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Meet Our Team

We specialize in addressing the specific health care needs of artists, providing a holistic and collaborative approach to health. We are a clinic designed for artists, to help you continue creating. We are health care providers, shiatsu and massage therapists, chiropractors, psychotherapists and physiotherapists. We listen, we diagnose, we support and we heal.

​Executive Director, Family Health ​Team​​: Teri Arany

Rita Aurelio
Clinical Clerical Support Click for more

Rita Aurelio has been working in health care for the past 20 years. She began in the Purchasing Department at the Doctors Hospital, and has worked with in-patients in the Medical Day Unit, on patient care floors, and the Pain Management Clinic. In 1998 when the Doctors Hospital closed, its ambulatory programs were transferred to the Toronto Western Hospital and Rita moved from the Pain Management Clinic to the Seniors Wellness Clinic. She has been with the Chiropody Clinic and the Artists' Health Centre since 2002.

Rita enjoys dealing with clients from all walks of life. Her trade mark is her wonderful sense of humour, contagious laughter and collaborative team work spirit. She is the proud mother of two boys.

Leisa Bellmore ST MSc (Cand.)
Shiatsu Therapist Click for more

Leisa Bellmore is a shiatsu therapist, speaker and researcher who has been part of the integrative team at the Artists’ Health Centre since 2010. She has been practicing Namikoshi shiatsu since 2001, having graduated with honours from Toronto’s Shiatsu Academy of Tokyo 2200-hour program.

A key element of Leisa’s practice is education, for other healthcare providers, the public and her patients. She has presented and published across Canada and internationally. Leisa believes that we all must take an active role in our health. She particularly enjoys helping to enhance health awareness so that her patients may overcome the stresses and strains on their bodies and minds, allowing them to perform at their peak.

Leisa is a Past President of Natural Health Practitioners of Canada and a long-time volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Toronto, where she has gained valuable clinical experience working with severe stress and serious pediatric illnesses.
Leisa has been a co-investigator on several research studies on shiatsu and is currently completing an MSc in Complementary Medicine Research. Her professional interests include neurological conditions and self-management interventions for chronic conditions. In her spare time she enjoys rock-climbing, travelling and improving her Spanish and French.

As Leisa's first career was in theatre, she has a great respect and love for the arts and an understanding of the commitment and discipline they require.

Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua HBSc ND PhD
Naturopathic Medicine Click for more

Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua, or Dr. JJ as he is affectionately known, is a licensed naturopathic doctor and the first ND to practice at the Toronto Western Hospital as well as the Artists' Health Centre, where he practices naturopathic medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Dr. JJ has given a number of workshops throughout Ontario specifically focused on artists and their health care, and has given presentations internationally, including the World Health Organization in Washington DC. He is also a researcher at the Motherisk Program at the Hospital for Sick Children and the Clinic Director of the Liberty Clinic in downtown Toronto.

Dr. JJ is a co-author of "Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy and Lactation – An Evidence-based Approach First Edition" (Taylor & Francis, 2006), which is a collection of 75 systematic reviews, and he has over a dozen peer-reviewed scientific publications published or in press. A leading expert on natural health products, pharmacology and pregnancy safety, Dr. JJ is currently working on his PhD in Pharmacy Sciences at the University of Toronto. As part of his PhD research, he continues to investigate the safety of natural products during pregnancy and lactation at Hospital for Sick Children and is currently conducting a clinical trial on the effects of cinnamon on type 2 diabetes at the Toronto Western Hospital.

Matt Eldridge
Social Worker - Psychotherapist Click for more
Matt is a registered social worker, having completed his Master of Social Work degree in 2013. Prior to joining the Artists' Health Centre, he held social work positions at Credit Valley Hospital, OakMed Family Health Team, Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre, and Belleville General Hospital.

Matt has a background as a competitive trampolinist/gymnast, and prior to becoming a social worker, he performed as an acrobat in the Cirque du Soleil production of Dralion.

Matt's professional experience includes co-ordination, program development, and individual/group psychotherapy. The Artists' Health Centre is a perfect fusion of 2 of his passions: the arts and healthcare. He is honoured to be a part of a team that works to help keep artists healthy.

Vicki Hawkins BScPT BA
Registered Physiotherapist Click for more

Vicki Hawkins completed her Physiotherapy degree at University of Toronto. Previously she obtained an honours degree in Kinesiology with a Certificate in Sport Therapy and a Certificate in Fitness Assessment at York University. She is a member of the Women's Health Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. She is also a member of IADMS (International Association of Dance Medicine and Science) and PAMA (Performing Arts Medicine Association). She has been a Clinical Instructor with the University of Toronto, Department of Physiotherapy since 2003 and held a Status-only Appointment with the University of Toronto from 2009 until 2015.

She has completed a variety of continuing education courses including Manual Therapy, Muscle Energy, Scoliosis, the Pelvis, Pole Walking, and Yoga Therapy. She has worked with members of the University of Toronto Music Program, York University Dance, Theatre & Music Programs, the Ryerson University Dance Program, OCAD University, Humber College Music Program, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Canadian Opera Company, Canada's National Ballet School, Toronto Dance Theatre, Ballet Creole, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Opera Atelier, and a variety of television and film programs. She also worked with the Mirvish musical, A Chorus Line.

In 2010, Vicki completed her Level 1 certification as a GYROTONIC® Trainer. In 2011, she completed her Level 1 certification as a GYROKINESIS® Trainer. The GYROTONIC® exercises are used alone or in conjunction with treatment to help her clients achieve optimum wellness.

Vicki ‘s interest in becoming a therapist for artists began as a student at The School for Toronto Dance Theatre and the University of Calgary Dance Program.

GYROTONIC and GYROKINESIS are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and are used with permission.

Shelly-Anne Li MSc
Research Associate Click for more
Shelly-Anne Li is the research program lead at the Al & Malka Green Artists' Health Centre (AHC). She identifies, oversees and conducts research activities that are in accordance with the values and missions of the AHC. Shelly-Anne is in the final year of her PhD in Health Systems Research at the University of Toronto, and has completed her MSc in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. She specializes in research design and methods, program evaluation, as well as implementation and knowledge translation of evidence-based practices. With over over six years of experience in leading health research projects, she published numerous peer-reviewed articles and shared her findings at national and international conferences. Her vision is to use research to improve the health and well-being of professional artists, and to educate health care professionals and their greater community. To meet the many unique health needs of professional artists, Shelly-Anne aims to implement evidence-based practices that have lasting, positive impact on their health and well-being.
Susan Lucas RMT Dip. CTP
Massage Therapy & Psychotherapy Click for more
Susan offers Psychodynamic and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, to build tools and strategies to be effective and successful, and to repair wounds in the psyche and soma. She also offers Couple’s Therapy to help couples be able to communicate more effectively with each other.
She also offers Swedish Massage Therapy to focus on restoring function and relieving tension in the muscles.
Susannah McGeachy NP
Nurse Practitioner Click for more
Susannah McGeachy is a primary health care nurse practitioner with experience in both arts and healing. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts at Case Western Reserve University and worked as an actor before beginning her nursing career in 2006. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto (BScN) and Ryerson  University (MN). She has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient paediatrics, sexual health, and community-based primary care. A native Torontonian, she enjoys the vibrant art and performance scene our city offers, and regularly frequents local theatres, concerts, and openings. She pursues swimming, ballroom dance, and needlecrafts in her "spare" time.
Dr. Chase McMurren MD
Medical Director Click for more

Dr. Chase Everett McMurren is a psychotherapist and the medical director at the Artists’ Health Centre, a home-visiting physician for long-living elders who are homebound, and a faculty member in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Dr. McMurren believes that a person-centred, integrative approach to psychotherapy is central in helping artists explore and release patterns that seem to get in the way of living and practicing w​ell.
In addition to training at the Mount Sinai Psychotherapy Institute, Dr. McMurren has also trained in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and completed restorative yoga teacher training.

To keep musically active, Dr. McMurren is currently studying harp therapy and is using it as an opportunity to learn and apply the Alexander Technique.

Adam Rankin RMT
Registered Massage Therapist Click for more

Having grown up on a skateboard, Adam is no stranger to the aches and pains that can sideline an active lifestyle. Following a shoulder injury that kept him away from tennis, he experienced firsthand the positive effects rehabilitative therapies can have. He became passionate about massage therapy soon after.

A graduate of the Sutherland-Chan School and Teaching Clinic, Adam aims to work with his patients to provide the highest level of care and well-being through restorative treatments and patient education.

With over a decade of experience in Toronto as a working artist and photographer, Adam is acutely aware of the benefits massage therapy can have for those leading a busy and stressful work life, and aims to promote a sense of calm and wellness in all of his treatments.
Nishta Saxena MSc RD
Registered Dietitian Click for more
Nishta Saxena has been working as a registered dietitian in the public and private sectors since 2005. Her expertise includes paediatric nutrition, along with chronic disease prevention and management.
A frequently invited speaker at conferences, she presents up-to-date clinical nutrition concepts to physicians and the general public. Nishta is also a food and nutrition expert with Global National News, and makes regular contributions to CTV Your Morning, the Globe and Mail, and UHN News.
Dr. Anita Shack BFA DC FATA
Chiropractor - offering Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Craniosacral Therapy Click for more

Anita Shack DC, BFA (Dance), is a Toronto based Chiropractor who uses Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Craniosacral Therapy to facilitate change and wellness for her patients. She is in both private practice and the Chiropractor at the Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital. She is a published researcher and international speaker and teacher. She explores holistic context in her work and her workshops that are designed to increase personal awareness leading to improved health on multiple levels.

Dr. Shack has extensive experience working with artists from many disciplines including dance, theatre, music, visual arts, film, writing, photography, and others. She is a member of the Preforming Arts Medicine Association and Healthy Dancer Canada. She is sensitive to the specific stresses and sensibilities of artists.

Dr. Shack draws on her expertise as a health care practitioner for over 30 years, her varied life experience, and her over 25 year study of earth based and spiritual healing paradigms. She creatively weaves knowledge from these ancient traditions, and evidence based science into experiential workshops. She is an insightful and caring teacher, creating safe and supportive environments to facilitate learning, change, and healing.

Dr. Paul Uy MD
Psychotherapist Click for more

Paul Uy (MD, RCPSC, BHSc) is a physician who completed his psychiatric training at the University of Toronto. He has trained in a number of therapeutic modalities from psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy, group therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy and mindfulness therapies. He also travels, practices yoga and writes poetry.

Paul's eclectic interest in various therapies emerged partly from a lifelong interest in writing, particularly poetry. He appreciates the many links between psychotherapy and the arts - how one can inform the other in harnessing physicality, intuition and community for healing and meaning. He values the role of art in society in cultivating immediacy, curiosity and creativity in a highly complex and interconnected world.