The Board of Directors of Giving Health To Kids (GHTK) is comprised of a group of committed and dedicated individuals from Canada, the USA and Guyana who voluntarily give of their time and expertise to support the Vision – Mission – Values of the organization. The Vision “Every child deserves a Tomorrow” is something that the GHTK Board believes is achievable and they work as a team with their colleagues, hospitals and government officials in Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda and beyond. Below is a brief outline of who these unique individuals are:
Dr. Andrea Hunter
Dr. Hunter is an Associate Professor in Paediatrics at McMaster University and a Consultant Paediatrician at McMaster Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton. She completed both medical school and paediatric residency at McMaster University, followed by a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in London, England and joined the Department of Paediatrics at McMaster in 2008. Dr. Hunter maintains a Consulting Paediatric Practice at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, in addition to Outreach Clinics with newcomer children/youth at the Hamilton Shelter Health Network.
A recognized Educator, Dr. Hunter was appointed to the role of Program Director of the Paediatric Residency Program in June 2016 after co-chairing the curriculum sub-committee and initiating a social paediatric rotation within the program in 2013. Her clinical and research interests include paediatric refugee and immigrant health, social determinants of health and global child health. Internationally, Dr. Hunter has been involved in ongoing global health education programs in Uganda and is Co-Program Director of the Paediatric Residency Program in Guyana.
Caitlin, aka Cait, is a Registered Nurse in Neonatal Care. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 2005 and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in 2010, both from Capital University in Columbus, OHIO. She is currently studying for a PhD in Nursing Education at Villanova University in Philadelphia, PA. Cait currently works full-time as an Instructor at The Breen School of Nursing at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. She has been taking careof neonates and their families for the past 13-years as an RN in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at University Hospitals, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland Ohio and at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) in Columbus, Ohio.
Presented with the idea of combining her passions for travel and nursing education, she volunteered to join a team of educators at NCH in creating and implementing the Neonatal Training Program with Dr. Leif Nelin in 2012. She has assisted in the training of all 5 Nursing Cohorts and continues to mentor the Lead Nurse Educator in Guyana. While not Guyanese by birth, Cait has developed a love of the country and often has cravings for snapper curry and cassava pone. She is continuously humbled by the opportunity to serve the people of Guyana and to make a difference in the lives of neonates and their families.
Mr. Hemdat Sawh
Hemdat Sawh is a CPA and holds an MBA, BSc in Geology and a Graduate Diploma in Geology. He has over 16 years of experience at Grant Thornton LL.P, where he is Lead Supervisor for Auditing Teams. Hemdat also has over 13 years experience serving as CFO of Amarillo Gold Corporation, Wesdome Gold Mines, Scorpio Mining, Crystallex and Goldbelt Resources. He arrived in Canada in 1974 to pursue agriculture in Guelph, changed his mind, became a geologist and finally ended up as an Accountant!
Of humble origins from the rice fields of Berbice, Guyana, Hemdat has not forgotten his roots where helping others in need comes naturally. He immediately accepted the role of GHTK Treasurer three years ago and was amazed by the selfless giving of expertise, time and resources by. Drs. Singh, Hunter and Nelin and all of their contacts in helping to save the lives of infants. Hemdat is committed to giving background support to the well-established team of professionals in the shared vision of helping kids in need in the Caribbean and beyond.
Mr. Kelly Robert Pearce
Along with his Mum and two brothers, Kelly Pearce emigrated from Georgetown, Guyana to Toronto, Canada in December 1965. For Kelly it was love at first sight for the big City of Toronto. Since then he has lived in the GTA achieving an interesting, happy and rewarding life with no regrets. He quickly became a Citizen in 1969 after deciding to make this incredible country his permanent home. With opportunities for higher education at College and University level, he was able to achieve a varied career in the healthcare industry.
Kelly has served as a Respiratory Therapist and Cardio-Respiratory Director in two Toronto-area hospitals. Later on, with no background in business, Kelly decided to become an entrepreneur by starting up and building a National Medical Devices Distribution Company representing several major multinational manufactures. His company also included a Respiratory Home Care Services Division operating in the GTA.
Seven years ago, a very persuasive and inspirational Dr. Narendra Singh, invited Kelly to join the Charity’s Board of Directors. After very brief consideration, Kelly decided that he has much to be thankful for and that this represented an ideal opportunity to give back while utilizing his experience and skills. Kelly is proud to be part of GHTK, which is making a significant difference in reducing newborn mortality rates in Guyana and is now expanding its program into the Eastern Caribbean.
Dr. Leif Nelin
Dr. Nelin is a neonatologist practicing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Nelin became interested in Guyana when his daughter spent a year teaching in Annai Region 9. On his first trip to Guyana to visit his daughter, Dr. Nelin wanted to see how neonatal care was provided in Georgetown. After a search on the web, he found the GHTK website and contacted Dr. Narendra Singh. Dr. Singh, kindly arranged for a tour of the neonatal ward at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
In talking with Dr. Nelin, Dr. Singh spoke about the work of GHTK to improve neonatal care at GPHC and that they always welcomed volunteers. After his tour, Dr. Nelin realized not only how much needed to be done but the incredible opportunity to develop a sustainable neonatal care program at GPHC, which could provide real intensive care when needed to positively impact the problem of infant mortality in Guyana. Dr. Nelin decided to volunteer with GHTK and began making regular trips to see patients at GPHC and to teach the physicians and staff the skills necessary to use the equipment provided by GHTK to save babies lives.
Dr. Nelin lead a team from Nationwide Children’s that has developed and implemented a NICU Nursing Certificate Program at GPHC. The NICU at GPHC has come a long way, but there is still work to be done, not only at GPHC, in developing a functional neonatal network in a country with such challenging geography so that all newborn babies can benefit from modern paediatric care. Dr. Nelin joined the GHTK Board of Directors to not only continue the excellent work that they do but to also broaden the work to save babies lives throughout Guyana and other countries where help is needed.
Mr. Mahendra Singh
Mahendra is a founding member of Giving Health To Kids (GHTK). He has over 25-years of health care experience in the US and Canada. He brings a diverse background in hospital management, health care and strategic planning, ambulatory care clinic management and operations to the Board.
Mahendra’s academic qualifications include an undergraduate Degree from Western University, a Master’s Degree in Health Care Management from Governors State University in Chicago and an Executive MBA from the University of Toronto. Born in New Amsterdam, Guyana, Mahendra is married and has two sons. His personal interests include golfing, cricket, aviation, architecture, music, travelling and F1 racing.
Dr. Narendra Singh
Dr. Singh is the Founder and President of Giving Health To Kids (GHTK) (formerly Guyana Help the Kids). He was born in Guyana and migrated to Canada 45 years ago. After obtaining his Medical Degree, he completed a paediatric Residency Program at the University of Western Ontario and Fellowships in Paediatric Critical Care at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Singh is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Paediatrics and the American College of Critical Care Medicine. He currently holds appointments as a Clinical Professor at McMaster University, the University of Toronto and Queen’s University. Dr. Singh is the Co-Program Director for the Paediatric Post-Graduate Program at the University of Guyana and an External Examiner for the University of Guyana’s Undergraduate Medical Program.
“The trip to Guyana in 2007 has forever changed my life. As a Paediatrician, I recognized that I could make a significant impact on saving the lives of babies in Guyana, a country with relatively little resources compared to Canada. The value of life should not be determined by the country of your birth. As I began to see the difference that GHTK could make, it became a passion for me to want to save every baby. That passion is now not limited to Guyana”.
Born in the Sultanate of Oman, Niluka hails from Sri Lankan family roots and moved to Nova Scotia in 1995. Upon graduation from Acadia University in 2003, she headed to Toronto in search of a career. Within a year she was working at Sobeys Inc. where she has progressed to her current role as Vice President Merchandising Innovation & Development.
With profound gratitude for her own good fortunes, Niluka passionately gives back to the community and cares for the environment. While completing her Master’s Degree with the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA program, she was fortunate to meet with the ever-inspirational Dr. Narendra Singh. Their shared ambition to leverage their education to make a difference in the world led to Niluka enthusiastically joining the GHTK Board as a Director in 2016. During her visit to Guyana in November 2017 Niluka was able to experience the work done by GHTK, and to understand the passion behind all who are involved with the organization. Niluka has said that “she is happy to give her time and efforts to this amazing organization and I am very proud to be a part of it”.
Samantha is a Creative Services Manager for Canada’s top business event specialist and destination management company, JPdL Inc. She is a skilled Event Manager who specializes in curating engaging client events. Samantha is also one of two Canadians named to the Professional Convention Management Association “20 in their Twenties” Class of 2018.
This is a program designed to engage the best and brightest young professionals in the business event industry.
While working for an event firm in Vaughan, Samantha was first introduced to GHTK in 2015. After her first meeting with Mahendra Singh and Dr. Narendra Singh, she immediately fell in love with the work of the organization. She was compelled by the passion and dedication of the organization to make a difference in Guyana. Amongst all of the Event Committees she has worked with, the GHTK family is like nothing Samantha had ever seen before. She is humbled to be part of such an impactful force, while working alongside some of the most beautiful hearts and minds as GHTK continues its journey to evolve as a volunteer charitable organization helping the most vulnerable – the children.
Dr. Shirley Sit
Dr. Sit is a General Paediatrician with a busy practice in Woodbridge and staff privileges at Humber River Hospital. She received her paediatric raining at the University of Western Ontario, where she met her husband, Dr. Narendra Singh. Dr. Singh holds appointments at the University of Toronto and Queen’s University, and this enables her to teach the medical students and paediatric residents who rotate through her office.
Born in Toronto to Chinese parents from mainland China, Dr. Sit has fully immersed herself in Guyanese culture. In 2007, Dr. Sit and Dr. Singh travelled to Guyana and visited the neonatal intensive care unit at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. They were shocked by the lack of proper equipment for treating sick newborn babies, and the lack of basic infection control procedures. The images of sick infants in wooden boxes, premature babies in open cots lined up side by side, and an unsanitary cell phone placed next to a baby, had such a profound effect on Dr. Sit and Dr. Singh that shortly upon their return to Toronto, they launched GHTK with the goal to decrease infant mortality.
Mr. Terry Sawh
Topnotch Employment’s Guyana-born President, Terry Sawh’s story is similar to that of many immigrants. Terry left Guyana in 1976 with a burning desire to succeed despite the obstacles he knew he would face. He was just 18-years old at the time and about to start a fresh chapter in his life. One he sensed would be radically different to that which he’d become accustomed to growing up in La Grange, a rural village on the West Bank of Demerara in Guyana, where he also attended West Demerara Secretary School.
After working with Dun and Bradstreet for five years, Terry launched his own Collection Agency – The Debt Safe Corporation – in Toronto and Topnotch Employment Services, a staffing agency. Today Topnotch Employment Services, which he launched in 1992, employs eight full-time employees and manages more than 300 contract staff – many of whom are visible minorities and members of aboriginal communities – through its spin-off companies: prime Time Plus and Topnotch Executive Staffing.
Apart from his outstanding contributions as one of GHTK’s most active Board members, Terry also volunteers his time towards several other community service organizations. These include the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council’s Supplier Input Committee and the Markham Softball League, both of which he Chairs. He also serves as Vice President of the Lakshmi Mandit in Mississauga and maintains active membership with the Guyana Canada Chamber of Commerce, the Guyana Awards Council and the Leaside Lions club.