Steering Committee

The Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre is a multidisciplinary team of professionals from different ethnocultural backgrounds from across Canada. Steering Committee members of the multidisciplinary team help to set goals and priorities for the MMHRC.

Laurence KirmayerLaurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, Project Leader, is James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. He is Editor-in-Chief of Transcultural Psychiatry, a quarterly scientific journal published by Sage (UK) and directs the Culture & Mental Health Research Unit of the Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital in Montreal where he conducts research on mental health services for immigrants and refugees, psychiatry in primary care, the mental health of indigenous peoples, and the anthropology of psychiatry. He founded and directs the annual Summer Program and Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry at McGill and directs the Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research. His past research includes funded studies on the development and evaluation of a cultural consultation service in mental health, pathways and barriers to mental health care for immigrants, somatization in primary care, cultural concepts of mental health and illness in Inuit communities, risk and protective factors for suicide among Inuit youth in Nunavik (Northern Quebec), and resilience among Indigenous peoples. He co-edited the volumes, Current Concepts of Somatization (American Psychiatric Press), Understanding Trauma: Integrating Biological, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives (Cambridge University Press), Healing Traditions: The Mental Health of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (University of British Columbia Press) and Encountering the Other: The Practice of Cultural Consultation (Springer SBM).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKenneth Fung, MD, FRCPC, MSc, is a Staff Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health Program at the Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network.  He is also Assistant Professor with Culture, Community, and Health Studies Program at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.  He completed a two-year fellowship in Cultural Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and his Master thesis was on alexithymia among Chinese Canadians.  His primary research, teaching, and clinical interests include both cultural psychiatry and psychotherapy.  He is the Block Coordinator of the Cultural Psychiatry Core Seminars for psychiatry residents at the University of Toronto, and is the seminar coordinator and a psychotherapy supervisor in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at the University Health Network.  He is currently conducting a research study with Dr. Mateusz Zurowski on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for chronic pain patients.  He has also been conducting community-based research projects related to immigrant and refugee mental health.  He is psychiatric consultant to the Hong Fook Mental Health Association and is involved in various mental health promotion and education projects in the community.  He also offers consultations at Mon Sheong Scarborough Long-Term Care Centre.  He has been appointed as a member of Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council.  He is the Chairperson of the Federation of Chinese American and Chinese Canadian Medical Societies.

Soma GanesanSoma Ganesan, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and Medical Director of Psychiatry at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre. He is a Psychiatry Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. He was born in Vietnam, where he lived through the war and left his country in 1976. He came to Vancouver as a refugee in 1981 and trained at the University of British Columbia from 1984 to 1988. He has been a practicing psychiatrist in Canada since 1988. Dr. Ganesan is the founder and Director of the Vancouver General Hospital Cross Cultural Clinic, which provides mental health services to individuals from a broad array of cultural backgrounds, including refugees from around the world. He is also a founding member of VAST – the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture. He is Director of Adult Mental Health Services for Vancouver Community Mental Health, and Physician Leader at Riverview Hospital. In addition to serving in a variety of capacities for local, provincial, national, and international programs, Dr. Ganesan’s own research focuses on immigrant mental health, cross-cultural psychiatry, and spirituality.

Jaswant Guzder Jaswant Guzder, MD, is Associate Professor of the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University; Visiting Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia and Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria. Dr. Guzder is a board member of Transcultural Psychiatry and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy; Global Health Section head representative on the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Board; a board member of Teesri Duniya Theatre Company and was the former head of the Centre for Child Development and Mental Health at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) and former director of the JGH’s Cultural Consultation Service. Dr. Guzder has considerable experience in the field of transcultural child psychiatry and has worked extensively with immigrants and refugees from different ethnocultural backgrounds. Dr. Guzder is active in child and family global health project in India, Nepal and Jamaica. She has published various articles about trauma in children from different ethnic groups. She is invited by various national and international institutions to share her experience in transcultural psychiatry. In addition to her clinical and academic expertise, Dr. Guzder is an artist whose work has been used to illustrate Social & Cultural Psychiatry documents (JGH) and has been shown nationally and internationally.

Francine LemireFrancine Lemire, MD,CFPC, FCFP,obtained her medical degree from McGill University and practiced in Corner Brook as a comprehensive family doctor following a straight internship in Internal Medicine at McGill and a family medicine residency at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is currently Associate Executive Director, Professional Affairs, for the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). Prior to her current position with the College of Family Physicians of Canada, Dr. Lemire held the position of President, and was Director of the Clinical Skills Assessment and Training program (CSAT) at the Memorial University of Newfoundland between 1997 and 2003. Dr. Lemire continues to work part-time as a clinician and is Assistant Professor for the Discipline of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Farah MawaniFarah N. Mawani, MSc, PhD (C), completed a two year contract as Senior Policy and Research Analyst with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Her role focused on integrating mental illness prevention, inequity, diversity, research, data, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis mental health, into the development of Canada’s first Mental Health Strategy. In addition to global health work in Kenya, Pakistan, India, China, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States, she has extensive Canadian policy research experience, focused on immigrant, refugee and women’s mental health. For over two years, Farah has also had personal experience with trauma associated with her very close friend and colleague Josh Fattal’s illegal captivity in Iran. She co-founded and played a central role in the Free the Hikers campaign to free him and his friends Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd. Now that they are free, she is focusing on her recovery, completing her PhD in Public Health Sciences and integrating her rich experience into her career. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Self-Help Resource Centre, she is focusing on building their capacity to facilitate peer support groups focused on trauma.

Kwame McKenzieKwame McKenzie, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, a Senior Scientist in Social Equity and Health Research, and a Medical Director for Diversity and Deputy Director of the Schizophrenia Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Dr. McKenzie trained in medicine at the University of Southampton, England. His psychiatric training was principally at the Institute of Psychiatry at Maudsley, London, and included a year as a visiting scholar at Harvard University and two years developing the first description of community mental health services in Brussels, Belgium. Dr. McKenzie’s research focuses on the science of improving mental health services. Key areas of interest include social determinants of health, society and mental health, social capital and mental health, redesigning mental health services for visible minority groups, efficacy of treatment in schizophrenia, psychiatric diagnosis, community engagement, racism, pathways to care, and suicide. He has also worked in applied policy research, including drafting the UK Department of Health’s policy for improving mental health services for minority ethnic groups and has worked with various organizations, including the Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank.

Cécile Rousseau Cécile Rousseau, MD, is a research and clinical psychiatrist for the CSSS de la Montagne (CLSC Park Extension) Youth Mental Health Team. She received her training in medicine and psychiatry at the University of Sherbrooke, Université de Montréal, and McGill University. Her clinical work is with refugee children and with torture victims. She also does consultation work, for health institutions and school boards, on refugee children. Dr. Rousseau’s current research involves refugee children and adolescents from Southeast Asia, Central America and Somalia