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Sarilee Kahn, Assistant Professor

Bio

Dr. Sara Kahn has joined the School of Social Work faculty after over 20 years of international social work practice experience.  She is delighted to have the privilege of serving on this distinguished faculty and engaging with the School’s dynamic students. Dr. Kahn’s passions are fostering the development of new social workers, expanding roles for social workers on the world stage, and contributing to the evolution of cross-cultural approaches to support resilience in traumatized populations. Her research interests involve focus on the experiences of particularly vulnerable refugees settling in North America, including survivors of torture, gender-based violence, and persecution based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.

Prior to coming to McGill, Dr. Kahn was Adjunct Professor at New York University and Hunter University Schools of Social Work, where she taught Advanced Practice with Immigrants and Refugees. She also served as Teaching Assistant to Dr. Deborah Padgett in the New York University Global Public Health Program’s Qualitative Field Methods course.

To her teaching and research portfolios, Dr. Kahn brings clinical experience with refugees and the aid workers who support them. Dr. Kahn is currently a consultant to Doctors Without Borders-USA and the International Rescue Committee on providing psychological support and crisis intervention for aid workers around the world.  She has been deployed to Liberia, Afghanistan, and Iraq to provide consultation to national and international staff in the aftermath of traumatic events.

Dr. Kahn has also worked directly with war-affected populations. For almost a decade, she directed psychosocial programs in the U.S. for refugees and refugee claimants surviving war, torture, human trafficking, and domestic violence, providing mental health support, and serving as an expert witness on behalf of asylum-seekers.

As a humanitarian aid worker during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, she collaborated with Bosnian staff to develop a psychosocial program for internally displaced children and families. In the aftermath of the war, she worked in Bosnia with Physicians for Human Rights to create trauma-informed psychosocial support for survivors of the massacre at Srebrenica during exhumations of mass graves.  She held similar roles during exhumations in Kosovo, Cyprus, and Greece.

A former actress/singer, her one-woman show Haven, chronicling her experiences as a social worker, was presented at the New York International Fringe Festival and various theatrical venues and professional conferences around the United States.

 

Research

  • Refugees and asylees; cross-cultural trauma and recovery
  • Secondary trauma in humanitarian aid workers
  • International social work practice and program development
  • Use of creative arts and media to promote social justice
  • Qualitative methods

Publications

(Published)

Keough, M.E., Kahn, S., and Andrejevic, A. (2000).  Disclosing the truth:  Informed participation in the antemortem database project for survivors of Srebrenica.  Harvard Journal of Health and Human Rights, 5, 69-87.

 (Submitted)

Kahn, S. (in submission to the British Journal of Social Work).  “God made me that way:” Reconciliations with faith for Muslims seeking asylum in the West on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.

Kahn, S. (in submission to the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies).  Banished: The role of social support for Muslim gender role dissidents seeking asylum in the West.

 

Courses offered

SWRK 621

3 credits
Seminar on Trauma and Resilience.

Social Work: Examination of the concepts of trauma and resilience within a comparative and international context. Exploration of theory, research, and practice interventions concerning trauma and resilience, both nationally and globally. Analysis of the ways in which culture, ethnicity, gender, class, and age shape experiences of trauma and recovery.

Offered by: Social Work

  • Terms
    • Winter 2015
  • Instructors
    • Sarilee Kahn

 

SWRK 630

3 credits
Adult Mental Health.

Social Work: The objective of this course will be to familiarize students with theories of psychopathology including diagnostic systems, the history of the study of psychopathology and treatment of mental illness. Emphasis will be placed on understanding abnormal behaviour in adults (e.g. anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorders, substance abuse, psychotic disorders and affective disorders and somatization disorders).

Offered by: Social Work

  • Terms
    • Winter 2015
  • Instructors
    • Sarilee Kahn

  

SWRK 635

3 credits
Advanced Clinical Seminar: Use of Self.

Social Work: Psychological selves in relation to the work done with clients, including psychoanalytic theory, object relations, attachment theory, transference.

Offered by: Social Work

  • Terms
    • Fall 2014
  • Instructors
    • Sarilee Kahn

SWRK 653

3 credits
Research Methods 1.

Social Work: Qualitative methods used in social work, including data collection and analysis, critical appraisal of existing research, and proposal writing. Description and interpretation of social phenomena, the foundations of qualitative research and methods of qualitative inquiry.

Offered by: Social Work

  • Terms
    • Fall 2014
  • Instructors
    • Hagit Sinai Glazer, Sarilee Kahn