Dr. Noorfarah Merali is a Registered Counselling Psychologist with expertise in Immigrant Families, Cross-cultural Adaptation, and Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health. She is a tenured professor in the Counselling Psychology Graduate Program, and is a Faculty Fellow of the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research. She has also been an Affiliate Faculty Member of the University of Alberta's Prairie Metropolis Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration, Integration, and Diversity since its inception.
Dr. Merali was the Director of Training for Counselling Psychology Graduate Programs at the University of Alberta for the 5 year period from September 2008 to April 2013, overseeing the Doctoral program, as well as the Master’s thesis-based, course-based, and School Counselling programs. She has over 15 years of combined experience across the non-profit, post-secondary education, health care, and government sectors in the areas of: (1) Mental Health Program Leadership, (2) Teaching, Curriculum Design, and Diversity Training, (3) Program Design and Evaluation, (4) Cross-cultural, Community-based Research, (5) Strategic Planning and Advisement, (6) Fundraising, and (7) Graduate Student Supervision. She has been approached by organizations such as the United Nations, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Health and Human Resources Development Canada, the Alberta Mental Health Board, the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association, and Immigrant Services Calgary for help with projects and programs related to immigration, or for staff training. Programs she has designed have received recognition from the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Minister for Status of Women Canada as prototypes for excellence in service delivery to immigrant and refugee communities.
Most recently, upon the request of Directors of several of Edmonton’s major non-profit counselling and social service agencies tasked with serving Syrian newcomers (Catholic Social Services, YWCA, and Islamic Family and Social Support Services), Dr. Merali provided an all day staff training and professional development session entitled “Responding to Syrian Refugee Mental Health Needs and Facilitating Resilience in the Aftermath of War and Disaster”. She has been asked by the Executive Committee of the Alberta Teacher’s Association Council of School Counsellors to deliver similar professional development sessions for school counsellors across Alberta in the upcoming months. In addition, Noorfarah is presently assisting YWCA Edmonton to adapt their Girls Space Program for delivery to Syrian youth, upon the request of the City of Edmonton and Reach Edmonton. The Girls Space Program is a national YWCA initiative promoting life skills development, emotional resilience, and empowerment of female children and youth that was originally developed for mainstream populations. Noorfarah is serving as the content expert on cross-cultural program development for this project and is assisting with strategic planning for serving the Syrian refugee population.
Noorfarah also recently provided a policy briefing for Senior Policy Officers in the Children’s Consular Services Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Government of Canada upon their request, to inform them about findings of her past research studies and community work in the areas of immigration, arranged and forced marriage, and domestic violence, and how the research findings can shape policy directions for the Unit’s efforts to try to prevent child maltreatment when immigrant families living in Canada send their children back home or abroad for harmful cultural practices.