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.