Former Team

Former Research Assistants and Administrator

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 (2018-2021)

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.

Megan Toth

Research Administrator, McGill University (2019-2021)

Megan is the Research Administrator for the Canada Research Chair in Housing, Community and Health. She joined the team in December 2019 and currently works to coordinate lab activities, research projects, and administrative procedures. She holds a BA from Cornell University in Biology and Society with a focus in Environmental Studies and an MA from the University of Oregon in Environmental Studies. During her master’s degree, she co-produced a feature-length documentary film, Vanastree, about a women’s seed-saving cooperative in Southern India. Later, Megan traveled to Haiti where she produced 10 short videos for a charity-based healthcare organization. Most recently, Megan was the Advancement Manager for Major Donors and Events at Greenbelt Alliance, an environmental nonprofit in San Francisco, California. There, she coordinated multiple high-profile donor events and managed donor stewardship and fundraising projects. Megan continues to be interested in putting project management best practices to use in support of meaningful environmental and health related research.

Philippe Dufresne

Project Coordinator and Research Assistant, McGill University (2015-2021)

Philippe is a Research Assistant who has been working with Prof. Riva since August 2015. He has a Bachelor of Science in Medical Biology from the UQTR, a Master of Science in Epidemiology from Université Laval, and is currently pursuing a certificate in project management. He developed a strong interest in microbiology and human health while pursuing his first university degree, and, in the year following his graduation, had the chance to work at the University of Western Australia in the Population Health Department. This opportunity confirmed his wish to study health from a larger perspective rather than at the individual level. He is currently mainly involved in large scale surveys, both in analyses and fieldwork. His research interests involve health disparities, quantitative methodologies, and social epidemiology.

Marie-Claude Lyonnais

Research Assistant, Université Laval (2016-2021)

Marie-Claude is an MSc student in Community Health at Université Laval under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Fletcher (PhD), and Prof. Patrick Archambault (MD). She completed her Bachelor's in Information-Communication at Université de Moncton, in New Brunswick, as well as a Doctorate in Chiropractic at Université du Québec at Trois-Rivières. She worked for Radio-Canada in Moncton and Sherbrooke as a journalist before joining the research teams of Prof. Riva and Prof. Fletcher. She is part of the Qanuilirpitaa community component team of the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey Qanuilirpitaa 2017, as well as the leading research assistant of a needs assessment project for urban Inuit, in Montreal. Her Master's project was conducted in Nunavik, where she studied how Facebook was used by Nunavimmiut, and how it could be useful for a health community-based participatory research.

Antoine Lachance

Research Assistant, McGill University (2019-2020)

Antoine joined Prof. Riva’s lab in May 2019 after completing his BA Joint Honours in Environment and Geography at McGill. His research interests center around the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations around the world, especially during extreme weather events. He also has a special interest in the role of changing cannabis legislation on adolescents’ consumption patterns, and he is currently completing a systematic review on this topic. This summer, he will be writing thematic reports on data collected during the Nunavik Health Survey, Qanuilirpitaa 2017.

René Iwo

Research Assistant, McGill University (2017-2019)

René graduated from McGill University with a BA Joint Honours in Sociology and International Development Studies in 2017. His interests mainly relate to health demography in marginalized populations around the world and in his home country of Indonesia. He previously had the chance to work with Cree children in Eeyou Istchee (Cree territory in Northern Quebec), which sparked his interest in the topic of Indigenous health. He started working with Prof. Riva in the Winter 2017 term as a research intern, examining health behaviours of high school students in Eeyou Istchee. Other than continuing on this project, his work in the lab concerns the association between housing conditions and Indigenous Peoples' health and social outcomes. He is now pursuing his MA/PhD in Sociology at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

Michelle Maillet

Project Coordinator and Research Assistant, McGill University (2017-2019)

Michelle is the Geography Undergraduate Program Advisor at McGill University, and started working part-time with Dr. Riva as a Research Assistant in April 2017. She holds an MA in Geography (2014) and a BA in International Development, Geography and Environment (2010) from McGill University. Before joining the Place, Health and Well-being Research Group, she worked as Project Manager for the Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change project, and as Research Assistant and Lab Manager with the Climate Change Adaptation Research Group (Dr. James Ford). Her research interests focus on issues relating to international relations and diplomacy, policy discourses and approaches, Indigenous peoples' health and well-being, Indigenous rights, climate change impacts and adaptation, and science communication. She is currently working on projects relating to housing and Indigenous peoples' health.

Melody Lynch

Project Coordinator and Research Assistant, McGill University (2017-2019)

Melody joined the research team in February 2017 to work as the project coordinator on the community component of the Nunavik Health Survey, Qanuilirpitaa 2017. She is developing locally relevant indicators of community health and well-being for the region. Melody travelled to Nunavik's 14 communities onboard the CCGS Amundsen from August-October 2017, and completed fieldwork for the community component in January 2018. She is currently analyzing those data. Melody has a MA in development geography from McGill University, and is pursuing her PhD at the University of Melbourne, looking at the political ecology of the blue economy in Indonesia.

Former Students

Karine Perreault

PhD student, Université de Montréal (        - 2023)

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.

Ella Myette

MA Student, McGill University (2019-2021)

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.

Marie Baron

PhD Candidate, Université Laval (2014-2019)

Marie is a PhD candidate in Community Health at Université Laval under the supervision of Prof. Riva and Prof. Christopher Fletcher. She comes from Paris, France, where she graduated in Geography. During her Master’s degree in Health Geography at Nanterre University, Paris, she did two internships in Rimouski and Montreal and developed her interests about health in remote communities. Her interests also include positive health, health assets in living environment, health disparities, indigenous health and mixed methods research. Her PhD thesis focuses on living conditions promoting healthy aging in Inuit communities. ​

Camille Pépin

Doctoral student, Université Laval (2016-2019)

Camille is a Doctoral psychology student at Université Laval and is co-supervised by Prof. Gina Muckle and Prof. Riva. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Université Laval in 2015. Camille’s graduate research is focusing on household crowding in relationship with psychological distress among Nunavik Inuit youth and her undergraduate research was on food insecurity in the same population.

Megan Wylie

MA student, McGill University (2016-2019)

Megan is a Master's student at McGill working with Dr. Mylene Riva and Dr. Sebastien Breau. Her research interests center around environmental and health justice, and the consequences of increasing income inequality. Megan is working with Dr. Riva on a project to better understand how income inequality is impacting how Canadians rate their own health. Megan completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo in 2016, where she studied Environment and Business.

Antonia Sohns

PhD student, McGill University (2017-2019)

Antonia is a PhD student in the Geography Department under the joint supervision of Prof. James Ford and Prof. Riva. Her research interests include community response to natural hazards, water security, and comparative policy analysis. Before coming to McGill, Antonia worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. on the Thirsty Energy Initiative. She completed an MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management at the University of Oxford, where she focused on the water-energy nexus and the water requirements of hydraulic fracturing operations in Pinedale, Wyoming. She also holds a BS in Earth Systems, Oceans track from Stanford University.

Charlotte Brandstrup Hansen

Visiting MPH student, McGill University/University of Copenhagen (January-May 2018)

Charlotte joined the research group in January 2018 as a visiting Master's student in Public Health from the University of Copenhagen. Supervised by Dr Mylene Riva and Dr Christina Viskum Lytken Larsen, she is completing her Master's thesis, which addresses changing living conditions and mental health in the Greenlandic Inuit. Charlotte holds a BA in public health from the University of Southern Denmark and has worked at the Research Group for Public Health in Greenland since 2016, where she mainly has been involved with the planning and data management of the Greenlandic population based surveys. Since 2016 Charlotte has also been working at the Circumpolar Health Research network assisting in the work of enhancing collaboration between researchers with an interest in health research in Arctic regions. She is interested in social determinants of health and mental health especially in remote communities and will be staying with the Place Health and Well-being Research Group until May 2018.

Former Postdoctoral Fellows

Nathan S. Debortoli

Postdoctoral fellow, McGill University (2016-2018)

Nathan is an interdisciplinary postdoctoral researcher co-supervised by Dr. Riva and Dr. James Ford. His research focuses on the development of climate change, natural hazards and adaptation indices which encompass qualitative and quantitative data and indicators, and is currently building tools to map vulnerability hotspots to climate change in Inuit Nunangat.  His work also seeks to understand how traditional knowledge can increase Inuit resilience to cope with natural hazards. Nathan believes that working directly with local communities and governments can help the calibration and foster legitimacy for better indices implementation and integration. Previously he has worked as a consultant for the United Nations Framework for Climate Change, the World Wildlife Fund and the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, building vulnerability indices for flash floods, landslides and drought disasters in the context of Climate Change. He has also worked for Canada’s IDRC agency developing analysis of extreme weather events and farmer’s vulnerability in southern Brazil. He holds a PhD In Geography and Sustainable Development from Université Rennes II in France and University of Brasília in Brazil. Nathan has also worked in many EU projects in the Amazon region developing land use models, deforestation and climate impact analysis, and sustainability governance scenarios.

Other Former Team Members

Maria Gheorghiu


Maria is a Bachelor of Arts student in Honours Urban Studies with a minor in Environment. Her research interests include social policy in Quebec, notably those targeting low-cost housing. Maria’s Honours thesis is part of Prof. Riva’s project on the prevention and mitigation of energy poverty in Quebec, and will analyze the initiatives targeting residential energy efficiency in Quebec from a social justice perspective. She has received the Arts Research Internship Award and the McGill Centre for Innovation in Storage and Conversion of Energy Summer Internship Award.

Stefan Krysa

Honours Undergraduate Student, McGill University (2022)

Stefan is completing a BA Urban Studies with a double minor in Geographic Information Systems and Economics. His research has focussed on the impacts of climate change on housing and well-being along with energy insecurity in Canada. Stefan received an Arts Research Internship Award and McGill Centre for Innovation in Storage and Conversion of Energy Summer Internship Research Award. Under the supervision of Professor Riva, he is analyzing the spatial distribution and patterning of energy poverty in urban areas in Canada.

Laura Latendresse

Honours Undergraduate Student, McGill University (2022)

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 (2020)

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.

Emmanuelle Bandia
Honours Undergraduate Student, McGill University
May 2019-May 2020

Sophie Birks
Research Assistant, McGill University
May-October 2018

Johanna Busch
Undergraduate Research Assistant, McGill University
January-April 2017

Sophie Gélinas-Gagné
Undergraduate Research Assistant, McGill University
May-December 2019

Dorothy Heinrich
Research Assistant, McGill University
May-September 2018

Chloé Laflamme
Undergraduate Research Assistant, McGill University
January-April 2018

Christine Lussier
Undergraduate Research Assistant, McGill University
July-October 2017

Jeffery Sauer
Undergraduate Research Assistant, McGill University
January-August 2017

Emma Windfeld
Undergraduate Research Assistant, McGill University
January-April 2017