Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University
Associate Member in the Dept. of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University

Dr. Kimber is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She received her PhD (2015) in Health Research Methodology (Population and Public Health Specialization) from the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact at McMaster University. Her team’s research reflects their mission to improve the lives of children and youth who experience violence and mental health challenges, as well as the lives of those that love them, and the helping professionals that serve them. We pursue this mission by using qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research designs to: (a) characterize the experiences of violence and mental health challenges among children and adolescents, their caregivers, and their service providers; (b) develop and evaluate health professional education interventions to improve provider recognition and response to those affected by violence and mental health challenges; (c) implement and evaluate clinical interventions to reduce the recurrence of childhood victimization, as well as associated mental health impairment; and (d) educate new health professionals and scientists in each of the aforementioned areas. In the last five years, Dr. Kimber’s team has received funding from provincial and federal funding authorities, including the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. 

Current Activities

Some Active Research Projects:

The RISE (Researching the Impact of Service Provider Education) Project: This project was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and uses a model of implementation science to understand the family violence learning needs and preferences of social work and physician trainees and practitioners in Canada, as well as determine whether the Violence, Evidence, Guidance, and Action (VEGA; Family Violence Educational Resources support improvements in practitioner knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviours related to recognizing and responding to family violence (including intimate partner violence (IPV), child maltreatment, and children’s exposure to IPV) in clinical encounters. To guide this process, the RISE Project brings together eight national-level professional associations.

RISE with Residents: Evaluating an Educational Intervention for Improving Residents’ Recognition and Response to Child Maltreatment” – A mixed method acceptability and feasibility study with a pilot randomized trial.  

RISE with Veteran Service Providers: Evaluating an Educational Intervention for Improving Provider Recognition and Response to IPV Experienced by Veterans and their Families” – a mixed method pilot randomized trial.

Families CARE Project (Fostering Child and Adolescent Resilience through Emotion Project): The goal of this study is to determine the acceptability and feasibility of implementing and evaluating Emotion Focused Family Therapy with caregivers of children (7-7 years old) who have emotional and behavioural challenges and who are in contact with a child welfare agency. 

LIVES for Families Psychological First Aid (PFA) Project: The goal of this study is to determine the acceptability and feasibility of implementing and evaluating a PFA training program (called “LIVES for Families”) among health and mental health service providers to reduce distress among children, youth, their caregivers, and their service providers, during acute and chronic phases of global pandemics, extreme events, or disasters.  


Five Most Impactful Publications:

Allice, I., Acai, A., Ferdossifard, A., Wekerle, C., & Kimber, M. (2022). Indigenous Cultural Safety in Recognizing and Responding to Family Violence: A Systematic Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health – Special Issue: Intimate Partner Violence Interventions in Social and Healthcare Settings. Doi: 

Gaboury, K., & Kimber, M. (2022). Physiological and Psychological Consequences of Vicarious Traumatization among Mental Health Service Providers with a History of Child Maltreatment: A Narrative Review. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Doi: 

Kimber, M., & Ferdossifard, A. (2020). Children’s exposure to trafficking, sexual exploitation, and community-based violence in Canada: A Narrative Summary and Policy Perspective. Child Abuse & Neglect. Doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104790 

Stewart, D. E., MacMillan, H. L., Kimber, M. (2020). Recognizing and Responding to Intimate Partner Violence – An Update (A Position Paper for the Canadian Psychiatric Association’s Standing Committee on Professional Standards and Practice). Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Doi: 10.1177/0706743720939676 

Kimber, M., Adham, S., Gill, S., McTavish, J., MacMillan, H. (2018). The Association between Child Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Perpetration of IPV in Adulthood – A Systematic Review. Child Abuse & Neglect, 76, 273-286. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.11.007. 

Melissa Kimber

Contact Melissa

Research Interests

family violence (child maltreatment; intimate partner violence); child and adolescent mental health; health professions education; mixed methods 

Education, Memberships, Certifications

BA (English, Women’s Studies)/BSW (Social Work), McMaster University; Graduate Diploma in Health Services & Policy Research, York University; MSW, York University; PhD, McMaster University; Registered Social Worker, OCSWSSW

Additional Information

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