Principal Investigator and Director

Dr. Mark Ferro is the Canada Research Chair in Youth Mental Health and an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University and is a Scientist at both the Offord Centre for Child Studies and CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research.

Dr. Ferro completed his BSc in Biochemistry in 2004 at McMaster University, his MSc in Community Health and Epidemiology in 2006 at the University of Saskatchewan, and his PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 2011 at Western University.

Dr. Ferro’s program of research investigates the link between physical and mental health in children and young people. His research takes a developmental approach to understanding the multilevel determinants of mental health and quality of life outcomes in children with chronic health conditions. He also has interests in health service use among children, family and stress processes influencing child health, and health trajectories during the transition from childhood to young adulthood. Methodologically, Dr. Ferro has interests in the measurement of mental health and quality of life in children.

Dr. Ferro’s program aims to bridge the clinical-epidemiological research divide with papers in Neurology, Journal of Pediatrics, Health Psychology, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, and Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Research Staff

Jessica photoJessica Zelman is a Project Manager for the ARCH Lab. Jessica completed her BA Honours in Psychology (Research Specialist) at Wilfrid Laurier University and her MA in Child and Youth Studies at Brock University. Jessica has extensive community and mental health experience after working for several years at Big Brothers Big Sisters and Pathstone Mental Health in Niagara. Jessica doesn’t have a lot of spare time, as she’s busy chasing her two kiddos around, however when she does get a chance, she enjoys cycling, skiing, and listening to audiobooks- especially thrillers.

Christy Chan is a Data Analyst for the ARCH Lab. Christy completed her BSc Honours in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences at University of Guelph and her MSc in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Chinese University of Hong Kong. Christy has extensive clinical research experience in cardiology and public health. She is excited to bring her statistical expertise to the field of child and youth mental health. Christy enjoys playing with her cat and trying new recipes during her spare time.

 

Trainees

Chloe Bedard is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo in the ARCH Lab. Chloe completed her PhD in the Health Research Methodology (HRM) program at McMaster University and has a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) degree and a minor in psychology from McMaster. Chloe’s doctoral thesis involved designing, evaluating, and implementing community-based movement and pre-literacy interventions for preschool children to improve their overall development. Through her experience in the INfant and Child Health (INCH) Lab, Chloe has developed a strong interest in evaluating the influence of movement and physical activity on varied aspects of health and development during childhood. Chloe spends most of her free time with her family playing with her nieces and nephew.

Alex Luther is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo with the ARCH Lab. Alex completed his PhD in the Public Health and Health Systems program under the supervision of Dr. Ferro, where he investigated the nexus of victimization, delinquent behaviours, and mental health among children. In the future Alex hopes to inform public health policies, and work in either research or government settings. Outside of school Alex enjoys staying active and outdoor adventures and watching good murder-mystery or true-crime content.

Emma Littler is a PhD student in the Public Health and Health Systems. She completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Guelph in 2019. She also obtained a Master of Science in Cognitive Neuroscience from Queen’s University in 2021, where her work explored the impact of early-life stress on behavioural outcomes in rodent populations. Specifically, her Master’s thesis explored the long-lasting effects of adolescent stress on adult anxiety and depression behaviours in rodents using a meta-analytic approach. Emma also worked as a Behavioural Science Fellow in the Impact and Innovation Unit of the Privy Council Office, where she conducted research to inform climate change policy. As a PhD student she is excited to gain more skills and knowledge in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and explore mental health outcomes in children and youth with physical health conditions. Outside of school, Emma enjoys cooking food from around the world, quilting, watching TV, and spending time with her cat Ripley.

 

Shannon ReaumeShannon Reaume is a PhD student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. She has an Honours Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Brock University (2010) and a Masters of Social Work from Laurier University (2013). Shannon is a Registered Social Worker and has extensive experience supporting clients through health, mental health, and legal systems. She has worked with clients living with multiple mental and physical health diagnoses, clients at risk of homelessness, and clients who have difficulty accessing supports due to living in very rural areas. Shannon also has lived experience with chronic illnesses. She is eager to use her professional and lived experiences to influence her research. Excited to re-enter the academic world, her research will focus on the family environment for children and youth living with chronic physical and mental illnesses. Outside of academics, Shannon enjoys volunteering on the Centre Wellington Food Bank Board of Directors and the Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integration Network Patient and Family Advisory Committee.

Megan Dol is pursuing a PhD in Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Dr. Mark Ferro. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Health Studies at the University of Waterloo in 2019, where she completed two systematic reviews for her Independent Studies and Honours Thesis under the supervision of Dr. Mark Oremus that focused on the risk of developing substance use disorders via prescribed opioid use. She previously worked as a research assistant in the “Work and Qualitative Health Research Lab” under the supervision of Dr. Ellen MacEachen and the “Prevention Neuroscience Laboratory” under the supervision of Dr. Peter Hall. Through these experiences, Megan developed an interest in mental health and problematic substance use. Megan is interested in gaining more skills and knowledge in the area of child and youth mental health, mental health service use, and suicidal ideation. In the future, Megan hopes to work as an Epidemiologist in academia or the public sector. Outside of school, Megan enjoys volunteering with the Kid’s Help Phone as a crisis responder. In her free time, Megan enjoys playing guitar, reading, going to the gym, and spending time with friends.

Dominique Basque is a PhD student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Mark Ferro. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (specializing in psychology) in 2016 and obtained her Master of Arts in Psychology in 2021 at the Université de Moncton. Her thesis evaluated the feasibility of a self-compassion psychoeducational website using a minimally monitored delivery model among adults with chronic pain. Dominique also worked as a research assistant at the NB FASD Centre or Excellence and as research coordinator at the Vitalité Health Network in New Brunswick where she developed an interest in children’s physical and mental health. She wants to gain more skills and knowledge in the areas of chronic illness, mental health and mental health service use. Outside of academics, Dominique enjoys travelling, reading, trying new foods and spending time with friends and family.

Melissa Elgie is pursuing a PhD in Public Health as part of the School of Public Health at the University of Waterloo. Melissa has worked extensively in the mental health field, specifically working with children and adolescents, including for the ARCH Lab on the MY LIFE and DETOUR studies. Melissa has completed an Honours BA at the University of Guelph in Psychology and Neuroscience. She has also earned a Master’s of Science degree at McMaster University in Neuroscience, where her work focused on cognitive and clinical features of youth with OCD. Melissa’s graduate work will focus on factors related to mental health in youth with mental and physical health conditions. Outside of school, Melissa enjoys travelling, cooking and spending time with her dog, friends and family.

Kiran Dhuga is pursuing a PhD in Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Dr. Mark Ferro. She has an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science with a minor in Neuroscience from the University of Guelph. Kiran also recently completed her Master of Science in Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. Her thesis work focused on depressive symptom trajectories among parents of children with a chronic physical illness. She hopes to continue researching the mental health of children with a physical illness and their parents and gain more skills in epidemiology and biostatistics. Outside of school, Kiran enjoys spending time with family and friends, swimming, and reading.

Chris Barclay is pursuing a Masters of Science in Public Health and Health Systems under the supervision of Dr. Mark Ferro. He recently completed his Bachelor of Public Health with a Health Informatics Option at the University of Waterloo. For his Honours Thesis, he worked under the supervision of Dr. John Hirdes, examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the functional status of homecare recipients living with vision loss. Through his Masters, he is hoping to learn more about physical-mental multimorbidity in children, as well as the field of epidemiology and biostatistics as a whole. When he is not busy studying, he enjoys exploring the neighbourhood around campus, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and spending time with his dog Sherwood.

Jothi Khaira is pursuing a Master of Science in Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Mark Ferro. She completed her Honours Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Waterloo in 2022 and has since been working in health promotion and healthcare improvement through the University Health Network, William Osler Health System, and Guelph General Hospital. Through her thesis work, Jothi is hoping to combine her biology background with public health to learn more about biological impacts on mental health. Jothi aims to study the factors that increase or decrease the likelihood of mental illness in children and youth with physical disabilities. In the future, Jothi hopes to work in the public sector as an Epidemiologist with focuses on the etiology of mental disorders amongst youth. Outside of school, Jothi enjoys travelling, investing, spending time outdoors, and binging various sitcoms.

Reese Parks is a fourth-year undergraduate student in Honours Public Health with an Addictions, Mental Health, and Policy minor and a Health Research specialization. Reese is currently pursuing her honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Mark Ferro, where she will be examining COVID-19-related psychological and psychosocial distress among parents and youth with physical illness. She is hoping to learn more about how to conduct quality academic research, the field of epidemiology and biostatistics, physical-mental multimorbidity in children, and gain valuable knowledge and skills that will help her pursue a Master’s and PhD in Public Health or Epidemiology in the future. Reese recently participated in the MICEFA Medical and Public Health Program in Paris, France, where she studied their health system and completed a research paper on youth mental health in France – something she is very passionate about. Outside of school, Reese enjoys spending time with friends and family, participating in different forms of physical activity, travelling, colouring, and trying new coffee shops.

Lab Alumni

Robyn Wojcicki, Research Coordinator (2023)
Lauren Gosse, MSc (2023)
Loghan Hennes, BSc (2022)
Sydney Whitney, MSc (2021)
Saad Qureshi, Data Analyst (2021)
Erica McDonald, MSc (2021)
Madeline Reed, MSc (2021)
Sammy Chown, MSc (2021)
Tiana Ciccarelli, MSc (2020)
Claire Buchan, MSc (2019)
Irina Oltean, MSc (2019)
Braden Tompke, MSc (2019)
Jennie Tang, MSc (2018)
Emily Kornelsen, BSc (2018)
Shane Goodwin, PDF (2018)
Ahmad Qadeer, MSc (2017)
Isabella Romano, BSc (2017)
Frederick Wong, BHSc (2016)
Chris Choi, HHS Bursary Student (2016)
Evan Fang, BHSc (2015)