Research Team

Abdel Hamid Afana

Abdel hamid Afana, PhD, Project Coordinator (MHC grant), is the President of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), and former Director of the Training and Research Department for the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCHMP). Dr. Afana is the Chair of the Board of Directors for JESOOR, an organisation that deals with community rehabilitation for trauma and human rights abuse victims. He believes that mental health and human rights are inseparable and that mental health professionals have a role in community development and building bridges for peace through health. These ideas are reflected in his clinical and community work, and publications. He developed a training program in Community Mental Health (GCHMP and Islamic University-Gaza), which leads to a postgraduate diploma for health and human rights professionals. He did his post-doc in Psychiatry, Department of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, analysing coping mechanisms for dealing with traumatic experiences in protracted conflicts, as well as their meaning and social representation.


Antonella ClericiAntonella Clerici, BA, is Coordinator for the Cultural Consultation Service (CCS), a service that provides links to community resources. It offers formal cultural psychiatric assessments and recommendations for treatment under the direction of Dr. G. Eric Jarvis, Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital. She is also the website manager and editor for the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University and the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit, Jewish General Hospital. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Concordia University.


Dr. Virginia FaurasVirginia Fauras, MD, is a psychiatrist licensed by the State Medical and Pharmaceutical University “N.Testemitanu” in Moldova, Eastern Europe. She worked at the Moldavian Ministry of Health, in the Department of Quality Management and Standards of Treatment as chief specialist, on the revision and implementation of medical guidelines, protocols and standards of treatment. From 2006-07 she was also involved in an international project called Mental Health and HIV/AIDS in Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, coordinated by the Global Initiative on Psychiatry. She also received training in the field of civic leadership during a two-year project called Advanced Course in Civic Leadership, sponsored by Cordaid, the European Commission, the United States Embassy and the European Council. She attended numerous trainings in the field of mental health concerning advocacy, policy development and social integration. From 2005-07, she was the Executive Director of Mens Sana, a non-governmental mental health organization in Moldova that promotes mental health and well-being. For the past five years, she has been collaborating with colleagues from the City University of New York, York College, participating in research in the field of mental health.


Dr. Myrna LashleyMyrna Lashley, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. She is the coordinator of the Policy section of the MMHRC. In that capacity, her role is to gather and collate documents and information relevant to the development of policies addressing issues of cultural diversity and disparities for mental health services in Canada. She holds a PhD in counseling psychology from McGill University. She was an Associate Dean at John Abbott College and is a lecturer in the McGill University Summer School on Transcultural Psychiatry. She is an internationally recognized clinical, teaching and, research authority in cultural psychology, and serves as an expert psychological consultant to institutions, including the juvenile justice system. She has worked both as a consultant to First Nations and the Jewish communities, and as the Cross Cultural Trainer for the Grievance Committee office of the secretariat for McGill University. She has also conducted training workshops locally, nationally, and internationally and has acted as a consultant to the Brazilian health care system. She was a director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and has also served on the Comité consultatif sur les relations interculturelles et interraciales de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal. Currently, she is the Chair of the Cross Cultural Roundtable on Security, as well as Vice-chair of the board of the école nationale de police du Québec. She has also been appointed to the Comité expert en matière de profilage racial of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal. In addition, she has also authored two training manuals on intercultural issues in the workplace. She has received several awards including the 2006 Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Award for Holocaust studies; the 2004 Martin Luther King legacy award; as well as the 1995 Merit Award for the Kahnawake Survival School. She is currently Barbados’s Honorary Consul to Montreal.

Dr. Alberto Sanchez-AllredAlberto Sánchez-Allred, PhD, is a lecturer at McGill University. He earned his doctoral degree in anthropology in 2009 from the University of California, Berkeley. For his dissertation he investigated how contemporary authors appropriate the century-old literature diagnosing Mexicans as subject to a national "inferiority complex". His current research is located at the intersection between digital communication technologies and mental health.


Dr. Robert WhitleyRob Whitley, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School and Research Associate, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University. He is a health services and public health researcher with considerable experience conducting mixed-methods studies on mental illness and recovery among marginalized populations across the globe. He is currently principal investigator on a national project on recovery from severe mental illness amongst African-Americans. Whitley has also conducted research on health and illness in London, Montreal, New York City, Washington DC, Kingston (Jamaica) and rural Ethiopia. Whitley was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy from King’s College London, and received advanced post-doctoral training at the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University.

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