Dr. Vanessa Brcic (Chair)

Dr. Vanessa Brcic is a Vancouver-based family physician, somatic therapist, and community-based researcher with a special interest in health inequities. She is proud to have worked alongside her esteemed colleagues Sarah and Manjit to co-found Basics for Health Society in 2014. She is the current Chair of the Board of Directors of B4H.

Her clinical interests are in the interdisciplinary care of vulnerable patients and those with complex chronic conditions often neglected in the medical system.  Since a serious bicycle-MVA collision in 2010, she has gained substantial experience navigating the health system and disability services as a patient. Her prior work experience includes youth work and community development.

In 2011, she published a seminal study that developed a screening tool to identify poverty in primary care settings. Since then, she has worked with groups across Canada to further the ability of health care workers to address poverty and its related social needs in clinical settings. Her research and advocacy focus continues to be how to address inequities in primary care, including interventions for structural violence, trauma, and social determinants of health.

She is a Research Associate with the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a Board Member with Canadian Doctors for Medicare, and has worked in collaboration with the BC Health Coalition, the Public Health Association of BC, the Poverty Reduction Coalition, and Health Providers against Poverty.

In her spare time, she spends as much time as possible in nature, which she finds grounding and healing.  She enjoys meditation, reading, music, and homesteading activities including gardening, cooking, and sewing. 

Kasra Hassani (Vice Chair)

Kasra immigrated to Canada from Iran in 2007. He did his PhD in microbiology and immunology at McGill University and then made switch towards public health, by doing a Masters in Public Health at University of British Columbia. His interests are in public health, primary care, patient and community engagement, and social determinants of health. He has worked in various research and evaluation capacities at British Columbia’s health authorities, Fraser Health and Providence Health Care, and currently works as a research coordinator at UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research. Kasra joined Basics for Health in 2014 as a volunteer.

Charlotte Humphries (Treasurer)

Charlotte joined the Basics for Health Society board in November 2016.  She graduated from the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning with a community planning specialization and a strong interest in community development and participatory planning.  Charlotte worked for several years managing public health, youth and community programs in a non-profit organization.   She currently works at UBC in International Learning Programs. Whether working or volunteering, she is committed to supporting organizations that promote the health, and social and economic development of vulnerable populations. 

Donna Jepsen

Donna Jepsen joined the board of Basics for Health in 2015.  She has a background in Public Health and Community Health Nursing.  Donna is currently the Provincial Coordinator of the Nurse-Family Partnership Program in British Columbia, a program supporting young first-time parents who are coping with marked socioeconomic disadvantage and adversity.  Previous to this role, Donna began her career in public health in the Northern Health Authority region of BC (Prince George) as a public health nurse.  Donna worked for Northern Health for 3 ½ years.  She then moved to the Sunshine Coast for a public health nursing position with Vancouer Coastal Health in 1991.  Donna became the Program Leader for Public Health and Prevention for 14 years supporting a multidisciplinary team.  Donna has a BSN from the University of Victoria, and obtained a Masters of Science degree from the University of Alberta in 2006. 

Sheri Johnson 

Sheri is a Renal Social Worker at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), a casual after-hours Social Worker at Fraser Health Authority, and a disaster response team (DPS) Volunteer with Provincial Health Services Authority. Recently, she co-facilitated VCH Accreditation working closely with 26 of the programs to achieve a score of 94%. Over the past eight years, Sheri has spent time in acute and rehab medicine, emergency, residential care, psychiatry, paediatrics/NICU, maternity, ICU, orthopaedics and trauma, and health leadership roles. Prior to this she spent 10 years working for children with autism (and their families). Sheri completed a Social Services Diploma, a Bachelor of Social Work (UFV), and a Master of Social Work (U of Calgary). Sheri wishes to see a more holistic healthcare system that recognises the systemic and psychosocial factors which contribute to health disparity in the lives of vulnerable and at-risk populations in BC. She joined the Basics for Health Society’s Board of Directors in 2016.

Sarah Kesselring (Secretary)

Sarah has been working in health research since graduating from the UBC Master of Public Health program in 2012. She has experience in project coordination and policy development and is a former volunteer with the Basics for Health Program. Sarah currently works as a Project Coordinator at Population Data BC. 

Melissa Wan

Melissa is a UBC medical student with interests in how the social determinants of health relate to health systems and public heath,  and what we can do in order to improve population health. She brings her experience as a past volunteer with the Basics for Health Program and her quality improvement work with various communities and populations.