Sarah Tarshis, Assistant Professor

Sarah Tarshis is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at McGill University in the area of practice with individuals, families, and groups. Her research and teaching interests build on over ten years of social work experience as a front-line social worker, supervisor, program director, clinical consultant, and clinician in Montreal, Toronto, and New York. Sarah is experienced working with survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and supporting those who have experienced trauma. She is particularly interested in trauma-informed practice and economic support for individuals and families from vulnerable groups, including those who have experienced interpersonal violence, and structural violence.

Sarah’s research builds on two key areas: 1) IPV and trauma-informed services and 2) innovative approaches to social work practice and education using simulation. This work is grounded in her broader goals of delivering high quality IPV services, and ensuring social workers are prepared to meet the needs of vulnerable populations who have experience violence and trauma. Before joining the School of Social Work, Sarah was a postdoctoral fellow in simulation-based research with Carleton University’s SIM Social Work Research Lab. She completed her Master of Social Work from New York University and PhD from the University of Toronto. Her dissertation research focused on the employment-seeking experiences of survivors of IPV with marginalized identities.

Sarah’s teaching experience began in field instruction, as a practicum instructor supervising BSW and MSW placement students. She has also been a Field Liaison and a Course Instructor with the University of Toronto and Carleton University at the undergraduate and graduate level. At the McGill School of Social Work, Sarah teaches Mental Health, Anti-Oppressive Social Work Practice, and Clinical Practice at the undergraduate level. Sarah also works as a clinical social worker in private practice.


Bachelor of Arts, 2006 – McGill University

Master of Social Work, 2009 – New York University

Doctor of Philosophy, 2020 – University of Toronto

Research interests

  • Intimate partner violence (IPV)
  • Trauma-informed approaches and practice
  • Intersectionality
  • Simulation-based learning and research
  • Social work practice and education
  • Employment and economic stability
  • Qualitative and mixed-methodologies

Current projects


Co-Director (PI: Kristina Nikolova), SSHRC Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative, ($695,772)

“Economic Abuse in Canada: Assessing the Prevalence and Addressing the Needs of Intimate Partner Violence Survivors”


Co-Investigator (PI: Sarah Todd), SSHRC Explorer Grant ($156,213)

“Knowing and Not Knowing: Navigating Uncertainty in Social Work Practice”


Collaborator (PI: Kenta Asakura/Barbara Lee), SSHRC Insight Grant, ($229,899)

“Bridging Critical Social Work Education and Clinical Practice: A Design-based Research Study”


Co-Investigator (PI: Stephanie Baird), SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant ($29,931)

“Virtual support and intimate partner violence (IPV) services”,


Gheorghe, R., Tarshis, S., & Asakura, K. (in press). Benefits and limitations of using e-therapy during the peak of the pandemic: A qualitative study. Families in Society. 1-12.

Sewell, K. M., Occhiuto, K., Tarshis, S., Kalmanovich, A., & Todd, S. (2023). Adapting to Online Live Streamed OSCEs: A Teaching Note. Journal of Social Work Education. 1-15.

Asakura, K., Rieger, D., Gheorghe, R., & Tarshis, S. (2022). Exploring shared trauma in the time of COVID-19: A simulation-based survey study of mental health clinicians. Clinical Social Work Journal. 1-14.

Gheorghe, R., Tarshis, S. & Occhiuto, K. (2022). Student research peer support group: Reflections on mutual aid in qualitative research. Social Work with Groups. 1-15.

Baird, S. L., & Tarshis, S. (2022). Ethical and safety considerations in the use of virtual intimate partner violence (IPV) supports. Social Work & Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory, 1-12.

Baird, S. L., Tarshis, S., Messenger, C., & Falla, M. (2022). Virtual support and intimate partner violence services: A scoping review. Research on Social Work Practice, Online, 1-20.

Baird, S. L., & Tarshis, S., & Messenger, C. (2022). The use of neuroscience in interventions for intimate partner violence: A scoping review. Clinical Social Work Journal, 1-18.

Tarshis, S., Scott-Marshall, H., & Alaggia, R. (2022). An analysis of comparative perspectives on economic empowerment among employment-seeking survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and service providers. Societies. 1-33.

Tarshis, S., Alaggia, R., & Logie, C.H. (2022). Intersectional and trauma-informed approaches to employment services: Insights from intimate partner violence (IPV) service providers. Violence Against Women, 28(2), 617-640.

Tarshis, S., & Baird, S. L. (2021). Applying intersectionality in clinical supervision: A scoping review. The Clinical Supervisor, 1-23.

Asakura, K., Occhiuto, K., Tarshis, S., & Dubrowski. (2021). Designing and conducting healthcare simulations: Contributions from social work. Cureus Journal of Medical Science, 3(17). 1-20.

Tarshis, S. (2020). Intimate partner violence (IPV) and employment-seeking: A multilevel examination of barriers and facilitators. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37(7-8), 1-30.

Black, T., Fallon, B., Nikolova, K., Tarshis, S., Baird, S. L., & Carradine, J. (2020). Children's exposure to intimate partner violence: Exploring subtypes in Ontario, Canada. Children and Youth Services Review, 118, 1-20.

Tarshis, S., & Baird. S. L. (2019). Addressing the indirect trauma of social work students in intimate partner violence (IPV) field placements: A framework for supervision. Clinical Social Work Journal, 47(1), 90-102.







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