Chris Chamars

Chris Chamars

Programs and Partnership Specialist / /

Chris joins our team from Plattsburgh, New York which is located near Lake Champlain and the Canadian border, where he lives with his pup, Atticus. Chris has a broad network of chosen family and friends that he is really grateful to have in his life. He has a diverse support system scattered across the globe.

 

Growing up, Chris’ family moved every few years. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Through his childhood, he lived in Amman, Jordan; Toronto, Canada; Athens, Greece; and Fort Lee, NJ where he graduated from high school.

 

Chris’ family roots are in Peloponnese, Greece and he loves that corner of the world. The Greeks have amazing, delicious food and amazing people in an absolutely gorgeous location. He’d really love to go to Socotra Island, Yemen one day to witness the extreme wildlife and biodiversity there. 

 

Chris did his undergrad in psychology at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, minoring in philosophy. He went on to complete a MS in healthcare management as well as an MBA as a dual degree from The Heller School, Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.

 

As an EMT, Chris was able to hone skills that he was able to apply in the Peace Corps after receiving his undergraduate degree. Through the Peace Corps, he had the opportunity to live and work in Moldova for 2 years where he taught healthcare education from second to eighth grade. 

 

When he returned to the States from Moldova, he pursued his MS/MBA in Massachusetts and then landed in Washington, DC where he worked with Wilson Center. He realized that fundraising was not a strong area of interest and that he had a much stronger passion for healthcare. He moved to Los Angeles where he was unemployed due to the pandemic, but volunteered with the Nonbinary & Intersex Recognition Project. That’s when Chris stumbled upon GRYT Health and the work being done at GRYT Health really resonated with him. He’s been thanking his lucky stars ever since.  

 

Chris is the GRYT Health Program & Partnership Specialist. He works with the Community Team to assist them behind the scenes and make sure things run smoothly. He is also responsible for running the AYA Mental Health Council. He loves that GRYT Health is trying to change how we approach situations and problems by incorporating different perspectives. He believes it is ridiculous that people have to fight so hard just to receive the healthcare that should be a right, not a luxury. Chris was driven to healthcare based on his belief and it has been further solidified by his experiences within the healthcare system in the US. As a transgender individual who has lived with PCOS, Chris has seen the invisible barriers often placed on individuals within the healthcare system

 

Chris doesn’t think that he would be working in the oncology field were it not for GRYT Health. He found it really appealing to be able to work directly with individuals experiencing major health diagnoses while working behind the scenes and helping to build up something with a small company that was looking to make a big, personal impact on people’s lives. One of the skills he feels he brings to GRYT Health is that due to his personal experiences, he’s learned to give people the time and space to feel comfortable enough to be able to share deeply personal, challenging experiences with him and the capacity to show them the empathy they need in that moment. He also enjoys the flexibility and freedom that GRYT Health allows him in wanting to try new types of programming and approaches to help the community. He enjoys the non-traditional work environment that GRYT Health has. 

 

Chris sees himself as being very fortunate to be in a position where he can directly help people within an organization that puts people and openness first. Chris is excited about GRYT Health’s boldness. He likes the fact that GRYT Health pushes itself to quickly change and adapt while evaluating where we are and where we could be headed to make sure we are on the right track and doing the right things.

 

Through self-care and the desire to help make people’s days of dealing with a cancer diagnosis suck a little less, Chris has found inspiration. He has learned to prioritize self-care and health more so that he has more energy to give to others when they need it. The emotional rewards have paid out time and time again. 

 

Chris has shared with our team that as someone who had been born in the wrong body, into a family that was not accepting of who he inherently was and had its own dysfunction as a group, he found himself in some challenging situations and trying to deal with things on his own. He felt very alone, but found a support system that helped him get back on his feet. He is driven to use his voice and share his own story so that others might feel less alone. He has a strong desire to educate and help others. 

 

Throughout his transgender process, Chris has experience body dysmorphia, a double mastectomy, horomone therapy, injections and challenges within the healthcare environment. He feels that these experiences have given him parallel experiences that allow him to relate to some of the things that cancer patients and survivors experience through similar procedures and shared languages. Chris looks forward to helping GRYT Health be someplace where people feel comfortable being themselves and sharing their experiences, not just for others to hear, but because they have something they need to say.

 

When Chris isn’t working at GRYT Health, he enjoys playing videos games like Settlers of Catan, Mars Horizon and Fortnite, napping, spending time exploring nature with Atti, building forts for movie marathons - 90s movies especially, getting lost on purpose and deep conversations on what it means to be human.