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.

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.

PhD Students

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.

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.

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.

Honours Undergraduate Students

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.

Header Photo: Dr. Marie Baron