronto. This summer, she is working at Advocates for Injured Workers, a legal aid clinic specializing in worker's compensation and related areas of law. Her interests include human rights and access to health services.

Saambavi Mano completed her Hon. B.A. in Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies and she is currently pursuing a Juris Doctorate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She is a member of the Reach team researching the Palestinian National Cash Transfer Program. In addition to her work with the Reach Project, Saambavi conducted research on Sri Lanka’s Office on Missing Persons Act as a Jackman Humanities Undergraduate Fellow and wrote a senior thesis on innovative repatriation claims for contentious cultural property.

Mariam Naguib worked with the reach project in the 2017-2018 cohort on malaria elimination in Sri Lanka. She is presently navigating the world of medicine as a second year medical student, curious about the intersection of health equity and human rights though the lens of systems thinking whilst asking (too many) questions and sometimes reading autobiographies.

Rushay Naik is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, completing a double-major in Human Biology - Global Health and Peace, Conflict & Justice. Through his interest in the intersection of politics, healthcare, and technology, Rushay has led a number of research and academic projects focused on addressing global challenges. Before joining the Reach Project, Rushay worked in UofT’s COBWEB Lab, applying agent-based complex system models to malaria and influenza disease transmission. In addition, during his time in the Munk One program, Rushay collaborated on technological project proposals to support geriatric diabetes care in Cree First Nations communities in Northern Ontario, as well as potential policy interventions to address Canada’s opioid crisis. A Reach Project researcher for this year, Rushay is a volunteer for his local hospital, an avid cyclist, and a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo

Nikhil Pandey was a part of the Reach Project in 2016-2017, and currently serves as an alumni ambassador. Alongside his team, Nikhil travelled to India to study the Indian government's Aadhaar program. There, they researched the creation of universal identities for over one billion residents. Nikhil is now completing his Juris Doctor degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He hopes to get involved with regulatory work after completing law school.

Shruti Sardesai is currently Junior Programme Assistant at the Pearl Initiative in the United Arab Emirates. She graduated as a Master of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto in 2017, and with a BA International Studies from the American University of Sharjah in 2015. Her interests include global humanitarian aid, gender activism, and development policy. Shruti was part of the Reach team that studied the implementation and effects of Aadhar across India in 2017.

Tanvi Shetty is a 2019 candidate of the Masters of Global Affairs program at the Munk School of Global Affairs. She moved to Canada from Malaysia in 2009 to pursue a Bachelor’s degree at Rotman, where she graduated with a specialist in Finance and Economics. Following her studies at Rotman, Tanvi worked as an Analyst at RBC Capital Markets. She hopes to pursue a career in policy analysis with a focus on developmental economics and emerging markets. 

Kimberly Skead is a research assistant in the Awadalla laboratory at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), the Research Program Coordinator for the Canadian Data Integration Centre and the National Scientific Coordinator for the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project. At OICR, her research is focused on studying genomic alterations in the mature blood pool and how they impact chronic disease development. She will be starting her PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto in September 2018 and previously completed a Hon. BSc in Global Health and Genome Biology at Trinity College, University of Toronto. Kimberly is a News Writer for the Global Health Next Generation Network and a former member and project assistant for the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Cameroon Team where she investigated the state of inclusive education for children with disabilities in Cameroon. Her work in Cameroon is continued through her work with Open Dreams; an organization tasked to empower disadvantaged youth and provide access to international education opportunities. Additionally, she is the Program Development and Fundraising Officer for the Kenya Association for Maternal and Neonatal Health and sits on their Executive Advisory Board. Kimberly is a former fellow of the Reach Project where she was a member of the South Africa research team and investigated the mechanisms employed to increase birth registration rates in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Ben Sprenger is in his third year of Mechanical Engineering and has a strong interest in new technologies for the developing world. Particularly, Ben is interested in sustainable energy developments and the role that they play in combatting poverty and climate change. He joined the Reach Project for the 2018-2019 year and is looking forward to working on the new research projects for this year. In the past, Ben has worked on autonomous robot development for use in search-and-rescue applications (e.g. in natural disaster zones). Ben is also an avid motorsports fan and enjoys working on building small Formula-style cars to race in international competitions.

Jillian Sprenger was part of the Ethiopia team from the 2017/18 Reach cohort.  She is majoring in Global Health, and minoring in Contemporary Asian Studies and Immunology.  Jillian is currently interning at the Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.  Her previous research has focused on innovations to address child malnutrition in Myanmar, sustainable environmental governance models in Ecuador, and strategies to address antimicrobial resistance in Taiwan.  She has also worked for the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health on several projects pertaining to newborn health in rural Pakistan.  In her spare time, Jillian loves travelling, running, and photography.

Alissa Wang is a student at the University of Toronto, enrolled in the combined JD/PhD program. She has just completed her first year of law school, and will begin to pursue her PhD in September, with a focus on international relations and comparative politics. Alissa became a part of the Reach project in 2016, and was a part of team Rwanda, which looked into the country’s successful childhood immunization project. For this project, Alissa focused on the political aspects of Rwanda’s remarkable success.

Peter Zhang is currently a PharmD student at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy as well as a Residence Don at New College. He is a part of the 2018-2019 Reach Project cohort. He is excited to learn about public health policies in areas difficult to reach and looks forward to applying his clinical and research experience within the team!