Hiba Zafran

PhD., Occupational Therapist - Psychotherapist (she/her/elle)
Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor [Teaching]

On leave: Sept 2023- May 2024



Hiba Zafran
Contact Information

By appointment 




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 618: Applied OT: Psychosocial Theories (Co-coordinator)
OCC 622: Community-Based Occupational Therapy 

Current research: 

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, trauma-informed/responsiveness, equity and accountability. 

Please note that I am a part-time academic and do not take on graduate thesis supervision. I am open to being a member on the doctoral committees of historically excluded students whose projects are within my sphere of values and commitments. 


Clinically, I have worked in early psychosis intervention (2002-2016), clinical administration (2007-2010), arts-based rehab (2011-2013), student mental health (2015-2016) and now in private practice. Academically I have been teaching at McGill University since 2008, completed my doctoral work in 2016, and worked in Beirut, Lebanon, consulting on the development of a new occupational therapy program both onsite and remotely (2016-2018). Since 2017 I have led capacity building for the development of the OT program Indigenous curriculum, and am involved in both institutional and national level accountability initiatives in Canadian occupational therapy.



Professional activities: 

2020-present: Coordinator, Reconfiguring for Equity, Praxis, Accountability, Inclusion and Reconciliation, OT Program

2021-2022: Guest editor, Mar/Apr 2022 Special issue Socially Accountable OT [open access] - Occupational Therapy Now, CAOT Practice Magazine.

2021-present: Co-Chair - CAOT Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Practice Network

2020-2022: 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 Practice Magazine

2019-2022. Chair -Subcommittee on Queer People - McGill Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

2019-2021. Curriculum Developer - Indigenous Health Professions Program

2019-2021. Advisory Group on Indigenous Engagement, CORECOM - One Canadian Competency Document

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


Selected publications: 

Scientific and Conceptual Publications

Zafran, H. (2023). Echopoetics and unbelonging: Making sense of reconciliation in academia. Transcultural Psychiatry 60(5),866-876. [Special Issue: Cultural poetics of illness and healing]. https://doi.org/10.1177/13634615211015091

Nguyen, A. X-L, Xiang, L., Chhibber, R., Blanchard, H., Tikhonova, S., Zafran, H., Miller, C-A., & Bergevin, Y. (2023). Student-Led Interprofessional Global Health Course: Learning Impacts During a Global Crisis. BMC Medical Education. 23:166 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-023-04116-4 

Falcicchio, K., Schmitz, C, Zafran, H., Lysaught, R., & Jarus, T. (2022). JEDI in Fieldwork Supervision: The Next Frontier. Occupational Therapy Now, 25(5), 27-29.

Razek, L., Zafran, H., Shankland, B. & Storr, C. (2022). From concern to commitment: Learning to center equity in occupational therapy admissions processesMcGill Journal of Global Health, XI. 

Whalley-Hammell, K., Laliberte-Rudman, D., Zafran, H., Schmidt, J., Bunting, K.L., Bulk, L.Y., Grenier, M-L, Désormeaux-Moreau, M., Lee, M., Jarus, T. & Mortenson, W.B. (2022). Unbecoming change agents. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. [Editorial-Advance Online] DOI: 10.1177/00084174221089708 

Zafran, H. & Hazlett, N. (2022). This house is not a home: Rebuilding an occupational therapy with and for us. Occupational Therapy Now, 25(2), 5-7. [Editorial for the special issue: Socially Accountable OT].

Anand,H., Baird, M., Boniface,G., Jafry, F., Leclair, L., Mahipaul, S., Omar, S., Pooley, E., Sabourin, H., Sangrar, R., & Zafran, H. (2022). Living social accountability as praxis: A working group’s narratives. Occupational Therapy Now, 25(2), 21-24. [Special issue: Socially Accountable OT]. 

Zafran, H. (2021). Lost in translation: The languages of a critical occupational therapy. Occupational Therapy Now, 23(6). 23-25. [Inaugural article, Topic Critical OT: Occupational Consciousness and Rights]

Anand, H., Mahipaul, S., Montour, E., Sangrar, R., & Zafran, H. (2021). What do we have to say about centering equity & justice in our professional lives? A Conversation that Matters. Occupational Therapy Now, 23(5). 11-13.

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, 23(4), 28-30. [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. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.033100

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

Bhanji, R., Chen, Y.L., Kerr, C., Mendez, I. &, Zafran, H. (2023). “Burying in Itself”:  Challenges faced by practitioners accessing Jordan’s Principle across provinces and territories in Canada. Occupational Therapy Program, McGill University, Montréal, QC. [open access] 

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.


Recent Scientific Presentations and Workshops

2023 (upcoming)

  • March 15: Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Symposium on Jordan's Principle.  "Burying in itself" ~ Practitioner perspectives on navigating Jordan’s Principle across provinces and territories in Canada
  • March 24: Allan Memorial Institute Academic Rounds, McGill University Health Centre. Psychotherapy with equity denied emergent adults in a time of increasing social consciousness
  • July 28: Anne Lang Étienne invited lecturer, University of Ottawa. [Title pending]

Zafran, H. (2022). Towards Justice: Equity and Accountability in Rehabilitation. Intersections in Rehabilitation. University of Alberta, Virtual Speaker Series. [Open access content and learning resources]. 

Frank, J & Chen, J. (2022). Nurturing Leadership for Health: Are Universities Stepping Up? [Panelist] School of Population and Global Health, Global Health Week, McGill University Bicentennial. 

Boniface, G., Jarus, T., Zafran, H., LeBlanc-Olmstead, S., Mahipaul, S., Phenix, A., Valavaara, K. & Grenier, M-L. (2022). Keynote Address: Equity and Justice in Occupational Therapy. Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Conference 2022: Hybrid.

Zafran, H. (2021)   Becoming culturally safer: Stories of paediatric practitioners with/in Indigenous communities [Paper]
                              Redressing the null curriculum in occupational therapy education [Workshop]
                              “Off the side of my desk”: Equity-as-occupation in academia [Workshop]
                              Conversations that Matter [Consultative workshop]
                              Canadian Association Occupational Therapists Virtual Conference, May 2021.

Zafran, H. (2021).  A Conversation About Viral Misinformation & Medical Mistrust [Panel]. SciComm Collective

Zafran, H. (2021). Moving beyond occupational narratives of hope, equity and justice [Panel]. 

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

Razack, S., Grenier, M-L., Zafran, H., & Legare-Tremblay, E. (2020). Honouring my Identity: Navigating Healthcare Training as a 2sLGBTQIA+ Learner. WELL Office, McGill University

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


Reviews and Letters

Zafran, H. (2019). [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].  



McDevitt, N. (May 17, 2022). Voices from our 2SLGBTQ+ community: Hiba Zafran. McGill Reporter

McDevitt, N. (June 15, 2021). LavGrad celebrates the achievements of our 2SLGBTQIA+ students. McGill Reporter

Popple, A. (Nov 5, 2019). “What is it Like in the Inside?” 2SLGBTQIA+ Medical Professionals Discuss. The McGill Daily.




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