Head of Community and Inclusion
Aber is Somali-Canadian, born and raised in the United Arab Emirates. She moved back to Canada to pursue her degree in Health Studies at Queen’s University. During her time at Queen’s, Aber realized her passion for community development, mental health, and research. Shortly after completing her undergraduate studies, Aber published “Models of Concurrent Disorder Service: Policy, Coordination, and Access to Care'' – A systemic review highlighting the gaps in service delivery that are far too common and often unaddressed in mental health policy and global health governance.
Her continued commitment to community work and interest in mental health led to her current role as a Program Manager at the Centre for Resilience and Social Development. Aber leads a community-based research project to understand immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural, and racialized youth experiences of the relationship between cannabis use and mental health. The project focuses on 3 main hallmarks: community-driven, participatory, and action-oriented while using an anti-oppressive and anti-racism framework to guide engagement. She also oversees RAJO (Somali word for ‘hope’) – a multi-city evidence-based project focused on trauma-informed & culturally responsive mental health services for immigrant and refugee youth and families. In collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital, Aber successfully led the implementation of the Trauma Systems Therapy for Refugee’s Model in Canada. TST-R is a four-tiered model that focuses on the experience of trauma that refugees face, from pre-migration, during migration, and during resettlement and beyond, thereby providing a socio-environmental context to the intervention.
This September, Aber is pursuing her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology at the Michigan School of Psychology with a specific focus on Humanistic Psychology. Aber’s life-long goal is to honour lived experiences, meet individuals where they are, provide unconditional positive regard, and address barriers and gaps in accessing mental health services.