McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.


Students are encouraged to participate and develop their proposals with one of our partner institutions in participating LMICs. The following graduate students (MA, PhD, and Postdocs) are involved with one of our projects or pursue their own PhD projects under the supervision of our affiliated faculty.

Ria Agustina is a PhD student in the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University. She is conducting research about stigma of psychosis in Indonesia. Her doctoral research examines self-stigma level on people with psychosis and analyzes the effectiveness of an anti-stigma campaign through a documentary film about psychosis in reducing stigma in the general community. Prior to starting her doctoral program, she has worked in the NGO and private sector in the field of education, social and behavioral change, and human development in Indonesia for five years.

Ria finished her Masters degree in Psychiatry Research at King's College London, UK. During her study in the Masters program, she conducted a thesis project about the ethnic characteristic of first episode psychosis and at-risk mental state patients in South London. Her doctoral and masters research is funded by the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education Scholarship. Previously, she had the opportunity to gain clinical experience as a clinical intern in Lambeth Early Onset Community Health Team in London. This community team supports people, age 16-35, who are experiencing early onset of mental illness. Ria completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Indonesia.

Funding 2017-2018: Indonesia Endownment Fund for Education (LPDP) Scholarship


Marie-Hélène Doucet is a year PhD student in the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University. She holds a Master's in Public Health from Université de Montréal, and a Bachelor degree in Nursing Sciences from Université Laval. She has done an internship at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research on the topic of her PhD thesis: female genital mutilation. Her research interests encompass the sociocultural determinants of health behaviors, breastfeeding, women’s and girls’ physical and mental health, gender and racial inequities, global public health, and qualitative research. Marie-Hélène has 10 years of experience working in public health, more precisely for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Initiative program (WHO/UNICEF) in the Montreal health-care system. Her clinical practice also includes working in mother and child health with a multicultural clientele.

Funding & Awards 2017-2018: (1) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council : Joseph-Armand Bombardier, (2) Fonds de recherche Québec – Santé : Doctoral Training for Applicants with a Professional Degree, (3) Travel awards: McGill Global Health Program: Norman Bethune Award for Global Health; McGill Graduate Mobility Award 2017-2018; SSHRC Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, (4) McGill MedStar Award 2017 in recognition of the excellent research for “Understanding the motivations of healthcare providers in performing female genital mutilation: an integrative review of the literature” (published March 2017).

Nicole D’souza, is a doctoral candidate in the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University. Her research seeks to understand the relationship between violence and mental health outcomes for inner-city primary school children living in Kingston, Jamaica who are exposed to daily forms of violence. She has been working in collaboration with a larger evaluation study funded by Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) to identify risk and resilience outcomes of young boys and girls who participated in an early intervention program aimed at evading the problem of violence in Jamaica. Through participatory ethnographic research, she describes how children living in marginalized inner-city communities negotiate their daily lives and tensions in a social context characterized by high levels of interpersonal conflict, violent crimes, and turf wars. In doing so, Nicole hopes to unpack the meso- and macro-level factors affecting child development that can either produce positive coping strategies or adverse consequences for children.

Her fieldwork in Jamaica received financial support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and she is also a recipient of a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, an FRSQ Doctoral Scholarship, and a Doctoral Fellowship from the Global Health Research Capacity Strengthening Program (a CIHR-funded Training Grant). Prior to her doctoral research, she completed a Masters in Psychiatry at McGill, and a Bachelors of Science in Psychology at the University of Toronto. 

Publications 2017: D'souza, N.S., Guzder, J., Hickling, F., & Groleau, D. The ethics of relationality in global health implementation and evaluation research: Reflections from the Dream-A-World intervention in Kingston, Jamaica. Biomedical Central (BMC): International Health and Human Rights.



Maya Fennig, is an Israeli social worker and human rights activist, Maya Fennig is dedicated to researching and designing innovative, culturally responsive interventions that advance the well-being of refugees and marginalized people. Maya is currently pursuing a PhD at McGill University’s School of Social Work under the supervision of Dr. Myriam Denov. Maya’s doctoral research examines the effects of social and cultural factors on Eritrean refugees’ mental health with the goal of developing a novel, culturally sensitive adaptation framework for working with Eritrean refugees. This framework is effectively a set of guidelines which will assist researchers and practitioners in creating adapted mental health interventions that reflect Eritrean refugees’ unique needs and world-views.

Aliza Hunt is a PhD Candidate at Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University (ANU), Australia. Aliza is also an Endeavour Postgraduate Scholar; this has facilitated a year-long visiting researcher placement at the Center for Public Mental Health (CPMH) at the University of Gadjah Mada, Indonesia and a 3-month internship with the Cultural Consulting Service. Her PhD project is a critical look at assessing the mental health needs of older rural Indonesians. She has undertaken a multistage multi-method approach that includes full enumeration of all 60 and over year olds in ten Indonesian rural villages using a survey approach. This was followed-up by a full enumeration of two of these villages and a selection of participants for in depth qualitative interview. Her work aims to explore prevalence, predictors and treatment of older Indonesians suffering from mood and anxiety type symptoms and critically evaluate the suitability of dominant typologies of mental illness (i.e. ICD, DSM and the Indonesian PPDGJ) for use with older Indonesian villagers. Aliza is also working on projects related to diagnosing and treating depression in the general adult Indonesian population and in advocacy work related to the Indonesian anti-pasung (chaining/restraint) reform movement and the community based mental healthcare movement through her work with CPMH. Aliza’s work is cross-disciplinary, but she has a background in Psychology, Demography and Indonesian Studies. 

Funding 2017-2018: Endeavour Awards, the Australian Postgraduate Award Scheme, the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence in Aging Research, the Indonesian Project at the ANU, various departmental and travel grants from Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University.



Vincent Laliberté is a psychiatrist and a PhD candidate in anthropology at McGill University, also part of the Clinician-Investigator Program in the department of psychiatry. His main area of study is the neuroscientific discourse in psychiatry and in other areas related to mental health, such as in contemplative practices. Vincent is also conducting research in social psychiatry and is participating in an ethnographic study with homeless Inuit in Montreal, notably interested in temporal and socio-spatial aspects of sleep patterns. He also has a clinical practice in the Welcome Hall Mission in Montreal, where he provides mental health care to homeless people. Vincent is currently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Resarch (CIHR), the Fond de Recherche du Québec en Santé (FRQS) and the McGill Healthy Brain for Healthy lives (HBHL).



Helen Martin is a PhD student at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Srividya Iyer. Her interest in research on serious mental illnesses emerged from her Master’s training in psychiatric social work and my work experiences in India. Beginning as an intern and then an employee, she contributed to research, clinical, and community based capacity-building activities at the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, India, a WHO Collaborating Center for Mental Health Research and Training in Chennai, India. Her doctoral research at McGill develops a self-help intervention for young people with serious mental illnesses in India to address and bridge the scarcity of mental health professionals. Her work integrates perspectives from neuroscience, cultural psychiatry, and assistive technology-based services with the goal to globally improve outcomes of serious mental illnesses. Helen is the winner of the Duncan Pedersen Award in Global Mental Health 2017.

Funding 2017-2018: (1) Duncan Pedersen Global Mental Health award;  (2) Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Awards
(GREAT); (3) Graduate writing course sponsorship


Fahimeh Mianji is a PhD candidate in Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill. Prior to her studies at McGill University, she obtained her PhD in Psychology in Iran. To further develop her interest in global mental health research, intervention, and policy, Fahimeh completed a Doctoral Fellowship in Global Health Research Capacity Strengthening (a CIHR-funded Training Grant) and a research fellowship in Health and Social Policy at the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy (IHSP). She has also received clinical training at the Cultural Consultation Service of the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal on providing comprehensive clinical assessments and evaluations of psychiatric patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Fahimeh’s global mental health research focuses on two areas: the globalization of American psychiatry and immigrants’ and refugees’ mental health. Studying the globalization of American psychiatry, she conducted her doctoral research in Iran to explain the professional, sociocultural, and political uses of bipolar spectrum diagnosis in the country.

Pursuing her clinical and research interest in immigrants’ and refugees’ mental health care, she is the co-investigator of a two-year research project on “Mental Health Care for Linguistic Minorities: Improving Access and Quality of Care for Farsi-speaking Newcomers in Quebec,” funded by the McGill Training and Retention of Health Professionals Project for the Health Care Access for Linguistic Minorities Network.



Débora Noal is an international Graduate Research Trainee in the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University. She is a Psychologist graduated in 2004, specialized in public health (2006) and  with a master's degree in Human Development and Health (2014) at University of Brasilia (Brazil), where she is currently in the fourth year of her PhD. She started her practice in 2005 in some of the less developed regions of Brazil, and since 2008 she has been working as a psychologist at Médecins Sans Frontières and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in different countries of the globe: Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Libya, Kyrgyzstan, Guinea, Dominican Republic and Brazil. Among some other responsabilities, her job at these countries basically rellied on "Mental Health first aid" situations in disasters. All over these years she has been assigned to firstly develop mental and primary health care strategies post- disasters, towards the local population, and, secondly, train the local psychosocial staff. In doing so, she tries to adapt the work plans to the culture, religion, education and health systems of each country, population and/or ethnicity. In her PhD thesis she aims to understand different possibilities for mental health intervention strategies during post-disasters applied to the Brazilian public health system.

Katherine Pizarro is a doctoral candidate in the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill. Before coming to McGill, Katherine completed her Master's Degree in International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and her Bachelor's Degree in Cognitive Science at Carleton College. She has conducted research to inform the design and evaluation of public health policies and programs in a variety of international settings. Her research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the social and cultural aspects of health behaviors, including substance use, nutrition, and newborn care. Her doctoral research will take a participatory research approach to developing and evaluating a program to address the mental wellbeing of indigenous populations in Guatemala. She is a recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Awards 2017-2018: (1) Vanier Scholarship, McBurney Latin America Fellowship; (2) Duncan Pedersen Award 2018; (3) Collaborator on Gates Foundation Healthy Minds for Adolescent Mothers: Achieving Healthy Outcomes for the Family (Round 20)

Ram P. SapkotaMA (Abnormal Psychology), MA (Rural Development), Diploma (Psychosocial Interventions), is a Psychologist trained in psychosocial interventions, social and cultural psychiatry and rural development. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program at the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University. He has worked in the field of psychosocial and mental health care for almost a decade during and after armed conflict in Nepal. His areas of interest include political violence and its impact on mental health and wellbeing, psychosocial interventions, dissociative phenomena including trance and possession in mass, cultural concepts of distress, cultural systems of care and global mental health. His current research projects include, Social and Psychological Correlates of Dissociation, Culture-Informed Community Mental Health Promotion, Impact of Political Violence on Mental Health and Wellbeing. 

Graduation: PhD 2018

Sakiko Yamaguchi is a PhD student in Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill. Her qualitative research focuses on alcohol misuse among the Andean highland population in Peru. She aims to explore the ways in which indigenous people of the Andean highlands make sense and generate meaning-making of drinking in their lives and social processes after 20 years of political violence. Prior to her studies at McGill, she worked on many social development projects focused on health and education in Asia (Philippines, Vietnam, Afghanistan), Latin America  (Nicaragua, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras), and Africa (Sudan). She holds a Master of Science in Mental Health Services and Population Research from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK and a Master of Science in Planning from University of Guelph, Ontario

Funding 2017 - 2018: (1) Graduate Excellence Fellowships in Mental Health Research, Department of Psychiatry;  (2) McGill Graduate Mobility Award


Past Students

Alice Menezes was a visiting PhD student from Institute of Social Medicine at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).Her research focuses on the patients’ perspectives on the mental health care provided by primary care health teams.

WilliamAffleck was a PhD candidate in the Dept. of Psychiatry at McGill. His doctoral research examined trauma among Tamil men in Sri Lanka, and recently arrived Sri Lankan immigrants to Canada. His interests include trauma disorders, men’s mental health, mental health systems, and psychiatric research ethics.

Patricia Guimaraes, Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, GHR/CAPS program. Patricia worked on a project on stigma and social exclusion among mentally ill people in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Carol Zavaleta, PhD candidate, Geography Department, GHR/CAPS program. Carol worked on the theme of Climate Change and Food Security among Amazonian Indigenous Peoples in Peru.

Beatriz Arias Lopez, PhD candidate, Faculty of Nursing, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia, worked on a project on political violence and subjectivity: a case study in the municipality of San Franscisco, Oriente Antioqueño, Colombia.

Anne Marie Chomat, MD, PhD, McGill University, Institute of Parasitology, was in charge of the study on maternal psychosocial distress, stunting and child health among the Mam, in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

Tanya Lee, MSc, worked on a project on maternal psychosocial distress, stunting and child health among the Mam, in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

Ana Pranjic, undergraduate student who worked with a cocoa cooperative in issues related to global health in Bagua, Northern Peru.

Morganne Blais-McPherson, undergraduate students who was engaged in mental health and social policy in the Oriente Antioqueño, Colombia.

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