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News release
April 23, 2021

Healing powers of storytelling in treating trauma and other mental health challenges featured at OPA’s Centenary Celebration

TORONTO, April 23, 2021 – The Ontario Medical Association is sponsoring a free virtual event on April 26 at 6:30 p.m. to help mark the 100-year anniversary of the Ontario Psychiatric Association. The event, organized by the OPA, will focus on the importance of storytelling as a way to heal trauma and break down the stigma associated with mental health challenges. It will feature mental health advocates and experts and will highlight advocacy initiatives/recent developments in various areas of mental health and addictions. As this pandemic has reinforced, efforts to promote and to sustain mental health are critical to well-being. 

Guest speakers include:

  • Michael Tibollo, associate minister of mental health and addictions, who will deliver the keynote address. Tibollo has volunteered as a certified addictions counsellor and is pursuing his PhD in clinical psychology with a focus on addictions and concurrent disorders through the University of Southern California
  • Yusra Ahmad, a community and academic psychiatrist. Dr. Ahmad created Mindfully Muslim, an anti-oppressive, trauma-informed, faith-based group therapy program, after witnessing the impact of repetitive trauma on her community, beginning with 9/11 and culminating in the Québec City mosque shooting
  • Nicole Neidhardt, an artist who is Diné (Navajo) of Kiiyaa'áanii Clan on her mother’s side, a blend of European ancestry on her father’s side, and is from Santa Fe, N.M. She has a vibrant community arts practice that began in Victoria and she recently completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Neidhardt is the co-founder of the Young Indigenous Leaders Symposium and the Groundswell Climate Collective and has released a children’s book she illustrated written by Monique Gray Smith, When We Are Kind
  • Hamza Haq, stars as Bashir “Bash” Hamed in the acclaimed CTV/NBC medical drama “Transplant.” The series centres around an ED doctor who fled his native Syria to Canada where he must overcome numerous obstacles to resume a career in the high-stakes world of emergency medicine. Hamza is a 2020 recipient of RBC's top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award and recently partnered with the Canada Media Fund's MADE campaign as ambassador to celebrate Islamic History Month
  • Joseph Kay, creator, showrunner and executive producer of “Transplant,” who was nominated for a 2021 Writer’s Guild of Canada Award. Kay is a writer and creator of series television, most recently of the NBC/CTV drama series “Transplant” and the CBC drama “This Life.” Previous credits include the Second World War drama “Bomb Girls” for Global TV and CBC's hit action/comedy “Republic of Doyle.” Before becoming a screenwriter, he worked as a transactional lawyer at one of Canada’s foremost securities law firms
  • Sami Khan is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker whose work has been supported by the Sundance and Tribeca Film Institutes, Rooftop Films, IFP, the Berlinale and the NBC/Universal’s Directors Fellowship. Khan’s feature documentary “The Last Out” won a Special Jury Prize at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and the Audience Award at the 2020 Hot Springs Documentary Festival. The vérité documentary tells the harrowing tale of three Cuban baseball players and their dangerous journeys to the United States

“We encourage everyone, especially those with an interest in mental health, to attend as we celebrate the great strides that psychiatry has made in the province over the last 100 years and as we work together to create more and better supports for those facing mental health challenges,” said Dr. Renata M. Villela, vice-chair of the Ontario Medical Association’s psychiatric section and president of the Ontario Psychiatric Association.

Learn more about the OPA centenary event.

Register for the OPA centenary event.

About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000 plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.

For more information, please contact: OMA Media Relations at