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.


Our history

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).

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Doug fully recognizes that many factors influence the wellness of gay men – most particularly, social relationships they are able to form, and physical health they are able to sustain. He’s worked in parks and recreation for over 30 years and filled key positions on several conservation and recreation non-profit boards. Doug is married to an animation artist and they have recently become grandfathers – which has introduced a whole new chapter to their lives as gay men.

“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.

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After graduation, Nicolas became a non-profit leader, securing $1.2 million in funds for small charities in Washington State and British Columbia. Additionally, Nicolas managed the North Sound Regional Navigator Program under the Affordable Care Act from 2016-2018, assisting and overseeing the enrollment of over 20,000 residents of Western Washington into free or low-cost medical coverage. Nicolas is a current student in the Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs program* at the University of British Columbia, School of Public Policy & Global Affairs.

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.

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In addition to serving on the Board of HiM, he volunteers at The Corner, which is a partnership between HiM, VCH, and AIDS Vancouver to provide a drop-in program for folks involved with survival sex work. Ben joined the Board to help ensure HiM’s long-term financial sustainability to continue improving the overall wellbeing of our community.

Adrian Pape, Treasurer
Adrian is a Chartered Professional Accountant who articled at KPMG and wrote his qualifying exam in 2011.

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He has since moved over to industry, currently working at PAI Health, a Vancouver software start-up that partners with wearable companies, and previously at Clio, a legal practice management SaaS company. Adrian holds a Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Commerce from UBC. He volunteers for HIM because he believes in HIM’s multi-pillared approach to health, especially the importance of taking time for your mind.

Conner Copeman


Kevin Contzen
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.

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Before becoming a lawyer, Kevin pursued graduate studies in philosophy. Kevin began at HIM by volunteering legal advice to help HIM become a registered charity. Kevin is excited about the new developments in HIV prevention and other ways HIM can help gay men to take charge of their health.

Tribesty Nguyen
Tribesty is currently completing an MD at UBC and is on a lifelong pursuit of furthering health and social equity.

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Prior to his medical training, he worked in an array of policy development/analysis settings, including with the Ministry of Health and various global health and international development organizations. He continues to be involved in various community-based social, political, and health advocacy groups. He holds a BSc in microbiology and biology and an MA in health equity and policy.

Mark Sutherland
Mark is a nurse who has worked in a multitude of settings including organ transplant, pediatrics and sexual health.

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Since completing his Masters of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Mark has also worked as a nurse educator and health care policy analyst. Mark hopes that his culmination of experiences ranging from direct patient care to navigating health systems will be valuable to HIM’s board of directors. Mark is a great admirer of HIM’s programming and is excited to be involved in an organization that has a positive presence in our community and continues to strengthen the overall health and well-being of gay men. 

STAFF

Office Administrator
office@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 221

Greg Oudman — Executive Director
greg@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 222

David Russell — Director of Operations
david@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 234

Matthew — Office Administration and Bookkeeping Support
xmatthew@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 221

Aaron Purdie — Associate Director, Programs and Interventions
aaron@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 230

Hans Bosgoed —Associate Director, Clinical Services
hans@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 223

Zaid Elbitar — Manager, Communications and Development
zaid@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 228

Felipe Reinicke — Program Specialist, Design and Communications
felipe@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 216

Alvaro Luna – Program Specialist – Mental Health
alvaro@checkhimout.ca
604-488-1001 ext.235

Simon Rayek — Program Manager, Health Promotion
simon@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 226

Shain Gillick – Program Coordinator, Northern Region
shain@checkhimout.ca
604.488.1001

Dylan Wall – Program Coordinator, Interior Region
dylan@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001

Jonathan Degenhardt – Program Coordinator, Vancouver Island
jonathan@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001

Spencer Johnston – Program Manager, Community Engagement
spencer@checkhimout.ca
604-488-1001 ext. 225

Jas Basra – Program Coordinator, Outreach – Fraser Region
jas@checkhimout.ca
604-488-1001 ext. 224

Kiarmin Lari — Program Coordinator, Health Promotion
kiarmin@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 229

Louis Lin — Program Assistant, Health Promotion
louis@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 212

Malakai Wellington — Program Assistant, Health Promotion
malakai@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001

Lance Hansen — Program Coordinator, Volunteer Engagement
lance@checkhimout.ca
604 488 1001 ext. 233

Marlena Boyle – Program Coordinator, Sex Work Programs
marlena@checkhimout.ca
604-488-1001 ext. 221


HIM Highlight Reel

2008

  • 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.

2009

  • 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.

2010

  • 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.

2011

  • 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.

2012

  • 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.

2013

  • 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.

2014

  • 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.

2015

  • 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).

2016

  • 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.

2017

  • 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.

2018

  • 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.

HIM Annual Reports

Below are the HIM Annual Reports organized by year:

Health Initiative for Men respectfully acknowledges that we are privileged to be working within the ceded and unceded, ancestral, traditional, and shared territories of the Coast Salish people.

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