Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee


That everyone working at The Neuro, all MUHC and McGill employees,

feel acceptedsafe, and given equal opportunities.

Who We Are

Philip Lewis

Phillip Lewis, Co-Chair

I’m Phillip Lewis, Senior Research Assistant at the Clinical Research Unit. Over the past many years, I’ve noticed a lack of equity, diversity & inclusion. I’m a member of this committee because I feel I can assist in promoting positive change through EDI here at The Neuro.


Aparna Suvrathan

I am an early career investigator at the Centre for Research in Neuroscience, affiliated with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, and with McGill University. I serve on the NeuroEDI committee as a member of the community who is not directly affiliated with the MNI and hence brings an outside perspective. My lab investigates plasticity in the cerebellum, in health and disease. In addition to my commitment to research and teaching at McGill University, I believe strongly in evidence-based measures to assess and improve equity, diversity and inclusion in our community – thus providing the environment necessary for the best possible research and medical care. In particular, I believe this is an ongoing and evolving process, whose success depends on the efforts of each one of us. In addition to the NeuroEDI committee, I am also part of the ALBA network, which serves to promote equity and diversity in the brain sciences worldwide.

Nathan Spreng

Nathan Spreng

I am the director of the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition and an associate professor at McGill University in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery. I am involved in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion because I believe that the Neuro should reflect the community it serves. Women and members of underrepresented groups not only belong in science, but their inclusion is essential for the success of the scientific endeavour.


Amanda Rodrigues

Amanda Rodrigues

I am a nurse manager at the Neuro for in-patient neurology/neurosurgery/epilepsy and same-day admission. I have been part of the MUHC in various roles over the last 20 years of which 2 have been at the Neuro in my current role. I joined The Neuro EDI Committee because I wanted to contribute to advancing inclusion within our organization and be able to support my staff when encountering issues or concerns related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. It is so important that patients, family, and staff feel included and treated fairly despite their ethnicity, religion, social condition, disability, age, sex, language, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation. If we all work together to create a learning environment that promotes meaningful exchanges and connections, it means we can all feel welcome and have equal access to opportunities and resources available to us.

Madeline Sharp

Madeleine Sharp

I am a neurologist and a researcher at the Neuro. I am excited about the work of this committee which is unique in that it brings together the research and the hospital communities of the Neuro, which each bring their own perspectives. Being in the heart of Montréal, the diversity of the patients we serve, the students we train and the staff we hire is one of our main strengths, but there is still important work to do to ensure that this diversity exists in all areas and at all ranks, that it is promoted, and that each and every one of us is treated equitably. I also look forward to learning a great deal from participating in this committee.

Sienna Drake

Sienna Drake

I am a PhD student at the Neuro. I am interested improving the culture of both academia and healthcare when it comes to equity and diversity, through grassroots organizing and now internally to promote anti-racism efforts and decolonization within our workplace. I also aim to contribute a student's perspective to the EDI committee and identify barriers to equity impacting students at the Neuro.


Heidi McBride

Heidi McBride

I am a full professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery working as a mitochondrial cell biologist with interests in Parkinson's disease, cancer and other rare diseases. I began my career at McGill as an undergrad in 1986, completed my Ph.D in 1996, did a 4 year postdoc in Heidelberg, and started my own lab at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in 2000. I was recruited to the Neuro in 2011.

Throughout my ~30 year career as a scientist I was not inclined to complain about discriminatory behavior towards women (or anyone). Instead I just focused on my science with a "well, that's just how it is" attitude. But now, as a senior scientist who has been watching this for decades, I find myself disheartened that so little has changed over the last 20 years. I cannot stand silent as I become actively aware of EDI issues, as I see so many examples of sexual harrassment and discrimination continuing throughout academia, and as I realize how the power of white privilege continues to drive, knowingly or not, this unacceptable lack of minorities in our scientific world.

I joined the EDI committee at the Neuro to listen, learn and use my voice to execute change. We must hear and document the concerns and needs of all members of the Neuro family. We will push for concrete steps to move the dial on these issues. The process of scientific discovery and the translation of our research towards improving patient care requires collaboration, trust and a true spirit of equality. I look forward to this journey.


Annabel Seyeller

Annabel Seyller

In my capacities of Chief of Staff of The Neuro and Chief Executive Officer of the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute hosted here, it was natural for me to become a member of the EDI Committee with my fellow colleagues. In the same vein that The Neuro took a pioneer position in the field of Open Science to transform current practices, I feel our institution can have a pivotal role in Equity Diversity and Inclusion. I will deploy countless efforts with this group to make this a reality.

Siva Moonsamy

I join the Neuro EDI committee because I believe in its mission and vision. I am honored to be a member of the MUHC community for the past 30 years and the last 12 years as the nurse manager of the intensive care unit at the Neuro.

Unlike in my native country, here in North America, I am seen as a person that belongs to what is called the visible minority group or ethnic group. I never heard of these group categories before I came to Canada. These group categories did not stop me from realizing my personal life and professional life dreams. I feel privilege because the MUHC and the Neuro have always accompanied me in my career paths and successes.

I am very curious to know if every member of the Neuro community would say the same about their career path. Does everyone believe s/he is being treated equal? Does everyone’s voices being heard? I want to be an example for the visible minority at the Neuro. I join the Neuro EDI committee because I want the committee to succeed in its mission and vision



Adrien Peyrache

Adrien Peyrache, Co-Chair

I am an Assistant Professor at The Neuro, working on the neuronal basis of memory formation and spatial navigation. I have been influenced by many different cultures: I was born in France, grew up in Japan and, spent five years in the US before moving to Canada. While starting my lab, it has been a pleasure to constitute a team of young and brilliant trainees from all over the world: Mexico, France, India, China, among other countries. As a co-chair of the EDI committee, I hope to make The Neuro a place where everybody know that whoever they are and wherever they come from, they will be accepted and will receive all the support they need to achieve their goals.​

Blake Richards

Blake Richards

I am Assistant Professor at The Neuro and the School of Computer Science. I was interested in being on the EDI committee for The Neuro because I believe that diversity and equity are fundamentally important in academia and health care. Moreover, I know that diversity of thought is one of the best drivers of innovation in research, and I understand that our big institutions can and must do better in this regard, but it will require an ongoing process, which I hope to contribute to.











Terms of Reference 

1. Preamble

The Neuro is a world-leading research and clinic institution in neurology, neurobiology, and neuroscience with the goal of reducing the burden of neurological disorders for all Canadians. It provides exceptional training to clinicians, scientists, nurses, at all levels, from undergraduate students to clinical residents and postdoctoral fellows. Personnel, trainees, and also patients are from highly diverse origins, countries, cultures and ethnicities. It is crucial that everybody feels included. 

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) principles push for all members of an organization to feel safe, accepted, and given all the opportunities they deserve irrespective of their origin, race, sex, or gender, or other identities. McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) have been conducting several initiatives for months to strengthen EDI principles and, as a result, several changes have been enacted, or will be soon.

Although efforts are underway at this level, it has become clear that a more local initiative at The Neuro would be highly beneficial for all its members, being students, postdocs, interns, staff, nurses, clinicians, patients, and researchers. This has led to the creation of the Neuro EDI Committee. Importantly, this committee does not aim nor intend to bypass or repeat what is already conducted at the McGill and MUHC levels. 

2. Mandate

The EDI Committee will provide guidance to The Neuro leadership on the development, implementation, and ongoing improvement of The Neuro’s EDI action plan. The aims of this action plan will be to support the improved consideration of EDI at all levels of The Neuro and to promote an inclusive and accessible environment for all, with a particular focus on the six McGill designated groups (Women, Persons with Disabilities, Indigenous People, Visible Minorities, Ethnic Minorities and LGBTT2SQ+ People). 

In order to build an equitable, diverse, respectful, and compassionate culture at the Neuro, this committee intends to actively deconstruct systemic institutional barriers, including, but not limited to, anti-racist action. In any medical institute, harm-reduction is at the center of its mission - likewise, these actions taken to improve EDI initiatives at the Neuro aim to eliminate any harm experienced by marginalized people within our walls. The Neuro’s EDI Committee will work in full transparency to ensure that EDI challenges are addressed at all levels, including sensitizing the Neuro community to topics of collective interest related to how we deliver care, conduct research, and train the next generation of researchers and clinicians.

The EDI Committee is established under the authority of the Neuro Executive Team – Research and Neurosciences Mission Executive Committee (the “MNI-H Executive Committees”), to ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion are central to The Neuro’s decision-making.  

3. Key Responsibilities

To fulfil its mandate, the EDI Committee will: 

● Conduct a needs assessment to determine the state of EDI at The Neuro. Data will be collected from available and accessible records, through a custom survey, and conversations with present and past community members, analysed and compared to relevant institutional and broader statistics (as available) and provided to the community in a detailed report describing areas of strength and areas of need. 
● Determine Neuro-specific aspects of EDI that are not completely covered by the policies provided by McGill and MUHC and identify any possible inconsistencies between the McGill and MUHC policies that The Neuro must contend with. 
● Develop an Action Plan: Building on the needs assessment, the committee will work to determine short and long-term objectives with concrete action items and an ongoing monitoring strategy. This Action plan will be recommended to the Executive Committees of the MNI-H for implementation.  
● Provide a forum for regular consultation, feedback, discussion, and reporting with The Neuro community through media, including a dedicated website, posters, mailing-list, focus groups, and social media accounts, among others.  
● Monitor and report on progress as well as develop tools and metrics to ensure that The Neuro meets the objectives and commitments related to EDI. 
● Report quarterly to the MNI-H Executive Committees, at meetings or electronically, on the work of the Committee and the progress of The Neuro on meeting its EDI commitments. 

4. Membership and Appointments

Membership of the EDI Committee shall consist of 11 volunteer members: 

● Five faculty members, including researchers and clinicians, 
● Three members of the staff (including nurses, research assistants, administrative team, etc.), 
● One member of the MNI-H Executive Committees, 
● One faculty member-at-large from the McGill neuroscience community, 
● One trainee (PhD or postdoc). 

Inaugural members of the EDI Committee were put forward for consideration to the chair. In the future, the EDI Committee will make recommendations for new members to The Neuro’s Director. 
The committee is co-chaired by two members representing different components of The Neuro. 

The co-Chairs of the committee will be elected through a vote by members of the committee. All members will be invited to nominate themselves or another member for the roles of co-Chairs. In the case of a tie, ballots will be recast to select between the tied nominees. If the tie persists, a selection will be made by the Neuro’s Director. For the vote to be valid, a majority of members must cast a vote (quorum). Each member has one (1) vote. The co-Chairs must be approved by the Director of the Neuro. 

All members are appointed by The Neuro’s Director based on recommendations from the MNI-H Executive Committees. 

Ad hoc guests with specialized expertise may be invited to participate in meetings at the discretion of the co-Chairs. 

5. Term

The term of the initial phase of this committee is two years, during which the committee will supervise the missions stated above. At the end of this period, the mission of the committee will be reassessed, depending on the progress and implementation of the proposed measures. The composition of the committee, including the co-Chairs, will be renewed. 

Committee members will serve for two years, renewable. The co-Chairs will serve for one year, renewable for a maximum of two years. 

6. Members Responsibilities

The EDI committee recognizes the responsibility of its members. The committee members will respect a strict confidentiality about sensitive subjects (e.g. personal reports from victims). Members are committed to upholding values in their interactions and discussions and to embrace inclusivity, positive language, opportunity to contribute at meetings, and accountability

7. Meetings

The EDI Committee will meet monthly. 

Meetings will be held in-person at The Neuro or virtually.  

To facilitate equitable opportunities for participation in discussion at meetings, each discussion topic will begin with a roundtable, wherein each member is invited to provide input if they wish. Open discussion will follow. 

A simple majority of members constitutes quorum for meetings of the EDI Committee. 

Coordination and documentation of the EDI Committee’s activities will be taken care of by a delegate from the Neuro’s Director’s office. 

8. Voting Procedure

Decisions will be made by consensus. If consensus is not forthcoming within a reasonable timeframe, the co-Chairs may proceed with a vote on the question. For the vote to be valid, a majority of members must cast a vote (quorum). Each member has one (1) vote. In the case of a tied vote the person(s) acting as Chair(s) of the Committee shall be entitled to a second or casting vote.  

An e-vote may be conducted when appropriate. A simple majority of all members who have voted by the established deadline is required for e-vote decisions. Should a voting member fail to vote by the established deadline, this will be counted as an abstention.  

9. Recording EDI Committee Decisions

A written record of the discussions and recommendations arising at each meeting will be duly documented in official meeting notes. The minutes of the meetings and the committee activities will be accessible to the personnel and users of The Neuro when there are no associated privacy issues. 

PDF can be found here: PDF icon Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Terms of Reference


Contact Us

edi.neuro [at] mcgill.ca

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.




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