Dr. Ashok Malla
Nominated Principal Investigator
Srividya Iyer, Ph.D.
Director of Operations
Director of Services and Engagement
Research and Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator
Géraldine K. Etienne
Knowledge Translation and Research Coordinator
Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator
Dr. Ashok Malla is a Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, with an adjunct appointment in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Early Psychosis and Early Intervention in Youth Mental Health and is a recipient of an honorary doctorate from l’Université de Montréal (2015). He has founded two leading Prevention and Early intervention Programs for Psychoses (PEPP) in Montréal and London, Ontario and, more recently the Canadian Consortium of Early Intervention Programs for Psychosis. He has led many clinical research projects investigating the neurobiological, psychosocial, and cross-cultural aspects of multidimensional outcomes in early phase of psychotic disorders and early intervention. His research work in early intervention in psychosis has been centred on the objective of improving outcome for young patients with psychosis. He has been leading two global mental health projects: understanding differences in outcome in first episode psychosis in India and Canada, and application of a low-cost lay health worker model of mental health service delivery in rural parts of conflict-ridden Kashmir, India.
Currently, Dr Malla leads a $25M, national research project on the transformation of youth mental health services (ACCESS Open Minds), under the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), informed by his previous work in early psychosis. He has published more than 325 peer-reviewed articles, held numerous peer-reviewed research grants, supervised many graduate and post-doctoral students, residents and fellows, has been an advisor on program development and research in early intervention in psychotic disorders in several countries. He has worked tirelessly as an advocate for high quality care for the seriously mentally ill. He is also an editor of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
In India’s searing southern summers, a little girl, tired by the morning’s play and sated by a sumptuous lunch, would eagerly await naptime. At naptime, her grandma would tell the most mesmeric tales, some made up, others inspired by epics. Their flawed heroes and noble villains were plagued and propelled by passions that they had to reach within themselves to resolve. Those stories piqued the girl’s interest in inner and collective struggles and strengths. That interest became a career in psychology.
That little girl, Srividya Iyer, is now ACCESS Open Minds’ Scientific-Clinical Director. She provides vision and direction to the network’s efforts to transform Canadian youth mental health care. Srividya oversees the work of various coordinators and research assistants. One of her responsibilities is to understand the needs and perspectives of our sites and our constituencies (young people, families, service providers, researchers, decision makers, etc.).
She supports sites in designing and providing care that meets set standards and values. Srividya also designed and leads the research/evaluation component that will examine whether and how ACCESS Open Minds creates positive change in youth mental health.
Although her current role is vastly more complex than her grandma’s tales, Srividya remains convinced that, as it was for their protagonists, the answers she and the team are seeking lie within people.
Jess handles the administrative and organizational aspects of the project, making sure that everything runs smoothly. Part of her job is to see to it that funds are spent wisely.
Before ACCESS Open Minds, Jess worked in management and health human resources with the Ontario government. She contributes expertise in administration and finance, as well as health care planning and leadership.
Her desire to contribute to the youth mental health care system is deeply personal. When Jess was a teenager, she lost her sister to suicide. Then countless friends. Seeing firsthand how the mental health care system can fail young people, she is excited to work on a project that aims to bring about change.
Fun fact: Jess owns a Tauntaun sleeping bag.
Ina joined the ACCESS Open Minds team in April 2017. She believes that life has a way of setting her on the right path and ACCESS Open Minds is where she feels she is meant to be!
Ina comes with nearly twenty years of experience in the delivery and management of youth mental health care in both institutional and community settings. After spending 10 years as a front-line clinical social worker, in both in- and out-patient settings, she had the opportunity to jump into management, and has been jumping to higher levels of responsibility for the past 9 years!
Since the Quebec health care reform 2 years ago, she has been managing two large programs, Child and adolescent psychiatry and Complex mood disorders at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, an installation of the West Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre.
Ina brings with her a great deal of passion, enthusiasm, expertise, advocacy and innovation in youth mental health service delivery as well as relevant management expertise.
Ina has felt privileged of being part of the mental health care field for the past 18 years, and now, having a 13 year old daughter, makes her feel even more fortunate of being able to contribute to the important mission of youth mental health in Canada.
Kathleen Charlebois has a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Montreal. Her work has centered on qualitative research. The various research projects in which she has been involved have covered an array of topics, including poverty, health and social policies, service integration, primary care, end-of-life experiences, palliative care, genomics, governance, as well as public participation. Her expertise in qualitative research includes an array of methods and approaches, including case study research, participatory research, and experience-based co-design. Her role in various projects has entailed the development of research protocols, conducting focus groups as well as semi-structured interviews with various actors (decision-makers, community organizations, scientists, clinicians as well as patients) as well as with analyzing data (discourse and thematic as well as narrative analysis). Kathleen joined ACCESS Open Minds as a Research Associate in since October 2018.
Tanya has a hybrid research/knowledge mobilization role on the team. She makes sure that the research and resources produced during the project are accessible to all audiences and also works with the qualitative research team to gather, analyze and report on data.
Before ACCESS Open Minds, Tanya worked in both the research and community non-profit sectors and even did a brief stint in marketing. She comes from a community psychology background where she fell in love with community based participatory research because it challenged traditional research models.
Tanya’s desire to work on the ACCESS Open Minds project stems from her belief that youth should have a say in the services that they receive and the research that is produced about them. She was drawn to ACCESS Open Minds because of its innovative, culturally appropriate approach to youth mental healthcare services across Canada.
Tanya loves classic rock, cats and true crime documentaries.
Marianne Dufour began her career with the Ministry of Youth, Recreation and Cultural Resources in Fredericton, NB as administrative secretary for over a year. In returning to Québec, she served as Secretary for Accounts Receivable Management, Warehousing and Accounting for seventeen years for two international transport companies.
Committed and culturally active throughout her professional life, in addition to having extensive administrative experience in private networks, her career sparked her interest in working in the field of health. She has worked for the past ten years as Administrative Assistant for the two clinical divisions, StoP-Alzheimer and Neurosciences, at Douglas Hospital Research Centre. Marianne feels privileged to continue her career with the ACCESS Open Minds team.
Marianne attended Cégep in Health Sciences and graduated from Excelsior Business College with a professional degree in secretarial studies. She is a Commissioner of Oaths for the Judicial Districts of Québec, has a certificate in Business Etiquette and Protocols. She is also very involved with the Douglas Hospital Foundation as a volunteer.
She is a mother of two young adults, has been a hockey manager, coach and soccer assistant, as well as a caregiver to her father in his end of life.
Marianne’s interest in working for ACCESS Open Minds is a reflection of her commitment to the health and well-being of others, as well as being able to contribute to the important mission of youth mental health in Canada. Marianne joins the team with a lot of passion, enthusiasm, expertise and her skills as administrative assistant, she manages daily logistical and administrative activities between the central office, sites and stakeholders, and the project’s host institute.
Geraldine has been a Research Assistant at ACCESS Open Minds since March 2019. She is a Guadeloupian who has been living in Montreal for many years. Her background is in communication and politics, social and cultural anthropology, and document management.
Before joining ACCESS Open Minds, she was a Research Assistant and Symptom Evaluator at a clinic that provides services to youth who experienced a first episode of psychosis. She has more than 4 years of experience in conducting interviews of youth with mental health difficulties and their family members.
Geraldine loves French, writing, and translation.
Chloé helps the rest of the team will all things knowledge translation, whether it be writing and designing guides, keeping everyone up to date with newsletters and annual reports or spreading the word at events and conferences. When she’s not talking about ACCESS Open Minds to the rest of the world, she is helping the research teams with publications and dissemination.
The road to ACCESS Open Minds began with a love for biology at school (in Paris), followed by a Neuroscience undergrad (in London) and finally a Neuroscience Master’s (in Montreal). Still devoted to the Montreal lifestyle and having developed a keen interest in the relationship between research, practice and policy, the perfect next step was knowledge translation at ACCESS Open Minds.
Chloé has always been passionate about improving youth mental health and believes that all youth should be able to access youth-friendly, and high-quality mental health services at all time.
She loves a cappella singing, reading and food.
Heleen plans how the research will be set up and conducted, in partnership with researchers and network members. She also helps make sure it is carried out properly.
Before joining the ACCESS Open Minds team, Heleen did really Dutch things, like bike most of her day. She was also a champion in eating cheese. Heleen studied abroad in New Zealand, found a Québécois, finished her Master’s degree in Utrecht, and moved to Montreal in 2008. She worked for a number of years with great enthusiasm at the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychosis (PEPP) in research, evaluation, and project coordination.
A believer that easy access to good mental health services is extremely important for youth in distress, she is very passionate about bridging the gap between research and good clinical practice.
Fun fact: Heleen rowed a 100k marathon over the Dutch channels in 9 hours and 21 minutes.
Kathleen is pursuing her doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr. Srividya Iyer, examining help-seeking experiences and pathways to mental health services for youth in Canada.
After obtaining her Master’s degree in Brain Sciences from the University of Glasgow, Kathleen worked as a research assistant at the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychosis (PEPP), in Montreal.
Kathleen joined ACCESS Open Minds because she is hopeful it can make a difference for youth. While growing up in a small rural community, she too often witnessed just how inaccessible our mental health services can be.
Kathleen loves road trips, which are often extended by her tendency to confuse left and right when giving directions.
Chantelle strives to honour the funders’ commitment to multi-stakeholder involvement in ACCESS Open Minds by supporting the Youth and the Family/Carers councils as they contribute their expertise to the project. Chantelle’s role also includes collaborating with community organizations who serve youth and families.
Chantelle worked with and for students at the University of Ottawa and later as a research assistant for the Senate of Canada. Chantelle most recently worked in acute care psychiatry providing psychosocial support to individuals living with mental illness.
Chantelle perceives ACCESS Open Minds as a privileged opportunity to collaborate with community members motivated to work within the mental health system to ultimately improve it for youth in need.
Chantelle loves musicals, cats, laughter, and spontaneous fun.
Valérie has worked and studied in the mental health field for 16 years in several provinces across Canada and most recently in the US. She completed her graduate studies at Memorial University in Newfoundland and her post doctoral work at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
After six years in the US she returned to Canada to join ACCESS Open Minds. Her research interests include mood disorders among youth, implementation science, and the potential of technology to augment access to mental health supports for people with serious mental illness. In her current role at ACCESS Open Minds, she leads the quantitative analyses. Her long-term goals are for her work to influence policy development for improving access to mental health services for marginalized populations and those living in rural and remote communities.
Her favourite season is winter, which makes Montréal a great place for her to be.
Margot acts as a liaison between the sites and ACCESS Open Minds’ central office. Her job is to help support sites in best meeting their youth’s mental health needs, in ways that are relevant to each individual community and to the project as a whole.
Before joining ACCESS Open Minds, Margot worked as a youth protection social worker and was trained in youth mental health settings. She was also part of several social science research teams.
Mental health is one Canada’s most prevalent—and most stigmatized—issues. Margot feels lucky to work with teams around Canada who are changing how youth mental health care is delivered, so that the next generation has easier access to better care.
Fun fact: a lifelong music aficionado, Margot plays the viola in an amateur community orchestra.
Stephanie manages the day-to-day administrative and logistical operations between the central office, sites and stakeholders, and the Douglas, ACCESS Open Minds’ host institute.
Stephanie is a lifetime learner with a formal education ranging from a liberal arts degree to management courses in health and social services. On top of having extensive coordination and administrative experience in the private and public health care sectors, she also worked for nearly a decade as a licensed massage therapist and is a certified yoga instructor.
Her interest in working for ACCESS Open Minds reflects a lifelong commitment to health and well-being. The mother of an energetic five-year-old boy, Stephanie intends to open a creative healing retreat centre someday in Quebec’s Outaouais region.