- While participating in the project, you will find the subject matter experts (SMEs) to be an important resource to help further your learning. They have extensive experience working with immigrant and refugee clients and are experts from the settlement, social or health service sectors. Do you have a question about immigrant and refugee mental health? Connect with the SMEs through the course or community of practice discussion forum.
- Dr. Ghadya Hassan
- Axelle Janzcur
- Dr. Claire Pain
- Vince Pietropaulo
- Dr. Debra Stein
- Vanessa Wright
Learn more about the SMEs through this video and their bios below.
Dr. Ghayda Hassan
Dr. Ghayda Hassan is a clinical psychologist and professor of clinical psychology at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She has several research, clinical and community-based national and international affiliations. She is a researcher in the SHERPA team of the CIUSSS Center-West of the island of Montreal.
Her systematic reviews, research and clinical activities are centred around the four main areas of clinical cultural psychology: 1) social suffering, intercommunity relations and violent extremism; 2) intervention in family violence & cultural diversity; 3) identity, belonging and the mental health of children and adolescents from ethnic/religious minorities; and 4) working with vulnerable immigrants and refugees. She is currently co-leading the research, training and prevention/intervention activities of the FRQSC -funded RAPS team (SHERPA sub-team for Research and Action on Radicalization and Social Suffering).
Her clinical and research activities focus on the interplay of culture, identity, mental health and violence among specific studied groups. Often what determines work with a given group stems from the social realties at hand and particularly, the needs of the clinical and community milieux with whom she works closely.
Axelle Janczur has been working in the not for profit sector in Toronto for over 30 years. With practice grounded in principles of access and equity, her interests include addressing systemic barriers to services, working with vulnerable communities to achieve change. She is an experienced trainer and public speaker, and a committed volunteer. With an MA in political science and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, she has been working at Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services for the past 20 years as Executive Director and has led them through a transformative process, prioritizing capacity building to enhance services for immigrants and refugees, developing a community based research agenda and advocating for improved access to the determinants of health for individuals and communities facing discrimination and marginalization. In her personal life, she lives with a recycling enthusiast and two rescue cats, is mother to an extreme vegan fixed gear cyclist and a feminist hiker/kayaker. She still gets up every morning, thankful to be working in a mission and values based sector”.
Dr. Clare Pain
Clare Pain is an associate professor at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; director of the Psychological Trauma Program at Mount Sinai Hospital; consultant at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT); co-project director of the Toronto Addis Ababa Psychiatry Project (TAAPP); and coordinator of the University of Toronto-Addis Ababa Collaboration Program (TAAAC). She received an honorary PhD from Addis Ababa University in 2014, for her work in mental health.
Dr. Pain's clinical focus is on the assessment and treatment of patients, including refugees, who continue to suffer from the effects of psychological trauma. She has lectured and taught on various aspects of psychological trauma including trans-cultural aspects and global mental health. She has published a number of articles including two books: Trauma and the Body: a Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy with Pat Ogden and Kekuni Minton (Norton 2006); and The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic, an edited book with Eric Vermetten and Ruth Lanius (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Vince Pietropaolo is the general manager of COSTI Family and Mental Health Services. In his current position he works with ethnocultural communities in program design, development and implementation in the areas of mental health, domestic violence and problem gambling. Vince currently sits on the York Region Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee, the CAMH Problem Gambling Advisory Committee and the Ontario Resource Group on Gambling, Ethnicity and Culture and the North York Specialized Courts Advisory Committee.
Vince has presented on the issue of domestic violence, men's violence and problem gambling at conferences in the United States and Canada. He has guest lectured at York University and Ryerson University.
Dr. Debra Stein
Dr. Debra Stein is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health, where she co-leads the Migration Consultation Team, a teaching unit with expertise in issues of resettlement and acculturation.
Dr. Stein has over 15 years of experience working alongside settlement counsellors at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, providing consultation and treatment to clients of all ages, with an emphasis on children, youth and families. She has lectured on various aspects of refugee mental health, including skills-based workshops for front-line workers, psychological trauma and parent-child attachment and the special needs of refugee youth.
Vanessa Wright is a nurse practitioner at the Women's College Hospital's Crossroads Refugee Health Clinic. She and her team provide comprehensive medical services to newly-arrived refugee clients for their first two years in Toronto. She has also worked in a number of community health centres in Toronto and provided primary health care and emergency nursing care in medically under-serviced First Nation communities in Northern Ontario. Vanessa worked as an emergency nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital from 2007-2012, and as a result became the nursing lead for the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration Emergency Medicine Team, where she supports the educational partnership between Addis Ababa University and the University of Toronto, as well supporting emergency medicine development in Ethiopia and the concept of emergency nursing.
Her other professional experiences include working as a field nurse for Doctors Without Borders in South Sudan, Zambia, and India. She also volunteers for the Health Bus at Sherbourne Health Centre and serves as a public speaker for OXFAM and an association member for Doctors Without Borders.