Who Are We?
Robb Travers, Director
Dr. Robb Travers is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and holds additional appointments as Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and Associate Research Scientist, Centre for Research in Inner City Health, St. Michael’s Hospital. Robb is a leader in the community-based research movement in Canada. His community and academic partnerships focus on social exclusion and the health and well-being of trans communities and LGBT youth. Robb is also the Director of the Equity, Sexual Health and HIV Research Group at the Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action at Wilfrid Laurier University. In this role, he is dedicated to mentoring students in action research, building community capacity for change, and improving quality of life for marginalized communities. Dr. Travers is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research, New Investigator Award (Population Health/Health Services)
Alex St. John, Research Coordinator
Alex St. John is a research coordinator in the Equity, Sexual Health and HIV Research Group. He recently completed his undergraduate degree in political science and psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and has a passion for social justice, politics, and rugby.
Cory Blumenfeld, Undergraduate Student
Samantha Chefaro, Undergraduate Student
Sam is a 4th year undergraduate student working towards a BA in the psychology research specialist program at Wilfrid Laurier University. During her undergrad Sam developed an interest in the areas of social psychology and mental health. Presently, she is working on her undergraduate thesis examining implications of Gay Straight Alliances in high schools across the Waterloo Region. Originally from Stouffville, Ontario, in her spare time, Sam likes to get involved with extra curricular activities that include volunteer work both on and off campus.
Angele DesRochers, Masters Student
Angele graduated with a B.A. (Hons.) degree from the University of Prince Edward Island majoring in psychology and minoring in political studies. She is interested in the intersections between psychology and public policy. Angele has been heavily influenced by feminist approaches to social science. Her academic work has concentrated on various issues involving gender/gendered experience. Angele is also interested in social constructivism, qualitative research methods, and participatory action research.
Grace Ho, Undergraduate Student
Grace Ho is a fourth year Honours Sociology Student. She has many research interests, mostly pertaining to the health statuses of immigrants and refugees. As an ESH-HIV research intern, she hopes to learn more about how people living with HIV/AIDS navigates through Canada's health care, immigration, and legal systems. Grace is confident that her exposure to various research and learning opportunities will provide her with a strong foundation when she pursues a career in law and health management.
Kate Klein, Masters Student
Kate Klein is a Masters student in the Community Psychology program at WLU, and a past research coordinator with the ESH-HIV Research Group. She currently lives and works in Toronto Ontario, keeping busy as a community-based researcher, sex educator, and community development worker. While she has many interests, she spends most of her time working with issues of body sovereignty, including working to promote self-determination in healthcare systems, anti-violence in personal relationships, and reproductive justice in all facets of our lives. Kate is passionate about queer and trans health, arts-informed research and activism, feminist theatre, disability justice, and in the radical potential of bodies, emotions, relationships, and intuition. Her Master's thesis project seeks to explore how community-based researchers learn to navigate ethical complexity in the context of 'disorderly' research, and what role university-based Research Ethics Boards play in this process.
Renato Liboro, PhD Student
Rainier is a PhD student of the Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) Community Psychology program under the supervision of Dr. Robb Travers. He has been a part of the Equity, Sexual Health, and HIV (ESH-HIV) Research Group of CCRLA since 2011. Rainier obtained a Bachelor of Science Honours in Psychology and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Philippines, where he practiced as a general surgeon for nearly 10 years. After migrating to Canada in 2007, he worked as a clinical researcher and education officer in Toronto for three and a half years before coming to WLU to pursue his doctoral studies. Rainier’s teaching experience includes being an Assistant Professor at St. Luke’s College of Medicine in his home country, a Lecturer for Meditech International Inc. in Toronto, and an Instructor at the University of Guelph. He is currently involved in the community as a member of the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition Community Space Steering Committee and as a volunteer in the community space in his spare time. His ongoing doctoral dissertation research focus is on the impact of legislation and public policy on the success of Gay-Straight Alliances and other community-based interventions that address the issues surrounding the health, mental health, and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in the Waterloo region. His other research interests include advocacy for issues affecting the health, mental health, and well-being of the different LGBT subpopulations in the community, including the elder, youth, immigrant/newcomer, and racial minority groups, and persons with disabilities.
Lauren Munro, PhD Student
Lauren is currently a first year Doctoral student in the Community Psychology Program, working with Dr. Robb Travers on the Trans PULSE project to explore how multiple forms of stigma intersect to shape unique and complex mental health and wellbeing concerns for trans people living with HIV. This work is supported by a doctoral award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University with her undergraduate thesis focused on understanding how university students with mental health issues experience stigma.
Before enrolling in the Community Psychology program, she worked as the researcher coordinator for Dr. Travers’ Equity, Sexual Health & HIV (ESH-HIV) Research Group, where she continues to be involved as a senior member and mentor. Bridging the gap between research and community work, Lauren has a history of involvement in various projects that use theatre for social change. Four the past four years, Lauren was involved with a peer theatre education program through Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region that uses theatre to engage in creative brainstorming sessions with youth on topics of sexual health and relationships.
As someone who is committed to conducting research that is relevant to and useful for marginalized communities (as data for grassroots activism, or to influence policy change), Lauren makes an explicit effort to ensure that the work that she does has the potential to influence Canadian public policy. In line with this goal, she is participating in Rainbow Health Ontario’s Public Policy Institute, an innovative training program in which trainees connect with seasoned Ontario policy experts to learn more about engaging in work that is policy-relevant.
Danish O'Habib, Undergraduate Student
Danish is in his fourth year of Honors Health Sciences at Laurier and he is currently an intern in the Equity, Sexual Health and HIV Research Group. He is planning on applying to medical school after graduation. In the research group he has developed an interest in the issues facing HIV positive immigrants and refugees in Ontario. Furthermore, he looks forward to learning more about the positive impacts and the empowerment that can occur in community-based research.
Emma Pollard, Undergraduate Student
Emma is currently in her third year of the Health Science program at Wilfrid Laurier University. This is her first research opportunity and she is excited to be involved. As an intern, she is helping with the transcription of interviews and media analysis of newspaper coverage of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). Emma is currently assisting in two studies, one looking at HIV in transgender people and another studying GSAs at local elementary and secondary schools. After graduating from WLU, Emma hopes to attend medical school and become an obstetrician-gynecologist.
Sandra Yan, Masters Student
Prior to becoming a Masters Student in the Community Psychology program at WLU, Sandra worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael's Hospital, where her interest and passion for social justice and health equity issues was sparked. Her current thesis uses the data from the Toronto Teen Survey to explore, through the lens of intersectionality, the barriers of sexual health education and services that racialized LGBTQ youth experience.