Spotlight on Dr. Laurence J Kirmayer

Published: 11 February 2014

This week, we would like to spotlight Dr. Laurence J Kirmayer, a James McGill Professor and the Director of the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry. He is also editor-in-chief of Transcultural Psychiatry (the official journal of the Section on Transcultural Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association), which was founded at McGill and celebrated its 50th volume on October 25, 2013.


Dr. Kirmayer directs the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit at the Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital, where he conducts research on mental health services for immigrants and refugees, the mental health of indigenous peoples, and the anthropology of psychiatry. He founded and directs the annual McGill Summer Program in Social and Cultural Psychiatry and the annual Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry (many of the lectures from the annual courses and workshops are available online at: He also founded and directs the national Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research ( His past research includes studies on somatization in primary care, pathways and barriers to mental health care for immigrants, Inuit concepts of mental health and illness and risk and protective factors for suicide, resilience among indigenous peoples, and the development and evaluation of cultural consultation as a strategy to respond to diversity in mental health services.


Dr. Kirmayer’s current projects include the refinement of the cultural formulation for DSM-5; an online multicultural mental health resources centre (; a large PHAC funded study on culturally-based, family-centered mental health promotion for Aboriginal youth taking place in 14 First Nations communities across Canada, and critical neuroscience perspectives on the interaction of mind, brain, and culture in psychiatric theory ( His most recent books are Cultural Consultation: Encountering the Other in Mental Health Care (co-edited with Jaswant Guzder and Cécile Rousseau; Springer 2014) and Revisioning Psychiatry: Cultural Phenomenology, Critical Neuroscience, and Global Mental Health (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).


**The “Spotlight” is an on-going departmental news capsule spotlighting a member of our faculty, their involvements and accomplishments. Should you wish to nominate someone for the series, please submit to communications.psychiatry [at] (). **


Back to top