Laura Simich named director of research for Vera's Center on Immigration and Justice

The Vera Institute of Justice has named Laura Simich as director of research for its Center on Immigration and Justice.

Simich has more than 20 years’ experience researching a variety of areas, including refugee resettlement and mental well-being and mental health promotion. Most recently, she served as a scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, and in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto.

Laura has conducted more than two dozen studies on immigrant adaptation and mental health, 19 as principal investigator. She has specialized in community-based, policy-oriented, mixed-methods research with various refugee and immigrant communities, including Tamil, Sudanese, and Somali groups in Canada. Her primary research interests are social determinants of immigrant mental health and immigrant status, security, and health. Her work has focused on social support, refugee resettlement, resilience, and immigrant child well-being. Laura has written 45 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and numerous reports, policy briefs, and public and professional educational materials for a variety of audiences.

“Having been immersed for many years in immigration and mental health research in Toronto, I welcome the opportunity to expand into new areas at Vera,” said Simich. “With my colleagues in the Center on Immigration and Justice, I anticipate developing and integrating research on criminal justice, immigration, and mental health to promote better programs for immigrant and refugee children and adults.” Vera’s director, Michael Jacobson, said, “Laura Simich is a tremendous asset not only to the Center on Immigration and Justice but to Vera as a whole. She has a wealth of expertise designing and managing large research projects, and we are delighted that she has joined us.”

Simich holds a BA from Indiana University and an MA and PhD from Columbia University.

The Vera Institute of Justice is a national, independent nonprofit that combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety.