Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell, CPsych, FCAHS

Nominated Principal Investigator, DIVERT Mental Health | Professor, Psychology, York University | York Research Chair in Pain and Mental Health

Rebecca Pillai Riddell.

Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell is the Nominated Principal Investigator for DIVERT Mental Health, a Full Professor of Psychology at York University, Tier 1 York Research Chair in Pain and Mental Health, and Honorary Professor at University College London (UK). Her innovative program of research has provided foundational norms for the development of infant pain responses within the context of the caregiver. Her newest program of research takes an innovative step forward in the exploration of using artificial intelligence to move the practice of infant pain assessment forward in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. She is an award-winning mentor passionate about nurturing the next generation of pain researchers and mental health professionals. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.


Dr. Ruth Green, PhD

Principal Investigator, DIVERT Mental Health | Associate Professor, School of Social Work, York University | Special Advisor to the Dean on Indigenous Issues, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University

Ruth Green

Dr. Ruth Green is a Co-Principal Investigator of DIVERT Mental Health. Dr. Green is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at York University. She has served as the co-chair of the Indigenous Council at York University and the Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives. Green identifies as an urban Indigenous person and is a citizen of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is from the Mohawk Nation and is a member of the Turtle Clan. She was born a Canadian but was 1/2 disenfranchised when she was 10 years old. By the time she was 34.5 years old she was completely disenfranchised. She acknowledges the privileges she gets in a world of identity politics to be governed by legislation that is 100 years older than she is! She also acknowledges her paternal Celtic heritage Green likes to think about Indigenous education and social issues that impact Indigenous communities


Blu Waters

2-Spirit Indigenous Elder | Istchii Nikamoon – Earth Song, Wolf clan. Cree/Metis/Micmac

Laureen (Blu) Waters: Istchii Nikamoon: Earth Song, Wolf clan. Cree/Metis/Micmac, Blu is a member of the Metis Nation of Ontario. Blu’s family is from Big River Saskatchewan, Star Blanket Reserve and Bra’dor Lake, Eskasoni First Nations, Cape Breton Nova Scotia, and the Red River. They grew up with their grandmother and learned about traditional medicines, learning healing methods, and care for the sick. Their grandmother also shared her knowledge of the great teachings. Blu is currently working at Seneca College as an Elder on campus providing traditional teachings and one-to-one counseling. Blu spent 2.5 years working for the National Inquiry for Murdered and Missing Women as a Grandmother to Commissioner Brian Eyelfson and sits on the Grandmother Circle. They sits on the Thunder Women Healing Lodge as a Director of the Board. Blu also sits as the Ontario representative for Metis people with 2 Spirits In Motion Board. Blu also provides ceremony, teaching, and counseling for 2 Spirit People of the First Nations, in Toronto. and was the national caucus representative for the Toronto Urban Aboriginal strategies for five years working with the community of Toronto and the government. They are also a graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology receiving their business software micro-computer architecture and A+ certification. Blu’s gifts include: Traditional teachings, giving traditional spirit names, hand drumming, songwriter, creative writings, and full moon conductor. Pipe ceremonies and sweat lodge ceremonies and traditional counseling. Blu is a 2 spirit person, a mother of 3, a grandmother of 3, a sun dancer, and a pipe carrier.


Dr. Chris Mushquash, CPsych, PhD

Co-Investigator, DIVERT Mental Health | Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction | Vice President Research, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre | Professor, Psychology, Lakehead University and NOSM | Chief Scientist, Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute

Christopher Mushquash.

Christopher Mushquash, Ph.D., C.Psych., is Anishinawbe (Ojibway), and a member of Pawgwasheeng (Pays Plat First Nation). He is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University, and NOSMU, Clinical Psychologist at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Vice President Research at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and Chief Scientist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. He is also Director of the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research. Dr. Mushquash is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction, with expertise in interventions for mental health and addiction in First Nations children, adolescents, and adults.


Dr. Rita Orji, PhD

Principal Investigator, DIVERT Mental Health | Canada Research Chair in Persuasive Technology | Associate Professor, Computer Sciences, Dalhousie University | Director, Persuasive Computing Lab, Dalhousie University

Rita Orji.

Prof. Rita Orji is a Canada Research Chair in Persuasive Technology and a Computer Science Professor at Dalhousie University, Canada where she directs the Persuasive Computing Lab. Her research at the intersection of technology and human behaviour focuses on designing interactive technologies to empower people, improve lives, and contribute to solving many societal problems. Specifically, technologies that integrate into people’s daily lives and support them to achieve various self-improvement goals. She applies her work to tackle real-life problems in various domains including improving a wide range of health and wellness objectives such as mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, smoking cessation, sexual and other health risk behaviours. She is a recognized STEM diversity ambassador who is passionate about inspiring the next generation of youths and female tech leaders, promoting research excellence, equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM. Prof. Orji also consults and serves as a board member for many agencies.


Dr. Steven Stein, CPsych, PhD

Founder, Multi-Health Systems

Dr. Steven Stein is a world-renowned clinical psychologist, international best-selling author and sought-after speaker, and founder and Executive Chair of Multi-Health Systems (MHS), a publisher of scientifically validated assessments for over 40 years, which has been named a three-time winner of Profit 100 (fastest growing companies in Canada), one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies since 2013, and Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures (2016, Waterstone).

A leading expert on psychological assessment and emotional intelligence, he has consulted with military and government agencies, including the Canadian Forces, U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, special units of the Pentagon, FBI Academy, as well as corporate organizations, including American Express, Air Canada, Canyon Ranch, Coca-Cola (Mexico), and professional sports teams.

Dr. Stein co-authored Hardiness: Making Stress Work for You to Achieve Your Life Goals and is the author of The EQ Leader and Emotional Intelligence for Dummies. He also co-authored the international best-seller The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success and wrote Make Your Workplace Great: The 7 Keys to an Emotionally Intelligent Organization.

Dr. Stein currently teaches at the Directors College, an Executive Program from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, Canada. He is a past Chairperson of the Psychology Foundation of Canada. He is a former assistant professor in the psychiatry department at the University of Toronto and a former adjunct professor of psychology at York University in Toronto. He is a past President of the Ontario Psychological Association and a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association.


Dr. Ryan Todd, MD

Founder, Headversity

Dr. Ryan Todd is both a practicing psychiatrist and an entrepreneur. While passionate about psychiatry, Ryan was disheartened by the system’s backlog and the barriers to accessing mental health care. This led him to the tech industry, where he founded headversity with the goal of eliminating these barriers. The platform combines the knowledge of mental health professionals with the innovation of Ed Tech specialists, positioning headversity as a groundbreaking solution that sets new standards for mental health in the workplace.

Beyond his professional achievements, Ryan has earned accolades for his research and thought leadership in the field. However, he most cherishes his titles as World Bunnock Champion, self-appointed Beer-League Hockey MVP, and, above all, a devoted dad to two wonderful children.


Dr. Annie Pullen-Sansfaçon, PhD

Professor, School of Social Work, University of Montreal | Tier 1 CRC ReParE on partnership research and empowerment of vulnerable youth

Kwe! Annie Pullen Sansfacon yiatsih. Wendat endi’.

I hold a PhD in Ethics and Social Work (De Montfort University, UK, 2007) and have been interested in anti-oppressive approaches and ethics since the very beginning of my career. Based on these themes, I have developed a line of research aimed at better understanding the experiences of oppression and resistance of trans children and young people and their families, and I am working to develop best practices to support them. I’m involved in a number of national and international research projects, and I’m co-founder of Transgender Children Canada. Finally, I am a research associate at the School of Social Work at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.


Wren Gould, MSW

PhD Student, Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Wren Ariel Gould is a 3rd year PhD student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. They leverage critical theory, critical political economy, and queer theory/trans studies in considering LGBT mental health, with their research addressing this vital intersection (i.e. trans mental healthcare, anti-trans health legislation) from a critical psychiatry lens. Their research is informed by 9 years as a mental health service provider, having additionally served as a clinical social worker from 2012-2021 in psychiatric settings (i.e. residential, forensic, and traditional out-patient) in San Francisco, CA and Philadelphia, PA, usually drawing from models empowering mental health service users (i.e. Recovery Model, trauma-informed practices) and implementing blended psychotherapeutic approaches (i.e. person-centred, DBT, CBT).


Dr. Sue McWilliam, PhD

Trauma Informed Care Research & Evaluation Lead, Department of Mental Health and Addictions, IWK Health Centre

Sue McWilliam (she/her) PhD completed her doctoral and postdoctoral work at Dalhousie University in the Interdisciplinary Health Program (Health Administration, Health Promotion and Sociology). Sue is the Research and Evaluation Lead for Trauma Informed and Integrated Care and Trauma-Specific Treatment at IWK Health. Her work and research focus on building and evaluating trauma informed and integrated care-based organizations, program and resource development, trauma specific treatment, substance use, advocating for first voice and community-led research, whole person care, and the social determinants of health. Outside of work, Sue loves her family, their dogs, yoga, art, baking, and reading.


Tonya Grant, MSW

IWK Provincial Clinical Lead for Trauma Informed Care, IWK/NSH Child/Youth Mental Health & Addictions | Sessional Lecturer, Social Work, Dalhousie University | PhD Candidate, Dalhousie University

Tonya Grant (she/her) MSW, RSW, PhD[c] has 28 years of experience working in mental health and addictions (MHA) and child welfare. After completing her MSW at the Dalhousie School of Social Work (DSSW), she worked as a Clinical Social Worker in the areas of community MHA, family therapy, inpatient MHA, complex case, and clinical leadership. Tonya is the IWK Provincial Clinical Lead for Trauma-Informed Care for Child/Youth MHA and she has trained over 2,000 professionals in trauma-informed practice. She teaches as a part time instructor at the DSSW and she is completing her PhD in Health at Dalhousie focusing on adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed/specific practice.


Dan Silveira, MDes

Senior Design Consultant, IBM Canada


Manisha Laroia, MDes

Conversational UX & Product Designer (Advisory Designer)

I am a Product Designer, Digital Technology Researcher & Visual Thinker, working at the intersection of people, technology, and business. My practice includes designing technologies informed by user research with a focus on the future of digital technologies and human-machine interactions. My work ranges across Conversational Interfaces (chatbots and voice-bots), Wearables, Healthcare and Data-privacy. I am keen to design emerging technologies for adoption in previously unexplored scenarios. I simplify complex information, decode user behaviour and design experiences through a collaborative process. I like playing the occasional fly-on-the-wall observing people. Also, I make talking bots!


Emilee Ann Pitawanawkat


Sara Pitawanakwat