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About the speaker: Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell Dr. Pillai Riddell is the Director of the Opportunities to Understand Childhood Hurt Laboratory or The OUCH Lab ( at York University, Canada. She is a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Pain and Mental Health. She also is Chair of the External advisory board of the Sick Kids Pain Centre and a member of the advisory board for Sick Kids Infant Mental Health Promotion Program.  As both a basic behavioural scientist and a clinical psychologist, Dr. Pillai Riddell leads a world-renown research program in infant and young child pain that seeks to understand pain from psychological, social, and a biological perspectives.  Her work as a clinical psychologist focuses on supporting parents of babies and young children.  Among her award-winning research accomplishments, her lab built the largest cohort in the world studying young child and parent interactions in vaccinations over the first five years of life. Her research focuses on parent-infant interactions during painful procedures, particularly the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Pillai Riddell is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, the 2019 American Pain Society’s Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children’s Pain winner, and recipient of Canadian Pain Society’s 2020 Outstanding Mentorship Award.

Disrupting Mental Health Training, Research, and Practice in Canada: Integrating Inclusivity and Technology  

Description: Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell will be presenting a talk that sets out to provoke, to inform, and to incite attendees to join in the mission of DIVERT Mental Health.  Most people practicing and researching mental health in Canada have been trained in a Western, Eurocentric approach to understanding well-being and healing from mental health challenges. At the same time, technology is evolving at a pace that few mental health professionals can keep up with despite the increasing role it plays in the lives of the children and families with whom we work.   To improve mental health care and research, we must integrate and embrace diverse knowledges regarding how we develop, study, and practice mental health and embrace how technology can support these goals. The Digital, Inclusive, Virtual, and Equitable Research Training in Mental Health Platform (DIVERT Mental Health) is a transdisciplinary mental health training platform dedicated to changing the course of mental health research and practice in Canada with children, youth, and their families through re-envisioning training knowledge foundations.  Funded by a multi million-dollar investment from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, our health research and practice training platform sets out to work collaboratively with a diverse range of children, families, academics, clinicians, NGOs, and industry partners to build up a transdisciplinary, transinstitutional curriculum. This talk will discuss current challenges in how we approach mental health training, how DIVERT is working collaboratively with partners to build a better way forward, and end with discussing personal strategies to make your professional practice more inclusive and accessible.  

By attending this workshop you will:

  • Understand the need to disrupt the mental health training and practice in academic and clinical settings.
  • Learn about a new pan-Canadian learning community dedicated to increasing diversity and technology knowledge for mental health professional trainees, practicing clinicians, and researchers.
  • Take home concrete strategies to improve your mental health practice in terms of inclusivity.