Co-Founder and Executive Director

 

Dr. Amy (Simei) Li

I am a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University pursuing a Master of Science in Community Health and Prevention Research. I graduated from the University of Calgary with Doctor of Medicine and Bachelor's degree in neuroscience.

I first saw the need to change the social perception of mental health through my work as a crisis line volunteer. Addressing youth mental health challenges is crucial if young people are to fulfill their potential and contribute to their communities.

My passion is building a healthier world that empowers people to live their best lives. Working with our dedicated and talented team of young leaders at Outrun the Stigma has been an incredible journey!

A fun fact about myself is that I LOVE early morning runs. Nothing makes me happier than getting to start my day with a cup of coffee and a run!  

Reach me at: simeiamyli@outrunthestigma.ca 

 

Program Management Team

 

Amanda Lee, Program co-Director

I am currently doing my MBA in the combined MD/MBA program at the University of Alberta.

Mental health is such an important aspect of overall health. Yet, personal experience, as well as discussions with family and friends, have shown me that we often don’t prioritize our mental health in the same way as other aspects of our health. Honest discussions regarding mental health are hard to come by, and I believe this is largely due to the stigma surrounding mental health. Hence, I am involved with OTS because I feel that, by engaging all members of our diverse community and sharing stories, OTS can play a crucial role in eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health, and in creating a culture where it is encouraged and supported to seek help.

Also not to mention, I continue to learn so much about myself by working with such an incredible team!

A couple fun facts about myself is that I’ve been to the Great Barrier Reef and I like bouldering!

Reach me at: amandalee@outrunthestigma.ca

Jenna Dobry, Program co-Director

I currently work as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Department of Neonatology at the University of Calgary. I am currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Law at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. I am doing this degree online so I can continue to work while I study!

As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety I still deal with the stigma surrounding mental illness from not only society, but from myself as well. I have learned first hand how difficult it is to overcome stigma and I truly believe that through the support of the OTS NPO team, our chapters, and everyone we touch through our events, we get one step closer everyday.

I learn so much from our leadership team and chapter planning committee and have loved watching our team grow and develop over the years.

A fun fact about myself is that even though I have been planning OTS since 2013, I didn’t start running myself until 2018. It is challenging but so rewarding!

Reach me at: jennadobry@outrunthestigma.ca

 

Outreach Team

 

Mohit Vohra, Outreach co-Director

I have completed a degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Calgary, and I am currently in my third year of Medicine at the University of Alberta.

For the past several years I have been fortunate to get involved in mental health advocacy starting with the U of C Mental Health Awareness club and subsequently OTS in its inception. Over the last five years of being part of OTS, I have been inspired by my colleagues and participants, who have done incredible work to promote mental health in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto!
I am motivated to continue raising awareness mental health in the community and help dispel stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide, which I believe is so immensely important.

A fun fact about me is that I would consider table tennis a favourite sport and would be willing to challenge anyone who is interested in playing!

Reach me at: mohitvohra@outrunthestigma.ca

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rashmeet dhillon, Outreach co-Director

I am a Nuclear Medicine technologist, looking for opportunities to take my practicum experience into working in health care going forward.

I have been a part of OTS since its inception and it has become a big part of my life. Not only did this initiative help me come to terms with and work through my own mental health experiences, but it also gave me an incredible feeling of community that our team had for each other as well as everyone around us. There is still a long way to go to bring down the fear and stigma that surrounds mental health and that is why I got involved with OTS. Our team comes from such varied life experiences who have all come together to work towards a common goal and working with this team has been one of the most rewarding experiences.

A fun fact about me is that dancing is a big part of my life. I have tried lots of different styles but my favourite is Bollywood and am an assistant choreographer for a Performance team!  

 

 
 
 

Lucy Ni, Outreach co-director

I am currently in my 3rd year of Doctor of Medicine program at the University of Alberta. I am partaking in the rural longitudinal clerkship program this year, and I am excited to join rural medicine for the next 10 months.

Mental health advocacy is very important to me, and it is the reason why I have been volunteering for OTS in the past 5 years. Speaking from personal experience, promoting mental health awareness helped me understand my own psyche better, and it is an empowering experience to be able to take what I learned and apply it to my personal life and community. The active learning helps me further understand the interconnectedness of research, policy, and education in mental health, as well as the complexity that comes with intersectionality. It also teaches me to treat everyone with kindness, because we will never be fully aware of the struggles that people may be facing silently.

A fun fact about me is that I can play the Guzheng. Guzheng is a traditional Chinese instrument that has 21 strings, and can be played like a harp horizontally. Everytime I play the Guzheng I think of home and feel peaceful :)

Reach me at: lucyni@outrunthestigma.ca

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Alec Watts, Outreach co-director

I am currently in my 2nd year of the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program at the University of Alberta.

Raising awareness about the stigma that surrounds mental illness is something I am very passionate about. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression, I have personally experienced the detrimental impact stigma can have on one’s well-being. It is my conviction that organizations like Outrun The Stigma play a vital role in helping eliminate stigma within our community, so that no one will have to suffer in silence any longer.  

A fun fact about myself is that I love to sing classical music! Music plays an important role in my life by counterbalancing my scientific pursuits and helping to relieve stress.

 

 

youth and community empowerment Team

 

Raveen Virk, youth and community empowerment director

I am a first year medical student at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine.


My commitment to mental health advocacy was founded on my own challenges with mental health. While seeking support, I realized that my experiences,  to some degree, were shared with my friends, family, colleagues, and community members. Yet, there was internal shame and social stigma surrounding these conversations! I got involved with Outrun the Stigma to tackle this beast, alongside like-minded youth!

My role as Youth and Community Empowerment Director is built on my believe that each individual's experience with mental health is unique, hence there is value in coming together, sharing and listening to each others' stories. By being open minded, non-judgemental, and empathetic we can create empowering and supportive communities.

A fun fact about myself is I’m a sweet tooth chocoholic and am currently working on hitting every spot on my Calgary Ice Cream Shop Hit List! I love my Indian roots and can be frequently found attending cultural events or simply singing and dancing, in my mind my life is a musical!   

Reach me at: raveenvirk@outrunthestigma.ca

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Jenn chow, assistant director of leadership development

I am a third year Health Sciences student majoring in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Calgary.  

 

I have struggled with anxiety and have experienced firsthand the stigma that society has around mental health.  At first, I hid my struggle for fear of ridicule, but I realized that many people wanted to help me. I joined Outrun the Stigma because everyone deserves to be supported in their mental health journey, and conversations about mental health are essential to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, educate about resources available, and encourage individuals to seek help if needed.  I hope to empower youth to become mental health advocates for themselves and others, as well as leaders in their communities.

 

A fun fact about myself is that I am a proud Hufflepuff and a huge fan of the Harry Potter series! I also love to crochet amigurumi, which is the Japanese art of crocheting cute dolls.  Crochet helps my mental health by balancing out my analytical brain with stress-relieving creativity!

 

 
 
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saveen sidhoo, assistant director of community development

I recently graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor’s degree in Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology. I am currently seeking opportunities in public health and research.

Having struggled with anxiety, I was influenced to promote positive mental health after realizing the limited understanding of the topic in the community. Everyone’s stories are unique, but to some extent, I found that there was a degree in which one could relate to another. This factor is what makes story-sharing so exciting and important!

I got involved with Outrun the Stigma to engage community members in collective, critical dialogue and reflection. Through this, I hope to help foster reconciliation for existing disparities, and raise awareness of the support and resources that individuals can seek.

A fun fact about myself is that I love to hike and travel. Hiking the Inca Trail and going on an African Safari are a couple adventures that I hope to soon cross off my bucket-list!

 

Communications Team

 
 

Clare Hickie, Communications Co-Director

I am currently finishing off my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Calgary while also working as a research assistant at the SU Wellness Centre. I plan on applying for graduate programs in counselling psychology or community health over the next few years, after taking a short break from academia to rest and relax!

I became involved with mental health advocacy due to an interest in mental health and my own experiences with anxiety and depression. I continue to struggle with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, but am committed to finding a balanced lifestyle where I feel healthy, and in sharing my experiences and helping others reach out for help.

I love creative writing and would love to someday write a book series that draws inspiration from my experiences with depression!

 

Reach me at: clarehickie@outrunthestigma.ca

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monica montgomery, Communications co-director

I am currently finishing my Bachelor of Commerce (Operations Management) degree through the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. 

Being indirectly affected by mental illness my whole life, I saw a huge significance for mental health awareness in my early childhood. I want individuals to feel loved and accepted no matter what illness they face.

A fun fact about me is that I am an ice-cream connoisseur — I LOVE Made by Marcus in Calgary, by far the best ice cream ever!

 

 

 

 

Administrative and Evaluation Team

Gabby Wagner, Administrative and Evaluation Director

I am a first year medical student at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine.

I became involved with mental health advocacy through Outrun the Stigma because I know first hand what it is like to experience the stigma associated with mental illness and I am dedicated to starting a conversation around mental health in order to reduce the stigma and create an inclusive and supportive network. Outrun the Stigma has provided me with a meaningful opportunity to use my lived experiences to give back to the community that supported me while continuing to advocate for future change.

A fun fact about myself is that I swam in the ocean with wild penguins while visiting the Galápagos Islands!

Reach me at: gabbywagner@outrunthestigma.ca