Melanie Lee (she/her) is a Community Engagement Associate at the Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity as well as a participant in the SHAWNA Project. She is also a peer research associate (PRA) and member of the management team for the BCC3 study, which aims to understand how to improve healthy aging for women living with HIV. She has been a PRA for the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study since 2012 and became a part of the National Management Team in 2018.
Melanie finds research gratifying as she learns more about humanity, her community and herself. This work has given her a sense of purpose and belonging, which she was missing since she had to stop working as a pharmacy technician due to HIV-related health issues. Melanie voluntarily runs a community based organic coop (Harvest Co-op) that serves people living with HIV and their allies. She organizes the distribution of produce from the warehouse into people’s hands. She finds this rewarding as she loves everything to do with food and how it helps the community, providing accessible fresh organic fruits and vegetables that can benefit peoples’ health.
Melanie co-facilitated a support group for women living with HIV from 2015-2019 at BC Women’s Hospital. Additionally, she was involved with the creation of the Women’s-Centred HIV Toolkits for clinicians and community members with the national CHIWOS team, disseminated in October 2020.