OBMHC aims to hold health system leaders accountable to ensuring accessible, culturally appropriate mental health programs and services in Ottawa. Our Executive Board is Black-led and represents leadership from mental health, community health, social services, regional and grassroots organizations. 

Executive Board

    Papa Ladjiké Diouf


    Papa Ladjiké Diouf is a registered psychotherapist and clinical supervisor with CRPO. He studied psychology and sociology with certificates of specialization in various issues with a basis in trauma. He has been working for 16 years as a psychotherapist, including 7 years as a clinical supervisor, a trainer and a teacher.  

    Currently, he is interested in historical trauma, immigrant clients and their mental health challenges. He is a clinical director in addiction and mental health treatment for Le CAP (francophone agency in Ottawa). He is the co-founder of the NGO African Woman Action (AWA) to help improve the capacities and the empowerment of women in Africa. He is the co-lead of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion project with Addiction Mental Health Ontario, and he is also a Co-chair of the Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition. 

    Shannon Black

    Shannon Black has over thirteen years of experience in the mental health/addiction and social service sectors. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work with a minor in psychology. She also has professional training in neurobiology and journalism. Shannon is also a trained therapist and mental health/social/health equity consultant in private practice. 

    Shannon is one of the key figures responsible for the development of the OBMHC coalition. Additionally, Shannon is the Mental Health Manager & Clinical Supervisor at Britannia Woods Community House, and the clinical supervisor for the ACB portal at Counselling Connect -Ottawa. Shannon’s advocacy, vision and effort for the past thirteen years has been focused on making the case for racial and culturally responsive, accessible, and ethical mental health care for disenfranchised individuals/communities. Shannon’s relentless mobilization has birthed many racial & culturally informed/responsive mental health/wellness programs/initiatives city-wide. 

    Shannon’s ultimate vision and effort is directed at seeing an intentional and explicit increase in traditional agencies/systems’ prioritization of marginalized communities’ mental wellness, and social capacity. 

    Dr. Buuma Maisha

    Dr. Buuma Maisha is an Associate Professor of psychotherapy and counseling at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada. He is a member in good standing with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. In the past decade, he has been practicing individual, couple and family therapy, and working as consultant with different organizations providing counselling services to sexual and war related trauma survivors in Canada and abroad. 

    As a researcher, Professor Maisha is interested in socio-cultural norms and their implication in the relational life of sexual trauma survivors; he also studies cultural contextualization and modeling of psychotherapy. One of his most recent publications proposes a relationship-based therapeutic approach: R-STO[1]; an approach focusing mainly on healing the effects of social marginalization of survivors of sexual violence in the context of sexual taboos.

    Sophia Jacob

    Sophia Jacob is an award-winning experienced event planner and marketing strategist with specialties in fundraising for non-profit organizations and brand promotion for small businesses. 

    In the last 8 years Sophia has successfully started two networks, The Ottawa Opportunities Network and Black Ottawa Business Network.  

    Sophia is also the President of Sophia J Events an event planning and marketing firm that provides consulting services, social media, PR communications, coordination, logistics, brand awareness, community management, and acts as a liaison for b2b relations and strategic partnerships for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Sophia brings her marketing and partnership liaison expertise to the Coalition. 

    Hector Addison

    Hector Addison is an educator, a health promoter, mental health advocate, community developer, IT professional and an entrepreneur who is passionate about reducing poverty among Canada’s black population. He has developed many programs aimed at addressing the social determinants of health and empowering black people to be self-employed and entrepreneurs.  

    Hector is the co-founder of African Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO). An umbrella organization serving about 60,000 of Ottawa’s black population through its 53 member organizations. Currently, Hector serves as ACAO’s Chief Servant and a director of resources and programs. Hector brings a wealth of experience in project management and strategic planning to the Coalition. 

    Hodan Aden

    Hodan Aden is the supervisor of the Mental Health Team at Ottawa Public Health.  In her 20 years as a nurse, Hodan has worked in variety of settings including cardiac surgery, medicine and psychiatry.  During her time at Ottawa Public Health, she has been responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of public health programs; building staff capacity through training and; ensuring the meaningful engagement of racialized communities.  Hodan has a baccalaureate of Science in Nursing and a Masters in Health Sciences Nursing.  She brings solid experience and knowledge of mental health and the unique needs, histories and capacities of diverse communities.   Her commitment to inter-sectoral collaboration and health equity have been instrumental to the development of OPH’s landmark study on the Mental Health of Ottawa’s Black Community.

    Saint-Phard Desir

    Originaire d’Haïti, St-Phard Désir est venu s’établir au Canada en 1990. Il a terminé sa formation à l’Université d’Ottawa il a obtenu une maitrise en administration des affaires (MBA). Après sa maitrise, il est allé travailler à l’international. En 2004, pour le compte du Ministère de la citoyenneté et de l’immigration, St-Phard Désir a été l’auteur du guide « Se trouver un emploi en Ontario, guide pratique pour les nouveaux arrivants francophones ». Depuis juillet 2012, il a accédé au poste de Directeur général du CÉSOC. Saint-Phard Désir fut membre du Conseil d’administration de l’Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) et du Conseil d’administration du Réseau des Services de Santé en Français de l’Est (RSSFE). Actuellement, il est membre de l’Association de l’hôpital Monfort, membre de RSSFE et également membre u comité exécutif de Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition (OBMHC). 

    Coalition Coordination

      Michelle James

      Michelle James has more than 20 years of experience working in education, business, and social services. She has built her career around serving diverse and vulnerable populations including children and families, people with disabilities, and racialized communities. Michelle holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Windsor and a graduate certificate from Humber College and has spent more than 20 years living and working with diverse communities in Japan and Canada.  

      She now brings her leadership and expertise to facilitate, support and grow African, Caribbean and Black mental health programs in Ottawa through the Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition. 

      Current group members

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