FIREtalks: Mental Health

Collaborate, network, and explore ideas across conventional disciplinary boundaries. Join us for FIREtalks, an interdisciplinary discussion forum run by graduate students for graduate students. Light refreshments, inspiring conversation, and mingling!

When? Wednesday, February 26th in the UBC Library Research Commons (Koerner Library floor 5) from 4:00-6:00pm

What is a FIREtalk? A FIREtalk (Facilitated Interdisciplinary Research Exchange) is a mix of brief presentations, activities, and discussion, all relating to a common theme. FIREtalks are a great opportunity to:

  • share your research
  • be inspired by research in other disciplines
  • connect with graduate students who share your interests.


Javiera Pumarino, PhD student, School of Population and Public Health
Punit Virk, PhD student, School of Population and Public Health
Monica Emode, MSc student, School of Population and Public Health
Dr. John-Jose Nunez MD, MSc student, Computer Science, Psychiatry Resident
Tala Maragha, MSc student, Craniofacial Sciences program at the Faculty of Dentistry

Register here.

Transitioning Out of Foster Care by Javiera Pumarino.

HEARTSMAP-U: A digital mental health self-assessment and guidance tool for post-secondary students by Punit Virk
Punit is a second-year PhD student at the School of Population & Public Health at UBC, where he recently completed his MSc (’18). Punit’s research interests include young adult mental health (focusing on higher education settings), health measurement, and the evaluation of e-mental health interventions. For his doctoral project, he is developing and evaluating a psychosocial self-assessment and guidance tool for post-secondary students. This work aims to improve the identification of psychosocial concerns among students and their connectivity with accessible support, on- and off-campus. Punit holds a CIHR Doctoral Award and his research is funded through the UBC Strategic Investment Fund.

Appropriateness of Antipsychotic Prescribing Among Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by Monica Emode. 
Monica is an MSc candidate in the School of Population and Public Health and has a keen interest in health equity and social justice issues as they relate to the health of marginalized populations. In addition to her studies, Monica works as a Junior Epidemiologist at Health Canada and is the Student Director of the Canadian Public Health Association. Her passion for mental health grew considerably stronger from experience gained working within various healthcare settings and research institutions following the completion of her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from York University in 2015.
Her MSc research is focused on using large health administrative databases to examine inappropriate prescribing practices among immigrant and non-immigrant children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Computational Psychiatry: Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve Mental Health Care by Dr. John-Jose Nunez
Dr. John-Jose Nunez is currently in two programs here at UBC. He is a resident physician, pursing specialization in psychiatry, and is also a part-time MSc student in Computer Science, learning artificial intelligence techniques such as machine learning and natural language to apply them to mental health. Prior to this, he completed medical school and an undergraduate degree double majoring in mathematics and pharmacology, both also at UBC. Recent research projects include predicting antidepressant response using clinical data, and comparing natural language techniques across the various fields of medicine. In his spare time, he can be found winemaking, learning languages, and being one of those Canadians way too into American politics.

Mental Health and Student Wellness in Professional Health Programs: An Environmental Scan for Canadian Dental Schools by Tala Maragha
Tala graduated with a degree in dental and oral surgery (B.D.S) from Jordan University of Science and Technology, and a current Graduate Teaching Assistant and a student in the MSc Craniofacial Sciences program at the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia. I am also a research assistant for the partnership grant ‘Health Professional and Knowledge Workers’ taking place at the University of Ottawa as a part of their ‘Healthy and Productive Work Initiative. My main areas of interest are dental education and student mental health research.


Register here.