Trainees & Emerging Investigators

Best wishes to “graduated” PreVAiL trainees Camille Burnett, Orion Garland, Jen MacGregor, Pamela Ponic and Shannon Sibbald, who have completed their studies and moved to new endeavours. Danielle Davidov, Abby Goldstein and Andrea Gonzalez are still with PreVAiL, now as co-investigators.

Sara Crann

Sara Crann headshotApplied Social Psychology
216 Blackwood Hall
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario

Sara Crann is a first year master’s student in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Guelph and is supervised by Paula Barata. She received her B.A. from York University in 2009. Her primary research interests include psychosocial risk and protective factors in the development of resilience in women, psychological empowerment, and the impact of sexual violence and intimate partner violence on women’s health and wellbeing. She is currently working on two projects with Dr. Barata. The first study is examining the impact of housing programs developed for women who have experienced IVP on wellbeing and experiences of violence, and the second study is examining the mechanisms underlying the formation of resilience in women who have experienced IVP and who are anti-violence against women advocates.

Natalia Diaz-Granados

Natalia Diaz-GrandadosMcMaster University
Offord Centre for Child Studies
1200 Main St.West
Chedoke Site, Centre Building
Hamilton, ON, L8N 3Z5

Natalia Diaz-Granados is a third year PhD student in the Health Research Methodology Program at McMaster University and is supervised by Dr. Michael Boyle. She received her MSc in Epidemiology from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and her Hon. BSc in Biology from McMaster University. She is particularly interested in area-level influences on mental health, gender equity and global health. Her doctoral thesis is focused on the area-level influences on intimate partner violence in lower and middle income countries. She has worked on a variety of projects with Dr. Donna Stewart at the University Health Network Women’s Health Program including gender equity in mental health in Peru, Colombia and Canada, assessing gender equity in depression care in Ontario (POWER project), conducting a systematic review on the epidemiology of depression among women in Ontario, and predictors of osteoporosis in men.

Melissa Kimber

Melissa Kimber headshotDepartment of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences
Offord Centre for Child Studies
MIP 201A
1280 Main Street West,
Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1

Melissa Kimber currently Ontario Women’s Health Scholar Post-Doctoral Fellowship award, funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Situated within Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University, Dr. Kimber received her PhD (2015) in Health Research Methodology within the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University. Dr. Kimber has a particular interest in investigating and understanding the putative risk and protective factors for eating disorders and family violence among children and adolescents and the extent to which evidence-based interventions to address these concerns can be implemented with fidelity in everyday clinical practice. Dr. Kimber is also the Founder and Co-director of the Researching Adolescent Lives (ReAL) Lab (; a virtual research lab that combines clinical, population and public health approaches in order to research, understand and promote child and adolescent wellbeing.

Kat Kolar

Kat Kolar headshotResearch Assistant, University of Toronto
Department of Sociology

Kat Kolar is currently a research analyst and PhD student in sociology and the Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies (CoPAS) at the University of Toronto. Her academic and research work focuses on understanding experiences of and perspectives on risk, health, and resilience among marginalized populations, including drug users, sex workers and their clients, and homeless youth. Kat has been awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship for her research on drug normalization, which she is pursuing under the supervision of Dr. Patricia Erickson.

Anita Morris

Anita Morris headshotPrimary Care Research Unit
Department of General Practice
University of Melbourne
200 Berkeley Street
Carlton, Victoria, Australia 3053

Anita Morris completed her PhD in primary care and social work at University of Melbourne, Australia in 2015. She has been appoined as Honorary Fellow at the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne until 2018. Anita’s PhD focused on children’s safety and resilience in the context of family violence. Anita is lead author, with co-authors Professor Kelsey Hegarty and Professor Cathy Humphreys, of a book chapter ‘Children’s views of safety and adversity when living with domestic violence’, in the recently published ‘Domestic violence and protecting children: New thinking and approaches’, edited by Professor Nicky Stanley and Professor Cathy Humphreys. Anita is Allied Health Lead in Women’s & Children’s at a large public health service in Melbourne where she leads several small projects on family violence and trauma informed care. Anita is also a newly appointed Board member of the largest women’s shelter in Victoria. She was called to give evidence as an Expert Witness to the Royal Commission into Family Violence held in Victoria, Australia in 2015. Anita has been a ‘Trainee’ Committee Member of PreVAiL since 2012 and co-led planning for the most recent PreVAiL Trainee Workshop.

Leslie Roos

Leslie Roos headshotRoom PZ 482B, Psych Health
771 Bannatyne Avenue
Winnipeg, MB,
R3E 3N4

Leslie Roos received her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Brown University in May 2010. Since then, she has been working with Drs. Tracie Afifi and Jitender Sareen in the Traumatic Stress Lab at the University of Manitoba. Here, she developed a strong interest in understanding how adverse childhood experiences (specifically maltreatment) affect development and outcomes later in life. Her work in this area includes a project to be presented at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) investigating if Axis I and II disorders mediate the link between childhood adversity and future homelessness in a nationally representative sample (the National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol and Related Conditions). She is also retrospectively examining how a history in foster care relates to baseline data the the At Home/Chez Soi mental health and homelessness project. This project investigates how homeless individuals with and without a history ‘in care’ differ in regards to mental and physical health conditions, traumatic experiences, education, and quality of life. In September 2011, Leslie will begin her MA/PhD program at the University of Oregon in clinical psychology under Dr. Phil Fisher. While pursuing her PhD, she plans to research how specific neurocognitive pathways (relating to the HPA axis and inhibition) are altered in adolescents with a childhood history of maltreatment.

Cody Shepherd

Cody Shepherd headshotChildren’s Health Policy Centre
Faculty of Health Sciences,
Simon Fraser University
2433–515 West Hastings Street,
Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3
Tel: 778-782-7770;

Cody Shepherd is a researcher and founding member of the Children’s Health Policy Centre at Simon Fraser University, where he works with Dr. Charlotte Waddell to promote a public health strategy for children’s mental health. Their review of child psychiatric epidemiology informed the BC Government’s Child and Youth Mental Health Plan, a national first. Cody Shepherd has since been engaged in qualitative studies of the policy process pertaining to children’s antisocial behaviour and to autism spectrum disorders. He is currently involved in a project to explore implementation and evaluation options for a nurse home visiting program in BC. His research interests include epidemiology and prevention of children’s mental disorders, socioeconomic determinants of health throughout the lifespan, and public understanding of population health research. Cody Shepherd received a BA (Honours) in Linguistics from the University of British Columbia in 1998, followed by graduate coursework and community program development in First Nations languages. Recently, he has completed graduate courses in epidemiology and health policy, in preparation for further studies.

Rae Spiwak

Rae Spiwak headshotPhD Student
Department of Community Health Sciences
University of Manitoba

Ms. Rae Spiwak is a PhD student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Rae is also a Research Associate at the Traumatic Stress Research Lab in the Department of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, and a member of the CIHR funded Swampy Cree Suicide Prevention Team. Ms. Spiwak has received doctoral funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and from the Western Regional Training Centre for Health Services Research, and will be pursuing the area of suicide survivors in her PhD research. Ms. Spiwak has experience with both quantitative and qualitative methodology and has worked in the area of research development and statistics as the regional Research Epidemiologist for the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia from 2005 to 2008. In this role, Rae provided consultation to researchers in all fields of health, specifically in the area of qualitative and quantitative research design, statistics, and program evaluation. Rae has a particular interest in issues related to community health, and has been active in various research venues including focus group facilitation, qualitative analysis and advanced quantitative analysis of Statistics Canada and other national health databases. Rae’s work includes specialization in research epidemiology, the epidemiology of violence in vulnerable populations, the promotion of knowledge translation in healthcare, and research education.

Masako Tanaka

Masako Tanaka headshotDepartment of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences
McMaster University
1280 Main St. W.
Hamilton, ON, L8S4K1

Masako Tanaka is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. She has a background in psychology and sociology and received her Ph.D. in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. Her research focuses on public health approach to violence prevention and promoting health and wellbeing of children and their families. Her current activities aim for improving data collection for the national estimates of family violence, as well as improving response to and reducing intimate partner violence in Japan, and identifying ways to promote resilience of youth across settings. She continues to be involved with projects to develop global violence prevention research priorities on behalf of the WHO’s Violence Prevention Alliance.