Our team

Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD., MusM, MTA.
senior music therapist

Amy Clements-Cortes

Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes is assistant professor in music therapy at the

University of Windsor and the Senior music therapist/practice advisor at Baycrest. She has extensive clinical experience working with older adults in long-term and palliative care, adult mental health, complex continuing care, developmental delay and children with varied diagnoses. Amy’s research has focused in long term care, geriatrics, cognitive impairment, stress reduction, sleeping problems, pain and palliative care. She is the Internship Chair for the Canadian Association for Music Therapy, has been published in peer reviewed journals and produced several CDs. Current research projects include: Buddy’s Glee Club and 1930s sing-along.

Aviva Babins, MBA, MA, BFA (Hons.)

Aviva Babins

Aviva Babins received a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Rotman School of Management in 2014 and a Masters in Museum Studies (MA) from New York University in 2009. As manager of the department, Aviva oversees interdisciplinary projects with internal and external stakeholders that integrate art, science, design, and technology in to health care practice. She is the co-creator of the ArtonTheBrain application and is the winner of five innovation awards presented by Gevity (Hacking Health, 2015), the Ontario Telemedicine network (Hacking Health, 2015), and Baycrest (2012, 2013, and 2014). Aviva enjoys working in a fast paced environment and solving health care challenges that draw on creativity, and strategy.

Brenda Gasner Lass, BA.
creative arts specialist

Brenda Gasner Lass

Brenda is a full time staff member in the Creative Arts Studio and has been working as an art specialist at Baycrest since 2003. Previous to her involvement at Baycrest, she owned and operated a business. Brenda volunteered in Baycrest’s Creative Arts Studio for 3 years, while at the same time acquiring a degree in Psychology with a focus in the areas of adult development, aging and seniors’ health. Brenda enjoys creating and individualizing art projects which accommodate each client according to their personal ability.

Cassandra Zita, MMSt, BA.
museum coordinator, The Morris & Sally Justein Jewish Heritage Museum

Cassandra ZitaCassandra Zita received her Master of Museum Studies (MMSt) degree from the University of Toronto. Her interest in the effects of art and culture on wellbeing led her to Baycrest, an innovator in this field. Cassandra cares for The Morris & Sally Justein Heritage Museum’s collection of Judaica and curates yearly exhibitions. She facilitates the Museum on Wheels program, bringing cultural and historical objects onto the floors of the hospital and home for discussion groups and reminiscing.

Chrissy Pearson, BMT, MTA
music therapist

Chrissy Pearson

Chrissy received her Honours Bachelor of Music Therapy from the University of Windsor in 2002. She completed her internship at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre in Aging and Veterans Care. She has worked in various settings including long-term care, adult group homes, hospital acute care, schools, and private practice. One of her proudest accomplishments was receiving a teaching and supervision award while working at Sunnybrook Hospital. Chrissy is an active committee member of the Canadian Association for Music Therapy and is continuing her education studying the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music. She is thrilled to be part of the music therapy team at Baycrest!

Cindy Kaizer, MA, BA
cultural resource specialist

Cindy Web SizeCindy Kaizer has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Educational Psychology and Counseling from McGill University. She is a certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation. Her work experience includes 26 years working at Baycrest as a Therapeutic Recreationist as well as an Instructor for McGill University’s Continuing Education Department, Teacher’s Assistant for Special Needs children, Research Assistant for McGill University’s Giftedness Centre. She was part of a Baycrest team which researched and published a guide for compiling Life History Resources for Older Adults in Institutions. Her interests include qualitative and quantitative research methods studying in areas such as quality of life and learning styles across different age groups.

David Callaghan, M.ED, BA.
art collection coordinator, Baycrest Art Collection

David Callaghan

David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from York University and a Masters of Education in Administration from the University of Toronto. He enjoyed a career of over thirty years in education in the UK, Toronto and York Region. For more than twenty of these years he was an elementary school principal. David’s administrative, management and photography skills enable him, as curatorial assistant, to co-ordinate art donations and to organize, maintain and document the extensive collection of art at Baycrest.

Diana Robson
creative arts

Diana Robson is a part time program aide. She was trained as a merchandise display artist. She Diana Robson, creative artsregards colour as a food for the soul and believes that art is for everyone, especially seniors with the time to develop hidden talent. Diana is also trained as a Health Care Aide, also known as a P.S.W. Upon retiring in 2008, she volunteered in Baycrest’s Creative Arts Studio, as well as on the Palliative Care Unit. Now working in the Art Studio, she regards this as her perfect job, combining her love for seniors, art, colour, and care giving.

Kiki Chang, MA, MTA
music therapist

Kiki Chang

Kiki received her Masters of Arts in Music Therapy in 2010 from Concordia University, a Certificate in Music Therapy at Acadia University in 2007, and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in music and psychology from McMaster University in 2006. Upon completing her music therapy internship at Baycrest in 2008, Kiki went on to work in long-term care, mental health, and school settings. As a music therapist and a person, Kiki believes in empowering others and helping them to find and recognize their self-potential. Kiki is excited to once again be part of the Baycrest community and looks forward to enhancing the lives of clients and their families through the use of music therapy.

Melissa Sobel, BA
administrative coordinatorMelissa Sobel, administrative coordinator

Melissa Sobel has over 13 years of experience in the healthcare industry and has been an integral part of the Culture, Arts & Innovation department since 2008. She holds a BA in Sociology and a Post Diploma in Corporate Communications. Melissa supports 40+ staff daily, from assisting with logistical planning for programming to a wide variety of administrative tasks.

Melissa Tafler, MSW, RSW.
coordinator, Arts and Health program

Melissa Tafler is the Coordinator of the Arts and Health program at Baycrest. HerMelissa Tafler work involves leading the development and operationalization of initiatives that integrate the arts across clinical programs, education and research in health and aging. After over 15 years of clinical experience as a geriatric social worker, Melissa began exploring the use of creative, arts-based approaches with older adults with neurodegenerative disease, and became passionate and determined to expand this work across the healthcare sector. Melissa also provides consultation on the integration of arts-based learning and curriculum development for clinical staff through Baycrest’s Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation.

Merav Gilboa, MA, RT, ATR
creative arts specialist

Merav Gilboa received her BA from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem followed by a 2-year diploma program in Art Therapy at the David Yellin Institute for Arts-Assisted Therapy. Her MA is in Cultural Studies (Open University of Israel) and her thesis explored body and space experiences of women with dementia in long-term care facilities. Merav has over 15 years of experience both in Israel and Canada working as an Art Therapist with diverse populations ranging from children with developmental and psychiatric disorders to older adults with dementia. She likes to incorporate both individual and group therapeutic techniques in her work. Merav joined Baycrest in 2013 and is currently working in the Creative Arts Studio. As part of her services at the studio she also delivers individual and small-group programs at the hospital and the Apotex using different materials and techniques.

Atara Engel, MSc., RT
cultural resource specialist

cai_ataraAtara’s experience with unique populations spans a wide range of age groups and healthcare settings, including geriatric, developmental, mental health and rehabilitation contexts. Atara has been a member of the Baycrest team since 2008, holding previous positions in the KLAERU research unit and the Innovation, Technology & Design Lab. In her current role of Cultural Resource Specialist, Atara draws on her background in Therapeutic Recreation and Rehabilitation Science to engage multiple stakeholders toward enhancing Baycrest’s cultural offerings. Her work includes researching evidence-informed approaches to cultural programming and evaluation, cultivating meaningful community partnerships, providing education, resources and consultation to staff and fostering cultural sensitivity throughout the campus.