Indigenous Mental Health Interest Group - Members

We are community-based actors, mental health practitioners, researchers, and students from Canada and elsewhere.

The Indigenous Mental Health Interest Group (IMHIG) was created on the initiative of Dr. Laurence Kirmayer. IMHIG is co-chaired by Dr. Kirmayer and Caroline Wells.

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD


I am Professor and Director of the McGill Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry and the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit at the Jewish General Hospital. I founded and direct the Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research (NAMHR) established to build capacity for Indigenous mental health research in Canada. I have worked with Indigenous communities for over 30 years and have led projects on Inuit concepts of mental health and illness, Indigenous concepts of resilience, risk and protective factors for suicide, and mental health promotion.

Currently I am the Principal Investigator on the Listening to One Another to Grow Strong (LTOA) project.  LTOA is a community-driven and culturally adapted program for Indigenous families’ wellbeing implemented across Canada.

Caroline Wells, MSc


I am a PhD candidate in Mental Health in the Social and Transcultural Psychiatry division at McGill. I am co-chairing the Indigenous Mental Health Interest Group (IMHIG). My PhD research is about understanding cultural adaptation in culturally adapted Indigenous mental health promotion and suicide prevention programs in Canada and in the US. I study two programs, the Listening to One Another to Grow Strong program across Canada and Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES) in Alaska. I have research and work experience in cultural adaptation of diabetes clinical guidance for Indigenous Peoples in Vietnam and in international suicide prevention.

Currently, in addition to my PhD project, I am also a Research Assistant for the Listening to One Another to Grow Strong (LTOA) project spearheading a podcast series with Indigenous partners and organizing events. LTOA is a community-driven and culturally adapted program for Indigenous families’ wellbeing implemented across Canada.

Marion Audet, BSc


I have a Bachelor of Science degree with a major concentration in psychology from McGill University, and I work as a research assistant at Sainte-Justine hospital’s research center.

Currently, I am working on the Online PreVenture Feasibility Study (OPfS), a pilot evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and short-term impact of the PreVenture program, an evidence-based, personality targeted, prevention program for youth substance use, when adapted to be delivered online. I am also leading a cultural adaptation of PreVenture for Indigenous youth living in Canada. I hope to continue in the field of psychology as a clinical psychologist, and take special interest in themes such as violence, suicidality, addictive behaviours and taking a cross-cultural approach to research and practice.

Ariane Benoit, PhD


I am an anthropologist graduated from Inalco University in Paris. My research focuses on interactional practices in educative and health institutions in Nunavik. I also study the place and the role of interpersonal relationships on health, well-being and human development. From 2008 to 2013, I followed a program about Inuit language and culture offered by Michèle Therrien (1945-2017). I also organized workshops about Inuit language and culture in primary schools in France for Inuksuk Association. During my free time, I practice artistic and well-being activities, such as singing, dancing, poetry and meditation.


Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at Laval University working collaboratively on a research project called Qanuikkat Siqinirmiut (QS) ? (How are the Inuit in the South ?). This project is directed by Christopher Fletcher and realized in close collaboration with Southern Quebec Inuit Association (SQIA) directed by Tina Pisuktie. It is the first large scale survey about urban Inuit health and well-being in Southern Quebec. Within this project, I conduct a study about the place and the role of culture on fostered children’ health and well-being in urban settings in Quebec. I am also part of ArcticNet Student Association, as the French coordinator.

Nicole D'souza, PhD


I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital. My work and research focus on the processes shaping the implementation and outcomes of community-based family-oriented interventions and services in low- and high-income settings. I collaborated on projects investigating the history of violence and impact of coloniality on children and families in Jamaica with the Caribbean Institute of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, violence and trauma in Indigenous communities in Peru and Canada, and the integration and support of asylum-seeking and migrant families in Montreal.

Currently, I am leading evaluation research of the the Listening to One Another to Grow Strong (LTOA) project. LTOA is a community-driven and culturally adapted program for Indigenous families’ wellbeing implemented across Canada. I am also leading a research project part of the Wellcome Trust (UK) on cultural connection in youth mental health with Dr Iyer and Dr Guzder. 

Liliana Gomez Cardona, PhD


I have a PhD in anthropology and I am currently a Postdoctoral Candidate and researcher at the Douglas Mental Health Centre, affiliated to McGill University. During my Postdoctoral Fellowship, I am focusing on the development and adaptation of culturally appropriate and safe tools for Indigenous populations in Quebec. These tools include mental health assessments and interventions that aim to empower and promote individual, community, and culture-based resilience resources.

I currently work with the program Growth and empowerment measure adapted for the Indigenous in Quebec – utility evaluation for psychiatric measurement and intervention”, funded by the CIHR. I am using a participatory and action-research approach with the collaboration of specialists to generate complementary approaches between academic disciplines and community knowledge. In addition, I am coordinating a research project that aims at developing a culturally adapted and culturally safe emotion regulation therapy for the Inuit population:“La télépsychothérapie sous forme de télécliniques: Un traitement des traumas par exposition à la réalité virtuelle à distance qui a fait ses preuves”. This project is based on psychotherapy and exposure to virtual reality and is being led by specialists from UQO, McGill and the NRC, and supported by the FSISSS.

Dominique Gaulin, MSW


I am a social worker and a research co-coordinator at the Sherpa University Institute in Montreal. As a social worker, I am carrying out various mandates in Nunavik, mostly in the area of mental health and suicide prevention. I am also completing a PhD in Social Work at Université de Montréal, which focuses on Inuit perceptions of recovery and mental health, more specifically psychotic phenomenon, through decolonial lenses. My work interests include mental health, decolonial approach, participatory research, social and transcultural psychiatry and collaborative care.

Currently, I am collaborating on the Atautsikut project, a community of practice on youth mental health and wellness in Nunavik, which aim to support front-line workers.

Chloé Guinaudie, MSc


I have a MSc in Neuroscience from McGill University and it was during my research training that I developed a keen interest in mental health. I was also involved in a variety of knowledge mobilization activities. My involvement in Indigenous mental health is recent and I am keen to learn more about the interplay of culture and Indigenous mental health.

I am currently the Knowledge Translation and Stakeholder Engagement coordinator at ACCESS Open Minds (OM). ACCESS OM is a pan-Canadian research project, evaluating the implementation of an integrated youth mental health service model at diverse clinical sites across the country. My role is to strategically coordinate knowledge translation activities and the development of resources, in collaboration with various stakeholders.

Jaswant Guzder, MD


I am a Professor in the McGill Department of Psychiatry, former Head of Child Psychiatry and former director of Cultural Consultation Service at Jewish General Hospital. My experience with clinical training, research and program development includes work with Indigenous peoples and diverse populations of children and families at risk including refugee populations. Earlier research included risk for child long term outcomes and etiology of personality disorders and since 2005 working with with the Caribbean Institute of Mental Health and Substance Abuse on resilience school based programs remains ongoing. Current collaborations, teaching and research include areas of child trauma, cultural consultation , family therapy skills, community engagement in global health projects, and the use of arts in healing collectively and individually.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I am on leave to work with Indigenous Child and Youth Services for Southern Vancouver Island in Salish peoples unceded territories and the Vancouver Island Refugee and Immigrant services currently. Some of my current projects in Indigenous mental health include a grant affiliation with Dr Claudia Mitchell on the ‘More Than Words: Studying the Impact of Arts Based Survivor Engagement on Families and Communities’ project and with Dr Myriam Denov on children of war post-migration integration. 

Tareq Hardan, MSW


I am a doctoral candidate at McGill University's School of Social Work (SSW) in Montreal. Beforehand, I worked for seven years at Al-Quds (Jerusalem) University in Palestine as a social work teacher, researcher, and community worker. Altogether, for the past 12 years, my work has explored Communities–Academic Partnerships (CAPs) in various community practice settings. I mainly focus on CAPs models that have synergized to address poverty, inequality, food insecurity, trauma-informed care, and social work education.

In my PhD, I investigate the multi-leveled impact (fellows, academic institutions, and local communities) shaped by the McGill International Community Advocacy Network Master's degree fellowship program on building CAPs in the Middle East region. Broadly, my scholarship seeks to leverage CAPs to disentangle the cultural, contextual, and process intricacies specific to the Palestinian experiences

Srividya Iyer, PhD


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and an Associate Member in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University in Montreal. I am a licensed psychologist and a Researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. My work focuses on youth mental health and early intervention, including for serious mental health problems such as psychosis. It seeks to ensure that more young people worldwide have timely access to appropriate, youth-friendly mental healthcare and enjoy well-being and social participation. I partner closely with young people, families, and communities to influence real-world practice and policy in Canada and globally.

Currently, I lead ACCESS Open Minds, a pan-Canadian network of 250+ diverse stakeholders that is transforming mental healthcare in 16 diverse sites across Canada. Six of these sites are in Indigenous (four First Nations and two Inuit) communities. Other urban and small urban sites also serve Indigenous youth populations along with other youth. I contribute to several other youth-focused services, research, and capacity-building efforts in Canada and globally, with a particular focus on traditionally underserved contexts. I am deeply interested in approaches that place “culture” at the heart of mental health, wellness and healing, which is the focus of a Wellcome Trust funded project that I am working on with Drs. Nicole D’souza and Jaswant Guzder.

Janique Johnson-Lafleur, PhD 


I am an anthropologist and a research coordinator at the Sherpa University Institute in Montreal. I am also completing a PhD in Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University which focuses on the challenge of training mental health and social service professionals to be culturally sensitive in their practice while avoiding essentialist approaches based on stereotypes.

Currently, I collaborate on two projects in Nunavik: the Atautsikut project on the development of a Community of practice (CoP) in youth mental health and wellness to support front-line workers involved in this field, as well as the Standing Together Through Art project, an initiative that wishes to contribute to personal and community wellness in the face of the pandemic by turning to the expressive and evocative power of art.

Kaylia Marquis, BA


I am Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory. I have a diverse background in psychology, project management, and entrepreneurship.  I have worked most recently delivering projects for community and grassroots organizations related to food security, early childhood education, social entrepreneurship, and environmental protection.

 I am the Network Manager for the Tahatikonhsontóntie’ Québec Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research. The Tahatikonhsontóntie’ Québec Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research aims to be the center for research and training in community mobilization and knowledge translation for Indigenous health promotion. Network partners include Indigenous communities, Indigenous-serving organizations, academic researchers and institutions, and decision-makers and knowledge users.


Claudia Mitchell, PhD


I am a Distinguished James McGill professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education. I am the founding director of the Institute of Human Development and Well-being and the founder of the Participatory Cultures Lab a CFI funded unit focusing on research and training in the area of participatory visual and arts based methodologies as tools of inquiry, youth engagement and knowledge mobilization. Internationally this work is being carried out in South Africa, Ethiopia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Mozambique. In the Canadian context, I have been working with Indigenous young people using arts-based based methods since 2007, first in the area of HIV and AIDs, and since 2013 working with Indigenous girls and young women and their well-being in the context of gender based violence. 

Currently I am the Principal Investigator of two projects with Indigenous girls and young women: a SSHRC Partnership Grant ‘Networks for Change and Well-being: Girl-led ‘from the ground up’ policy making to address sexual violence in Canada and South Africa’; and ‘More Than Words: Studying the Impact of Arts Based Survivor Engagement on Families and Communities’ funded by Women and Gender Equality, as part of a national $50 million Gender-Based Violence program Promising Practices to Support Survivors and their Families.

Lucie Nadeau, MD


I am an Associate Professor at McGill, member of the divisions of Social and Cultural Psychiatry and of Child Psychiatry. I have been a child psychiatry consultant for Nunavik since 2008 and developed a rotation in Northern Quebec Indigenous communities for psychiatry residents. I hold a certificate in Inuit language and culture.I am involved in different participatory research projects taking place in Inuit communities, looking at issues of mental health and wellbeing, community mobilisation, collaborative care and training.

Currently I am the Principal Investigator on Atautsikut (togetherness), a community of practice on youth mental health and wellness in Nunavik. The Atautsikut team is also developing, in collaboration with the Avataq Institute, the Standing together through Art project, which proposes to be a witness to the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic among Inuit of Nunavik through artistic testimony.

Morgan Kahentonni Phillips, PhD 


I am Kanien’kehá:ka from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake (Wolf Clan) and a citizen of the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. I hold a PhD from the department of Integrated Studies in Education from McGill University.My interests include Indigenous health and well-being, resilience, community-based participatory research, Indigenous research methodologies and Indigenous health promotion.

Currently, I am the Research Coordinator of the newly founded Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR). This Quebec based NEIHR is one of nine NEIHR Centres across Canada and his hosted by the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project in Kahnawake of which I am part of its Research Team. From 2007-2012 I worked with Dr. Kirmayer’s NAMHR Team on the Roots of Resilience Project: Stories of Resilience, Healing and Transformation.

Katherine Pizzaro, MSc


I am a doctoral candidate in the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill, working under the supervision of Danielle Groleau. Before coming to McGill, I completed my Master's Degree in International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and my Bachelor's Degree in Cognitive Science at Carleton College. I have conducted research to inform the design and evaluation of public health programs in a variety of international settings, including family-based substance use prevention programs in Peru and newborn care initiatives in Ethiopia.

My current research uses participatory methods to engage Indigenous communities in Guatemala in the planning and evaluation of interventions to promote psychosocial wellbeing as part of the Buena Semilla program.

Tristan Supino, BA


I am a Master’s student in the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University supervised by Laurence Kirmayer. 

Currently, I am a Research Assistant on the Listening to One Another to Grow Strong (LTOA) program. LTOA is a community-driven and culturally adapted program for Indigenous families’ wellbeing implemented across Canada.

My Master’s degree research is on the development and cultural adaptation of a specific portion of the LTOA program. In partnership with local Indigenous organizations and program facilitators, the aim is to develop a toolkit that Indigenous youth and their families can complete at home, examine the facilitators and barriers of cultural adaptation and program engagement, while identifying cultural adaptation support materials, strategies to implement this toolkit, and assets that can improve the LTOA program.


Zoua M. Vang, PhD 


I am a William Dawson Scholar and Associate Professor of Sociology at McGill University. I am the founding Director of the Indigenous Maternal Infant Health & Wellbeing (IMIHW) Lab and have been working in partnership with Indigenous communities in Quebec on issues related to perinatal health, prenatal and postpartum depression, cultural safety, and racism/discrimination as social determinants of women’s health and wellness.

Currently I am the Principal Investigator on the Irnisursiriartutuq nunaringngitamini (Birthing Outside the Community) study. The goal of this participatory research, longitudinal observational study is to better understand and determine the associations among childbirth evacuation, perinatal mental health, and infant growth/development for Inuit mother-infant pairs in Nunavik.

Dennis C. Wendt, PhD


I am an Assistant Professor with the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University, and the Director of the Cultural and Indigenous Research in Counselling Psychology (CIRC) lab. For the past 10 years, I have collaborated with Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States in exploring, developing, and evaluating culturally relevant interventions pertaining to mental health, substance use, and community wellness.

Current projects address (a) the impact of the pandemic on substance use services among Indigenous communities, (b) interventions for opioid addiction among Indigenous communities, (c) youth substance use prevention among Indigenous communities, (d) social inclusion and belonging among Indigenous university students, and (e) culturally-appropriate counselling and school psychology interventions for Indigenous communities.

Daysi Zentner, MA


I am currently completing my PhD in the Counselling Psychology program at McGill University and am part of the Cultural and Indigenous Research in Counselling Psychology (CIRC). I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and my MA degree in Child Studies both at Concordia University. My previous work include mixed-methods research in community development, resilience and coping strategies.

For my doctoral thesis, I hope to work collaboratively with Indigenous communities in exploring and identifying health, social, economic, and other factors that may be impacted by the cannabis legalization in Canada.


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