Dr. Nancy Ross

Position: Professor, Department of Geography; Research Group Leader

Education: PhD Geography, McMaster University; MA Geography, Queen’s University; BA (honours) Geography, Queen’s University


Dr. Ross' CV

Nancy is a Professor in the Department of Geography, is an associate member of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the Institute for Health and Social Policy, and the School of Environment, and is also the Associate Vice Principal of Research and Innovation at McGill University. Nancy’s research interests include how social and built environments affect human health. In her position as the leader of the Geo-Social Determinants of Health Research Group, Nancy currently oversees a broad range of research, including studies which analyze the relationship between neighbourhood-level built design, food environments and health outcomes. Nancy is a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) and currently holds research funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), and the Trottier Fellowship in Science and Public Policy.

Sarah Mah

Program: PhD Geography, McGill University

Education: MSc Epidemiology, McGill University; BSc Biology Honours (Genetics), University of British Columbia


Sarah studies how neighbourhoods shape population-wide health and behaviours. Recent Canadian data linkage initiatives and increased availability of environmental exposures allows us to investigate associations between active living environments and hospitalization and mortality related to physical inactivity. She is particularly interested in whether neighbourhoods that are conducive to active living might benefit individuals living with type 2 diabetes. Recognizing that sedentary lifestyles and physical-inactivity related diseases are increasing around the world, she also sought international collaborations to investigate active living environments and health across different geographic contexts. She has active research projects with Swansea University (Wales, UK), the University of Melbourne and RMIT (Australia). Sarah approaches this work with training in epigenetics, epidemiology, as well as front-line counselling experience. She holds a doctoral fellowship from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec– Fonds de Recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).


Madeleine Steinmetz-Wood

Program: PhD Geography, McGill University

Education: MSc Public Health, University of Montreal; BSc Environment, McGill University


Madeleine is currently undertaking doctoral studies in the Department of Geography at McGill University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environment from McGill University (2013) and a master’s in Public Health from University of Montreal (2015). Her master’s research project aimed to investigate the environmental determinants of active transportation using the Origin Destination (OD) survey. After finishing her master’s degree, she was employed as a research assistant at the Centre de Recherche du CHUM (CRCHUM), where she was involved in research projects that explored the built environment determinants of mobility. She also worked as a research assistant at University of Montreal on a project regarding social inequalities in smoking in young adults. Presently, Madeleine is working on her doctoral thesis that will use a mixed methods approach to identify the characteristics of urban environments that contribute to physical activity in older adults. She currently holds a doctoral fellowship from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec– Fonds de Recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).


Andrew Stevenson

Program: PhD Geography, McGill University

Education: MSc Public Health, McGill University; BA Economics and Environmental Studies, McGill University


As a recent Master of Science in Public Health (MScPH) graduate from McGill University, Andrew is interested in the built environment and social determinants of health in Canada. Following the completion of his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and economics, he worked as a research coordinator for Dr. Brent Richard’s lab at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology at the Lady Davis Institute. It was through this experience that he focused his interest in epidemiology and public health. Currently he is working on a project to measure the retail food environment in Canada using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and to link these environmental variables to national survey data through Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centre at McGill. He also assists in report writing, writing of scientific papers and preparing proposals for the group.




Kiana Javaheri

Program: PhD Geography, McGill University

Education: MSc Environmental Studies & Urban Planning, York University; BA Urban Planning Engineering, University of Tehran (IR)


Kiana is a PhD candidate in Geography at McGill University. Her interdisciplinary research interests are shaped around the role of contextual factors in human behaviour and mental health. During her master’s studies at York University, she developed an individualized program of study concentrating on Environment-Behaviour Research (EBR) in human-centred planning and design, concluding with a mixed-methods cognitive study on Berczy Park, Toronto. She also had an internship at the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) where she was involved in projects such as Good Density, Smart Planning for Smart Cities, and Communities for All Ages. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Tehran, she worked on sustainability in historical neighbourhoods and was a Research and Education Assistant contributing to the development of a thematic literature database for planning students. Currently, she is interested in exploring the socio-spatial and temporal patterning of depression and anxiety in Canadian youth, using a Geographic Information System accompanied by qualitative methods.


Clara Kaufmann

Program: MA Geography, McGill University

Education: BA Health and Social Psychology, Bryn Mawr College


Clara is a full-time research assistant with the Geo-Social Determinants of Health Research Group and recently received her MA in Geography from McGill. After completing a bachelor’s degree in Health and Social Psychology at Bryn Mawr College, Clara became interested in studying the social and environmental determinants of physical and mental health and developing population-based health interventions that address these determinants. She is currently leading a project on the development and validation of a new Canada-wide food environment dataset (Can-FED). Her master's thesis examined neighbourhood fast food access and fast food consumption across Canada by linking neighbourhood food environment measures derived in ArcGIS with data from a national health survey (2015 Canadian Community Health Survey-Nutrition). Clara is a recipient of the 2017-18 Lorne Trottier Science Accelerator Fellowship, the 2018 Rathlyn GIS fellowship, and the 2018-19 Graduate Award Program at the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy.



Megan Toth

Position: Research Administrator

Education: MA Environmental Studies, University of Oregon; BA Biology and Society, Cornell University


Megan is the Research Administrator the Group. She joined the team in December 2019 where she currently works to coordinate lab activities, research projects, and administrative procedures. She holds a BA from Cornell University in Biology and Society with a focus in Environmental Studies and an MA from the University of Oregon in Environmental Studies. During her master’s degree, she co-produced a feature-length documentary film, Vanastree, about a women’s seed-saving cooperative in Southern India. Later, Megan traveled to Haiti where she produced 10 short videos for a charity-based healthcare organization. Most recently, Megan was the Advancement Manager for Major Donors and Events at Greenbelt Alliance, an environmental nonprofit in San Francisco, California. There, she coordinated multiple high-profile donor events and managed donor stewardship and fundraising projects. Megan continues to be interested in putting project management best practices to use in support of meaningful environmental and health related research.




Zach Ripka

Position: Research Assistant

Education: BA Geography (Urban Systems), McGill University - ongoing


Zach is a part-time research assistant with the Geo-Social Determinants of Health Research Group. His interests include the ways that political discourse shapes policy around urban planning, and the ultimate health outcomes of those policy decisions. Zach's work for the research group consists of data visualization, mapmaking & GIS, and web design.







Camille Clement

Position: Research Assistant

Education: BA Environment and Development, McGill University - ongoing


Camille is a part-time research assistant with the Geo-Social Determinants of Health Research Group. Her interests include environmental modeling in the urban context. Camille wishes to use environmental modeling to build improved urban policies and their health outcomes.