What we do
With five health centres throughout the Lower Mainland, Health Initiative for Men is a non-profit society that aims to strengthen the health and well-being of gay men. We offer the full spectrum of gay men’s sexual health testing, as well as professional counselling, sexual health education, and an engaging mix of social and volunteer opportunities.
After years of discussion among gay men in Vancouver about the need for a gay men’s health organization, Health Initiative for Men opened in the heart of Vancouver’s gay village in 2008. In 2009, HIM entered a formal contract with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority to deliver health promotion services to gay men. We remain at the forefront of gay men’s health issues, collaborating on important research projects, and offering primary and sexual health care. Through the tireless work of our volunteers, we’re able to deliver programs for a diverse range of men, from sex workers to yoga aficionados. Check out our HIM Highlight Reel for more HIM history bites.
What We Stand For
OUR MISSION: Strengthening the health and well-being of gay men. OUR VISION: Gay men building healthy lives together. OUR VALUES: We value gay men’s ability to make informed decisions. We value the role of our communities. We value scientific research. We value a non-judgmental, sex-positive and strengths-based philosophy. We value a comprehensive approach to healthy living. We value capacity building and collaboration.
Who We Are
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Douglas Leavers, Chair
Doug first moved to the West End in 1979, then lived and worked throughout the BC interior before coming out and returning to Vancouver during Gay Games III (1990).
“Absolutely everything that HIM advocates aligns directly with the way that I live as a gay man, and that I encourage every day in the lives of my friends, family, and peers.”
Nic Jensen, Vice-Chair
Nicolas Jensen is a graduate of Western Washington University, earning a BA in Political Science in 2016, with concentrations in American Government and US Health Policy.
Ben Kazakov, Secretary
Ben is a recent graduate of the UBC Sauder School of Business, and is currently working in Assurance at Ernst & Young while pursuing his Chartered Professional Accountant designation.
Adrian Pape, Treasurer
Adrian is a Chartered Professional Accountant who articled at KPMG and wrote his qualifying exam in 2011.
Kevin is a lawyer specializing in contract and administrative law, and currently works with the Legal Services Branch of the provincial government of British Columbia.
Tribesty is currently completing an MD at UBC and is on a lifelong pursuit of furthering health and social equity.
Mark is a nurse who has worked in a multitude of settings including organ transplant, pediatrics and sexual health.
604 488 1001 ext. 221
Greg Oudman — Executive Director
604 488 1001 ext. 222
David Russell — Director of Operations
604 488 1001 ext. 234
Matthew — Office Administration and Bookkeeping Support
604 488 1001 ext. 221
Aaron Purdie — Associate Director, Programs and Interventions
604 488 1001 ext. 230
Hans Bosgoed —Associate Director, Clinical Services
604 488 1001 ext. 223
Zaid Elbitar — Manager, Communications and Development
604 488 1001 ext. 228
Felipe Reinicke — Program Specialist, Design and Communications
604 488 1001 ext. 216
Alvaro Luna – Program Specialist – Mental Health
Simon Rayek — Program Manager, Health Promotion
604 488 1001 ext. 226
Shain Gillick – Program Coordinator, Northern Region
Dylan Wall – Program Coordinator, Interior Region
604 488 1001
Jonathan Degenhardt – Program Coordinator, Vancouver Island
604 488 1001
Spencer Johnston – Program Manager, Community Engagement
604-488-1001 ext. 225
Jas Basra – Program Coordinator, Outreach – Fraser Region
604-488-1001 ext. 224
Kiarmin Lari — Program Coordinator, Health Promotion
604 488 1001 ext. 229
Louis Lin — Program Assistant, Health Promotion
604 488 1001 ext. 212
Malakai Wellington — Program Assistant, Health Promotion
604 488 1001
Lance Hansen — Program Coordinator, Volunteer Engagement
604 488 1001 ext. 233
Marlena Boyle – Program Coordinator, Sex Work Programs
604-488-1001 ext. 221
HIM Highlight Reel
- The very first Health Initiative for Men clinic opens in the heart of Vancouver’s gay village in 2008.
- We participate in the first WinterPride, giving HIM a face on the ski hill.
- We also participate in the Mancount Study, which seeks to determine the amount of unknown HIV infections among gay men and other men who have sex with men.
- We enter a formal contract with Vancouver Coastal Health to deliver health promotion services to gay men.
- Our wall-mounted condom dispensers in high traffic areas distribute over 50,000 condoms in three months.
- HIM on Davie Health Centre opens, offering gay men STI testing, including rapid and early HIV tests. We also help bring NAAT (early) testing to HIM through our work with the CIHR Team.
- Designed to educate visitors about Vancouver’s diversity, we launch Public Displays of Gay campaign to coincide with the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
- We also launch Do The Math: Calculate Your Risk, a campaign that encourages gay men to examine their sexual risk using an online risk calculator.
- HIM opens a second health centre on Commercial Drive. In partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control, our clinics administer 2,400 HIV tests. We offer counselling and peer support services at both health centres, and our clients receive 960 hours of clinical counseling and peer support services.
- Our Personal Strategic Advising (PSA) program launches, with trained volunteers providing advice to gay men seeking assistance with life-planning and behaviour change.
- The BC Ministry of Health identifies HIM as a “key partner in reaching and engaging men into testing and care in ways that meet the needs of MSM.”
- More than 2,400 men are tested for HIV at our two health centres. In total, we identify 1 out of every 20 new HIV diagnoses in BC.
- Our mini-campaign called “One Million Orgasms” celebrates our condom distribution reaching 500,000.
- HIM’s social marketing has a positive impact on the Acute HIV Study, which prevents between 25 and 75 new HIV infections.
- Diversity and non-judgment: We conduct community consultations with gay men: one with substance users, the other with Chinese speakers. We also begin developing a safer substance use campaign, a web series and resources translated into prominent languages.
- We open the New Westminster and Surrey health centres.
- HIM’s multilingual online sexual health resource, Talk to HIM, launches in English, Chinese (simplified and traditional) and Punjabi.
- HIM on Davie Health Centre expands its services by offering access to a nurse practitioner and the Health Promotion Case Management program.
- HIM opens the Abbotsford Sexual Health Centre.
- We also expand our Talk to HIM online sexual health resource with our pocket-sized guide in Farsi, Arabic and Spanish.
- More reach in the Fraser Region: Our volunteer counselling program and the Health Promotion Case Management program expand to the health centres in Surrey and New West.
- In total, HIM Sexual Health Centres administer 10,792 (rapid, standard and NAAT) HIV tests and provide 673 hours of clinical counselling and per support programming.
- We enter new research partnerships with the BC Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, York University, and Cambridge University (UK).
- Expanded our popular mental health resource, Take Time for Your Mind, to provide evidence-based articles, referrals to professional counselling, coaching or therapeutic groups in support of an integrated approach to health.
- Partnered with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and David Stuart from 56 Dean Street Clinic in London, England, for a series of conversations to begin the development of a strategy to address sexualized meth use.
- Released a position paper to address issues related to men involved in sex work (MSW) across legal, advocacy, research, and service delivery sectors, presenting critical and related issues for MSW, both in Canada and beyond.
- Launched our GetPrEPed.ca campaign website and materials to raise awareness and increase access to PrEP for gbOMSM while championing community advocacy for governmental policy changes.
- Partnered with Public Safety Canada to launch Transitions, a personal empowerment program for men involved with sex work, providing a safe space to develop resources to reduce their reliance on sex work and/or transition out of the sex industry.
- Expanded our HIM on Davie Health Centre from 700 to 1,600 square feet, significantly increasing capacity for testing and mental health supports.
- Celebrated its ten-year anniversary with the first ever HIM Blue Ball;
- Increased access to sexual health testing through the launch of Express Testing at HIM on Davie Health Centre;
- Significantly increased opportunities for mental health counselling through the introduction of the HIM Helps subsidized counselling program;
- Developed a new, community-informed and responsive strategic plan that will help guide the organization in its work for the next five years.