Black PRAISE (Pastors Raising Awarenessand Insights of Stigma through Engagement) was developed through collaboration among researchers, service providers, Pastors from Black churches, policy makers and community members.


Research Team

Keresa Arnold | Orville A. BrowneLiviana Calzavara | Nicole R. Greenspan | Jelani KerrWinston Husbands | Henry Luyombaya | Marvelous MuchenjeJoanita Nakamwa | Wangari Tharao


Keresa Arnold, MA., is the Research Coordinator at the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO). ACCHO provides leadership in the response to HIV/AIDS in African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) communities in Ontario. Keresa coordinates ACCHO’s research initiatives, activities and collaborations. She is a graduate of York University.


Orville A. Browne, ThD., is a social science researcher, health care chaplain, author and a registered psychotherapist in Ontario, and currently the departmental director of Spiritual Care and Education at Meritus Health, in Maryland, US. His work focuses on health care leadership, pastoral care, qualitative research within marginalized communities including immigrants and people in prisons. In 2018, Dr. Browne published a Living “Normal” with HIV:  A challenge for the 21st Century in 2018. He trained at the Ontario Multi-Faith Council, and is a graduate of the University of Toronto/Victoria and the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) Research Institute.


Liviana Calzavara, PhD., is a Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Working in the field of HIV since 1984, Liviana helped to pioneer HIV research, teaching and advocacy in Canada. Since 2004, Dr. Calzavara has collaborated with Black, researchers and community-based organizations to undertake a program of research, mentorship and capacity building. She has also conducted HIV-related research in Canada, Russia and China. Liviana is a doctoral graduate of University of Toronto.


Nicole R. Greenspan, PhD., works in policy, research and evaluation with a focus on community services that respond to the HIV and opioid overdose epidemics.  Currently, she is a Policy Development Officer with the Toronto Drug Strategy at Toronto Public Health, where she draws on her experience working with community-based organizations and her training in health policy and evaluation.  She has collaborated and worked in solidarity with people from communities most affected by HIV as an ally for over 10 years. She is a graduate of University of Toronto.


Winston Husbands, PhD., is a Senior Scientist at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network and the principal investigator for Black PRAISE. He collaborates with research and community stakeholders to address crucial issues that affect the health and wellbeing of Black communities, especially in relation to HIV. Winston is graduate of the University of the West Indies (Kingston, Jamaica), and Western University in London, Ontario.


Jelani Kerr, PhD., is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences.  His work examines behavioral and social factors that impact racial/ethnic HIV disparities in African Diasporic communities in North America.  Jelani is a graduate of Fort Valley State University and the University of South Carolina.


Henry Luyombya, RSW., MSW., is a Research Coordinator for the Black PRAISE study at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. As a mentee, mentor and knowledge seeker, Henry is a firm believer in equity, fairness and social justice. He works with immigrant/refugee, Black communities and other racialized communities in the areas of health promotion, counselling, community-building, mental health and social research for over 10 years. Henry is an alumnus of University of Toronto and Ryerson University.


Marvelous Muchenje, R.S.W., MSc., brings 18 years of employment and volunteer contributions in the HIV sector. She is currently a Case Manager at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre. She is passionate about social justice in a global context, and has experience working with marginalized individuals affected by HIV, including refugees, immigrants and African/Black populations both locally and internationally. She is a co-investigator or collaborator on numerous CIHR-funded studies focused on women living with HIV. Marvelous is a graduate of Ryerson University and McMaster University.


Joanita Nakamwa, MSc., has been involved in HIV treatment, education and testing initiatives since her work as a registered nurse in Kenya. She is currently involved in HIV education and knowledge transfer and exchange in Black communities in Canada. She is also a Healthy Communities enthusiast. Joanita is a graduate of the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and George Brown College.


Wangari Tharao, M.Ed., is a CBR researcher and the Director of Research and Programs at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (WHIWH), a community health centre that provides primary healthcare services for African, Caribbean, Black, Latin American and South Asian women in Toronto. She has co-founded several local, provincial, national and international networks including, the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO), the Canadian HIV/AIDS Black, African and Caribbean Network (CHABAC) and the African and Black Diaspora Global Network on HIV and AIDS (ABDGN) to support Black populations in the global North in their response to HIV/AIDS. Wangari is a graduate of OISE, University of Toronto.


Collaborating agencies

African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO)

Africans in Partnership Against AIDS (APAA)

Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP)

Canadian HIV/AIDS Black, African and Caribbean Network (CHABAC)

Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT)

Moyo Health and Community Services (formerly Peel HIV/AIDS Network [PHAN])

Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC)

Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (WHIWH)





OHTN Support

We acknowledge the generous support of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, especially the following staff, who assisted us with various parts of Black PRAISE:

Shelina Akter
Loudes Alexandar
Tsegaye Bekele
Chris Carriere
Kohila Kurunathan
Guy McLoughlin
Kadidja Moné



We also acknowledge the assistance and contributions of Frantz Brent-Harris (graphic design); David Lewis-Peart (writing and conference facilitation) and Oyewunmi Oyelowo (research and writing); and agency staff and survey assistants Mary Ndung’u, Jamilla Mohamud, Yohannes Ayalew, Wesley Oakes, Amanda-Lisa Parke, Jane Karago-Odongo and Solomon Lome.


Collaborating pastors and church liaisons


  • Pr. Travis Afflick
  • Pr. Olufiayo Akinkunmi
  • Pr. Wendell Gibbs
  • Pr. Fabian Reid
  • Pr. Barbara Schreiner-Trudel
  • Pr. Lovelace St. John

Church Liaisons

  • Jabari Lindsay
  • Evelyn Oteng-Pabi
  • Olufunke Akinkunmi
  • Evan Reid
  • Bunmi Sanusi