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PhD Student Association

About the PhD Student Association

What We Do

The PhD Student Association (PhDSA) represents and advocates for doctoral students’ interests at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The PhDSA promotes links between social work doctoral students and the Faculty. The PhDSA is the formal link to the Graduate Student Union (GSU). A part of this communication includes attending GSU Council meetings, where the PhDSA voices FIFSW PhD student concerns, such as funding, academic and equity issues. We also provide support and service to individual students. If you have any questions or concerns about life as a doctoral student, the PhDSA is here to support you! In person, by phone, or by e-mail – whatever suits you best. If we cannot help you directly, we will guide you to someone who can.

How We Are Organized

PhDSA council members volunteer for their positions and are responsible to students in the faculty. The PhDSA is funded by the GSU, based on the number of students in the faculty. The PhDSA Co-Chairs have ultimate decision-making authority and charge over PhDSA general affairs, but encourage student involvement.

Get Involved!

Becoming involved in the PhDSA is important. It helps to ensure we, as students, have a voice in departmental affairs and a vehicle through which we can express our concerns and opinions. Additionally, supporting the local and international community through outreach is an important goal for the PhDSA. Social advocacy and other work carried out by the PhDSA cannot happen without the involvement of its members — of which we are grateful for any and all help and support! If you want to become more active within the FIFSW community, drop by the PhDSA office during office hours, or send us an email.

Contact Information
Email for an appointment

Past Event

Winter Social, January 30, 2020

PhDSA Council Members (Fall, 2019 – present)

Shen (Lamson) Lin, President


Google Scholar; Research Gate; PubMed;

Research interests: inequities in health care access, social determinants of health inequities, immigrant and refugee health and mental health, and evidence-based health policy.

Shen (Lamson) Lin is a third-year doctoral student at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW), concurrently enrolled in the Institute for Life Course & Aging’s collaborative specialization in Aging and the Life Course. As a social epidemiologist in training, he is now conducting various population-based quantitative studies for immigrant, refugee and racialized older adults using the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.

Prior to the Ph.D. program, he was a social policy analyst in Hong Kong and gained his gerontologtical social work practice from a long-term care management centre in Taiwan. As a mixed-method health researcher, he has two solo-authored publications (i.e., in the International Journal of Health Services; International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy). During the past two years, his original research won two Best Abstract Awards in renowned health professional conferences, including Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 2018 Annual Conference (Gero-Ed track); North American Refugee Health Conference 2019. He also received the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) student travel award in 2019. He now serves as the Chair of the FIFSW Ph.D. Student Association (PhDSA) and advocates for doctoral students’ interests.

Emmaline Houston, Secretary

Emmaline Houston is a PhD Student at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Her research interests are focused on child welfare. Prior to beginning her PhD, Emmaline was an investigation worker at the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. Emmaline is an active member of Research Watch, an inter-university learning partnership that tracks the major journals monthly and produces concise reviews of exceptional articles on child welfare. Emmaline has worked on the Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2013 and 2018. She is currently a Site Researcher for the First Nations/Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2019.

LinkedIn: Emmaline Houston

MSW (2017, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto)
B.Ed (2015, Queen’s University)
B.A.H (2014, Queen’s University)

Olive Lyons, Tresurer

Olive Lyons is a second-year doctoral student at FIFSW, a social worker (LMSW) with eight years’ experience in a variety of settings including child protective services, child and adolescent mental health, Immigration services, qualitative and quantitative research, grant writing and Adjunct lecturer in Social Work. She has extensive experience in crisis intervention, child abuse assessments, individual/ group therapeutic interventions, substance abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, mental health issues and intra/extra familial child sexual abuse and working within community and court settings.


PhDSA Constitution

Please click here for a PDF document.