Laura Simich

Laura Simich

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto; Scientist, Social Equity and Health Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada


Laura joined Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice in February 2011. Her recent research has focused on human trafficking victim identification, the needs of unaccompanied migrant youth, and evaluations of legal information programs serving immigrant adults and children. For the previous 10 years, she was a research scientist at one of Canada’s largest research and teaching hospitals, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. She was also assistant professor in the departments of psychiatry and anthropology at the University of Toronto. From 2000 to 2010, Laura conducted 29 studies on immigrant settlement and mental health, 19 as principal investigator. She has specialized in community-based, policy-oriented, mixed-methods research with various refugee and immigrant communities, including Tamil, Sudanese, and Somali groups in Canada. Her primary research interests are social determinants of immigrant mental health and immigrant status, security, and well-being. Her work has focused on social support, refugee resettlement, resilience, and immigrant child well-being. Laura has written 45 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and numerous reports, policy briefs, and public and professional educational materials for a variety of audiences. She holds a BA from Indiana University and an MA and PhD from Columbia University.

Research Interest

Laura Simich, Ph.D. is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, and Scientist in the Social Equity and Health Research Program of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto. Dr. Simich specializes in qualitative community-based and policy-oriented research. Her recent applied research has focused on social determinants of mental well being among immigrants and refugees, particularly social support during refugee resettlement. Her current research interests include investigating pan-Canadian models of refugee mental health services; resilience, adaptation and mental health among culturallly diverse populations, especially Tamil and Sudanese newcomers in Canada; and the mental health experiences of immigrants with precarious status. Dr. Simich developed the popular self-help guide for mental health promotion among isolated, disadvantaged newcomers, Alone in Canada: 21 Ways to Make it Better, published in 18 languages, and continues to work on health literacy issues.Canada, immigrants, newcomers, refugees, social support, well-being

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