CASA Scientific Research Advisory Group

The purpose of the CASA Scientific Research Advisory Group is to coordinate scientific research and development within CASA, and to form research synergies with our partners and the CASA Research Chair. The SRA provides scientific leadership and advice to CASA’s CEO in scientific research and knowledge translation priorities and strategies.

Meet our Members:

Dr. Andy Greenshaw
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Currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Alberta and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Dr. Andy Greenshaw trained in Europe and Canada. He joined the University of Alberta in 1986 as a Heritage Medical Research Scholar. A Fellow of the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CCNP) and a Fellow of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum (CINP), Andy has served as University of Alberta Associate Vice President (Research) and has served on national and international boards including the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, the Institute of Health Economics and The University of the Arctic. He is currently a member of the Research Advisory Board for Little Warriors, a national organization committed to the awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse. Andy is the Research Director for the APEC Digital Hub for Best Practices in Mental Health, a digital hub that will serve the combined APEC population of 2.7 billion people in the Pacific Rim, including indigenous stakeholders. He is also currently on the Board of Mental Health Research Canada.

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Dr. Adam Abba-Aji

Dr. Abba-Aji, MD, FRCPC, FRCPsych, MICpsych, MSc, MBA , is an Associate Clinical Professor and the Associate Chair (Clinical Affairs) in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, UK, the Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons, Canada and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrist, London, UK. Dr. Abba-Aji is the Edmonton Zone Medical Lead for the Integrated Youth Services, Addiction and Mental Health. In 2016 he was appointed Lead Psychiatrist, Young Adult Cross-Level Services, AHS, Edmonton Zone, and Lead Psychiatrist at Edmonton’s ACCESS Open Minds Clinic. Dr. Abba-Aji’s research interests are focused on the Innovative Service Transformation in Child and Youth Mental Health, Early Identification and the Trans-diagnostic Model of Care. Dr. Abba-Aji’s dedication to youth mental health has been recognized on the Floor of the Alberta Legislative Assembly in 2018 and was also awarded the Champion of Mental Health by the MHF.

Dr. Anna Rissanen

Dr. Anna Rissanen sits as CASA’s Director of Evaluation, Research & Innovation. Her qualifications include a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Eastern Finland (Faculty of Medicine), and MEd in postsecondary education from Memorial University. She has leadership experiences as a director, scientific researcher and teacher in a broad range of international postsecondary settings. Recently, she was a director at the U o fA where she also had considerable experience managing budgets, projects and working collaboratively with students, educators, vendors and faculty. Her experiences as an entrepreneur, leader, director, project manager, researcher, supervisor, and instructor have taught the importance of learning and leading through community—meaning that what we can do together is more important than individual qualities taken in isolation.

Dr. Gail Andrew

Dr. Gail Andrew, BSc, MDCM, FRCPC, received university training at McGill University, Pediatrics at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and did a research Fellowship in Neonatology at the University of Alberta. Subsequently she developed interest in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, including complications of prematurity, prenatal alcohol exposure and impact of adverse environments. She is a Developmental Pediatrician at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital and a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, and Medical Director of the Glenrose FASD Clinical and Research Services with Dr. Carmen Rasmussen as research lead. She has been Chair of the Research and KT committee of the Canadian Network of Child and Youth Rehabilitation, under the Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centers, now known as Children’s Health Care Canada. Gail was recognized for her contributions in FASD with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Dr. Jacqueline Pei

Jacqueline Pei (R. Psych., PhD) is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. Also a practicing Registered Psychologist for the past eighteen years, Dr Pei began her career as a criminologist and forensic counselor working with incarcerated youth. Motivated by this early work, she returned to academia to study youth at risk, child development, and neuropsychology. Her current focus includes identification and evaluation of interventions to support healthy outcomes for youth put at risk, and in particular individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Dr Pei has over 75 peer reviewed publications, but places the greatest value on her work with various community and government agencies. To this end, Dr Pei currently leads the Intervention Network Action Team (iNAT), and is Senior Research Lead for the Canada FASD Research Network, roles that facilitates the link between research, policy, and practice.

Dr. Liana Urichuk

Liana Urichuk has been involved in applied mental health research and evaluation for over 20 years, moving from early roles of development, coordination, and implementation of projects, to providing overall direction and guidance for programs of mental health research and evaluation. She is currently a Director in Addiction & Mental Health within Alberta Health Services-Edmonton Zone and an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. Within AHS, she oversees programs of applied research, program evaluation, performance measurement, and clinical education/professional development, and has a broad area of interest that spans all interdisciplinary research and evaluation in psychiatry. Within her current roles, she actively contributes to applying learning to inform decision-making and improving client care, and her involvement in senior leadership strategic planning at both zone and provincial levels also ensures that key findings/recommendations are shared and help set future service planning direction by informing discussions on addiction and mental health programming and policy.

Dr. Michael Levinsky
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Dr. Levinsky, MD., Ph.D., M. ED, has 38 years of clinical experience in the field of children and adolescent mental health, including 21 years in administration and project development. He received original medical training and residency training in child and adolescent psychiatry in Ukraine in 1982. In 1990, he received Ph.D. in Medical Sciences (Psychiatry) from Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Psychiatry. He has been involved in international educational and research projects in child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology in Ukraine, Canada, Germany, Austria, and United Nations. He is an author of 65 publications including medical journals and monographs. His clinical and research interests mostly in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders (learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, Tourette’s disorder, communication disorders, etc.) and psychiatric problems of children with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Dr. Levinsky has been working at CASA since 2011. He is currently Medical Lead of the Children Day Program and Pre-Kindergarten Day Program.

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Dr. Sandra Davidge

Dr. Sandy Davidge is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Alberta and a Canada Research Chair in Maternal and Perinatal Cardiovascular Health. As an internationally renowned research leader in women’s health, Dr. Davidge has published over 250 scientific articles on her pioneering studies that are focused on understanding the causes of pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. In 2012, Dr. Davidge was appointed Executive Director of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI). WCHRI was founded in 2006 as a partnership with the University of Alberta, Alberta Health Services, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, with a shared vision “To harness the power of research innovation for a healthy future for children and women.” WCHRI’s membership is made up of over 500 leading researchers, clinician-scientists, academics, health-care professionals and service providers from academic and community settings who are focused on improving health outcomes from women and children.  

Dr. Yifeng Wei

Dr. Yifeng Wei, MA, PhD, is an expert in school-based mental health literacy. She has worked as a researcher and school mental health lead with the TeenMentalHealth.org team since 2008. She is currently an assistant professor with the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University. Her research interests focus on promoting mental health literacy in schools (both secondary and post-secondary settings) to help students gain better understanding about mental health and mental disorders, reduce stigma against mental illness, obtain and maintain good mental health, and enhance help-seeking behaviors. She has made a significant contribution to school mental health research, program development, and education across Canada and around the world. Dr. Wei has co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and has presented at regional, national and international scientific meetings and conferences. Dr. Wei was awarded the Canadian Institute of Health Research Doctoral Research Award in 2011 and the Dalhousie University President’s award in 2011 and 2012. 

CASA Research Chair

The global search for a CASA Research Chair candidate began in September 2018. CASA, in partnership with the University of Alberta, will be announcing the top candidate for the position in the near future. We are currently working out the logistics to make this a successful transition for the candidate. The CASA Research Chair will be an important member of the Scientific Research Advisory Group.