Lakehead researchers receiving more than $354K from SSHRC

July 30, 2020 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is granting Lakehead University researchers more than $354,000 in funding for seven important projects that will have wide-ranging impacts.

Dr. Amanda Maranzan, Associate Professor in Psychology, is receiving a $70,528 Insight grant that will allow her to examine disclosure attitudes and experiences among postsecondary students experiencing mental distress in the context of an anti-stigma reduction strategy.

Called Honest, Open, Proud – College (HOP-C), this three-session program led by two trained peer facilitators aims to reduce stigma and help students make informed choices about disclosure, which vary by setting.

“This program teaches relatively safe ways to disclose should the student decide to do so, and helps students craft stories that reflect their disclosure goals,” Dr. Maranzan said.

“Prior research on this anti-stigma reduction program found evidence of reduced self-stigma, increased perceived resources to cope with stigma-related distress, and greater self-efficacy regarding disclosure amongst postsecondary students,” she added.

Dr. Maranzan and her team will examine the impacts of this disclosure-based stigma reduction strategy on variables that are important to postsecondary students: self-esteem, self-efficacy, social support, and academic achievement.

This research will also assess the role played by disclosure decisions, behavior and affirming attitudes. Researchers will determine the feasibility of HOP-C to support scaling-up this anti-stigma approach if appropriate.

The project will take three years to complete and will allow Dr. Maranzan to hire one Psychology doctoral student to gain research experience and skills through high quality research training as well as four trained peer facilitators (students at any level of study).

Dr. Manal Alzghoul, Assistant Professor in Nursing, is receiving a $65,250 Insight Development grant to explore immigrant parents’ knowledge and cultural beliefs along with factors contributing to the risk of unintentional injury to children.

“My research will examine the acceptability of injury prevention programs to immigrant parents,” Dr. Alzghoul said, adding that she and her team will conduct the study with immigrant families living in northern and rural Ontario.

Unintentional injuries are a major cause of death and disability among children worldwide and in Canada. Injuries impact the social, physical, psychological, and economic wellbeing of children, their families, and communities. Most of these preventable injuries occur inside and around the house.

Immigrant families, who comprise 21.3% of the Canadian population, may have a different understanding of children’s risk of injury as well as knowledge of prevention strategies based on safety standards in their home countries, cultural norms, and housing environments. Compared to non-immigrants, immigrant children are 23 percent more likely to be injured if they are young (i.e., 14 years old or younger), male, reside in northern and rural areas, and have a higher socioeconomic status.

“The findings of this research may inform the design of injury prevention initiatives to improve the knowledge, perceptions, and engagement of immigrant parents,” Dr. Alzghoul added. 

The project will take two years to complete. For each year, one master’s student and three undergraduate students will perform research with Dr. Alzghoul.

Lakehead Orillia campus associate professor Dr. Valerie Hébert, departments of history and interdisciplinary studies, is receiving a three-year $51,473 Insight Grant to write a monograph exploring the complex ethical dilemmas associated with viewing, exhibiting, and engaging with images of atrocity, specifically photographs taken during the Holocaust.

“Photographs are how I came to learn history,” said Dr. Hébert. “My grandfather had a book of Time Life photographs chronicling major events of the 20th century. They gave me a visual vocabulary for events I would later study, write, and teach about. So, in a sense, this project brings me full circle to where my interest in history began.

“In the age of social media, we are more and more a visual society. When it comes to images of suffering bodies, we ought to be conscious of the harrowing circumstances of their creation, and the responsibilities of the viewer in light of these circumstances.”

Dr. Hébert’s book will discuss the many functions photographs serve in understanding atrocity, and where we might look for guidance in engaging them sensitively.

“Congratulations to our researchers and thank you to SSHRC for recognizing the important work that is happening at Lakehead University,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

In 2019/20, Lakehead University will receive nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.  

Total: $354,666

Insight Development Grants (two years)

Hay, Travis – Postdoctoral Fellow, Indigenous Learning - The Colonial History of Medicine in Northwestern Ontario 1930-1990 - $20,166

  • Project Elder: Terri Redsky Fiddler
  • Partners: Sandy Lake First Nation; Nishnawbe Aski Nation

Gokani, Ravi – Assistant Professor, Social Work - Proselytism and Service Provision in Conservative Evangelical Faith Based Organisations: Managing Competing Mandates - $59, 615

Scharf, Deborah – Assistant Professor, Psychology - Adolescent Exposure to Cannabis Marketing - $49,431

Co-applicants (all from Lakehead):

  • Michel Bédard
  • Rupert Klein
  • Anna Kone

Alzghoul, Manal – Assistant Professor, Nursing - A Mixed Methods Study of Immigrant Parents' Perceptions of Risk Factors, Prevention Strategies, and Accessibility of Injury Prevention Programs to Prevent Unintentional Injuries in Children in Rural and Northern Ontario - $65,250


  • Vicki Kristman (Lakehead)
  • Souraya Sidani (Ryerson)

Filice, Sylvane – Assistant Professor, Nursing – Regard en arrière, regard vers l’avenir: une approche herméneutique pour examiner le vécu des infirmiers/ères francophones dans le Nord de l’Ontario - $38,203

Co-applicants: (all from Lakehead)

  • Mary Ellen Hill
  • Isabelle Lemee
  • Michelle Spadoni

Insight Grants (three years)

Hebert, Valerie – Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Five Shots from Sdolbunow: Photographs of the Holocaust by Bullets, 1942 - $51,473

Maranzan, Amanda – Self-stigma and strategic disclosure amongst Canadian post-secondary students - $70,528

Collaborator: Patrick Corrigan – Illinois Institute of Technology


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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year. Visit

Amanda Maranzan Manal Alzghoul and Valerie Hebert