RISE Team

The RISE Project Team is made of clinician-scientists and scholars with a depth and breadth of clinical and research experience in child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, education scholarship, research methods, and implementation science. Collectively, we represent the disciplines of social work, psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics, family medicine, public health, and health professions education.


Co-Leads

Dr. Melissa Kimber

Dr. Melissa Kimber is an Assistant Professor at the Offord Centre for Child Studies within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, as well as an Associate Member of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. She has a PhD in research methodology and is a family violence and adolescent mental health researcher; Melissa has a particular interest in health professions education related to family violence and adolescent mental health. She is also a registered social worker, and on a part-time basis, provides social work and psychotherapy services to children, adolescents, and their caregivers at a private practice in Hamilton. Dr. Kimber is the lead of the RISE Project. More information about Dr. Kimber can be found here.

Dr. Meredith Vanstone

Dr. Meredith Vanstone is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. She is also an affiliated faculty member with McMaster's Education Research, Innovation & Theory Program and the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis. Meredith's research examines social and ethical complexity within health professions education and practice. Dr. Vanstone is a co-lead of the RISE Project. More information about Dr. Vanstone can be found here.

Dr. Donna Stewart

Dr. Donna Stewart is a Professor at the University of Toronto and a Psychiatrist at the University Health Network Centre for Mental Health. She is an expert in intimate partner violence and its effects on adults’ and children’s mental health. Dr. Stewart is a co-lead of the RISE Project. More information about Dr. Stewart can be found here.


Co-Investigators

Dr. Delphine Collin-Vézina

Dr. Delphine Collin-Vézina is the Director of the Centre for Research on Children and Families at McGill University. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, an Associate Professor at the McGill School of Social Work, and an Associate Member in the Department of Pediatrics where she holds the Nicolas Steinmetz and Gilles Julien Chair in Community Social Pediatrics. She has recently received a SSHRC Partnership grant to expand her work on childhood trauma and trauma-informed care and to establish the Canadian Consortium on Child and Youth Trauma. More information on Dr. Collin-Vézina can be found here.

Dr. Gina Dimitropoulos

Dr. Gina Dimitropoulos is an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary. She has over 20 years of clinical experience in both tertiary care and community-based settings delivering family-based treatments, group therapy, and individual counselling for adolescents and adults with mental health issues. Her research program spans several areas, including child and youth mental health, eating disorders, child maltreatment, health services research, and systems navigation and collaboration. More information about Dr. Dimitropoulos can be found here.

Dr. Christine Wekerle

Dr. Christine Wekerle is an Associate Professor in Pediatrics and an Associate Member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University. She obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Western University and conducted her accredited internship in pediatrics at McMaster. She is Editor-in-Chief of Child Abuse & Neglect and founding editor of International Journal of Child and Adolescent Resilience. More information about Dr. Wekerle can be found here.


VEGA (Violence, Evidence Guidance, Action) Advisor

Dr. Harriet MacMillan

Dr. Harriet MacMillan is a Psychiatrist and Pediatrician conducting family violence research. She is a Distinguished University Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and Pediatrics at McMaster University, as well as an Associate Member of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. Harriet holds the Chedoke Health Chair in Child Psychiatry at McMaster University. Dr. MacMillan is the lead of the VEGA Project, which is a suite of educational resources to support healthcare and social service providers to recognize and respond to family violence. Dr. MacMillan serves as an advisor to the RISE Project.


Project Co-ordinators

Dr. Anita Acai

Dr. Anita Acai is an Assistant Professor and Education Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. She is an interdisciplinary health professions education researcher with a particular interest in physician equity and wellbeing. Dr. Acai is the Interim Coordinator of the RISE Project, from September 2020 to September 2021. More information about Dr. Acai can be found here.

Ilana Allice

Ilana Allice is a Research Coordinator at the Offord Centre for Child Studies where she implements and oversees the operations of the RISE Project. Ilana has more than 10 years of experience working on qualitative and mixed-methods research in primary care, health professions education, and community-based research.


Research Team

Alice Cavanagh is an MD/PhD student at McMaster University, working in health policy and health professions education. Her doctoral work considers representations of IPV in medical training. More information about Alice can be found here.

Ash Lowenthal is a Social Work PhD candidate at the Center for Research on Children and Families at McGill University. She studies the change processes involved in trauma- and violence-informed care implementation. More information about Ash can be found here.

Ayda Ferdossifard is a Research Assistant at the Offord Centre for Child Studies (PI: Kimber), York University (PI: Muller) and the University of Toronto (PI: Geva). She supports research projects on violence, trauma, and adolescent mental health.

Manya Singh is a Research Coordinator with the Calgary Eating Disorder Program and at the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education at the University of Calgary. She coordinates several projects related to child and adolescent mental health and eating disorders.

Rosemary Perry is a Research Coordinator at the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education at the University of Calgary. Her research interests include youth and school-based mental health.

Ruby Mann is a Research and Communications Assistant at the Offord Centre for Child Studies in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. She enjoys working on research projects that help to improve medical education and enhance the quality and safety of patient care. She also has experience working in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery at McMaster.

Savanah Smith is a Research Coordinator in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. Her research interests include child maltreatment, youth mental health, and resilience in youth. More information about Savanah can be found here.

Kinza Syed is a volunteer Research Assistant for the RISE Project. Her research interests are focused on mental health, cultural safety, and human behaviour. Kinza plans to pursue training in psychotherapy in the future.

Anaïs Cadieux Van Vliet is an incoming PhD student at the McGill School of Social Work. Their research will focus on the experiences of non-abused, non-abuser siblings of child sexual abuse survivors. More information about Anaïs can be found here.

Shipra Taneja is a Research Assistant in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. She supports a variety of research projects related to primary care and health professional education.