Meet Our Patient Partners

Below are several of our patient partners from our patient pool, some of whom are also members of the Patient Advisory Committee. Each receives care at one of our department’s teaching clinics and comes from a wide variety of backgrounds. 

Complete this intake survey if you'd like to join the DFCM patient pool.

Visit this page for resources available to all DFCM patients, as well as Patient Advisory Committee materials.

Patient Partner Amadou

Amadou Barry

I was born in 1973 in Mamou, a city located in West Africa’s Republic of Guinea. Following the influx of refugees from Liberian and Sierra Leon, I migrated to Canada in 2010. I am a devoted volunteer for the causes of black immigrant communities, notably within the Association Amical Francophone des Guinéens et Guinéennes de l'Ontario (AFROGUI) and also the Fulani Cultural Association of Ontario (FUCA-Ontario).

Patient Partner Sheree

Sheree Clark

I am a former child and family therapist which included certification as a play therapist. Teaching adults and children the importance of play was one of the best parts of the job. Being disabled for many, many years has taught me the ways in which patient care works and how it might be improved upon, which in turn can only help the health care provider, the patient and the system in the future. My guilty secret is watching British dramas, crime dramas and cozy mystery shows. I also read select cozy mysteries before bed too, but don’t tell anyone.

Patient Partner Gerald

Gerald Crowell

My name is Gerald Crowell and I live in the East End of Toronto in Leslieville. I’ve been here almost 30 years and have recently retired from a consulting career. I joined the Committee to contribute back to the amazing medical community. I’ve been a patient at St. Lawrence Health Centre for more than 15 years. I joined the clinic to be able to have the same family physician as my husband who lives with a chronic condition. The clinic has always provided exceptional care. Fun fact: I’m an avid gardener, starting my Master Gardener Program, and like to grow exotic plants, like citrus and pineapple.

Patient Partner Isabelle

Isabelle Duchaine

My name is Isabelle Duchaine (she/her) and I live in East Toronto. A patient of the South East Toronto Family Health Team, I joined the committee to share my experience accessing prenatal, infant and family health services during the pandemic. I have a particular interest in perinatal mental health, and am indebted to my family physician and OB team for their support. Beyond my role as a parent and working mom, I am a major fan of space-themed sci-fi (especially Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and The Expanse, both of which are shot in Toronto).

Patient Partner Kareen

Kareen Farquharson

I live in Scarborough in the Eglinton and Bellamy area. I joined so I can maybe help to change things in the clinics around here: One Stop Medical and Boniface Park Medical. I am a mother of three and a grandmother of two. I love to watch my shows, whether it's movies or tv shows. I'm a lover of any type of music because it centres me and calms my soul. I cannot live without my children—they are my world.

Patient Partner Lorna

Lorna A. George

My name is Lorna and I live in Hamilton. I decided to join the committee to have say in how health care decisions and policies affecting Black women are made, particularly at Toronto Western. Any show about home renovation or construction, I am in!


Eleni Gilligan

I am a devoted wife and mother of two young children. I'm a social worker by trade and have worked extensively with people experiencing homelessness and in the housing sector for the past 20 years. I am a member of the St. Michael's Hospital (SMH) community advisory panel and have been a patient of SMH for over 15 years. My superpower is parallel parking, and I know all the words to the movie The Princess Bride.

Patient Partner Liz

Liz Kazimowicz

I recently moved to St. Catharines but I’m still a patient at Credit Valley Family Health Team (CVFHT) in Mississauga due to the excellent care they’ve provided to me for over 12 years. I’m excited to be joining this advisory committee and sharing a patient's perspective. I look forward to meaningful engagement with others from across the province. Now that I’m fully retired, I enjoy giving back to my community through volunteer work.

Patient Partner Cate

Cate Mann

I live in Barrie with my 14-year-old son. I attend the Family Medicine Teaching Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, and I've been a patient there for going on 7 years. I wanted to join the committee as I believe there is always room for improvement, and the way doctors are taught is no different.  Sometimes a fresh set of eyes and different life experiences can bring about positive changes. It's a priceless but valuable opportunity. A fun fact about me... I have grand aspirations of making it on Jeopardy! but I'm too chicken to audition! Maybe one day!

Patient Partner Trudy

Trudy Penny

My name is Trudy Penny and I was born on the beautiful island of Grenada. My family and I moved to Canada when I was 2 years old, so Canada has been my home for over 30 years! I am a wife, mother of two and a second-year midwifery student at Toronto Metropolitan University. In my free time, I enjoy trying new restaurants and travelling to different countries to learn about new cultures. A fun fact about me is that I enjoy playing board games with my husband, and I am proud to say we have a collection of over 75 board games!


Tricia Thomas

I currently live in the King West area of the city. I am an elementary school teacher. My most important job to date and one in which I am most proud of is being a mother to my energetic 5-year-old son. I have been a patient of the Toronto Western Family Medicine Clinic for approximately 15 years. As a Black woman of Afro-Caribbean ancestry, I am aware of the importance of representation in health care and the danger of policies and decisions made in the absence of consideration of the lived experience of marginalized communities. Fun fact: My favourite TV show is Call the Midwife. Currently, my go-to music is salsa and afro beats.

DFCM logos tiled (navy)


My name is Michelle and I wear many hats: I am a woman, a mother to three young children, a wife and an educator. I have always been an advocate of social justice and enjoy taking on opportunities to improve the overall welfare of people in our community. I currently live in York Region. We are a very active family! My husband and I have three energetic kids and a big furball Husky who is equally as active. We recently enjoyed a beautiful summer with our family and relatives—beach days, day trips, cottaging and endless birthday parties and gatherings. We loved every minute of it but are now happily settling back into our slower-paced fall routines.


Atif Zia

My name is Atif Zia, I would like to introduce myself as a Business and IT professional with over 9 years of experience in the industry. I have solid local and international exposure having studied and worked in Milan, Italy. I am currently working in Cloud Data Engineering and I work to help make the digital marketing and sales more efficient  and effective for my organization. I am a detail oriented motivated individual, who possesses strong analytical problem solving skills and leadership skills. I can effectively collaborate and work in a high-pressure environment, can prioritize and manage multiple deadlines. In my free time I like to ride my bike and play tennis. I also Volunteer for Tennis Canada.


Joanna MacFadzean

The concept of Family Medicine and the Performing Arts rarely appear in the same sentence. In Joanna MacFadzean’s case they have intersected repeatedly. The first time was in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the hospital where she was born. After all, not every newborn has a big sister who is a nurse working next to the Maternity Ward. The other nurses erected a sign saying, "this is nurse so-and-so’s baby sister Joanna". Little did anyone know this was Joanna’s first marquee! After many years of training in classical singing and stage acting with success at the local level, Toronto beckoned with further success. This included stage, film, TV, cabarets and a one-woman show. Marriage soon followed and Joanna took on a very demanding role, that of caregiver to her husband who developed several serious health issues. Often times she recalled stories about patient care from her older sister’s career. After some 10 years that care giving became palliative home care culminating in a peaceful passing. Simultaneous to this, Joanna coordinated her elderly mother’s health care via long distance from Toronto to Winnipeg. This included procedures, prescriptions, appointments, home care and lifeline phone safety systems until her mother’s passing. Learning to navigate family medicine in two provinces attuned Joanna to advocating for family patients. In 2017, Joanna was recruited by her own family doctor to become involved with the Utopian DFCM Scientific Committee. This new role acquainted Joanna with current medical research studies, interacting with doctors on the committee and advocating for patients. Having been a small part of first University of Toronto Family Medicine Report has been a huge privilege.


Teodora Ajanovska

My name is Teodora Ajanovska Gligorova. I am a patient at the Toronto Western Family Health Team. I have been a patient there for 3 years. I am currently working as a Continuing Education Coordinator. My favourite thing about Toronto is the waterfront.


Claire Wootten

Claire has been a patient in the Residency Program at the Southeast Family Health Team long enough to have seen 8 cohorts of residents graduate! With a keen interest in healthcare, she jumped at the opportunity to join the patient advisory committees of the Utopian Network and the POPLAR Network in 2022. A long-time Dance Educator, she is currently working with Dancing With Parkinson’s Canada where people living with Parkinson’s experience the social, emotional, and physical benefits of dance in an artistic and inclusive community. Claire is also an avid life-long learner––currently studying Argentine Tango and drumming.