Dr. Samantha Wells is the Scientific Director of the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She is also an associate professor in the Clinical Public Health Division at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She holds positions as adjunct associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University, and as adjunct associate professor in the School of Psychology at Deakin University in Australia.
Areas of Research
Dr. Wells is interested in mental health and wellness in Indigenous communities. Drawing on a strengths-based perspective, she examines how strengths and resilience resources in First Nations communities buffer the effects of stress and trauma on mental health. Central to this research is extensive community engagement, ensuring knowledge uptake and translation of findings into policy and practice. Working in close collaboration with First Nations communities, she is leading a large research program to develop community wellness strategies, using participatory action research informed by local data and lived experiences.
Dr. Wells has led large multidisciplinary team initiatives, including a study combining experts from the biological, social, and behavioural sciences, who examined the complex interplay of a diverse range of factors contributing to mental health, substance use, and violence problems in diverse Ontario communities, through community-based research and innovative data collection using a mobile research lab.
Dr. Wells also examines aggression and victimization experiences among young people in drinking situations, including male-to-male physical aggression and male-to-female sexual harassment and aggression. Her work focuses on young men’s normative attitudes and beliefs about aggression when drinking, masculine norms and peer dynamics and how these factors contribute to men’s involvement in male alcohol-related aggression. She developed and validated a multidimensional inventory measuring young men’s attitudes and beliefs about aggression between men in drinking situations. She is currently extending this line of enquiry to the study of men’s normative attitudes and beliefs about male-to-female sexual harassment and aggression in public drinking establishments, with the long-term goal of developing appropriate interventions to reduce young women’s experiences of sexual victimization in drinking settings.
View Dr. Wells' publications on PubMed.