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).

Madeleine Pawlowski

Research Assistant, McGill University

Madeleine is responsible for coordinating the Youth Photovoice project as part of the community component of the Qanuilirpitaa? Nunavik Health Survey. In her position, she works closely with Nunavimmiut students and teachers, the Nunavik Board of Health and Social Services, and the school board, Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, to facilitate and empower youth voices on issues of community health and well-being. Madeleine holds a Master’s in Health Geography (2020) and a BA Joint Honours in Geography and International Development (2015), both from McGill.

Honours Undergraduate Students

Laurianne Debanné

Honours Undergraduate Student, McGill University

Laurianne is completing her BSc Honours in Environment with a minor concentration in Geography (Urban Studies). Her research interests center on climate change, its impacts on vulnerable communities, and its socioeconomic implications. For her honours project under the supervision of Professor Riva, she will be looking at the spatial distribution of energy poverty in Canada in relation to extreme climatic events. This analysis will hone in on specific communities and regions, with the overarching aim to further understand their levels of vulnerability to energy poverty.

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.

Bea Lehmann

Honours Undergraduate Student, McGill University

Bea is in the final year of her BA Honours in International Development, with a minor in Health Geography. Through this minor, she met Professor Mylene Riva and began to develop her own interest in the intersection of spatial and social determinants of health, and the subsequent development of policies implemented by public health programs. She is currently working as a research assistant with Professor Riva on energy poverty among university students in Canada. In addition, Bea is completing her honours project with Professor Riva, exploring the prevalence of inadequate housing among Canadian populations identifying as visible minorities. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with social distancing and stay-at-home orders, the research will also aim to elucidate what barriers to compliance with public health directives might exist.

Master's Students

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, food insecurity, and energy poverty. Morgen’s interests revolve around the social determinants of health of indigenous communities and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). During her MA, she will be studying how community-level resources influence mental health and well-being across Inuit communities in Nunavik.

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