Skip to Content | Accessibility | A A A A



Meet Our Team

We specialize in addressing the specific health care needs of artists, providing a holistic and collaborative approach to health. We are a clinic designed for artists, to help you continue creating. We are health care providers, shiatsu and massage therapists, chiropractors, psychotherapists and physiotherapists. We listen, we diagnose, we support and we heal.

​Executive Director, Family Health ​Team​​: Teri Arany

Leisa Bellmore MSc. ST
Shiatsu Therapist Click for more

Leisa Bellmore is a licensed shiatsu therapist, speaker and researcher. She has been practicing Namikoshi shiatsu since 2001, having graduated with honours from Toronto’s Shiatsu Academy of Tokyo 2200-hour program. Leisa has been part of the integrative team at the Artists’ Health Centre since 2010, though she has worked with performing and creative artists throughout her career.

Leisa has extensive experience in using shiatsu to help patients living with a variety of chronic conditions, including pain, sleep problems, migraine, fibromyalgia and mental health issues, as well as injuries, stress and tension. Each shiatsu treatment is tailored to suit the needs of the individual and to support their healing process.

A key element of Leisa’s practice is education – for other healthcare providers, the public and her patients. She has presented and published around the world. Leisa believes that we can all take an active role in our health. She particularly enjoys teaching patients self-care strategies to help them overcome the stresses and strains on their bodies and minds, allowing them to be at their peak.

Leisa has an MSc in Advanced Complementary Medicine Research and Practice and her research studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Her professional interests include neurological conditions and self-management interventions for chronic conditions.

As Leisa's first career was in theatre, she has a great respect and love for the arts and an understanding of the commitment and discipline they require.

Leisa was recently featured in the Spring 2023 AHC newsletter: Spring 2023

Ezra Braves RP, CCTP
Psychotherapist Click for more

Ezra Braves is a Registered Psychotherapist in practice since 2017 and works with individuals, couples, and provides clinical supervision. Since his training at the Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy (TIRP), Ezra has completed certifications in dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) and in treating complex trauma.  He also received advanced training in Internal Family Systems (IFS), Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples (EFT), Compassionate Inquiry, and the Polyvagal approach to psychotherapy.

Ezra has deep respect and admiration for the creative spirit and is fascinated and humbled how the unconscious and emotion represent in all forms of art and expression. He believes that therapy should be non-judgmental, exploratory, and collaborative.

Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua HBSc ND PhD
Naturopathic Medicine Click for more

Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua, or Dr. JJ as he is affectionately known, is a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) since 2003 and the first ND to practice naturopathic medicine at the Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) Artists' Health Centre (AHC).  Dr. JJ completed his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto in 2011. 

Dr. JJ’s areas of clinical interest include: stress and anxiety, infections, skin conditions, hair conditions, digestive issues, gastrointestinal conditions, thyroid conditions and fertility support. 

At the AHC, Dr. JJ uses a melange of naturopathic principals, including clinical nutrition, nutritional supplementation, herbal medicines, counselling and acupuncture.  As a ND in Ontario, he prescribes desiccated thyroid and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) where appropriate. 

Dr. JJ has given a number of workshops throughout Ontario specifically focused on artists and their health care, as well as presentations internationally, including the World Health Organization in Washington DC.

As part of his PhD research, Dr. JJ investigated the safety of natural products during pregnancy and lactation at the Sick Kids Hospital and conducted a clinical trial on the effects of cinnamon on type 2 diabetes at the Toronto Western Hospital and the Centre Universitaire de Sherbrooke.

He was an Associate Professor (Status Only) at the University of Toronto Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

He is the Chief Medical Officer of Liberty Clinic in Downtown Toronto. 

Carolyn Franke RN, BA, CDE
Registered Nurse Click for more

Carolyn Franke is a registered nurse with 37 years of experience, the last 15 in primary care. She is also a certified diabetes educator. She believes passionately in assessing the whole person and has thoroughly enjoyed doing the intake assessments for people accessing care at the Artists' Health Centre. She has a special interest in the arts community as she is an enthusiastic weaver, spinner, dyer and knitter and has professional musicians in her family.

Agnieszka Halonska
Site Coordinator Click for more

Aga is the new Administrative Coordinator at the Artists' Health Centre supporting complex administration and operational processes. Aga has sizeable experience in medical administration in both hospital environments and private clinics. Her strengths are integrity, strong organizational and operational skills, and being patient-centred. She also worked as an Activation Therapy Assistant at a nursing home where she was able to quickly recognize the comforting properties of art.

Being a mom of an autistic artist, Aga has experience managing mental health and strong appreciation for creativity. She is planning to pursue continuing education in business administration to further her professional growth and development. Aga defines motivation as her "natural life goal" and cares about the well-being of the arts community and clinic's functionality.

Aga is enthusiastic to take on her new role working on collaboration with fellow team members to ensure the success and growth of the Artists' Health Centre.

Vicki Hawkins BScPT BA
Registered Physiotherapist Click for more

Vicki Hawkins completed her Physiotherapy degree at University of Toronto. Previously she obtained an honours degree in Kinesiology with a Certificate in Sport Therapy and a Certificate in Fitness Assessment at York University. She is a member of the Women's Health Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. She is also a member of IADMS (International Association of Dance Medicine and Science) and PAMA (Performing Arts Medicine Association). She has been a Clinical Instructor with the University of Toronto, Department of Physiotherapy since 2003 and held a Status-only Appointment with the University of Toronto from 2009 until 2015.

She has completed a variety of continuing education courses including Manual Therapy, Muscle Energy, Scoliosis, the Pelvis, Pole Walking, and Yoga Therapy. She has worked with members of the University of Toronto Music Program, York University Dance, Theatre & Music Programs, the Ryerson University Dance Program, OCAD University, Humber College Music Program, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Canadian Opera Company, Canada's National Ballet School, Toronto Dance Theatre, Ballet Creole, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Opera Atelier, and a variety of television and film programs. She also worked with the Mirvish musical, A Chorus Line.

In 2010, Vicki completed her Level 1 certification as a GYROTONIC® Trainer. In 2011, she completed her Level 1 certification as a GYROKINESIS® Trainer. The GYROTONIC® exercises are used alone or in conjunction with treatment to help her clients achieve optimum wellness.

Vicki ‘s interest in becoming a therapist for artists began as a student at The School for Toronto Dance Theatre and the University of Calgary Dance Program.

GYROTONIC and GYROKINESIS are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and are used with permission.

Vicki was featured in the Winter 2022 newsletter.

Lauren Leslie
Registered Massage Therapist Click for more

Lauren was a massage enthusiast decades before becoming a therapist. Her training at Sutherland-Chan prepared her to treat clients with a wide range of issues, from survivors of catastrophic accidents to those struggling with stress and depression. Her son is an aspiring pianist and composer, so she has an understanding of the challenges artists face. She offers Swedish massage, myofascial release, and deep tissue work. 

Lauren was featured in the Spring 2022 newsletter.

Dr. Shelly-Anne Li, PhD
Researcher Click for more

Dr. Shelly-Anne Li oversees the research, quality improvement, and community engagement portfolios at the Artists' Health Centre (AHC), University Health Network. Dr. Li sets the program's direction and designs research and quality improvement projects that are in accordance with the values and mission of AHC. She forms partnerships with external organizations in the arts community and develops strategies to increase AHC's community involvement. Additionally, she is an Assistant Professor at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, where she supervises and educates medical learners and conducts medical education activities.

Dr. Li is also a sessional faculty member at the School of Nursing at McMaster University and an Associate Editor for Springer Nature's Global Implementation and Research Applications journal. She received her PhD from the University of Toronto and completed her MSc at McMaster University. Her areas of specialization include research design and methods, program evaluation, clinical practice guidelines, as well as the implementation and knowledge translation of evidence-based practices.

Her vision is to use research to improve the health and well-being of professional artists and to educate healthcare professionals and the wider community. To address the unique health needs of professional artists, Dr. Li aims to implement evidence-based practices that have a lasting, positive impact on their health and well-being.

Lezlee Lindzon MSW, RSW
Social Worker Click for more

Lezlee is a Registered Social Worker with over 20 years of experience. Her background includes a combination of working in healthcare and in private practice. Throughout her career she has worked with variety of clients to support overall mental health. She appreciates the unique needs of individuals involved in the Arts.

Her training includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Gottman Method to work with individuals, families, and couples. Her approach is collaborative focusing on supporting and empowering clients to draw on their strengths to identify meaningful goals.

"It is a great privilege and opportunity to join The Artists' Health Centre. I look forward to combining my interest in healthcare and the Arts working together to create positive change".

Zeesy Powers MSHc, BFA
Clinical Research Coordinator Click for more

Zeesy Powers (MSHc, BFA) is a recent graduate of the Bioethics Master’s of Health Science program at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto and a career artist. Her capstone examined how the pandemic transition from in-person to remote hearings in the Consent and Capacity Board impacted processes and outcomes for all participants. At the Digital Division of the Ontario Ministry of Health, she analysed consent models for the system-wide collection, disclosure and use of personal health information. Her award-winning artistic practice focuses on critiques of agency in human-machine interaction and the hidden impacts of technology on individuals and society.

Over the past 20 years, she has collaborated with dancers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, community organizations, scientists, religious leaders, cyber security experts and others for projects in visual art, video, and performance. She is excited for the opportunity to give back through research that supports the wellbeing of artists and their communities.

Dr. Anita Shack BFA DC FATA
Chiropractor - offering Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Craniosacral Therapy Click for more

Anita Shack DC, BFA (Dance), is a chiropractor who uses Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Craniosacral Therapy to facilitate change and wellness for her patients. She has been the lead chiropractor at the Artists’ Health Centre for 16 years, creatively weaving knowledge of earth based healing paradigms and evidence based science into her integrated treatments and the workshops that she offers. Dr. Shack has published research in peer reviewed journals and is an international speaker and teacher.

With a background as a modern dance artist and choreographer, her fascination with the body, movement, and energy flow led her to study healing arts. Dr. Shack is particularly interested in the reciprocal relationship between our bodies, emotions, and minds. She fosters awareness of this for the people with whom she works as they change physical patterns of dysfunction, tension and pain and maximize their health potential.

She has over 35 years of experience working with artists from many disciplines including dance, theatre, music, visual arts, film, writing, circus, and photography. Dr. Shack is sensitive to the sensibilities of artists and the particular challenges and stresses they face. She has a deep respect for the vital role artists play in the health of society and is passionate about artists’ health.

Dr. Shack was featured in the Fall 2022 Newletter: Fall 2022

Dr. Rebecca Shalansky, MD
Psychotherapist Click for more

I grew up in Vancouver, BC, and completed medical school at the University of British Columbia (UBC). My residency training brought me to Ontario, where I completed my Family Medicine certification at Toronto Western Hospital. During my residency, I gained skills in GP-psychotherapy through supervision at the AHC, as well as additional courses in CBT and Narrative Therapy.

Outside of my work as a GP Psychotherapist, I am passionate about public health. I obtained a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Toronto, and am working towards a career as a public health physician.

Dr. Paul Uy MD
Psychotherapist Click for more

Paul Uy (MD, RCPSC, BHSc) is a physician who completed his psychiatric training at the University of Toronto. He has trained in a number of therapeutic modalities from psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy, group therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy and mindfulness therapies. He also travels, practices yoga and writes poetry.

Dr. Uy’s eclectic interest in various therapies emerged partly from a lifelong interest in writing, particularly poetry. He appreciates the many links between psychotherapy and the arts - how one can inform the other in harnessing physicality, intuition and community for healing and meaning. He values the role of art in society in cultivating immediacy, curiosity and creativity in a highly complex and interconnected world.

Please Note:  Dr. Uy provides time-limited psychotherapy at the Artists Health Centre, typically between 10-20 sessions. A referral from a primary care provider (family physician) providing ongoing care is required. If you have psychiatric needs requiring long-term care, please see your primary care provider for resources and referrals to appropriate centers like the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.

Dr. Shirin Yousefi
Chiropractor - offering Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Craniosacral Therapy Click for more

Dr. Shirin Yousefi’s journey to become a chiropractor was inspired by her 25 years of experience in dance as a performer, choreographer, and teacher. After completing a BFA in Dance at York University, she discovered her love of teaching through dance, yoga, and pilates. She experienced her own successful relief from low back pain through chiropractic treatment and felt a calling to help people address their own pain in the same way. She returned to York to complete a BSc in Kinesiology and was compelled to pursue a Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.

Dr. Yousefi incorporates her decade of teaching experience accumulated from her background in movement with a wealth of scientific and clinical knowledge in her work. She integrates acupuncture, mobilizations, adjustments, muscle release techniques and craniosacral therapy into her treatments. She educates her patients and empowers them with the understanding of how their body functions, and how to support it with self-care techniques as they embark on their healing journey.

Given her roots in the arts, Dr. Yousefi finds joy in helping other artists and creative people move with ease and less stress. She is passionate about chiropractic as a hands-on, drug-free, multidisciplinary approach to addressing musculoskeletal problems. She genuinely enjoys listening to her patients and working with them towards solutions that fit their lives and achieve their goals. Dr. Yousefi is happy to be working as part of a collaborative team helping artists be able to continue making art.