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Tamara Sussman, Associate Professor (on sabbatical 2014/15)

Tamara SussmanDr. Sussman completed a Ph.D. in Social Work, from the University of Toronto in 2006 and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program at the University of Waterloo in 2007.  Drawing on over ten years of experience working with adults and families managing health related issues in both hospital and community settings, Dr. Sussman’s  program of research focuses on how health services and systems impact older adults and their family members.  Her research projects include spousal carers’ experiences with home care; older adults’ and family members’ experiences with the transition into long-term care; barriers and facilitators to the delivery of effective interventions for depressed older adults and their care partners; and most recently the experiences of more marginalized populations of older adults such as older homeless adults and older adults identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). Dr. Sussman aims to conduct research that can be used to improve health policies, processes and practices by working closely with community partners in the development, interpretation and dissemination of her research findings. Dr. Sussman has also provided mentorship to health practitioners interested in producing research to inform their practice with older adults and families. 

In addition to her clinical and research interests, Dr. Sussman aims to infuse her role as an instructor with energy and enthusiasm. She hopes that her strong commitment to student learning and her passion for issues related to aging will inspire students to learn about and work with older adults and their families. In 2011, Dr.  Sussman was was awarded the H. Noel Fieldhouse Award for Distinguished Teaching in recognition of her teaching excellence.


Ph.D. (Social Work) University of Toronto 2006

M.S.W. McGill University 1995

B.S.W. McGill University 1994

B.A. (Political Science) McGill University 1993


2007 Associate Professor

McGill University, Faculty of Arts, School of Social Work               

2006-2007 Post Doctoral Fellow

Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP), Research Institute for Aging, University of Waterloo

1999-2006 Course Instructor

University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work

1996-present Group Facilitator


1996-1999 Social Worker

Senior People's Resources in North Toronto

1996-1997 Social Worker

Jewish General Hospital, Oncology

1994-1996 Social Worker

Montreal Neurological Hospital


Areas of interest

  • Older adults with chronic health conditions and their families
  • Dementia care
  • Long-term care policies and programs
Recent grants

2014-2018 Séguin, A-M. (PI) , Apparicio, P., Brotman, S., Dallaire, B., Marier P., Negron Poblete, P., Sussman, T., Wallach, I., Van Pevenage, I., Bouchard, C., Dupuis, M-J., Parisien, M.,  Regenstreif, A. L’inclusion sociale des personnes âgées. Enjeux de reconnaissance et de redistribution. Équipe de recherche en partenariat VIES (Vieillissements, exclusions sociales et solidarités) (FRSQ- Soutien aux équipes de recherche) $480, 454

2014-2018 Marier, P., (PI) Brotman, S., Carbonneau, H., Hebblethwaite S., Laforest, S., Leibing, A., Sawchuck, K., Sussman, T., Séguin, A-M., Therriault, P-Y.s Aubin, G., Bourgeois-Guérin, V., Raymond, É., Wallach, I., Durivage, P., Gilbert, N., Israel, S., Orzeck, P., Parisien, M., Regenstreif, A., Couture, M., Van Pevenage, I., Barylak, L., Charette, J., Cox, N., Dulka, I., Dupont, S., Freitas, Z., Montpetit, C., Starnino, C., Touchette, C., Zacchia, L., Nour, K. Regards sur la vieillesse et le vieillissement: De l'expérience singulière aux enjeux collectifs, (FQRSC- Soutien aux infrastructures de recherche des Instituts et des Centres affiliés universitaires du secteur social) $866, 957

2012-2015 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada- Insight Grant                 

Homelessness in late life: Growing old on the streets, in shelters and long-term care

Grenier, A (P.I.)., Lavoie, J.P., Sussman, T., & Rothwell, D.

2012-2013 Canadian Institutes of Health Research- Planning Grant                  

Developing a program of research to identify and address the health and social service needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults who reside in long-term care homes

Sussman, T. (P.I.). Brotman, S., Chamberland, L., Daley, A., Dumas, J., MacDonnell, J., & MacIntosh, H.

2010-2011 Centre de recherche et d’expertise en gérontologie sociale- CREGÉS                  

Identifying the health care needs of gay, lesbian and bisexual older adults who reside in long-term care homes

Sussman, T. (P.I.) Brotman, S., Chamberland, L., Daley, A., MacDonell, J.

2010-2011   CIHR- Meetings, Planning & Dissemination Grant: Gender, Sex & Health                            

Development of a program of research on prevention of abuse and neglect among older immigrant women

Guruge, S. (Co-P.I.) & Atsuko, M. (Co- P.I.), Agrawal, S., Beaulieu, M., Este, D., Gal, S., Gomes, F., Hanley, J., Harbison, J., Koehn, S., Lithwick, M., Manuel, L., Meier, H., Mullings, D., Olazabal, J., Ploeg, J., Roger, K., Spencer, C., Straka, S.,Sussman, T., Tyyska, V., Walsh, C.

2010-2011 CIHR- Meetings, Planning & Dissemination Grant                 

Patients perspectives in planning/evaluation of collaborative care of depression in Canada

McCusker, J. (P.I.). Fleury, M., Jayabarathan, A., Law, S., Sussman, T., & Yaffe, M.

2009-2010 SSHRC- International Opportunities Fund                 

Contemporary issues in critical gerontology: An international initiative

Grenier, A. (P.I.), Bernard, M., Charpentier, M., Scharf, T., Phillipson, C., Brotman, S., Sussman, T., Katz, S., McMullin, J., Torres, S., Biggs, S., Calasanti, T., Dumas, A., Viroit-Durandal, J.P.

2009 - 2012 Fonds québécois de la recherche sociale et culturelle (Établissement des nouveaux chercheurs, FQRSC)                 

Transitioning from community care to a long-term care home in Quebec : The experiences of older adults, family members and service providers

Sussman, T. (P.I.)

2009 - 2010 Centre de recherche et d’expertise en gérontologie sociale- CREGÉS                  

The unique features of ethno-culturally sensitive day centre services for older adults

Sussman, T. (P.I.), Cytrynbaum, F., Nahmiash, D., Suess, D., Tennenbaum, T.

2009-2013 FRSQ- Programme de subvention a la recherché en santé mentale                 

Self care management of late life depression for older adults with co-morbid chronic conditions

McCusker, J. (P.I.), Cole, M., Sewitch, M., Yaffe, M., Strumpf, E., Lavoie, K., & Sussman, T.

2009-2013 FQRSC- Infrastructure Grant                  
$652, 976

Vieillissements, exclusions sociales et solidarités

Charpentier, M. (P.I)., Brotman, S., Charles, A., Dallaire, B., Grenier, A., Guberman, N., Leibing, A., Quéniart, A., Sussman, T., Thomas, D., Carpentier, N, Lavoie, J.P., Nour, K., Olazabal, J.I., Barylak, L., Beauregard, L., Brown, B., Cohen, M., Cytrynbaum, F., Durivage, P., Hockenstein, E., Gilbert, N., Israel, S., Moscovitz, N., Parisien, M., Regenstreif, A., Saginur, V., Silverman, M., & Sévigny, A.

2009-2011 Centre de recherche et d’expertise en gérontologie sociale- CREGÉS                  

The impact of caregiving on the expression of intimacy and sexuality among spousal partner caregivers

Brotman, S. (P.I.), Orzek, P., Silverman, M., Barylak, L., Sussman, T., & Zizzi, P .

2008 – 2009 CIHR- Meetings, Planning and Dissemination Grant                  

Implementation of chronic care management for late-life depression in primary care

McCusker, J. (P.I.), Arnaert, A., Ciampi, A., Cole, M., Feightner, J., Latimer,E., Parry, D., Sewitch, M., Sussman, T., Thind, A., Van Bussel, E., Yaffe, M.

2006-2008 Alzheimer Society of Canada Training Grant                 

Transitioning to long-term care home: The experiences of older adults, family members, service providers and policy makers

Tamara Sussman, Sherry Dupuis


Sussman, T., & Dupuis, S.L. (In Press). Supporting residents moving into long-term care: Multiple layers shape residents’ experiences. Journal of Gerontological Social Work (30 pgs).

Sussman, T., Yaffe, M., McCusker, J., Burns, V., Sewitch, M., Strumpf, E., (In Press). A mixed- methods exploration of family members’/friends’ roles in a self-management intervention for depressive symptoms. Journal of Chronic Illness (27 pgs).DOI: 10.1177/1742395313500359

Keefler, J., Bond, S., & Sussman, T. (2013). L’évaluation psychosociale (translation : Psychosocial assessment). Chapter 12 (p.p. 267-290).  In  E. Harper and H. Dorvil (Eds.) Le travail social: théories, méthodologies et pratiques (translation: Social Work: Theories, Methodologies and Practices). Les presses de l’Université du Québec à Montreal, Québec.

Brotman, S., Ferrer, I., Sussman, T., Ryan, B., Richard, B. (In Press). Access and equity in the design and delivery of health and social care to LGBTQ seniors: A Canadian Perspective. In N. Orel & C. Fruhauf (eds.) Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults and their families: Current research and clinical applications. American Psychological Association

Sussman, T., Bailey, S., Byford Richardson, K. & Granner, F. (2014).How field instructors judge student readiness for entry-level practice.  Journal of Social Work Education 5(1), 84-100.

Sahin, D., Yaffe, M., Sussman, T., & McCusker, J. (In Press). A mixed studies literature review of family physician’s participation in research. Family Medicine Journal (38 pgs).

Drummond, J., Brotman, S., Silverman, M., Sussman, T., Orzeck, P., Barylak, L., & Wallach, I. (2013). The impact of caregiving: Older women’s experiences with sexuality and intimacy. Affilia 28(4), 414-427.

McCusker, J., Yaffe, M., Sussman, T., Kates, N., Mulvale, G., Jayabarathan, A.J., Law, S., & Haggerty, J (2013). Developing an evaluation framework for consumer-centered collaborative care of depression using input from stakeholders Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 58(3), 160-168.

McCusker, J., Yaffe, M., Cole, M., Sussman, T., Strumpf, E., & Sewitch, M., (2013). A pilot study of a telephone supported self-care intervention for depression among older adults with a co-morbid chronic physical illness in primary care. Mental Health in Family Medicine 9(4), 257-273.

Burns, V., Grenier, A., Lavoie, J.P., Rothwell, D., & Sussman, T., (2013). Les personnes âgées itinérantes. Invisibles et exclues. Une analyse the trois stratégies pour contrer l’itinérantes.  (translation: Older homeless people. Invisible and excluded. An analysis of three strategies to address homelessness). Frontière 25(1), 31-56.

Sussman, T., & Dupuis, S. (2012).Supporting a relative’s move into a long-term care home: The role of starting point in shaping family members’ transition experiences. Canadian Journal on Aging, 31(4), 395-410.

Sussman, T., Yaffe, M., McCusker, J., Parry, D., Sewitch, M., VanBussel, L., Ferrer, I. (2011). Improving the management of late-life depression in primary care: Barriers and facilitators. Depression, research & treatment, Vol. 2011, 7 pgs.

Sussman, T. (2009). The influence of service factors on spousal caregivers' perceptions of community services, Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 52(4), 406-422

Sussman, T., Regehr, C.(2009). The influence of community based services on the burden of spouses caring for their partners with dementia, Health and Social Work, 34 (1), 29-40

Sussman, T., Bogo, M., Globerman, J. (2007). Field instructor perceptions in group supervision: Establishing trust through managing group dynamics, Clinical Supervisor, 26(1/2), 61-80

Sussman, T. (In Press). By P. Baranek, R. Deber  & P. Williams (2004). Almost Home: reforming home and community care in Ontario. Journal of Canadian Labour Studies.

Sussman, T. (2006). Negotiating Community Care: The experiences of spouses caring for their partners with dementia at home.

Sussman, T., Stoddart, K., & Gorman, E. (2004). Reconciling the congruent and contrasting roles of social work teacher, student and practitioner: An experiential account of three doctoral students. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 24 (1/2), 161-179.

Bogo, M., Globerman, J., & Sussman, T. (2004). Field instructor competence in group supervision: Students' views. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 24(1/2), 199-216.

Bogo, M., Globerman, J., & Sussman, T. (2004). The field instructor as group worker: Managing trust and competition in group supervision. Journal of Social Work Education, 40(1), 13-26.

Regehr, C., & Sussman, T. (2004). Intersections between grief and trauma: Towards an empirically based model of treating traumatic grief.  Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 4(3), 289-309.

Sussman, T. (2001). The case of Ontario's long-term community care market: Who's choice is it anyway. Canadian Review of Social Policy, 48, 79-92.

Courses offered

(on sabbatical 2014/15)