Nazilla Khanlou, RN, PhD is the Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health in the Faculty of Health at York University and Professor in its School of Nursing. She is the Academic Lead of the Lillian Meighen Wright Maternal-Child Health Scholars Program. Professor Khanlou's clinical background is in psychiatric nursing. Her overall program of research is situated in the interdisciplinary field of community-based mental health promotion in general, and mental health promotion among youth and women in multicultural and immigrant-receiving settings in particular. She applies intersectionality-informed frameworks, using diverse research methods, in community-based research. She is founder of the International Network on Youth Integration (INYI), an international network for knowledge exchange and collaboration on youth, and Editor-in-Chief of INYI Journal. She has published articles, books, and reports on immigrant youth and women, and mental health. Twitter: https://twitter.com/NazillaKhanlou
Luz Maria Vazquez, MSc, PhD is the research coordinator of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health in the Faculty of Health at York University. Luz is a PhD from the Department of Sociology at York University. She worked for more than ten years in a research center in Mexico where she acquired strong research skills based on extensive ethnographic and qualitative work in Latin American contexts – Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. She has collaborated in a wide array of issues such as violence against pregnant women, social perceptions, local governance, resource management, conservation and climate change.
Amirtha Karunakaran is a York University Global Health Alumna with a specialization in Global Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. During her undergrad, she completed a York International internship as a research assistant at Cano Palma Biological Station. In addition, she was placed at The Centre for Global Child Health at SickKids for her final semester as a research student. Amirtha began her Master of Arts in Health at York University on September 2020 and graduated on October 2021. Her Major Research Project (MRP) is titled "The COVID-19 Experience amongst Canadian South Asian Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum." On September 2022, after working as a Registered Practical Nurse for 10 years in Toronto, Amirtha embarked on a new professional journey with the College of Nurses of Ontario as an Investigator with the Quality - Professional Conduct team.
Chang Su, MA, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Faculty of Science in Brandon University. Dr. Su completed her PhD in Social and Personality Psychology. She was the inaugural Lillian wright and Meighen wright Post-doctoral fellow of the Office of Women’s Health Research Chair in Mental Health in the Faculty of Health at York University. Dr. Su is working on BURC funded research on psychological well-being of international students in universities in Canada under COVID-19. In the past she has been involved in cross-cultural research: 1) effects of life stress, social support and cultural norms on parenting styles; 2) experience and self-regulations of self-conscious emotions about shame and guilt; 3) perfectionism, academic buoyancy, academic stress, mattering; and 4) mental health of universities, elementary and high school students. Dr. Su also examined the effects of social and cultural factors on self-efficacy, and depression/ anxiety of Chinese immigrant mothers of children with developmental disabilities in Canada. She was also involved in exploring the effects of acculturation, loneliness, and mental health studies on Chinese older adults under COVID-19 in the Department of Psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University. She has received the Outstanding Teaching Award, the best presentation of John Berry Awards from CPA, Centre Excellent Research Immigrant and Settlements Award, and research grant awards. Dr. Su has over fifteen years of experience teaching psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Su continues to practice as a psychotherapist in Wellness Counselling Centre for Youth of Canada.
Nida Mustafa, is a research assistant at the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health in the Faculty of Health at York University working with Dr. Nazilla Khanlou. Nida is a PhD student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She has completed an Honours Bachelor of Life Sciences specializing in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Masters degree in Health Sciences focusing on women’s mental health from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. She has examined eating disorders in minority women, and is interested in immigrant mental health advocacy. Nida is currently exploring the issue of female feticide in South Asia, as well as within the Canadian context.
Sinead Sheehan BScN, RN, is a is an affiliate of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health Research in the Faculty of Health at York University. Sinead's is currently enrolled in the Masters of Science in Nursing program at York University. She has worked at The Hospital for Sick Children, ErinoakKids and with Peel Public Health and is an active member of the RNAO.
Andrea Skinner, BSc., BScN, RN, is an affiliate of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health Research in the Faculty of Health at York University. She is currently enrolled in the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program at York University. Andrea holds her CNA Certification in Medical-Surgical Nursing and is currently practicing as a Registered Nurse in the Trauma Unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Sheila Jennings is an affiliate of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health Research. As a doctoral student at Osgoode Hall Law School Sheila has been researching the legal right to support of mothers and their disabled children in Canada. In 2016 she received a two-year SSHRC post-doctoral award to conduct research at the University of Toronto to examine aspects of legal consciousness with support-seeking mothers with disabled children
Wajma Soroor is an affiliate of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health Research in the Faculty of Health at York University. Wajma's interests and experiences span from global leadership, and performance art to academic research in the social determinants of health for newcomer and refugee populations in Canada.
Emma Oudeh, BA Hons., BScN, is an affiliate of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health in York University's Faculty of Health. Emma previously worked as a graduate assistant for Dr. Nazilla Khanlou. She received the Krembil Research Award from the University Health Network for her research project on congestive heart failure self-management and education. Emma is currently practicing as a registered nurse in the coronary care unit at Southlake Regional Health Centre and previously worked in the acute-care cardiology unit at Toronto Western Hospital. Emma is enrolled in the primary-health-care nurse practitioner graduate program at York University and will soon complete her coronary care and critical care certificates. Emma is excited to pursue her interests in health promotion and disease prevention in the context of women's health and maternity in the primary care setting.
Farah Islam, PhD, is a mental health advocate, educator, and researcher. Dr. Islam holds an Honors Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience (University of Toronto), a Master's in Neuroscience (York University), and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology (York University). She explores mental health and service access in Canada's racialized and immigrant populations using mixed methods research and orients her research and community work around breaking down the barriers of mental health stigma. Dr. Islam is the Director of Psychospiritual Studies at the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and teaches in the Faculty of Social Sciences at McMaster University.
Alexis Buettgen is a community-engaged scholar with an interdisciplinary academic background in community psychology and critical disability studies. Alexis has over 15 years of experience in participatory, inclusive and creative research and evaluation as a senior researcher at several community-based research and academic institutions, and activist organizations of people with disabilities. These experiences inform her research program to critically examine issues of poverty, exclusion, and intersectional approaches to promote equity, sovereignty, and social and environmental justice for historically marginalized groups of people. Her current research focuses on disability inclusion in the green economy which aims to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and climate action; and social movement/coalition building locally, nationally and internationally. Her work connects the local with the global and has been published for academic, government and broader community audiences. She is also affiliated with McMaster and McGill University and holds a Graduate Faculty Appointment in the Critical Disability Studies program at York University.
Jude Nzuonkwelle Bsc,. BScN, RN, is an affiliate of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health. Jude is currently enrolled in the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) program at York University and has been working as an emergency crisis nurse at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and a Healthy lifestyles nurse at the City of Toronto. Jude has held staff nurse positions in psychiatry and community health nursing, has been a clinical educator, nurse case manager, and undergraduate student preceptor. He has developed particular expertise in best practices related to working with marginalized populations and clinical management of clients in crises and emergency. Jude is also currently involved in the Best Practice Spotlight Organization initiative as a working group co-lead for the Best Practice Guideline: Assessment and Care of Adults at Risk of Suicide.
Meghan Saari BScN, RN, is an affiliate of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health. Meghan is currently enrolled in the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) program at York University and has been working as an emergency nurse ever since.
Sadora Asefaw is an affiliate of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health. She is in the International Development Studies Program. Sadora's area of interest include the delivery of culturally sensitive programs and services to families and people in the disability community, the overrepresentation of racialized children in special education classrooms and how rofessional organizations can track outcomes for people with disabilities of diverse backgrounds as a tool to make meaningful changes in policies, resources and services delivery. Sadora brings with her over 6 years of hand-on experience in working in the disabilities field.
Neda Safaee-Rad is a research volunteer at the Office of the Women’s Health Research in Mental Health in the Faculty of Health, York University. She finished her second year in Psychology and Neuroscience at McMaster University. Beginning this fall, Neda will be entering her third year at the University of Toronto, studying Psychology in the Faculty of Science. What motivates Neda is the potential impact her studies and volunteer work could have on the mental health and wellbeing of new mothers struggling with their children who have developmental disabilities. She is fascinated with the relationship between art and its effects on the brain.
Attia Khan, MBBS, MSPH, PhD is a Postdoctoral Visitor at the Office of the Women’s Health Research in Mental Health, Faculty of Health, York University. Dr. Khan has a PhD in Health Policy and Equity and is also an internationally trained medical doctor. She teaches as a contract faculty at the University of Toronto and York University. She also completed a Postdoctoral fellowship at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Dr. Khan engages in both community-based research and clinical research focusing on mental health of immigrants, the health of young adults with developmental disabilities, quality of life of people living with HIV, racialized youths’ mental health and identity, and maternal healthcare.
Candice Christmas has a BA Honours in History and a Master of Arts in Health Geography from Queen’s University. Her Master’s quantitative study examined the impacts of material and social determinants of health on early childhood development and school readiness in the Kingston FLA Public Health region. As a doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Equity at York, her dissertation research entitled “DON’T LET THINGS YOU HAVE DONE DEFINE YOU!” uses Charmaz’s constructivist grounded theory with an anti-oppressive lens to explore youth wellness, gender differences, and other sources of social and cultural inequity. She has been a recipient of the Lillian Wright Maternal & Child Health Scholarship, the Penelope Jane Glasser Award, and the Manulife Scholarship. With 20 years of experience in project management of inter-disciplinary research in the private and public sectors, in Canada and internationally, she is an expert in knowledge translation and exchange. Candice is currently the Project Engagement Manager for a Health Canada funded initiative called Support Not Stigma, providing harm reduction and trauma informed care community-based supports for people struggling with mental health and substance use challenges who are often also homeless.
Cassandra Marroccoli RN BScN is a Graduate Assistant of the Office of Women’s Health Research Chair in Mental Health. Cassandra is also in her first year of the Masters in Nursing/Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner program at York University. Her background is in Acute Medicine and she has worked on several projects for her work place to improve patients’ experience while in hospital and awaiting long-term care placements. Cassandra minored in psychology for her undergraduate degree and is interested in furthering her knowledge as well as improving patient outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders.
Negar Alamdar has a PhD from York University and currently teaching some courses as a sessional faculty member at the Department of Equity Studies at York University. She was a Lillian Meighen Wright Postdoctoral Fellow in Maternal-Child Health (Supervisor: Professor Nazilla Khanlou), and continues to engage in research projects as a research associate at the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health working with Dr. Nazilla Khanlou. Furthermore, Negar has been teaching in social service work program and working as a placement coordinator for Office Administration and Health Program in ACE Acumen college in partnership with St. Clair college. Negar Formerly worked as a front line developmental service worker supporting and counselling individuals with developmental disabilities at Community Living Dufferin. Her academic, research and experiential background working with vulnerable individuals who have experienced trauma as clients of CCVT (Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture supporting mainly refugees), CLD (Community Living Dufferin) and North York Women Shelter has prepared and encouraged her to spend considerable amount of time looking in to individual, systemic and institutional challenges that need to be addressed and critically analysed.
Sheena Madzima is a Women’s Health Research in Mental health affiliate. She assisted in several projects throughout her studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at York University, class of 2020. She was honoured to be the recipient of multiple awards including the Dr Eric Jackman Award and Lillian-Meighen Wright Award. She is currently working as a Medical Administrative Assistant with Unity Health Network in the Surgical Oncology Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She is pursuing a career in medicine with an interest in applied research, focusing on the social determinants of health, to develop and implement solutions that mitigate risks and enhance access to health and social services for underserved/vulnerable communities.
Olivia Brown, RN, MScN (qualifying) is a third year Master of Nursing student at York University, with 10 years of diverse mental health experience, and is currently working towards the completion of her master's thesis.