Dr. Mylene Riva

Bonjour! Hello! Welcome to my research group's website. I am an Assistant Professor at McGill University, cross-appointed in the Institute for Health and Social Policy and the Department of Geography. I am a health geographer and population health researcher. My research activities are focused on socio-environmental determinants of health in 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. Prior to joining McGill, I was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at Université Laval and researcher at CHU de Quebec Research Center. 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. I currently hold a career award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.

Research Assistants

Philippe Dufresne

Project Coordinator and Research Assistant, McGill University

Philippe is a Research Assistant who has been working with Dr. Riva since August 2015. He has a bachelor in Medical Biology from the UQTR, and a Master's in Epidemiology from Université Laval. He developed a strong interest in microbiology and human health in his first university degree, and in the year following his graduation, had the chance to work at the University of Western Australia in the Population Health Department. This opportunity confirmed his wish to work on health from a larger perspective than at the molecular, cellular, or even individual level. The main project he is involved in examines the impacts of moving to a new house on physical and mental health and wellbeing. His research interests involve health disparities, quantitative methodologies and social epidemiology.

Rene Iwo

Research Assistant, McGill University

Rene is recent graduate of McGill University, with a BA Joint Honours in Sociology and International Development Studies. His interests mainly relate to health demography and youth welfare, especially in marginalized or racialized populations around the world. He has previously worked with a local NGO in Lebanon focusing on Syrian refugee children, as well as as an intern in the Indonesian Ministry of Development Planning (Child Protection Division). He also had the chance to work with Cree children in Eeyou Istchee (Cree territory in Northern Quebec), which sparked his interest in the topic of indigenous health. He started working with Dr. Riva in the winter 2017 term as a research intern, examining health behaviours of high school students in Eeyou Istchee. He is excited to continue on this project, as well as take on new topics regarding housing and health in Indigenous populations.

Melody Lynch

Project Coordinator and Research Assistant, McGill University

Melody joined the research team in February 2017 to work as the lead research assistant on the community component of the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey Qanuilirpitaa 2017. She is developing locally relevant themes and indicators of community health. Melody will measure indicators of community health in Nunavik’s 14 villages during the survey from August-October 2017. Melody has a MA in development geography from McGill University, and has broad research interests in political ecology. Her previous research took her to Indonesia to study ethnic minority fishing livelihoods within the confines of a National Park.

Marie-Claude Lyonnais

Research Assistant, Université Laval

Marie-Claude is an MSc student in Community Health at Université Laval under the supervision of Dr Christopher Fletcher (PhD), and Dr Patrick Archambault (MD). She completed her Bachelor's in Information-Communication at Université de Moncton, in New Brunswick, as well as a Doctorate in Chiropractic at Université du Québec at Trois-Rivières. She worked for Radio-Canada in Moncton and Sherbrooke as a journalist before joining the research teams of Dr Riva and Dr. Fletcher. She is part of the Qanuilirpitaa community component team of the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey Qanuilirpitaa 2017, as well as the leading research assistant of a needs assessment project for urban Inuit, in Montreal. Her Master's project was conducted in Nunavik, where she studied how Facebook was used by Nunavimmiut, and how it could be useful for a health community-based participatory research.

Michelle Maillet

Project Coordinator and Research Assistant, McGill University

Michelle is the Geography Undergraduate Program Advisor at McGill University, and started working part-time with Dr. Riva as a Research Assistant in April 2017. She holds an MA in Geography (2014) and a BA in International Development, Geography and Environment (2010) from McGill University. Before joining the Place, Health and Well-being Research Group, she worked as Project Manager for the Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change project, and as Research Assistant and Lab Manager with the Climate Change Adaptation Research Group (Dr. James Ford). Her research interests focus on issues relating to international relations and diplomacy, policy discourses and approaches, Indigenous peoples' health and well-being, Indigenous rights, climate change impacts and adaptation, and science communication. She is currently working on projects relating to housing and Indigenous people's health.

Master's Students

Madeleine Pawlowski

MA Student, McGill University

Madeleine is a Master’s candidate in Health Geography, co-supervised by Dr. Riva and Dr. Nancy Ross. Her research interests draw from past work on Indigenous student success in the non-profit sector, and focus mainly on the relationship between Inuit student well-being and postsecondary retention for students moving from Nunavik to Montreal for CEGEP.  Madeleine previously completed her BA Joint Honours in Geography and International Development Studies at McGill in 2015, and was a 2015-2016 OceanPath Fellow.

Megan Wylie

MA student, McGill University

Megan is a Masters student at McGill working with Dr. Mylene Riva and Dr. Sebastien Breau. Her research interests center around environmental and health justice, and the consequences of increasing income inequality. Megan is working with Dr. Riva on a project to better understand how income inequality is impacting how Canadians rate their own health. Megan completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo in 2016, where she studied Environment and Business.

PhD Students

Marie Baron

PhD Candidate, Université Laval

Marie is a PhD candidate in Community Health at Université Laval under the supervision of Dr. à Riva and Dr. Christopher Fletcher. She comes from Paris, France, where she graduated in Geography. During her Master’s degree in Health Geography at Nanterre University, Paris, she did two internships in Rimouski and Montreal and developed her interests about health in remote communities. Her interests also include positive health, health assets in living environment, health disparities, indigenous health and mixed methods research. Her PhD thesis focuses on living conditions promoting healthy ageing in Inuit communities. ​

Camille Pepin

Doctoral student, Université Laval

Camille is a Doctoral psychology student at Université Laval and is co-supervised by Dr. Gina Muckle and Dr. Riva. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Université Laval in 2015. Camille’s graduate research is focusing on household crowding in relationship with psychological distress among Nunavik Inuit youth and her undergraduate research was on food insecurity in the same population.

Karine Perreault

PhD student, Université de Montréal

Karine is a PhD student in Public Health (Health Promotion option) at Université de Montréal. She graduated with a Masters in physical activity sciences from Université de Sherbrooke in 2014. Before embarking on her PhD, she spent one year in Sydney Australia, where she worked as a research affiliate at the School of Public Health, Sydney University and at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales. Her work in Australia helped her to transition from clinical research – that she had been doing for years as a research assistant and MSc student – to public health research. Her research interests broadly include social determinants of health, health promotion, population health intervention research and indigenous health. During her PhD, she will explore how public investments in social housing – allowing for Inuit families to move to new houses – impact mental health in 12 Inuit communities in Nunavik and Nunavut, using a mixed methods collaborative research methodology. More specifically, she will examine the impact of moving to a new house on family life and psychosocial processes related to housing (such as gain in privacy, control, safety), and how these intermediate mechanisms may relate to mental health. She is co-supervised by Dr. Riva, and Dr. Louise Potvin (Université de Montréal). She holds a 3-year Doctoral Research Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Priority Announcement: Research in First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit.

Antonia Sohns

PhD student, McGill University

Antonia is a first-year PhD in the Geography Department under the joint supervision of Dr. James Ford and Dr. Riva. Her research interests include community response to natural hazards, water security, and comparative policy analysis. Before coming to McGill, Antonia worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. on the Thirsty Energy Initiative. She completed an M.Sc. in Water Science, Policy and Management at the University of Oxford, where she focused on the water-energy nexus and the water requirements of hydraulic fracturing operations in Pinedale, Wyoming. She also holds a B.S. in Earth Systems, Oceans track from Stanford University.

Thérèse Yéro Adamou

PhD Candidate, Université Laval

​Thérèse is a PhD candidate in the Community Health program of Université Laval. She is co-supervised by Dr. Riva and Dr. Pierre Ayotte. Thérèse completed a bachelor in biology in 2005 (UQAM) and a Masters in Environmental and Occupational Health in 2008 (Université of Montréal). Her research interests mainly focus on environmental health and environmental justice issues among Inuit pregnant women from Nunavik. The main objectives of her research project are to: (1)  assess temporal trends in Inuit pregnant women exposure to environmental pollutants  (i.e, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls) and (2) determine whether social disparities in maternal exposure to environmental pollutants exist in this population.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Nathan S. Debortoli

Postdoctoral fellow, McGill University

Nathan is an interdisciplinary postdoctoral researcher co-supervised by Dr. Riva and Dr. James Ford. His research focuses on the development of climate change, natural hazards and adaptation indices which encompass qualitative and quantitative data and indicators, and is currently building tools to map vulnerability hotspots to climate change in Inuit Nunangat.  His work also seeks to understand how traditional knowledge can increase Inuit resilience to cope with natural hazards. Nathan believes that working directly with local communities and governments can help the calibration and foster legitimacy for better indices implementation and integration. Previously he has worked as a consultant for the United Nations Framework for Climate Change, the World Wildlife Fund and the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, building vulnerability indices for flash floods, landslides and drought disasters in the context of Climate Change. He has also worked for Canada’s IDRC agency developing analysis of extreme weather events and farmer’s vulnerability in southern Brazil. He holds a PhD. In Geography and Sustainable Development from Université Rennes II in France and University of Brasília in Brazil. Nathan has also worked in many EU projects in the Amazon region developing land use models, deforestation and climate impact analysis, and sustainability governance scenarios.

Research Interns

Christine Lussier

Undergraduate intern, McGill University/Concordia University

Christine Lussier is an Inuk currently completing undergraduate studies in anthropology at Concordia University. Working in collaboration with the village of Kuujjuaraapik in Nunavik, she has been assisting research for the Qanuilirpitaa? 2017 health survey with Dr. Mylène Riva. She aims to make a valuable contribution to this project as it explores salient features of the living conditions of Nunavimmiut. This project has narrowed her research interests in working with and for Inuit in urban and rural areas. In her future research, Christine would like to engage with conditions of education and health among the Inuit community.

Former Team Members

Jeffery Sauer
Research Assistant, McGill University
May-August 2017

Emma Windfeld
Research Assistant, McGill University
January-April 2017

Johanna Busch
Research Assistant, McGill University
January-April 2017