Melissa Park

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor

Melissa Park
Contact Information

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

514-398-4400 Ext 09670 [ support]
Email address: 
melissa.park [at]
Associate Professor
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Occupational Therapy, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, SE (2008-2009)
  • Postdoctoral Associate, National Institute of Mental Health: MHSA System Transformation & Clinical Care Study, University of California at Los Angeles (2007-2008)
  • Postdoctoral Associate, National Institute of Health: Boundary Crossings: Re-situating Cultural Competence (#R01 HD03887805), University of Southern California (2005-2007)
  • PhD in Occupational Science, University of Southern California
  • MA in Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California
  • BA in History of Art, Yale University
Teaching areas: 

Narrative rehabilitation, professional reasoning and body-based approaches in mental health (OCC1-551), Critical & narrative-phenomenological methods for responsive social engagement (POTH-618), Child & Youth Mental Health (OCC1-626).

Current research: 

Aesthetics, neurodiverse* experiences, professional reasoning, connectedness, embodiment, ethics, mixed methods ethnography, critical & narrative phenomenology

  • Optimizing the aging Brain? Situating Ethical Aspects of Dementia Prevention (BEAD) (2021-2024, Neuron-Eranet 765 992, PIs: Scjicktanz-Germany, Leibing-Canada, Blasimme-Switzerland; Role: Collaborator)
  • Ce qui nous lie ~ What connects us: A mixed methods ethnography to evaluate an intersectoral participatory approach for sustainable community-based initiatives to destigmatize dementia (2019-2023, Public Health Agency of Canada, Role: PI)
  • Making Sense of Connectedness: Empowering neurodiverse children and youth to change their worlds (2019-2021, Canadian Institute of Health Research Sponsored Patient Oriented Research-Child Bright Network: Role: PI)
  • Beyond tokenism: A mixed-methods study on tools of engagement for sustainable patient-provider partnerships using participatory approaches (2018-2022, Canadian Institute of Health Research Sponsored Patient Oriented Research, Role: PI)
  • Interfacing Biomusic and Autism: What are the everyday ethics of representing the physiology of what moves us? (2017, Social Science Humanities Research Council Connection, Role: PI)
  • Moving-with & tuning-in: A participatory mixed methods study to foster social Inclusion of individuals with dementia and carers (2016-2020, Canadian Institute of Health Research, Role: Co-PI ~ Centre ville/qualitative)
  • A mixed qualitative study on the ethics of transforming care: Examining the development and implementation of Canada's first mental health strategy (2015-2018, Canadian Institute of Health Research Catalyst Grant in Ethics, Role: PI)
  • Transforming mental health services: A participatory mixed methods study to promote and evaluate the implementation of recovery-oriented care (2013-2017, Canadian Institute of Health Research Sponsored Patient Oriented Research, Role: PI)


* Diagnostic/medical categories: Alzheimer's & related disorders, Autism, Severe mental illness (SMI)


Melissa Park, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, a core member of Participatory Research at McGill and full member of Centre de recerche interdisciplinaire en réadaptation du Montréal métropolitain. As an occupational therapist with a background in History of Art, Occupational Science, and Medical Anthropology, she has extensive clinical, research and pedagogical experience using the terms of humanities and rehabilitation to understand healing, transformative and relational processes at dyadic, systemic and sociocultural levels from first-person or experience-near perspectives using narrative-phenomenological and aesthetic conceptual frameworks. Her funded ethnographic and participatory research has focused on understanding and working with multiple stakeholders in mental health related issues, including persons with invisible disabilities, family members, health and social care professionals, policy makers and citizens on topics ranging from “healing” encounters and policy implementation to issues of neurodiversity, equity and justice.

Professional activities: 
  • Member, Faculty of Medicine Equity Committee
  • Associate Faculty, Department of Family Medicine, McGill
  • Associate researcher, Culture and Mental Health Research Unit (CMHRU), Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry, CIUSSS-Centre Ouest
  • Chercheur régulier/Researcher, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, CIUSSS-West Central
  • Associate researcher, Participatory Research at McGill (PRAM)
  • Chercheur régulier/Researcher, CRIR
  • SIPT certified (Sensory Integration & Praxis Test, #594), Western Psychological Services
  • Writers Guild of Canada
Selected publications: 

*Lee, K. & Park, M. (2021). Keeping care fully alive – An ethnography of Moving-with carers and persons living with dementia. Journal of Aging Studies 57(100927).

Park, M., Bonsall, A., & Fogelberg, D. (2021). Everyday hermeneutics: understanding (the meaning of) occupational engagement. In S. Taff (Ed.), Philosophy and Occupational Therapy: Informing Education, Research & Practice (pp. 163-179): Slack

Park, M., Lawlor, M., Solomon, O., Valente, T. (2020). Understanding connectivity: the productive / disruptive synergies of social network analysis and occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science.

Thomas, A., Kuper, A., Chin-Yee, B., & Park, M. (2020). What is “shared” in shared decision-making? Philosophical perspectives, epistemic justice, and implications for health professions education. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 26, 409-418. doi:10.1111/jep.13370

Cascio, M. A., *Motta-Ochoa, R., Teachman, G., Grond, F., Tembeck, T., Blain-Moraes, S. & Park, M. (2020). What’s at stake with biomusic: Engaging humanities and social sciences in the ethical reflections on an emerging technology. Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation.

*Motta-Ochoa, R., Lencucha, R., Xu, J., & Park, M. (2019). A matter of time: grappling with everyday ethical tensions at the confluence between policy and practice in a psychiatric unit. Journal of Medical Ethics. doi:10.1136/medethics-2019-105423

Park, M., & Fogelberg, D. (2019). Caught between the suffering and the good: Commentary on Campoy. In E. Racine & M. A. Cascio (Eds.), Research Involving Participants with Cognitive Disability and Difference (pp. 251-254). New York: Oxford University Press.

Kwan, C. L., Mahdid, Y., *Motta Ochoa, R., *Lee, K., Park, M., & Blain-Moraes, S. (2019). Wearable technology for detecting significant moments in individuals with dementia. BioMed Research International, 13 pp.

Kiepek, N., Marshall, C., Jaiswal, A., Bunting, K. L., & Park, M. (2019). Occupation matters. Occupational Therapy Now, 21(3), 25-27. 

*Greco, V., Lambert, H., & Park, M. (2017). Being visible: PhotoVoice as assessment for children in a school-based psychiatric setting. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 24(3), 222-232.

*Greco, V., Lambert, H., & Park, M. (2016). Capturing the child’s perspective: A review of self-report measures used with children. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 32(3), 228-244.

*Lee, K., Wittich, W., Kehayia, E., & Park, M. (2016). The use of movement-based interventions with children diagnosed with autism for psychosocial outcomes - A Scoping review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 24, 52-56.

Park, 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.

Park, M., Zafran, H., Stewart, J., Salsberg, J., Ells, C., Rouleau, S., Estein, O., Valente, T. (2014). Transforming mental health services: a participatory mixed methods study to promote and evaluate the implementation of recovery-oriented services. Implementation Science, 9(1), 119. doi: 10.1186/s13012-014-0119-7

Schwartz, R., Estein, O., Komaroff, J., Lamb, J., Myers, M., Stewart, J., Vacaflor, L., Park, M. (2013). Mental health consumers and providers dialogue in an institutional setting: A participatory approach to promoting recovery-oriented care. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 36(2), 113-115.

Park, M. (2012). Pleasure, Throwing Breaches, and Embodied Metaphors: Tracing Transformation-in-Participation for a Child With Autism to Sensory Integration-Based Therapy Session. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 32 (1 Suppl), S34-S4. doi: 10.3928/15394492-20110906-05

Park, M. (2010). Beyond calculus: Apple-apple-apple-ike and other embodied pleasures for a child diagnosed with autism in a sensory integration based clinic, Special Topic: Autism and Neurodiversity. Disability Studies Quarterly, 30(1).

Park, M. (2008). Making scenes: Imaginative practices for a child with autism in an occupational therapy session. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 22(3), 234–256 [Steven Polgar Paper Prize].

Back to top