HSGSA 2022-2023 Executive Team

The Health Sciences Graduate Students’ Association (HSGSA) is a sub-organization of the University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association (UMGSA) with the primary directive of representing the interest of health sciences graduate students of the Bannatyne and St. Boniface campuses. To further enhance the graduate community, the HSGSA organizes a multitude of events, academic programs, and student socials throughout the year, including: orientation, curling, paintball, dragonboating, holiday socials, visiting speakers, and research days.

We encourage all graduate students to visit our office in room 114 Brodie Centre (behind Tim Horton’s) in the Bannatyne campus, and we look forward to working with you in the upcoming year. For more information please browse this website or call the office at 1 (204) 480-1313 and leave us a message. Alternatively you can check us out on Facebook here.

Jamie Sookhoo, HSGSA President (He/ Him)

Jamie Sookhoo, HSGSA President

Hi all! I’m Jamie Sookhoo and I am a PhD student in the Department of Immunology. I completed my Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago. During my Masters program, I was the student representative for the School of Veterinary Medicine’s GSA for three years as well as the secretary of the Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS) Infectious Disease Research Cluster.

More recently, I served as President of the Immunology GSA 2020-2021. In this role, I served on several committees for the HSGSA. I believe that my 5+ years of experience in various administrative and leadership roles as well as my longstanding dedication to and involvement in the HSGSA over the past 2 years sets me as an excellent candidate to lead the HSGSA in the coming year. Several of my closest friends are past members of the HSGSA executive and I’m proud to say I stand on the shoulders of giants. I intend to fulfil my role as successfully as my predecessors, building on their successes in advocating for the benefit of the students, supporting each and every one of you to the best of my ability.

 Kayla Kostal, Vice-President Internal (She/ Her)

Kayla Kostal, VP Internal

Hi everyone! My name is Kayla and I am a MSc student in the Department of Community Health Sciences. I did my undergraduate degree in psychology. My research area focuses on the health and quality of life of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

During the 2021/22 year, I represented the Department of Community Health Sciences at HSGSA as a council member. Throughout my time at HSGSA, I was the co-chair of the Internal Development and Review Committee, a member of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Ad-Hoc Budget Committee. I really enjoyed being part of HSGSA and being in those VP Internal related committees. I am very excited to be VP Internal this fiscal year.

I am passionate about helping our community. Last summer, I co-founded Science FUNdamentals in Manitoba. This non-profit organization brought volunteer and personal development opportunities to university students, all the while enhancing elementary science education. My plan is to continue providing various beneficial opportunities to students at the University of Manitoba. My focus will be to establish a budget that benefits graduate students the most through a combination of awards, social events, workshops, and professional development and academic opportunities. My goal is to help all students become successful in their future endeavours.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Our discussions will be in a safe space.

Morgan Taverner, Vice-President External (He/ Him)

Morgan Taverner, VP External

Hello everyone! My name is Morgan and I belong to the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. During undergraduate studies, I served as head don of St. John’s College for several years and lead the biological payload team for the University of Manitoba Space Applications and Technology Society.

During my time in grad school, I’ve interacted with a diverse set of students who have revealed areas in which their experience might be improved. One of my primary goals as VP External is to help move the graduate student experience closer to one that serves the equally diverse needs of the students. To this end, I would encourage any graduate students to reach out to me via email!

As Vice President External, I will be looking to use my leadership experience to create and facilitate opportunities for academic and professional development. I am looking forward to serving you!

Alekhya Lavu, Vice-President Academic (She/ Her)

Alekhya Lavu, VP Academic

Hello, I am Alekhya Lavu a 3rd year Ph.D. student at the college of pharmacy. I moved to Winnipeg in the fall of 2019 to pursue graduate studies at the University of Manitoba. During my undergrad, I have served on various college student committees and several volunteer organizations. Since joining the University of Manitoba, I have been serving as the president of the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE) and ISPOR student chapters. I also served as the president of the college of pharmacy graduate student council, University of Manitoba (2021-2022). For the past year, I have been working as a counselor at HSGSA representing the college of pharmacy.

With all the experience I have gained through my academic, professional, and volunteer work, I believe I will do my best in the Vice president of Academics position. With the given opportunity, I will give my utmost commitment to keep everyone well informed and involved in the academic and career development opportunities. I am an approachable person, please reach out to me if you have any questions or queries.

Astrid Bravo Jimenez, Vice-President Marketing & Events (She/ Her)


Hi everyone! I am Astrid Bravo, an MSc. student in the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. I did a Bachelor’s in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Universidad La Salle, in Mexico City. My current research is focused on investigating the role of lysosomal activity and unfolded protein response in the development of oligodendrocytes in Multiple Sclerosis.

As a graduate student in her first year, I understand the importance of starting to build connections and a career, so I am committed to bringing new ideas to connect our community of graduate students and plan events and workshops that will help you shape your future. I look forward to encouraging more graduate students to be involved in university life so they can make the most of this experience.

I am committed to giving more exposure to the HSGSA events and engaging students in its activities through social media platforms and websites.

Don’t hesitate to reach out, I am always open to new ideas and suggestions, let’s discuss them!

Akshi Malik, Vice-President St. Boniface (She/ Her)

Akshi Malik, VP St. Boniface

Namaste! My name is Akshi Malik. I am a PhD student in the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre (SBRC). My research is focused on the chemotherapy induced heart failure and the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress. I did my Bachelors and Masters from Delhi, India where I have always been a part of student associations and was involved in organizing and leading social as well as academic events. 

I had the opportunity to serve HSGSA members as the President for two years and to support my fellow graduate students through virtual and social events, workshops, Upass support, and bursaries. This year, I am happy to serve as VP-St. Boniface and consider this position as a responsibility to enthusiastically support my fellow graduate students at St. Boniface campus and work towards collaboration and inclusiveness as they make their way through academic and co-curricular endeavors. As part of HSGSA, I have worked closely with UofM Deans, administration, and fellow students which has equipped me with the understanding of diverse perspectives. On a personal level, I get along well with other people and consider myself to be a strong communicator, presenter, and listener. Do not hesitate to reach out to me for anything and everything.