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About Us

Give Back, Give Health

JCAN is a Toronto-based non-profit organization that focuses on serving Black communities and underserved populations impacted by social determinants of health, particularly older adults.
Our mission is to provide culturally relevant approaches and organize social events for seniors to combat isolation. We aim to create a supportive community and combat social isolation among seniors.

Our organization was born out of a commitment to stop passing over the real issues of society and deal with them head-on. If you're interested in learning more about us, keep reading! 
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Our Philosophy


Our vision is to be the leading charity providing culturally relevant health program, services, and education to Black and other underserved populations.


Our mission is to improve the health outcomes of Black and other underserved populations.


  • Giving Back

    • ​Acknowledging the historical and ongoing systemic barriers that Blacks and other underserved populations. JCAN works to address those barriers through a shared purpose with like-minded organizations. JCAN understands the importance of supporting and uplifting the Communities.

  • Giving Health

    • ​We prioritize the provision of healthcare programs in collaboration with community partners and advocate for resources to promote wellness and address healthcare disparities among Blacks, and other underserved populations.

  • Collaborative Philanthropy

    • ​JCAN recognizes that addressing the complex challenges facing the Black and other underserved populations requires a multi-faceted approach that goes beyond the scope of any one organization, collaboration and partnerships are crucial in addressing the needs of our community. We know that Black and underserved communities have a deep understanding of their own needs and can provide valuable insights and perspectives to guide philanthropic efforts.


Get involved in our committees!

Contact us to join

  • Executive Governance & Nominations Committee

  • Finance, Audit & Risk Management Committee

  • Education & Membership Committee

  • Seniors' Care Advisory Committee

Board of Directors

Jacqueline Chen President

Jacqueline Chen President of JCAN, has served on the JCAN board for 5 years. Jacqueline has over 25 years of professional nursing and health leadership experience. She has administrative leadership expertise in the areas of primary care/quality, clinic operations, and start-up, strategic planning, and health equity-informed decision-making.

She is a Clinical Leader Manager at the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team. Jacqueline earned her BSN from Ryerson University and her MSN at Athabasca University. She holds the Certified Health Leaders Designation (CHE) from The College of Health Leaders. Jacqueline has advanced training and certification in senior-level change management from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and certification in quality improvement and patient safety, University of Toronto.

Jacqueline is a Certified Diabetes Educator with over 20 years of clinical expertise. Jacqueline serves on the Board of the Inner City Family Health Team, Toronto, Ontario.

Dr. Era Mae Ferron
Vice President

Era Mae, JCAN Vice President is a registered nurse who practiced in adult cardiology and the community. Era Mae’s experience as a frontline nurse led to her keen interest in workplace environments and their impact on nurses’ intentions to stay or leave the nursing profession. To explore this topic, she pursued her master’s and doctorate degrees in nursing at the University of Toronto.

After earning her Ph.D., Era Mae worked in the occupational health and safety discipline where she managed several projects in workplace violence prevention and management in health care settings. Her experience writing for different audiences piqued her interest in translating knowledge into simple, clear, and accessible forms. This interest motivated her to earn a certificate in Knowledge Mobilization from the University of Guelph in 2021.

Era Mae is embarking on a new journey as an entrepreneur. She is preparing to launch her freelance health and medical writing business, The Writing Era Inc., in the fall of 2021. Era Mae’s personal goal is to start an education bursary at a school in Riverhead, St. Ann, Jamaica—in honour of her father, Ezekiel Alexander Ferron—who was big proponent of educational attainment amongst the black community.

Agatha McPhee

MBA, CPA, CGA, FCCA.  A detailed and efficient accounting professional with extensive experience in all aspects of financial statements preparation and analysis, budgeting and cost accounting in the profit and non-profit sector.

Past and current member of various Boards of Trustees for a number of Agencies including the United Way of Toronto, the United Way Campaign Cabinet, Juliette’s Place and Doors Open Committee member with the City of Markham.

Interested in giving back to the community by serving in any way that makes a positive difference

Denyse Dawes
Director of Fundraising

Denyse Dawes is a distinguished administrative professional in the healthcare industry, boasting a rich career that spans over two decades. Her remarkable journey began with her certification as a lab technologist from Medix College, an accomplishment that set the stage for her enduring success. Denyse's unwavering dedication to excellence is evident through her certifications in medical terminology and office administration, which reflect her commitment to staying at the forefront of her field.

Throughout her career, Denyse's technical expertise and deep-seated passion for healthcare have consistently played a pivotal role in her professional achievements. Her versatile skill set has positioned her as a highly adaptable and accomplished professional in healthcare administration.

In addition to her healthcare career, Denyse has made a lasting impact as an event coordinator at DSI Fun Photos for over a decade. In this multifaceted role, she orchestrates events that empower, inspire, and make a difference in the lives of students and women in Black communities. Denyse's work has opened doors to opportunities, driving growth and development in her community.

Denyse's philanthropic efforts are equally inspiring. Over the years, she has been dedicated to fundraising for a Not-For-Profit organization, championing individuals living with disabilities, and raising funds for scholarships, ensuring that post-secondary education is accessible to all. Her support for teenage girls to attend summer camps exemplifies her commitment to helping young individuals maximize their potential.

Denyse's unwavering passion drives her dedication to both seniors and youth, and she is on a mission to give back to her community. Her career, expertise, and altruistic endeavors are a testament to her commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those she serves. Denyse Dawes is a true embodiment of dedication, compassion, and community service.

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Dr. Crystal Garvey
Director of Education & Student Engagement

Dr. Crystal Garvey is a PhD graduate from Queen’s University. Her doctoral research studied how bullying impacts students’ mental health in the clinical practice environment as mediated by self-efficacy. Through her research, she has established how intersectionality and racism play a crucial role in the student learning experience(s). Her passion as a researcher and educator is to ensure that minority voices are heard and represented in her profession, and she works to ensure that all students, regardless of their racial background, are given the same opportunities to succeed. 

Dr. Garvey's nursing experience spans over two decades, with her area of expertise being Emergency and Mental Health Nursing. Presently, she is a nursing professor teaching in the BScN program at Durham College in collaboration with Ontario Tech University. As part of her scholarship and community commitment, she is an executive member of the Black Student Success Network at Durham College and holds elected seats as Equity and Diversity Steward and Co-Chairs for the Provincial Women's Committee and Social Mapping Committee for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. 

Dr. Garvey is committed to creating more equitable and inclusive communities and advocates for the fair treatment of marginalized groups in society. Hence, she uses her talents to support not-for-profit organizations like Big Brother Big Sister and REST Centres by conducting community innovation research projects from an equity, diversity and anti-racism lens. These projects have curated a depth and breadth of deliverables, such as curriculum development, creating evidence-based resources for mentors and mentees related to their mental health, developing a resource bank where community members can freely access age-specific virtual activities and support for those experiencing an alteration of their mental health, and landlord and tenant modules to facilitate onboarding needs for youth who are unhoused or at risk of being unhoused.

In addition to her scholarship, Dr. Garvey is passionate about disseminating information on various platforms. She believes that knowledge and information should be shared widely and that it should be accessible to everyone regardless of their background or social determinants of health. She uses her platform to spread awareness about significant issues and bridge the gap between the academic community and the public. She has done keynotes, podcast interviews, and educational presentations on Black Mental Health, anti-racism, and equity in education. At present, Dr. Garvey is working on a mental health documentary titled “Silent 

Voices,” which is due to be released in 2024.

Dr. Garvey has developed a repertoire of being an advocate focusing on social justice. Through these endeavours, she continues to make a positive difference in the lives of those she serves / advocates for. As a result, it has captured the attention of community members, stakeholders, and leaders of her professional organization. Her commitment and dedication to social justice has resulted in recognition of her significant efforts and achievements.

Isreal Hunter

I am the principal of my bookkeeper practice with over 35 years of experience in the field.  Proficient in using accounting software such as QuickBooks FreshBooks and Xero. Serving on other boards (African Caribbean Kidney Association and Place of Praise & Cultural Centre) helps fulfill my desire to serve in my community and build the advancement of our people.

Dennis Isaacs
Director & Lead Facilitator, Social Connect for Seniors 

I am now retired after a forty-plus-year career as an Engineering Designer to the Oil & Gas Industry. Since retirement, I have enrolled in a Liberal Arts program (Copyediting/Proofreading) at George Brown College. I am also a member of the Social Connect Program for Seniors, here in Toronto. This program has become very important to me as it allows me to demonstrate my desire to help my fellow seniors in any way I can.

Scherrie-Ann Richards
Director of Membership

Scherrie-Ann Richards BSc., EMBA, RPN uses her experiences to make a difference in her community. She has over 20 years of diverse professional experience as a Registered Practical Nurse, College Professor, Youth and Young Adult Engagement and Success Mentor.

Her transition from the boardroom to the bedside [nursing] to the classroom has exposed her to the varied healthcare needs of seniors and positively impacted the delivery of quality, compassionate and culturally sensitive seniors' care. 

Her corporate experience resulted in greater patient access to life-saving medications and enhanced their management of chronic disorders. As a frontline RPN during the pandemic, she served the needs of seniors and families affected by COVID-19 by successfully leading safety initiatives while providing compassionate care. These experiences helped with her seamless transition to the classroom, where she developed and enhanced the curriculum for the Personal Support Worker Program, which creates and maintains an engaging learning environment for post-secondary students. 

Scherrie-Ann also partners with Achieve Potential, an organization that helps people and organizations to live their full potential. She recruits and supports the holistic success of marginalized youths and young adults in underserved communities in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Scherrie-Ann is blessed with a supportive husband and two daughters.

Shayna Wedderburn
Director of Communications

Shayna Wedderburn, a passionate advocate for community development and equity, has dedicated her life's work to making a meaningful impact in her community. Her journey towards effecting positive change began during her academic years when she discovered her true calling and embraced it with unwavering determination.

Shayna's commitment to supporting underrepresented voices and championing inclusivity is the driving force behind her mission. Armed with a Master's Degree in Urban Planning, she channels her expertise into her professional endeavors, with a strong focus on community development and engagement. Her work experience encompasses policy development, community engagement, and strategic planning across Canada.

Shayna's specialization in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion further emphasizes her dedication to fostering fairness and inclusivity in all aspects of her work. As one of the newest board members at JCAN, she is excited to bring her EDI expertise to the forefront, joining the organization's efforts to enhance the well-being of Black and other underserved populations in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. Shayna Wedderburn is a true catalyst for positive change in her community and beyond.

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