Ajay Puri, MHA – Movement Builder | Grassroots Organizer | Health Researcher
Ajay Puri is an advocate for evidence-based decision-making and community empowerment. For the past ten years, he has been volunteering, working and providing important scientific research to improve the lives of many marginalized populations including at-risk youth, visible minorities, sex workers, and people suffering from mental health and addictions.
Bridge to a Cool Planet, a coalition of over 30 multicultural, green and social justice groups which in 2009 hosted the world's largest 350.org Climate Action Day with over 10,000+ attendees. He was the social media and ethno-cultural outreach coordinator and currently manages the @B2CP twitter account. This event has become the Vancouver People's Summit and occurs at the Main Street Car-Free Festival.
Rangi Changi Roots, formed a grassroots society which seeks to bridge the multicultural communities and the green movement. The vision is to create a fair and healthy planet. Will be providing an ongoing newsletter and have held or co-held 5 events in the past year.
CanadiansforObama.ca a grassroots online movement engaging Canadians to organize for Barack Obama. Group made 20,000+ calls, visited 10 states for the 2008 US Presidential Election. Currently has 200+ active members and assists US in keeping progressive policies (e.g., public health insurance & climate action). He co-designed the website and currently coordinates all the content.
EastOfMain.com: a community blog showcasing local stories and events from the culturally diverse area of East Vancouver. He co-designed the website and currently acts as the co-Editor of the site and manages the @eastvancity twitter feed.
He currently sits on the Board of Directors for PIVOT Legal Foundation, GoBeyond (a BC-wide campus climate action network), McCreary Centre Society, and is a judge for the BC Hydro 2011 Invent the Future contest. He is a frequent guest on RJ1200, a South Asian radio station, and coordinates a weekly event listing guide on the Vancouver Observer. For the past four years he has been a UBC Science Tri-mentor where he has mentored students on careers in Science and research.
He completed his Bachelors of Science in biopsychology and commerce, then pursued his Masters of Health Administration at the University of British Columbia. He is currently a doctoral student at UBC researching the effects of acculturation and ethno-cultural identity on alcohol and drug use among immigrant and visible minority youth. He is also the co-lead of the BC Ethno-cultural Health Research and Community Network and a research associate with the Centre for Addictions Research of BC. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, Ajay worked in various capacities including program evaluator at the addiction services division of Vancouver Coastal Health, research coordinator and decision support analyst at Providence Health, and research assistant and forum coordinator at the BC Centre for Disease Control. He has published five peer-reviewed articles and has presented over 25 peer-reviewed abstracts at national and international health conferences.
Ajay was acknowledged for his commitment and passion for research and engaging diverse communities as one of Canada's top five volunteers in CBC's Champions of Change contest in 2010, as one of four selected Scientists for the Government of BCs Year of Science initiative also in 2010, and as the Dean of Science Ambassador in 2001. Academically he holds the Western Regional Training Centre doctoral award and the Leading Edge Endowment Fund doctoral award.