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Young kids

OUR MISSION

Racial and ethnic disparities in health are a reality that impacts the overall well-being of children, adolescents and their families, particularly those who are racially minoritized. The primary mission of PowerinYouth Lab researchers is to engage with and produce research that supports understanding of the complex relationships between racial discrimination and certain health outcomes (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression) among young people, particularly within the Canadian context.

 

We also aim to explore and develop interventions focused on the promotion of child and youth well-being, empowerment and racial equity. We truly believe in the P.O.W.E.R in youth!

TEAM

Meet our team of passionate and dedicated researchers

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Assistant Professor

Clinical Child Psychologist

 

Lab Director

Dr. Linda Iwenofu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology & Human Development at OISE - University of Toronto. She is also a clinical psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, and specializes in the psychological assessment and treatment of children, youth and families presenting with a wide range of difficulties (e.g., learning problems, relational issues, trauma, ADHD, behavioral problems). Dr. Iwenofu's current research broadly focuses on understanding the ways in which individual differences such as race, ethnicity, language, poverty, immigration and exposure to adverse events impact child and youth trajectories toward health and wellness. Dr. Iwenofu specializes in research examining the mechanisms through which anti-Black racism impacts child health outcomes. She teaches graduate-level courses on psychoeducational assessment and intervention with culturally and linguistically diverse children, youth and families, as well as on anti-racist approaches to professional work with children, youth and emerging adults within educational and clinical contexts.

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Shawna Grossman, M.A. 

Ph.D Student, School and Clinical Child Psychology

 

Lab Manager

Shawna Grossman is a third-year doctoral student in the School and Clinical Child Psychology (SCCP) program at OISE. Her research focuses on studying the impacts of racial discrimination on mental and physical health-related outcomes among children and youth from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds. She is currently working on conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis on the impact of racial discrimination on health outcomes among Black children and youth, as part of her doctoral thesis. Shawna’s doctoral research is currently funded by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. In addition, Shawna recently completed her master’s thesis, which studied the longitudinal development of vocabulary and reading fluency skills in a sample of elementary-school aged English Language Learners. Her master’s research was funded by a CGS-M (SSHRC) award. As a clinician-in-training, Shawna is interested in supporting the holistic health and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and emerging adults from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Shawna has previously completed a practicum placement at the Toronto District School Board, and she is currently on practicum placement at Surrey Place.

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Deanah Notice 

Research Assistant

Deanah Notice completed her Bachelor's of Science at the University of Toronto, in the area of Psychology and Population Health. She is interested in studying the effects of mental health on racialized communities, as well as in developing policy and resources to encourage mental health and related treatments within racialized communities. Currently, Deanah also serves as a Volunteer Researcher and Intake Coordinator with LiveWise Associates Clinic, and as a Certified COPE Mental Health Coordinator with Community Care Durham. Deanah aspires to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology and become a psychologist.

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Harmoni Watson, B.A. (Spec. Hons) 

M.A. Student, School and Clinical Child Psychology

Harmoni Watson is a second year Master's student in the School and Clinical Child Psychology program at OISE. Her broad research interests include examining the ways in which racial discrimination affect the well-being and academic performance of racialized children and youth. Before joining OISE, Harmoni was a research assistant on Dr. Stephanie Craig's Teens @ Home project. In that role she examined qualitative data that sought to understand how youth experienced and were affected by anti-racism events since the summer of 2020. Harmoni also currently works as a research assistant on the Ontario Birth Study team at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, under the supervision of Dr. Julia Knight and Dr. Rayjean Hung. She aims to use her research and clinical training to support the well-being of children, youth, and families who come from racialized and marginalized backgrounds. For the 2022-23 year, Harmoni was awarded a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship.

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Cheyenne McIntyre, BSc. (Hons)

Research Assistant

Cheyenne McIntyre is currently a Research Assistant with the Power in Youth Laboratory at OISE, under the supervision of Dr. Iwenofu. She received her Honours BSc in Mental Health Studies from the University of Toronto Scarborough where she gained extensive research experience. Her research interests include improving mental health outcomes and care for marginalized populations within Canada. In the future, she intends to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology.

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Vashti Kamassah, B.A. (Hons)

Research Assistant

Vashti Kamassah is currently a M.Ed. student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)’s Developmental Psychology and Education program. She has recently presented her research in short talks at the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP)  Virtual Conference and the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fair. Her research interests include accessible education for those that have been historically disadvantaged (racialized persons, persons with disabilities, etc.) and alternative approaches to “traditional” education.

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Kimberly Dsilva, BSc. (Hons)

M.A. Student, School and Clinical Child Psychology

Paul Douglas II, BSc. (Hons)

Research Assistant

Kimberly Dsilva is a first year Master's student in the School and Clinical Child Psychology program at OISE. Her undergraduate thesis evaluated the use of a psychoeducational video game to raise awareness about the mental health effects of cannabis use on Black racialized youth who have experienced a first episode of psychosis or have cannabis use disorder. Kimberly is very interested in the investigation of risk and resilience factors, and is passionate about implementing early intervention and tailored programs to protect at risk children and youth from negative health outcomes. She has experience working as a developmental service worker and a daycare assistant teacher. She currently works as an ABA Therapist for children with autism, and a Research Assistant at the George Hull Centre for Children and Families, supporting a school-based social emotional learning project and the CASTER (Child and Adolescent Screener for Traumatic Events and Response) pilot project, amongst others. 

Paul Douglas II is an Inclusive Excellence Scholar and first year Master of Education student at OISE in the Developmental Psychology and Education program.  He graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor of Science double majoring in Psychology & Child Development. His undergraduate research evaluated the significance between memory and genre of music, and his future goals are to become a School Psychologist and open Childcare Centers. 

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Florencia Saposnik, B.A. (Hons)

Research Assistant

Florencia Saposnik completed her Bachelor of Arts at McMaster University, majoring in Health Studies, specializing in Mental Health and Addictions while also minoring in psychology. Her fourth-year honours thesis explored the how social determinants of health such as race, gender, immigration status, English as a second language, and socioeconomic status impacted mental health and access to mental healthcare for Canadian undergraduate students. Florencia's research interests include improving access to mental healthcare for marginalized and racialized youth and examining how adverse events, specifically childhood trauma, impacts youth mental health and educational outcomes. Florencia hopes to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology in the near future. Outside of academia, Florencia has experience as a peer support worker through McMaster and as a caregiver for patients with dementia. Currently, Florencia works as a medical assistant at a child psychology clinic, as a research assistant through McMaster, and also volunteers for the National Overdose Response Service as a Phone Operator. 

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Josanne Buchanan, M. A.

Ph.D Student, School and Clinical Child Psychology

Josanne Buchanan is a first year PhD student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at OISE. Josanne’s research interests include: understanding the ways in which children’s identities are correlated with experiences that influence their wellbeing, examining the links between media use habits of youth from racialized backgrounds and their mental health outcomes, and digital wellness outcomes of youth from racialized and marginalized communities.

 

Before joining the Power in Youth lab, Josanne completed her MA in Developmental Psychology and Education at the Language and Learning Lab under the supervision of Dr. Patricia Ganea. In this role, Josanne conducted research to examine the effects of dialogic questioning on preschoolers’ learning of biological science through electronic books. 

Josanne has also worked with youth media researchers at multiple institutions to design and lead research projects that center youth digital wellness. Through these projects, she has examined the various ways in which racial, ethnic, and gender identities are represented in media (such as youth-targeted television series and films) and how these representations shape self-esteem, self-perception, and wellness outcomes for youth from racially minoritized communities. She has conducted research for organizations such as the Children’s Media Lab (at Toronto Metropolitan University), the Center for Scholars and Storytellers (at UCLA), and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center (at Sesame Workshop).

Josanne aims to use her research to improve well-being outcomes for youth from historically underrepresented identity groups.

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