Prof. Mylène Riva

Bonjour! Hello! Welcome to my research group's website. I am an Assistant Professor at McGill University, cross-appointed in the Institute for Health and Social Policy and the Department of Geography. I hold the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Housing, Community, and Health. I am a health geographer and population health researcher. My research activities are focused on socio-environmental determinants of health in urban, rural, remote and Indigenous communities. I am particularly interested in housing and communities as important place-based determinants of health and as settings for interventions to improve population health and to reduce inequalities. I lead and collaborate on various scientific initiatives in these areas. I hold a BSc in Geography and PhD in Public Health and Health Promotion from Université de Montreal. I was a postdoctoral fellow in Health Geography at Durham University in the UK, and held a Banting postdoctoral fellowship at Université Laval. Prior to joining McGill in 2016, I was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at Université Laval and researcher at CHU de Quebec Research Center (2012-2016).

Research Assistants

Clara Kaufmann

Research Assistant, McGill University

Clara is a Research Assistant and recently received her MA in Geography from McGill. She is working on a CIHR-funded project examining healthy neighbourhoods, housing, and mental health in Montreal. After completing a bachelor’s degree in Health and Social Psychology at Bryn Mawr College, Clara became interested in studying the social and environmental determinants of physical and mental health and developing population-based health interventions that address these determinants. As a team member of the Geo-social Determinants of Health Research Group led by Professor Nancy Ross, she contributed to the development and validation of a new Canada-wide food environment dataset (Can-FED). Her master's thesis examined neighbourhood fast food access and fast food consumption across Canada by linking neighbourhood food environment measures derived in ArcGIS with data from a national health survey (2015 Canadian Community Health Survey-Nutrition).

Honours Undergraduate Students

Laura Latendresse

Undergraduate Student, McGill University

Laura is in the third year of her BSc in Ecological Determinants of Health at McGill’s School of Environment, with a minor in Geography. Her research interests involve social and environmental determinants of health in the context of climate change and contemporary globalization patterns. Laura received a Social Equity Science Undergraduate Research Award (SURA) for Summer 2021 and is working under the supervision of Prof. Riva on energy insecurity in northern Canada. The aim of the project is to bring attention to the extent of energy poverty in Indigenous communities in the North.

Master's Students

Laurianne Debanné

MA Student, McGill University

Laurianne began her masters in the fall of 2021 after having completed an BSc Honours in Environment. Her research interests center on climate change and its impacts on vulnerable communities, energy security, and just sustainability. She joined Prof. Riva’s lab in 2020 to complete her honours research project on the spatial distribution of energy poverty in relation to extreme climate events in Atlantic Canada. For her MA, Laurianne is examining energy poverty in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, by describing the housing and socioeconomic characteristics of energy poor households and their coping mechanisms.

Morgen Bertheussen

MA Student, McGill University

Morgen began her master’s in Geography in fall 2020 after completing her BA Honours in Ecological Determinants of Health at McGill's School of Environment with a minor in geography. After graduating from her BA, she joined Prof. Riva’s lab in early 2020 and has since been working on several projects related to Health Impact Assessments, mapping food insecurity and energy poverty at different geographic scales. Morgen’s research interests revolve around different conceptualizations of health and well-being, and how these are taken into account in quantitative studies. During her MA, Morgen is grounding quantitative work in qualitative findings through the operationalization of a holistic indicator of Inuit health and well-being.

Sophie Kingunza Makasi

MA Student, McGill University

Sophie began her master’s in Geography in fall 2020 after completing her BSc in the Ecological Determinants of Health at McGill's School of Environment. Her research interests focus on the socio-environmental determinants of health and health disparities. Since joining Prof. Riva’s lab in May 2019, Sophie has been working on various projects related to Indigenous health indicators, housing, food insecurity, and energy poverty. During her MA, she will examine how energy poverty impacts the health of Canadians.

Ella Myette

MA Student, McGill University

Ella began her master’s in Geography in fall 2019 after completing her BA Honours in Ecological Determinants of Health at McGill's School of Environment. Since joining the lab as a research assistant in May 2018, she has worked on a variety of projects related to housing and health. Her research interests center on the health and social impacts of mining projects, particularly on marginalized populations. During her MA, she will be examining how Indigenous Peoples’ health and well-being is represented and addressed in regulatory and permitting processes for new mining projects.

PhD Students

Hannah Brais

PhD student, McGill University

Hannah is a PhD student in the Geography Department at McGill University. She holds both a BA in Urban Planning and an MSc in Geography, Urban and Environmental Studies from Concordia University. Her research stems from her work as the research coordinator at the Old Brewery Mission, a large homeless service provider in Montreal. Hannah’s doctoral research is focused around homeless services as spaces of care, investigating the difficulty homeless substance users have accessing these spaces, and in turn, accessing support to exit homelessness. This work positions homelessness in a human rights framework, advocating for a universal right to housing. Her research employs a mixed-methods approach, using both quantitative administrative data from service providers, as well as interviews with service users.

Karine Perreault

PhD student, Université de Montréal

Karine is a PhD student in Public Health (Health Promotion option) at Université de Montréal. Her research interests broadly include social determinants of health, health promotion, population health intervention research, and Indigenous health. During her PhD, she will explore how improvements in housing conditions impact mental health in 12 Inuit communities in Nunavik and Nunavut, using a mixed-methods collaborative research methodology. More specifically, she will examine the impact of moving to a new house on family life and psychosocial processes, and how these intermediate mechanisms may relate to mental health. She is co-supervised by Prof. Riva, and Prof. Louise Potvin (Université de Montréal). She holds a 3-year Doctoral Research Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Priority Announcement: Research in First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit.

Charles-Olivier Simard

PhD Candidate, Université de Montréal

Having completed a bachelor's and master's degree in Anthropology, Charles-Olivier is currently a PhD candidate in Demography at Université de Montréal. He is co-supervised by Prof. Simona Bignami and Prof. Riva. His research interest focuses on household formation, family life cycle and housing access in Inuit communities.

Thérèse Yéro Adamou

PhD Candidate, Université Laval

​Thérèse is a PhD candidate in the Community Health program of Université Laval. She is co-supervised by Prof. Riva and Prof. Pierre Ayotte. Thérèse completed a bachelor in biology in 2005 (UQAM) and a Masters in Environmental and Occupational Health in 2008 (Université of Montréal). Her research interests mainly focus on environmental health and environmental justice issues among Inuit pregnant women from Nunavik. The main objectives of her research project are to: (1) assess temporal trends in Inuit pregnant women exposure to environmental pollutants (i.e, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls) and (2) determine whether social disparities in maternal exposure to environmental pollutants exist in this population.

Header Photo: Dr. Marie Baron