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
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: 
  • Breaking the silence to create inclusive atmospheres: Immersive listening to understand and transform isolation and loneliness with the Jamaica Association of Montreal (2024-2025, Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Engage research creation, Role: PI)
  • Sensing differently, creating inclusive atmospheres as sensory friendly zones and their evaluation with immersive sound technologies (2023-2025, Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Insight Development Grant research creation, Role: Co-PI, Axis I: Sensory friendly zones)
  • Tracing ephemeral experiences in aesthetic practices: Immersive listening to workshop a neurodiverse phenomenology (E2IAN) (2022-2024, Social Science and Humanities Research Council #94514, Insight Development Grant research creation, Role: PI)
  • 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)

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: 
  • Associate researcher, Culture and Mental Health Research Unit (CMHRU), Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry, CIUSSS-Centre Ouest
  • Researcher, Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en réadaptation du Montréal métropolitain (CRIR)
  • Adjunct investigator, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, CIUSSS-West Central
  • Trainee Networks-Research Committee, Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs
  • SIPT certified (Sensory Integration & Praxis Test, #594), Western Psychological Services
  • Writers Guild of Canada
Areas of expertise: 

Aesthetics, neurodiverse* experiences, professional reasoning, connectedness, embodiment, ethics, mixed methods ethnography, critical & narrative phenomenology (* Diagnostic/medical categories: Alzheimer's & related disorders, Autism, mental illness)

Selected publications: 


Xu, J., Lajeunesse, M., & Park, M. (2023). Cultivating an embodied interpretative consciousness: Health humanities initiatives at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 24(1.8).

Park, M. & Rouleau, S. (2022). Centring what really matters: a reasoning heuristic for promoting occupational participation. In M. Egan & G. Restall (Eds). Promoting Occupational Participation: Collaborative Relationship-Focused Occupational Therapy, 10th Canadian Occupational Therapy Guidelines (pp. 237-260). Ottawa: CAOT.

Park, M. & Valente, T. (2022). Connectivity, The SAGE Encyclopedia of Research Design. In B. Frey (Ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Research Design. Second Edition. Revised. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc.

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

Research (Participatory/Mixed Methods Ethnography/Qualitative, experience and transformative processes)

Austin-Keiller, A., Park, M., Yang, S., Mayo, N.E., Fellows, L. K., Brouillette, M-J (2023). Alone, there is nobody”: A qualitative study of the lived experience of loneliness in older men living with HIV. Plos One, 18(4): e0277399.

*Clément, M-A., *Lee, K., Park, M., Sinn, A., & Miyake, N. (2022). The need for sensory-friendly “zones”: Learning from youth on the autism spectrum, their families, and autistic mentors using a participatory approach, Frontiers Psychology: Perception Science,

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

*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

*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.

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.

Research (ethnography, clinical encounters)

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].

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