Prof. Mylène Riva

Bonjour! Hello! Welcome to my research group's website. I am an Associate 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).

Master's Students

Bavisha Thurairajah

MA Student, McGill University

Bavisha began her master’s in Geography in the fall of 2022 after completing her BA in International Development with a minor in Health Geography. She joined Prof. Riva's lab as a research assistant in the summer before starting her master's. Her research interests focus on housing as a social determinant of health and its relation to healthy aging and "aging in place". During her MA, Bavisha will examine how various housing conditions impact the wellbeing of older adults across rural environments in Canada.

PhD Students

Laurianne Debanné

PhD Student, McGill University

Laurianne is a PhD student in the Geography Department at McGill University. Through her doctoral research, Laurianne is hoping to explore how energy poverty can be addressed through Canada’s energy transition policy using a mixed method approach. At McGill since her undergraduate degree, she completed an MA in Geography in 2023 and an MSc in Environmental Sciences in 2021. She joined Prof. Riva’s lab in 2020 and has been involved in many of the research group's different projects. She is the research coordinator of the BridgES project. Her research interests center on energy poverty, healthy housing, energy justice, and community-led research.

Morgen Bertheussen

PhD Student, McGill University

Morgen graduated from her master’s in Geography in February 2023 after completing her BA Honours in Ecological Determinants of Health at McGill's School of Environment. Morgen’s research interests revolve around the protective factors of health and well-being across different cultural and geographic settings. Her doctoral research focusses on social dimensions of climate change, and how these can be integrated in adaptation strategies. Currently, Morgen is involved in a research partnership with Tuktoyaktuk, an Inuvialuit community in the Northwest Territories. She is also working on a research project in Gatineau, Québec, where the aim is to identify the psychosocial impacts of reoccurring flood victims.

Hannah Brais

PhD Candidate, 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.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Ana Deaconu

Postdoctoral researcher, McGill University

Ana is a postdoctoral researcher who aims to support equitable and resilient food systems. She uses a participatory action research approach and mixed methods to explore links between agriculture, nutrition and health. Currently, she is involved in research projects in Guatemala and Ecuador that work with Indigenous farmers practicing agroecology. These projects explore how agroecology, as both a farming strategy and social phenomenon, can advance the health and well-being of farmers and their environments. Ana holds a B.S. and M.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University. She has further experience around food systems and health in Belize and Peru, and lived in Ecuador for five years, with part of that time supported by the Fulbright program.

Research Assistants

Sophie Kutuka

Research Associate, McGill University

Sophie graduated from her master’s in Geography in February 2023 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.

Asia Benford


Asia is a research assistant in Dr. Riva’s lab, working closely with Laurianne Debanné investigating energy poverty and its intersections with housing in rural Nova Scotia. Asia is an undergraduate student completing her degree in Geography (Urban Studies) and Environmental studies from McGill University. Although her interests are varied, she is particularly interested in how the built environment and processes present in urban areas impact community health and access to resources.

Lauren Traboulsee


Lauren is an undergraduate student in Geography (Urban Studies) with a minor in Environment. She is currently working as a research assistant with Morgen Bertheussen on the research project in Tuktoyaktuk. Lauren is interested in the interaction between humans and the environment, such as human response and adaptation to climate change. For the Winter 2024 semester, Lauren is on exchange at the University of Melbourne but will return to McGill to complete her degree in the fall!

Honours Undergraduate Students

Header Photo: Dr. Marie Baron