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A celebratory showcase of projects co-created by our community partners, city staff, students, and faculty.

2023 Project Snapshots

Over the course of our inaugural year of CityStudio Ottawa, students, city staff, community partners, and faculty have co-created solutions to the priorities highlighted by the City of Ottawa's Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. Here, we showcase some of the inspiring to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and healthier Ottawa.

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Musical Mindfulness

Project Term: Winter 2023

Course Code: HSS4101 - Development and Evaluation of Health Programs

Group Members: Farhan Khandakar, Sarah Croth, Carly Cirelli, Lydia Acharya, Gunjan Khatri, Beatriz Chung

Description: An afterschool music program in partnership with Orkidstra and the CityStudio Project to provide a safe space for kids and youth in the Ottawa region.


Personal Reflection:

“Taking part in this CityStudio project helped us connect what we were learning about health programs in class to a real-world scenario in a very creative and innovative manner. Working with a group of individuals who were all passionate about this project allowed us to find unique solutions to very real problems. This project also allowed us to understand the complexity that we will face in the future when addressing and finding solutions to health concerns in both academic and professional settings.”


Above the Influence

Project Term: Winter 2023

Course Code: HSS4101 - Development and Evaluation of Health Programs

Group Members: Sara DiFrancesco, Chloe Bonell, Bukky Alausa, Camila Pereyra, Hiba Zafar


Description: Our proposal is a peer-to-peer mentorship program for high school students, where Grade 11 and 12 students will have the opportunity to be trained to use ConnexOntario as a system navigation tool that they can share with other students, as well as promoting mental health and safer substance use by hosting various activities within the school and in the community. The goal of our program is to increase health literacy around substance use and mental health. Additionally, we hope that our program will help to reduce the stigma associated with these topics and empower young people to reach out for help.


Personal Reflection:

Camila Pereyra: “Collaborating with CityStudio Ottawa allowed us to increase our scope of knowledge surrounding public health and program development. Academically, we were challenged to think outside of the box to find an innovative solution from a professional standpoint. Combining these two aspects made for an impactful project and inspired me to think bigger when considering my potential positive impact on the community.”


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Push Past PPD

Project Term: Winter 2023

Course Code: HSS4101 - Development and Evaluation of Health Programs

Group Members: Thomas Brassard, Nicholas Chaput, Phylecia Ferguson, Nadia Fyfe, Adam Keay, Lexi Maharaj

Description: Health promotion program designed to support system navigation for postpartum depression care in Ottawa, Ontario.


Personal Reflection:

“Working with CSL and CityStudio Ottawa was a great experience. Creating a health promotion program that can make a real difference is an opportunity that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my education, as I continue my studies in public health for the betterment of our community.”


Navigating New Horizons

Project Term: Winter 2023

Course Code: HSS4101 - Development and Evaluation of Health Programs

Group Members: Rahima Hasmani, Samuel Hamilton, Yahya Elmi, Jenna Hussein, Mehreen Qureshi, Imane Aassal

Description: The Navigating New Horizons Health Promotion Program aims to reduce mental health issues among immigrant children in Ottawa ages five to 12. It seeks to promote knowledge and awareness of mental health and create inclusive environments in public and Catholic school settings.


Personal Reflection:

Rahima Hasmani: “The incredible learning opportunity provided by CityStudio has enabled my teammates and me to delve into the real world and gain invaluable experience in collaborating on a project with mentors contributing to the improvement of public health in Ottawa. Working to find a solution to a pertinent issue facing our society was a fruitful experience that taught me how to implement my ideas and discover ways to address challenges and enhance our community.”

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Mindful Responders

Project Term: Winter 2023

Course Code: MED 4101 — Eportfolio on Core Competencies (Part 1)

Group Members: Sara Gauthier, Vanessa Viltakis

Description: As medical students, we are collaborating with the Ottawa Paramedic Service to evaluate patient and provider feedback on the Mental Wellbeing Response Team (MWRT). The MWRT is a pilot initiative addressing non-violent, non-criminal 9-1-1 calls relating to mental health or substance use.


Personal Reflection:

Vanessa Viltakis: “Being involved with the MWRT has been an immensely valuable experience. I was fortunate to have experienced firsthand and learned the different aspects that go into evaluating a pilot program, as well as how much work and detail goes into every stage of the process. I feel proud to have contributed to an initiative that aims to improve mental health outcomes in Ottawa.”


Project Term: Winter 2023

Course Code: SOC 4101 — Family, Life Trajectories, and Society

Group Members: Kiana Chen, Sahil Chopra, Ruohan Huang, Johanna Musingya, Chris Talman, Shiyu Zhu

Description: A collaboration between the Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre (NROCRC) and the Rural Ottawa Youth Mental Health Collective (ROYMHC) on youth mental health. Research question: How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the need for mental health assistance for youth in the NROCRC community? Why focus on youth mental health?


Personal Reflection:

Shiyu Zhu: “The project was insightful. As a group, we could maneuver around all the obstacles and use all our skills to ensure we gathered all the information needed. One thing that stood out the most is the need for more funding and spacing to provide these services.”

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Substance Use Health and Stigma

Partnership: Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, in collaboration with

Ottawa Public Health, and in conjunction with Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA)

Project Duration: January to May 2023

Group Members: Cecilia Bu, Maya Yefet, Jacky Lee, Asha Swamy, Ria Singla and Helena Kim


The objective: Bring together local organizations to raise awareness on the impacts of stigma.

Six undergraduate medical students worked with a public health nurse from Ottawa Public Health and CAPSA staff over the course of the semester to explore substance use health and the spectrum of substance use as it relates to their field of study. They received training from CAPSA on how stigma affects people who use substances and on people living with a substance use disorder.


The students shared their reflections and perspectives as a means of disseminating information about stigma and substance use health to their peers. Check out their educational TikTok videos!

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