As we celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, the RI-MUHC congratulates one of its newest researchers

The Society for Research in Child Development (U.S.) has selected Marilyn N. Ahun, PhD, as the recipient of the 2023 Victoria S. Levin Award.

Marilyn Ahun is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University and a newly appointed junior scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). Her selected mentor is Dr. Sherryl Goodman, the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology at Emory University. She holds a B.A. Hons in Psychology from McGill University and a PhD in Public Health from the Université de Montréal School of Public Health. She recently completed a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Prof. Ahun’s program of research aims to identify the mechanisms through which parental mental health and parenting behaviours impact child development and mental health in global contexts. She works towards this aim using observational research methods to examine mediators and moderators of the associations of parental depression with child development and mental health, as well as intervention research to design, implement, and evaluate interventions that support caregivers to promote children’s development and mental health. She is a member of the Child Health and Human Development Program at the RI-MUHC and will conduct research at the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation.

Her work under this award will test the efficacy of a multicomponent parenting and parental mental health intervention for mothers and fathers in rural Ghana to improve children’s mental health. Additionally, she will also examine the mechanisms through which the intervention impacts child outcomes. Findings from this research will shed light on the independent and joint effects of targeting parenting behaviours and parental mental health on improving child and family wellbeing.

The Victoria S. Levin Award for Early Career Success in Young Children’s Mental Health Research was established to honour and carry forward the focus of Victoria S. Levin’s life’s work in scientific research addressing young children’s mental health. “Through this award, the Society for Research in Child Development has carried on Victoria Levin’s legacy of supporting early career researchers and provided over a dozen women an opportunity to launch their scientific careers,” says Prof. Ahun. “As we celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I hope more organizations and institutions will reflect on how they can actively support the careers of their female scientists and work towards achieving gender equality in STEM.”

Congratulations and welcome, Prof. Ahun!

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Dr. Marilyn Ahun Receives Victoria S. Levin Award for Early Career Success in Young Children’s Mental Health (Society for Research in Child Development)