Michael UngarPrinciple Investigator
Robin CoxResearch Lead
Philip CookResearch Lead
Matthew SchnurrResearch Lead
Joanne WeinburgResearch Lead
Allyson QuinlanResearch Lead
Sarah BurkeResearch Lead
Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is a Family Therapist and Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience. Since 2002, Dr. Ungar has directed the Resilience Research Centre, designing multisite longitudinal research and evaluation projects in more than a dozen low, middle, and high-income countries, with much of that work focused on the resilience of marginalized children and families, and adult populations experiencing mental health challenges. His studies have focused on the resilience of children and families involved with child welfare and mental health services, refugee and immigrant youth populations and community resilience, including resilience to violent extremism. Dr. Ungar has published over 180 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the subject of resilience and is the author of 15 books for mental health professionals, researchers and lay audiences. These include Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success, a book for adults experiencing stress at work and at home, The Social Ecology of Resilience: A Handbook for Theory and Practice for researchers, and Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs, a book for clinicians. His blog, Nurturing Resilience, can be read on Psychology Today’s website.
Dr. Ungar regularly provides consultation and training to organizations like the World Bank, UNESCO, and the Red Cross. He is the former Chair of the Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, executive board member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and a family therapist who works with mental health services for individuals and families at risk. In 2012 Dr. Ungar was the recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers National Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding contribution to clinical work with families and communities.
Dr. Robin Cox is a Professor at Royal Roads University where she is Program Head of the Disaster and Emergency Management graduate programs and the Director of the Resilience By Design Research Innovation Lab (RbD). Robin is a recipient of the Kelly Outstanding Teacher award, an honour that reflects her commitment to engaged and experiential teaching, mentoring, and research. Robin’s RbD Lab is a trans-disciplinary, collaborative research space that brings together emerging scholars, graduate and undergraduate students (e.g., psychology, humanitarian studies, disaster management) and practitioners to explore and understand the human dimensions of disaster recovery and resilience, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Her work emphasizes the value of participatory and arts-based methods and social innovation (e.g., see: http://resiliencebydesign.com/; www.ycdr.org).
Philip Cook holds a Ph.D. in Cross-Cultural Psychology from Queen’s University, and is the founder and current Executive Director of the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD). Since 1994, Dr. Cook has overseen the Institute’s growth as a leader in linking children’s rights and child protection and healthy development to broad issues of human development and participatory governance across diverse cultures and situational contexts. During this time the Institute has been working in partnership with a cross section of UN agencies, governments, and international non-governmental organizations, and children’s organizations. These partnerships have resulted in: child protection systems strengthening policy and program design, expertise in formal-non-formal CP systems, community based research initiatives, and participatory protection projects with marginalized children, youth and their communities on various issues including: children affected by violence, conflict and natural disaster; child victims of trafficking; children affected by HIV/AIDS; support for Indigenous children, child protection monitoring and evaluation, intergenerational programs, and child protection in the context of social protection. Philip has published and taught extensively and is a senior advisor to a number of national governments, UN Agencies, regional organizations, INGO’s and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. He also practices child rights, with his wife Michele, as a father of three children.
I am an environmental geographer with research and teaching interests in environment and development, political ecology, agricultural biotechnology, farmer decision-making and environmental justice. My work focuses primarily on eastern and southern Africa.
I have degrees in both the natural and social sciences. A B.Sc. in Biology from Queen’s University provided me with a strong foundation in studying environmental issues through a scientific framework. An M.A. in Environment and Development from the Department of Geography at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) helped me to understand the non-human environment as a politicized space comprised of actors with varying power relations, and exposed me to political ecology as a useful framework for understanding these relationships.
My PhD work in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia furthered my interest in the intersections of nature, culture and power. My PhD dissertation investigated the failure of cotton farming in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It sought to unpack the larger political and scientific forces that kept enthusiasm for cotton brimming among colonialists, then early settlers, then scientists, while efforts to cultivate the crop repeatedly fell short – often devastatingly short – of expectations. I trace the story of cotton through a successive series of innovations designed to overcome natural barriers to accumulation. My goal is to account for the repeated attempts to cultivate cotton, and evaluate why these repeated attempts ended in failure.
Dr. Joanne Weinberg is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar, Emerita in the Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She is a member of the Center for Brain Health, and an Associate Member of the Department of Psychology and the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute.
Dr. Weinberg has served as President of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology and the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group, on the Board of Directors of the Research Society on Alcoholism, and on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Alcohol, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, and Physiology and Behavior. She is currently a member of the Advisory Panel of the Intervention Network Action Team, Canada Northwest FASD Research Network and is co-leader of the FASD Project of Kids Brain Health Network, a Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence.
The research in Dr. Weinberg’s laboratory utilizes rat models to examine how early life experiences, in particular, prenatal alcohol exposure, alter brain and biological development from prenatal life through adulthood. Collaborative projects are: investigating the role of changes in gene expression and epigenetic mechanisms in mediating the adverse effects of alcohol (Sheila Innis, Angela Devlin, Michael Kobor); examining the long-term consequences of early pain and early medication exposure on neurobehavioral development of pre-term and term-born infants (Ruth Grunau, Tim Oberlander); doing a longitudinal prospective
assessment of the physical and social environment, diet and nutrition, biospecimens, and physical and mental health in a human cohort study to advance knowledge of how early life experiences “get under the skin” (Kobor, Bush and colleagues).
Dr. Weinberg’s research is supported by grants from NIH/NIAAA (MERIT Award), Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN, Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada).
Allyson Quinlan is Senior Research Fellow with the Resilience Alliance, an international, multidisciplinary research organization that explores the dynamics of social-ecological systems. She has played a key role in developing resilience assessment tools and focuses on the practical application of resilience thinking in a variety of contexts. Allyson has led resilience assessments in a broad range of systems including water management in rural Tajikistan, coastal fisheries in Canada and restoration of the upper Mississippi river, U.S. Recent publications focus on trade offs with measuring resilience, future scenarios and ecosystem services, and the role of resilience in transforming social-ecological systems. She has participated in dialogues as an Agropolis Foundation Fellow, contributed to the Arctic Resilience Report and is co-leading the development of Wayfinder, a guide to resilience assessment in the Anthropocene, under the GRAID program at the Stockholm Resilience Center.
Sarah Burke is the Senior Manager of Community Integrated Programming for Canadian Red Cross. Sarah has worked for the Canadian Red Cross for the past 25 years with a significant portion in Indigenous communities across Canada. She is also now leading the development of a national approach for social emergencies for the Red Cross.
One of the main areas of focus for Sarah is leading the Canadian Red Cross integrated programming response in Canada’s North –specifically a large portion of time in Nunavut. Sarah has worked in 23 of Nunavut’s 25 communities to date. In October of this year, the Canadian Red Cross will be a co-sponsor of this year’s Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention conference to be held in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
Sarah attended the World Health Organization 2nd Milestones meeting of a Global Campaign in Scotland as one of Canada’s representatives and continues to sit on the national Prevention of Violence Canada which is working to enact Canada’s first national charter on violence prevention.
Sarah brings her passion and commitment for prevention education and community engagement experience to her role. Her personal goal for the Red Cross is to ensure all children and youth in Canada within her geography grow up immersed in safety and rights-based education.
South African Leads
Linda Theron is a full professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria; an associate of the Centre for the Study of Resilience, University of Pretoria; and an extraordinary professor in Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa. Her publications focus on the resilience processes of South African young people challenged by chronic adversity and account for how sociocultural contexts shape resilience. Various funding bodies (including Canadian Institutes for Health Research [CIHR], International Development Research Centre, Canada [IDRC]; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada [SSHRC]; GCRF Resilience Foundation Awards, UK; South Africa Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development [SANPAD]; National Research Foundation, SA [NRF]) have funded Linda’s research. She is an associate editor of the Elsevier journal, Child Abuse & Neglect and the lead editor of the Springer-published book, Youth Resilience and Culture: Complexities and Commonalities. In 2015 she received the North-West University Chancellor award for research-based service to South African communities. The National Research Foundation of South Africa has rated Linda as an internationally acclaimed researcher.
Prof Steve Reid is the Director of the Primary Health Care Directorate at the University of Cape Town and is developing this role to support medical and health science graduates to become more relevant and appropriately skilled in Africa. He is also involved in developing the role of the arts and social sciences in health care through the Medical Humanities within the African context and is engaged in plans to operationalize transformation and primary health care as priorities in the Faculty of Health Sciences. He is a family physician with a background in rural health and a doctorate in education. Prof Reid is a recognized expert in his field and has published widely on a broad range of topics including Community-Oriented Primary Care, Human Resources for Health, Family Medicine in Africa, and Medical Humanities. He has chaired the Collaboration for Health Equity through Education and Research (CHEER) since 2004, and is the founder of several initiatives to support healthcare professionals from various disciplines who are willing to live and work in underserved areas. He is the Academic Lead for the World Universities Network (WUN) Public Health Research Theme on Resilience working group.
Sebastiaan (Ian) Rothmann is a professor in Industrial Psychology and Director of the Optentia Research Focus Area (www.optentia.co.za) at the North-West University in South Africa. He obtained a B. Com degree (1980, cum laude), majoring in Industrial Psychology, a Higher Diploma in Education (1981; cum laude), and Honours (1982; cum laude) and Master’s (1986; cum laude) and PhD (1996) degrees in Industrial Psychology. Ian started his career as an Industrial Psychologist at the South African Defense Force (1983-1987). He was appointed as a lecturer in Industrial Psychology at the Potchefstroom University on 1 February 1987 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer (1990), Associate Professor (2000), and Professor (2002). He was the Director of the WorkWell Research Unit from 2007-2008. In September 2008, he started a consulting business in Swakopmund and Windhoek in Namibia. On 2 January 2010, he was appointed as professor and the Head of the Department of Human and Social Sciences at the University of Namibia. In September 2010, he was recruited to establish a research entity at the North-West University (Vanderbijlpark). He became Director of Optentia in 2011. Ian’s research interest is the assessment and development of human potential and flourishing in institutions within multicultural contexts. He is author/co-author of 191 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters in handbooks. Ian is an honorary member of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology in South Africa (SIOPSA), an international affiliate of the American Psychological Association, a member of the Society of Industrial/ Organizational Psychology (SIOP – USA), the Academy of Management (USA), the International Working Group on Compassionate Organizations and the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS).
Phil JefferiesResearch Fellow
Philip Jefferies is a research fellow at the Resilience Research Centre. Phil completed his bachelors and masters in psychology at the University of Exeter in the UK, and his PhD at Dublin City University in Ireland. His research focused on how persons with disabilities live with and use assistive technologies and what it means to be ‘just normal’. He has held lecturing positions in Ireland and Fiji and undertaken a range of diverse research roles. Phil is interested in areas of resilience, mental health and well-being, assistive technology usage, and advancing methodologies.
Sarah Fletcher is a Medical Anthropologist and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the ResiliencebyDesign Lab at Royal Roads University. Sarah’s research interests include youth perspectives on stress and resilience, healthy communities, and the participation of youth in research and community engagement processes.
Kristin Hadfield is an assistant professor of positive psychology at Queen Mary University of London. She completed her Ph.D. in psychology at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland in 2015. Kristin has since worked as a visiting research specialist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University. Broadly, her work is split into two tracks of research which explore wellbeing during adversity. The first assesses how risk and protective factors at the familial level interact to influence children and parents during changes in family structure. The second examines protective processes and resilience trajectories among refugee and migrant youth.
Leila Scannell is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the ResiliencebyDesign Lab at Royal Roads University. As an Environmental Psychologist, Leila’s research interests include place attachment, disaster resilience in children and youth, attitudes toward climate change and sustainable behavior.
South African Collaborators
Irene Muller is a lecturer in the School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in the Faculty of Education, North-West University, subject coordinator for Natural Science at the Vanderbijlpark Campus and a member of the EE for SD niche of the North- West University. For her M Env Man dissertation she conducted a resilience assessment of the NWU Vanderbijlpark Campus which is regarded as a nature reserve in an urban area. Her Ph D thesis focused on the contribution of a citizen science water quality monitoring project to environmental education, social learning and adaptive management. She published two articles from her master’s and doctorate research in IJSHE and IJESE and contributed a chapter Curriculum in the scope of SD to a Springer-published book (2018), Encyclopedia of sustainability in higher education. Irene received awards as best lecturer at the NWU (Vanderbijlpark Campus)(2013) and best Master’s student in Environmental Science and Management (Potchefstroom Campus)(2015).
Angelique, PhD (Educational Psychology), is a psychological counsellor (independent practice: PRC0009172), with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. She is a member of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PSYSSA), a postdoctoral research fellow at Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University and has collaborated in the Pathways to Resilience Research Project since its inception in 2009. Angelique has a special interest in quantitative methods, data/open science, the carpentries and the well-being of South African young people.
Sarah Crawford-Browne is a lecturer in Medical Humanities within the University of Cape Town’s Primary Health Care Directorate. She is a registered clinical social worker who has practiced in community-based mental health programmes in particularly South Africa, Sierra Leone and Pakistan. Her PhD research focuses on the psychosocial adaptations of people who live in contexts of ongoing violence and the impact of continuous traumatic stress.
Research Site Coordinators
Margherita Cameranesi joined the Resilience Research Centre as a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow and the Project Manager for the RYSE project. Following her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rome La Sapienza (Italy), Margherita received her Ph.D. in Applied Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba (Canada). The overarching goal of Margherita’s program of research is to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable, marginalized and underserved children, families and communities nationally and internationally by fostering their resilience to adversity. So far, her research has focused on various vulnerable populations, including families who experience intimate partner violence, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. Margherita’s research expertise includes both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, as well as mixed methods research approaches.
Dr Rachele Paver
Jan Höltge is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Resilience Research Centre. Jan completed both his Bachelor in Psychology and Master in Environmental, Social and Clinical Psychology at the University of Vienna, Austria. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical and Positive Psychology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He has joined the Resilience Research Centre supported by the Early Postdoc.Mobility Scholarship granted by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Jan is passionately interested in how stressful circumstances can have positive effects on human life, especially resilience-enhancement, ranging from daily hassles to traumatic experiences. While taking a lifespan perspective, he has a focus on higher age, the long-term effects of early life stress and the positive effects of collective adversities on social values and behaviors. Additionally, he is interested in how the physical environment contributes to human resilience and wellbeing.
Damaris MatshelaMasters Student
Kelebogile MalefoMasters Student
Katherine MalakouMasters Student
Mariaan PrinsMasters Student
Mthandeki ZhangeMasters Student
Bongiwe NcubeMasters Student
Michelle GerberMasters Student
Marianne BlundenMasters Student
Shandre BassonMasters Student
Krysten BalshawMasters Student
Katy HildebrandMasters Student
Reanetse MatlaliMasters Student
Rozhe BloemendalMasters Student
Sibongile SitholeMasters Student
Wilma PretoriusMasters Student
Salomi MorkelMasters Student
Katy Hildebrand was born and raised in Alberta but moved to Ladysmith, BC, in 2013 to attend Vancouver Island University. She received her bachelor of arts in the spring of 2017 with a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy. In May 2017 she began working with the RYSE project as a research assistant into the summer months. She is currently pursuing her master of arts in disaster and emergency management at Royal Roads University.