Our project team

Dr. Margaret McKinnon

Dr. Margaret McKinnon

Principal Investigator, Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, McMaster University

Dr. Margaret McKinnon is Full Professor and Associate Chair, Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, where she holds the Homewood Chair in Mental Health and Trauma. She is also the Research Lead for Mental Health and Addictions at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and a Senior Scientist at Homewood Research Institute. 

Work in Margaret’s unit focuses on identifying the neural and behavioural correlates of PTSD and trauma-related illnesses and on translating this knowledge to the development and testing of novel treatment interventions aimed at reducing the cognitive and affective sequelae of these conditions. 

A licensed clinical psychologist and clinical neuropsychologist, Margaret has a special interest in military, veteran, and public safety populations (including healthcare providers), and has worked with these groups clinically and in her research program. She has published or in press nearly 150 scientific works. 

Under Margaret’s leadership, the Trauma & Recovery Research Unit is supported by federal and provincial funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research, Veterans Affairs Canada, Defence Canada, the PTSD Centre of Excellence, MITACS, and the Workers Safety Insurance Board of Ontario; by a generous donation to Homewood Research Institute from Homewood Health Inc.; and by generous gifts from private foundations including True Patriot Love, the Cowan Foundation, the Military Casualty Support Foundation, the FDC Foundation, and the AllOne Foundation. 

Margaret is a frequent commentator in the media on matters related to PTSD, moral injury, and the impact of trauma on special populations.

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Dr. Andrea Brown

Dr. Andrea Brown

Research Associate, Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, McMaster University

Dr. Andrea Brown obtained her PhD in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Guelph. In addition to her work in the Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, she has conducted applied research and program evaluation for not-for-profit organizations, regional government, the Department of National Defence, academe, and industry.

Since 2015, Andrea’s focus has been on mental health and addictions research and evaluation, with a specialty on healthcare workers, military sexual trauma (MST), and post-traumatic stress disorder. She is also the co-director of the MiNDS Network for MST and the director of knowledge exchange for the Canadian MST Community of Practice.

In addition to this, Andrea is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) in the Province of Ontario.

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Andrea D’Alessandro-Lowe

Andrea D’Alessandro-Lowe

Graduate Student (PhD), McMaster University

Andrea D’Alessandro-Lowe is a Clinical Psychology PhD student at McMaster University, supervised by Dr. Margaret McKinnon and Dr. Randi McCabe. She received her Bachelor of  Arts in Honours Psychology (Research Specialist) and Honours Sociology from Wilfrid Laurier University (’20) and her Masters of Science in Neuroscience from McMaster University (’22). Andrea’s doctoral research on moral injury in healthcare workers and public safety personnel focuses on conceptualizing this construct among these populations and understanding the role that organizations can play in mitigating moral injury for their employees.

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Christina Chrysler

Christina Chrysler

Clinical Research Lead, Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, McMaster University

Christina Chrysler is a Clinical Research Lead who oversees the Trauma & Recovery Research Unit. She has spent 20 years at McMaster University working in clinical health research as a Clinical Research Coordinator and Senior Grants Advisor. She provides a comprehensive understanding of clinical research projects, study design, data management, grant administration, research finance, and research contracts.

Prior to joining the Unit, the majority of Christina’s career was spent managing the Canadian arm (MSSNG) of the International Autism Genome Project. She is also a trained psychometrist and has a specialization in complex neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, fetal alcohol syndrome, anxiety, mood disorders, developmental disabilities, and cognitive impairments.

As Clinical Research Lead, she oversees all the activities in the Unit to ensure its projects are on track to meet their deliverables and timelines.

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Dana Waldern

Dana Waldern

Administrative Assistant, Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, McMaster University

Dana graduated at the top of her class in Medical Administration in 2016 and has worked in healthcare and research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University. She is a compassionate, self-directed, dedicated, results-oriented professional offering exceptional research office operations support. A dynamic team player with positive relationship and network-building skills, driven by department and organization goals, she routinely facilitates event planning and coordination of conferences and meetings.

Dana’s passions include faith, family, running, cycling, volunteering, partnering with undergraduate and graduate students within St. Joe’s and McMaster, and investing in others to become their best selves.

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Emily Sullo

Portrait of Emily Sullo

Emily Sullo

Research Assistant (MMASc), Trauma & Research Recovery Unit, McMaster University

Emily Sullo is currently a research assistant in the Trauma and Recovery Research Unit and will be beginning her PhD in Clinical Psychology at McMaster University in Fall 2023. She received her Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Mississauga (’20) and her Master of Management of Applied Science in Global Health Systems at Western University (’21). 

Prior to joining the research unit, Emily was involved in the development of evidence- and community-based mental health and addictions projects, including the development of mobile health units in a rural setting. Currently, Emily has primarily been involved in research focused on understanding the experiences of healthcare workers and public safety personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the development of knowledge mobilization deliverables.

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Dr. Kim Ritchie

Dr. Kim Ritchie

Research Associate, Homewood Research Institute

Dr. Kim Ritchie is an Assistant Professor at Trent University and holds an Adjunct position in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience at McMaster University. Since 2020, she has been co-leading a national study examining the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on healthcare providers.

In addition, Kim is a Registered Nurse with over 20 years of experience in direct care and clinical leadership roles, primarily focusing on mental health and geriatric mental health. She completed a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from Queen’s University, and currently conducts research on PTSD, trauma, and moral injury in military/veterans, healthcare providers, and public safety personnel. 

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Mauda Karram

Mauda Karram

Mauda Karram

Clinical Research Assistant, Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, McMaster University

Mauda is a Clinical Research Assistant in the Trauma & Recovery Research Unit at McMaster University. She completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster in the (Science Honours) Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour (Mental Health Specialization) program with a minor in Theatre and Film Studies.

Currently, Mauda is the project coordinator for the Unit’s moral injury project. She aims to continue her research work on coping and self-care in healthcare workers and public safety personnel throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in hopes to apply the findings in knowledge mobilization efforts for empirically based resources and supports.

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Mina Pichtikova

Mina Pichtikova

Mina Pichtikova

Clinical Research Coordinator, Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, McMaster University

Mina is a graduate of McMaster University’s Honours BSc. Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour program, and is currently pursuing an MA in Clinical and Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto. She has six years of research experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative research on the topics of PTSD, concurrent disorders, moral injury, borderline personality disorder, traumatic brain injury, and military sexual trauma.

Mina currently works as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Trauma & Recovery Research Unit.

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Sangita Singh

Sangita Singh

Sangita Singh

Clinical Research Coordinator, Trauma & Research Recovery Unit, McMaster University

Sangita is a Registered Occupational Therapist and Knowledge Translation Specialist. She wears both hats for the Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, where she works as a Clinical Research Coordinator. Prior to joining the Unit, Sangita worked in various clinical and knowledge translation roles in the hospital, community, and long-term care sectors in the Greater Toronto Area for more than 20 years. Her clinical interests are in geriatric mental health, specifically non-pharmacological care and management of the behavioural and psychiatric symptoms of dementia.

Working in clinical settings as a KT Specialist taught Sangita foundational lessons in understanding the contexts in which learning happens, creating safety for learning to happen, and appreciating the wisdom that adult learners bring to their learning experiences. She strives to incorporate these lessons in all her work.

Sangita is delighted to be part of the Trauma & Recovery Research team. She has many healthcare providers in her closest circle of friends and feels honoured to have been able to work on the Healthcare Salute project.

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Senay Asma

Dr. Senay Asma

Research Associate, Trauma & Recovery Research Unit, McMaster University

Dr. Senay Asma is a senior statistician, analytics consultant, research scientist, lecturer, and a certificated program evaluator professional with more than 15 years of experience both in the public and private sector. She held an Assistant Professor appointment at Anadolu University between 2007–2013 before joining the research group in probability and statistics as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University. Since 2009, Dr. Asma has been involved in interdisciplinary research with computing algorithms, genome/phenotype-wide association studies, and health economics, as well as psychiatry and neuroscience. Her work in this area covers both theoretical and applied aspects. She has published extensively on probability and statistics issues, as well as contributed papers on human genetics. In 2022, she was appointed Research Associate at McMaster University’s Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Health Sciences.

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Sherain Harricharan

Sherain Harricharan

Graduate Student (PhD), McMaster University

Sherain Harricharan is currently pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Margaret McKinnon. She previously received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Medical Sciences at Western University, and then went on to complete her doctoral degree in Neuroscience at Western with Dr. Ruth Lanius.

Sherain’s research focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder, using neuroimaging to study how pathways in the brain are altered as a function of trauma and dissociation. In particular, she studies how sensory processing in the mind and body impacts cognitive functioning, including emotion regulation and social engagement. She is dedicated to helping develop clinical sensorimotor treatments for traumatized individuals.

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Sophia Roth

Sophia Roth

Sophia Roth

Graduate Student (PhD), McMaster University

Sophia (they/them) is a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at McMaster University and a psychology resident with the London Clinical Psychology Residency Consortium. Sophia’s research interests centre around the psychological impact of trauma, moral injury, shame, and emotion dysregulation.

Clinically, Sophia specializes in youth and young adult mental health and well-being with an emphasis on anxiety-related disorders and minority stress in 2SLGBTQ+ communities.

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Yuanxin Xue

Portrait of Yuanxin Xue

Yuanxin Xue

Research Assistant, Trauma & Research Recovery Unit, McMaster University

Yuanxin Xue is a medical student at the University of Toronto. He completed his Bachelor of Health Sciences and MSc in Global Health at McMaster University. Yuanxin’s current research focuses on various facets of mental health, perioperative medicine, as well as the intersections between these fields. He currently works as a Research Assistant at the Trauma & Recovery Research Unit.

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LCol (Ret’d) Dr. Alexandra Heber MD, FRCPC, CCPE

Portrait of Dr. Alexandra Heber

LCol (Ret’d) Dr. Alexandra Heber MD, FRCPC, CCPE

Chief of Psychiatry for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC); Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University

Dr. Alexandra Heber MD, FRCPC, CCPE, is Chief of Psychiatry for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), and  Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. Dr. Heber is Co-Chair of the Canadian Military Sexual Trauma Community of Practice, and she is Lead Author on the Glossary of Terms 3.0.    

 Dr. Heber has over 40 years’ experience as a nurse and as a psychiatrist. After a decade working with HIV+ clients at Mount Sinai Hospital, and leading an Assertive Community Treatment Team in downtown Toronto, she moved to Ottawa where she enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2006, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2009–10. In 2016, she became inaugural Chief of Psychiatry for Veterans Affairs Canada. In 2019, she was a member of the Ontario Coroner’s expert Panel on Police Officer Deaths by Suicide.

Dr. Heber worked closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop the 2019 Federal Framework on PTSD. In March 2020, she led a Task Force for the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment, to create online resilience supports for first responders and public safety personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, “The COVID-19 Readiness Resource Project.” In 2022, Dr. Heber appeared before the Mass Casualty Commission investigating the April 2020 shooting events in Portapique, Nova Scotia, as an expert witness on the Needs of First Responders After a Mass Casualty Incident. She is currently leading the creation of a knowledge hub, the Canadian Institute for Pandemic Health Education and Response (CIPHER), a federally-funded project to curate and mobilize mental health resources for frontline workers affected by COVID-19.

Dr. Heber has written two online courses on PTSD treatment, using a Trauma-Informed Care approach.  She has presented and published nationally and internationally on mental health in military, veteran, and first-responder populations. Her research interests include: mental health impacts of COVID-19, military sexual misconduct and trauma, and the effects of minority stress on women, LGBTQ2 Veterans, and other marginalized groups.

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Charlene O’Connor

Charlene O’Connor

Senior Manager of Research and Innovation, Homewood Research Institute

Charlene O’Connor is the Senior Manager of Research and Innovation for Specialized Services at Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ontario. She is an occupational therapist, has Masters degrees in Rehabilitation Science and Psychology, and is a PhD candidate in Psychology at University of Toronto. She works closely with first responders, military members, and Veterans to develop novel treatment approaches for occupational stress and trauma-related issues. She has a special interest in rehabilitation of cognitive issues in PTSI and identification of mental health treatment needs of first responders and military members. Charlene has presented at conferences nationally and internationally on both traumatic brain injury rehabilitation and PTSI. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of Toronto Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

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Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley

Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley

Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley

Registered Clinical Psychologist; Director, Dr. Lee-Baggley and Associates

Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley is a Registered Clinical Psychologist in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. She is the director of Dr. Lee-Baggley and Associates, a virtual health psychology clinic specializing in clinical interventions, training for healthcare providers, and research in health-related issues (e.g., chronic pain, sleep, COVID burnout, PTSD for point-of-care workers).

Dayna worked for almost 15 years in multidisciplinary teams on medical, surgical, and cancer care hospital units providing assessment, therapy, and consultation for patients with chronic and life-threatening health conditions. She also conducts research as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, with a cross appointment in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience at Dalhousie University and an Adjunct Professor appointment in the Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary’s University. She has an active research program on behaviour change, obesity, chronic disease, professional resiliency, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Dayna has over 45 peer-reviewed publications and over 130 scholarly presentations. She is a Senior Consultant providing healthy workplace interventions for employees, teams, and leaders with Howatt HR Consulting and the Chief of Research for the Howatt HR Applied Workplace Research Institute. She is an internationally recognized trainer in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She was the recipient of the 2017 Women of Excellence Award for her contributions to health, sport and wellness (Canadian Progress Club Halifax). She is the author of the book Healthy Habits Suck: How to get off the couch & live a healthy life…even if you don’t want to.

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Dr. Hygge Schielke

Dr. Hygge Schielke

Trauma Services Development Lead, Homewood Health Centre

Dr. Hygge Schielke, PhD, is the Trauma Services Development Lead for Homewood Health Centre and the Centre’s Traumatic Stress Injury & Concurrent Program in Guelph, Ontario. He specializes in the assessment and treatment of trauma-related disorders, and his work is informed by his post-doctoral fellowship at The Trauma Disorders Program at Sheppard Pratt Health System and his involvement with the California Department of State Hospitals’ Trauma-Informed Care Project.

Hygge’s research is focused on the treatment of trauma-related disorders, psychotherapy process, and the relational components of psychotherapy.

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Dr. Jaimie Lusk

Dr. Jaimie Lusk

Dr. Jaimie Lusk

Clinical Psychologist; Professor, Oregon Health Sciences University

Dr. Jaimie Lusk, PsyD, is a Clinical Psychologist working with U.S. veterans at the Salem Vet Center in Salem, Oregon, as well as Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Oregon Health Sciences University. A combat veteran, she attended the U.S. Naval Academy, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001–2005, and deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Jaimie began working clinically with veterans in 2010 at the Denver VA, joined VA Portland staff in 2014, and began working at the Salem Vet Center in 2019. She is passionate about facilitating recovery from PTSD and moral injury, as well as readjustment difficulties, through evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapies.

Jaimie has conducted research related to veteran suicidality, traumatic experiences, moral injury, and spirituality. She is a cognitive processing therapy trainer, and offers national trainings and consultation in CPT for clinicians working with veterans suffering from PTSD related to combat and military sexual trauma.

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Dr. Jenna Boyd

Dr. Jenna Boyd

Dr. Jenna Boyd

Staff Psychologist, Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Dr. Jenna Boyd is a Registered Clinical Psychologist. She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at McMaster University in 2019 and her residency at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic, Mood Disorders Program, and Community Psychiatry Clinic. She specializes in the treatment of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and mood disorders. She is also a Staff Psychologist at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

Jenna’s doctoral research focused on increasing our understanding of how symptoms of PTSD impact the ability of individuals with this disorder to function on a daily basis. Over the course of her doctoral degree, she received specialized training in the treatment of PTSD, anxiety, and mood disorders. She stays up to date on evidence-based treatment approaches for these disorders by attending annual national and international conferences.

Jenna works with adults experiencing a range of conditions, including PTSD, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders, with an emphasis on assisting clients in reducing their symptoms and increasing their confidence and ability to function on a daily basis using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques. She is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO).

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Dr. Lorraine Smith-MacDonald

Dr. Lorraine Smith-MacDonald

Dr. Lorraine Smith-MacDonald

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta

Dr. Lorraine Smith-MacDonald is a Postdoctoral Fellow within the Heroes in Mind, Advocacy, and Research Consortium (HiMARC) in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta. HiMARC is the provincial initiative researching the health and wellbeing of military, veterans, public safety personnel, and their families.

Lorraine’s research focuses on the intersectionality of the mental and spiritual domains of health and specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder and moral injury.

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Dr. Nicholas Carleton

Portrait of Dr. Nicholas Carleton

Dr. Nicholas Carleton

Professor of Clinical Psychology; Registered Clinical Psychologist; Scientific Director, Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment

Nicholas Carleton, Ph.D. is a Professor of Clinical Psychology, a registered clinical psychologist in Saskatchewan, and is currently serving as the Scientific Director for the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters exploring the fundamental bases of anxiety and related disorders. He has completed more than 400 national and international conference presentations. He also serves as an active member of several national and international professional associations. As principal or co-principal investigator he has been awarded more than $60M in competitive external funding. He has received several prestigious awards and recognitions, including recent induction as a Member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, and as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and was awarded the 2020 Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research.

Dr. Carleton is actively involved in clinical and experimental research, with his interests including the biopsychosocial measurement, assessment, and treatments of trauma and anxiety, focusing on transdiagnostics and fundamental cognitions. He currently serves as principal investigator on the RCMP Longitudinal PTSD Study, the associated extension study for Saskatchewan public safety personnel, and co-principal investigator on the Federal Internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program for public safety personnel.

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Dr. Randi McCabe

Portrait of Dr. Randi McCabe

Dr. Randi McCabe

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University; Registered Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Randi McCabe is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. She is a clinical psychologist and Director of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic (ATRC ) at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton with over 20 years of experience in the field as a clinician, education, and researcher. 

Dr. McCabe is a passionate advocate of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). She has written nine books to disseminate CBT to consumers and practitioners on a global level, with translations in many languages including Phobias: The Psychology of Irrational Fear, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Groups, 10 Simple Solutions to Panic, and Overcoming Your Animal and Insect Phobias. Dr. McCabe’s research has focused on psychopathology assessment including the development of the Diagnostic Research Assessment Tool (DART) as well as the development and evaluation of novel cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) interventions. 

As Co-Chair of the Anxiety Disorders and OCD Quality Standards Advisory Committee for Health Quality Ontario, Dr. McCabe was responsible for overseeing the development of quality care standards rolled out to the province of Ontario. In recognition of her contributions to the field, Dr. McCabe was awarded Fellow status in the Canadian Psychological Association (2016), the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (2017), and the Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (2018). She also received the Excellence in Hospital and Healthcare Psychology Award (2021) and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Profession of Psychology (2023) from the Canadian Psychological Association.

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Dr. Suzette Brémault-Phillips

Portrait of Dr. Suzette Brémault-Phillips

Dr. Suzette Brémault-Phillips

Occupational Therapist; Professor, University of Alberta

Dr. Suzette Brémault-Phillips is an Occupational Therapist and Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta. She is also Director of the Heroes in Mind Advocacy and Research Consortium (HiMARC), a provincial hub for research, teaching and service in support of military members, veterans, public safety personnel, and their families.

Suzette’s research interests include resilience, wellbeing, and mental health.

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