Hiba Zafran

Academic title(s): 

Occupational Therapist - Psychotherapist

Assistant Professor [Teaching] - School of Physical and Occupational Therapy

Curriculum Developer - Indigenous Health Professions Program



Hiba Zafran
Contact Information

Hosmer House, 3630 prom Sir-William-Osler, Montréal, QC, Canada H3G 1Y5




Email address: 
hiba.zafran [at] mcgill.ca
Teaching areas: 

A just and responsible academia must be both a bridge to, and a mirror for, societies we each and everyone have a right to.

Coordinator, OT Program Indigenous-focused curriculum thread

OCC 443: Constructing Mental Health
OCC 618: (Professional Reasoning and) Psychosocial Theories in Occupational Therapy
OCC 622: Community-Based Occupational Therapy

Current research: 

Culturally safer rehabilitation practices with/in Indigenous communities

Anti-oppressive pedagogy


Methodologies: queer/narrative phenomenology, critical hermeneutics, anti-colonial/oppressive

Domains of inquiry: reflexivity, cultural safety, power-sharing, professional (ethical/narrative/political) reasoning, mental health, transformative learning, structural violence


Clinician and administrator in youth mental health 2002-2016: Addressing academic reintegration and intersectional effects related to immigration, racism, and gender questioning overlapping with early psychosis, trauma, mood and personality disorders. 

Current therapeutic practice communities outside of academia:



Professional activities: 

2020-present: National Occupational Therapy Joint Position Statement on Equity & Justice -Workgroup

2020-present. Developer and Topic Editor -Critical OT: Occupational Consciousness and Rights. Occupational Therapy Now, CAOT

2020-present. Chair - Joint Board-Senate Committee on EquitySubcommittee on Queer People

2019-present. Advisory Group on Indigenous Engagement, CORECOM - One Canadian Competency Document

2017-2020. Member, Faculty of Medicine Equity Committee -Social Accountability and Community Engagement

2016-2017. Associate Professor. Institute d'ergothérapie, Université Saint Joseph, Beyrouth, Lebanon.


Selected publications: 


Scientific and Conceptual Publications

Zafran, H. (in press). Ecopoetics and unbelonging: Making sense of reconciliation in academia. Transcultural Psychiatry [Special Issue: Cultural poetics of healing]

Zafran, H., Park, M., Rouleau, S., Lenchuca, R., Everitt, S & Clement, M-A. (2021). “Just 8 minutes”: The experience of occupational therapy educators designing and teaching virtual occupation-based groups for psychosocial issues. Occupational Therapy Now. [Special Issue: Virtual care and OT]

Grenier, M-L., Zafran, H., & Roy, L. (2020). The current landscape of teaching diversity in occupational therapy education: A scoping review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(6). https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.044214

Zafran, H. (2020). Occupational gifts in the time of a pandemic. Occupational Therapy Now, 22(4), 5-6.

Zafran, H. (2020). Hermeneutic mixed methods research: Inquiry into arts-based assessments in early psychosisSage Research Methods Cases - Medicine & Health.   

Zafran, H. (2020). A narrative phenomenological approach to transformative learning: Lessons from occupational therapy reasoning in educational practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(1), 1-6. 

Barudin, J. & Zafran. H. (2019). Introduction to trauma-informed rehabilitation with Indigenous communities. Physiotherapy Practice, 9(5), 18-21.  [Special issue: Indigenous Health].  

Zafran, H. (2019). Knowing from where I respond. Occupational Therapy Now, 21(4), 18-19 [Special Issue: Time for action: Occupational therapy responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission]. 

Zafran, H. Barudin, J., Saunders, S., & Kasperski, J. (2019). An Occupational Therapy Program Lays a Foundation for Indigenous Partnerships and TopicsOccupational Therapy Now, 21(4), 28-29 [Special Issue: Time for action: Occupational therapy responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission]. 

Park, M. & Zafran, H. (2018). View from the Penthouse: Epistemological bumps and emergent metaphors as method for team reflexivityQualitative Health Research, 28(3), 408-417 [Special Issue: Methods]. 

Zafran, H., Tallant, B., Gelinas, I., & Jordan, S. (2018). The phenomenology of early psychosis elicited in an occupational therapy expressive evaluation. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 34(1), 3-31.

Zafran, H., Mazer, B., Tallant, B., Chilingaryan, G., & Gelinas, I. (2017). Detecting incipient schizophrenia: A validation of the Azima Battery in first episode psychosisPsychiatric Quarterly, 88(3), 585-602. [open access link]

Solomon, G. & Zafran, H. (2016). An occupational therapy student’s reflections on recovery as seeing, and being seen. Occupational Therapy Now, 18(5), 13-14 [Special issue: Recovery-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation practice]. 

Zafran, H. (2016).A mixed methods inquiry into the clinical utility of an expressive projective assessment with individuals experiencing early psychosis. (Doctoral Thesis). McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Zafran, H. (2015). Health care professional’s opinions on culture and rehabilitation services for youth experiencing early psychosis. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 19(2), 75-82. 

Park, M.M., Lencucha, R., Mattingly, C., Zafran, H. & Kirmayer, L.J. (2015). A qualitative study on the ethics of transforming care: examining the development and implementation of Canada's first mental health strategy. Implementation Science, 10, 121-130.

Zafran, H. & Tallant, B. (2015). “It would be a shame to lose them”: A critical historical, scoping and expert review of the use of projective assessments in occupational therapy. Part II. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 31(4), 328-365.

Zafran, H. & Tallant, B. (2015). “It would be a shame to lose them”: A critical historical, scoping and expert review of the use of projective assessments in occupational therapy. Part I. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 31(3), 187-210.  

Park, M.M., Zafran, H., Stewart, J., Salsberg, J., Ells, C., Rouleau, S., Estein, O., & Valente, T.W. (2014). Transforming mental health services: A participatory mixed methods study to promote and evaluate the implementation of recovery-oriented care. Implementation Science, 9, 119-130.  

Zafran, H., Tallant, B., & Gelinas, I. (2012). The experience of academic reintegration after a first episode of psychosis - A first-person explorationInternational Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 16(1), 27-43.  


Community Engagement Projects and Reports

Byrne, H ., Cirillo, A ., Murphy- Gelderman, W., Petrucci, D., Gamondele, N . & Zafran, H . (2020). Stories of Paediatric Rehabilitation Practitioners with/in Indigenous Communities. A Guide to Becoming Culturally Safer. Occupational Therapy Program, McGill University, Montréal, QC. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28446.56641

Brett, M.(2019). Communities discuss Indigenizing McGill health care curricula. Includes access to a thematic summary.

Zafran, H., Barudin, J., Saunders, S., & Kasperski, J. (2018). Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action: Laying a Foundation for Indigenous Partnerships and Topics. Occupational Therapy Program, McGill University, Montréal, QC.

Ash-Maheux, R., Bartczak, M., Monteferrante, J., Nurse, A., Persad, S., Zafran, H., & Lambert, H. (2018). Spotting PTSD: A PTSD Toolkit for First Responders.
[Publicly available]


Poetry and Literary Prose

"Finally home" Tiferet. Fostering Peace Through Literature and Art. 1rst December, 2018. 

"Preamble ~ Coming to here" 41.2 Changing Language. Room - Literature, Art, and Feminism since 19752018, pp.13-22. 

"Ève, d’ou venez-vous?" Van Grimde Corps Secrets. Collaborative transdisciplinary dance project outlining a vision of the body of the future. 

"Oneiric Projectiles" Feminine Collective. 25th August, 2017. 

"Bought in Berlin" Mothers Always Write. 10th May, 2017. [Honourable mention in Spring micro-essay contest].

"Ontology of Empty" The Muse. Spring, 2017 -Issue 5, 33.


Selected Scientific Presentations and Workshops

Grenier, M-L & Zafran, H. (2020). Questioning white supremacy in occupational therapy practice and education. [Workshop-Open Access] CAOT Virtual 2020 Conference. 

Roy, L. & Zafran, H. (2018). Doing occupational justice in the classroom: Teaching for resistance. [Panel & discussion]. Paper presented at the Canadian Society for Occupational Science, Montréal, QC

Zafran, H. (2016). Concevoir les méthodes mixtes herméneutiques. Une illustration fondée sur les arts en sante mental jeunesse. Paper presented at the 84 eme congres de ACFAS, Association Francophone pour le savoir. « Oser les défis des méthodes mixtes en sciences de la santé et sciences sociales », Montréal, QC.

Kenyon, V., Watkin, A., Masser, A., Gonul, B., Storr, C., Zafran, H., & Saunders, S. (2016). Enabling workplace participation in our own university: A learner’s perspective. Paper presented at the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists: Inspired for higher summits, Banff, AB.

Zafran, H., Vinit, F., Tembeck, T., Park, M., & Xu, J. (2016). Art as a tool for the promotion of reflexive practice in health care education [Extended discussion]. Paper presented at the Creating Spaces VI, Montréal, QC.

Zafran, H., Park, M., Rouleau, S., & Thomas, A. (2016). putting the heART back into practice. Paper presented at the 3rd Montreal International Conference on Clinical Reasoning, Montréal, QC.

Ermantrout, K., Fera, C., Zafran., H., & Park., M. (2015). What’s narrative reasoning got to do with it? A scoping review Paper presented at the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists: Occupational justice: Rising to the challenge, Winnipeg, MB.

Park, M., Zafran, H., Perlman, C., Lenchuca, R., Roy, L., Rouleau, S., & Thomas, A. (2015). Cultivating the reflective practitioner: Reflecting on reflection together. [extended discussion]. Paper presented at the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists: Occupational justice: Rising to the challenge., Winnipeg, M.B.

Tranulis, C., Park, M., Whitley, R., & Zafran, H. (2011). Good intentions gone to hell? Postmodernity, psychiatric movements, and an ongoing ethnographic study of “First Episode Psychosis” dedicated Clinics in Montréal. Paper presented at the Society for Psychological Anthropology, Santa Monica, CA.

Ninneman, K., & Zafran, H. (2011). From which self do I speak? Fluid selves in health care research [Panel discussion]. Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association, Montréal, QC


Reviews and Letters

Zafran, H. (in press). [Review of the Book: Group Dynamics in Occupational Therapy. The Theoretical Basis and Application of Group Intervention. 5th edition, by M.B. Cole]. Occupational Therapy Now.

Zafran, H. (2018). [Review of the Book: Licit, Illicit, Prescribed: Substance Use and Occupational Therapy, by N.Kiepek]. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 85(3), 262. 

Zafran, H. (2016). By not publishing good qualitative research The BMJ is not fulfilling its valuesBritish Medical Journal, 352:i1478. [Letter to the Editor].

Zafran, H. (2013). Client Centred Reasoning: A Reply to “Quantifying Function”American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67(1). [Letter to the Editor].  





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