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Miriam Kuttikat portrait

Miriam Kuttikat, Ph.D.

Associate professor

Email: mgeorge@vcu.edu

Phone: (804) 828-3616

Postdoctoral Fellow, CAMH, University of Toronto
Ph.D., University of Toronto
M.A., University of Toronto
M.S.W., University of Toronto
M.S.W., Mahatma Gandhi University
BA. University of Calicut

Dr. Kuttikat’s program of research aims to develop community-based interventions to address migrant family health and conflict. She focuses on the influence of complex family dynamics on migrant health deterioration and the development of effective parenting strategies with particular a attention to the parent-adolescent relationship.

Dr. Kuttikat has conducted research at both national and international contexts and built her research paradigm based on her clinical and field experiences with diverse migrant communities in India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United States. Since 2005, Dr. Kuttikat’s research studies have received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the University of Toronto, the Royal Bank, the Foundation for International Training, the Canadian Institute for Health Research, and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. Her recent study has been funded by the National Institute of Health Fogarty International (K01:TW 009648). The central themes that guided her research were: 1) the connection between daily stressors, family dynamics and family health while migrant families (parents and adolescents) entered this transition in their lives, and 2) the development and implementation of interventions to address multi-dimensional changes and complexities experienced by migrant families over time. As an extension of NIH K01 research, Dr. Kuttikat will be pilot testing a multi-level intervention to address the multi-dimensional changes in migrant families over time.  

Dr. Kuttikat’s research methodology includes a innovative community based participatory approach by integrating quantitative data with the migrant community’s experiential knowledge to identify the critical needs of migrant communities. She is committed to creating critical, reflective, and culturally conscious knowledge in this substantive area and inform policy and practice through community partnerships, Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and Community Based Experiential Learning (CBEL). These methods are transferable and are proven successful in sustaining community engagement with vulnerable communities – either locally or abroad. Dr. Kuttikat has a long-standing, established community partnership with the Organization for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation and an on-going research affiliation with the International Migration Research Unit at the Center for Development Studies.

Dr. Kuttikat was trained as a Clinical Social Worker. She previously worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in University of Toronto, Canada. Prior to joining Virginia Common Wealth University in 2011, she worked as tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Notable awards, honors and appointments

  • Research Fellowship, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, U.K.
  • Community Engagement Academy, Virginia Commonwealth University, U.S.
  • Lois Claxton Excellence in Research, University of Waterloo, Canada

Research projects and funding

Selected grants

Principal Investigator, “Testing a refugee family dynamics model: A study with Sri Lankan Tamils”, 2013 - 2018, NIH Fogarty International K01 International Research Scientist Development Award.

Principal Investigator, “Community readiness assessment for repatriation of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Indian refugee camps”, 2013 - 2015, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work Internal Grant.

Co-Principal Investigator, “Understanding engagement in the program of assertive community treatment”, 2012 - 2015. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work Internal Grant.

Co-Principal Investigator, “Availability, utilization, and mobilization of resettlement resources by Bhutanese refugees in Richmond”, 2012 – 2013, Virginia Commonwealth University Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

Principal Investigator, “High suicide and high literacy: The Kerala women’s paradox”, 2010-2011, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Seed Grant.

Principal Investigator, “Long term psychological sequelae of torture related distress among Sri Lankan Tamil forced migrants in Toronto”, 2010 – 2011, Canadian Institute for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (rejected), Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Principal Investigator, “Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora: Migration traumatic experiences and psychological distress”, 2005-2009, University of Toronto Fellowship, Royal Bank Fellowship, Foundation for International Training Fellowship.

Selected publications

Kuttikat, M., Vaillancourt, A., & Massey, M. (2018). Battered but bold: Sri Lankan Tamil refugee war experiences, camp challenges and resilience. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care. 14(3), 245 - 259.

Gandhi, M., Manuel, J., & George, M. (2018). Understanding engagement in the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) from the perspectives of individuals receiving treatment. Social Work in Mental health. 16 (4), 400-418.

George, M. (2017). Application of Conservation of Resource Theory (COR) with camp refugees. Migration and Development. 6 (3), 460 – 478.

George, M., Vaillancourt, A & Rajan, I. (2016). Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India: Conceptual framework of repatriation success. Refuge – Canada’s Journal for Refugees. 32 (3), 73-83.

George, M., Manuel, J. & Gandhi, M. (2016). “Sometimes What They Think is Helpful is Not Really Helpful”: Understanding engagement in the program of assertive community treatment. Community Mental Health Journal. 52 (8), 882–890.

George, M. & Jettner, J. (2016). Migration stressors, psychological distress and family - A Sri Lankan Tamil refugee analysis. Journal of International Migration and Integration. 17 (2), 341-353.

George, M. & Jettner, J.  (2015). Impact of daily stressors on psychological distress: A Sri Lankan Tamil refugee analysis.  International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies. 11 (1), 1-16.

George, M. (2015). Ethical lessons learned from conducting refugee-based research in an Indian refugee camp. Journal of Human Rights Practice. 7(3), 451 -465.

George, M., Kliewer, W., & Rajan, I. (2015). “Rather than talking in Tamil, they should be talking to Tamils”: Sri Lankan Tamil refugee readiness for repatriation. Refugee Survey Quarterly. 34 (2), June.

George, M. & Jettner, J. (2015). Demographic characteristics, migration traumatic events and psychological distress among Sri Lankan Tamil refugees - A preliminary analysis.  Migration and Development. 4 (1).125-142.

George, M. & Narayan, J. (2014). Revisiting the landscape of professional social work in India. Social Development Issues. 36(2), 53-64.

George, M. & Ellison, V. (2014). Incorporating spirituality into social work practice with migrants. British Journal of Social Work, April, 1 – 14.

George, M. (2013). Sri Lankan Tamil refugee migration experiences: A qualitative analysis. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 6(3), 170-182.

Donovan, K., Regehr, C., & George, M. (2013). Nursing home care for adults with chronic Schizophrenia. Social Work in Mental Health. 11(2), 167-183.

George, M. (2012). Migration traumatic experiences and refugee distress: Implications for social work practice. Clinical Social Work Journal. 40(4), 429-437.

George, M. (2011). Community treatment orders: Locating a social worker’s space. Social Work in Mental Health. 9(3), 206-221.

George, M. (2011). Midst of a storm: Distress of Kerala women. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. 26(3), 304-313.

George, M. (2010). A theoretical understanding of refugee trauma. Clinical Social Work Journal, 38(4), 379-387.

George, M. (2010). Role, strengths, and challenges of health educators in Toronto hospitals. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 5(1), 445-456.

George, M. (2008). Religious patriarchy and the subjugation of women in India.   International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 3(3), 21-30.

Selected presentations

Kuttikat, M. (2018, March). Understanding Sri Lankan Refugee family’s parental behavior. Consortium of Universities for Global Health. New York., U.S.A.

George, M., & Vaillancourt, A. (2018, January). Addressing ethical challenges in refugee based research. Society for Social Work and Research Conference. Washington D.C. U.S.A.

George, M., & Vaillancourt, A. (2017, June). Application of Conservation of Resource Theorywith Camp Refugees.  North American Refugee Health Conference. Toronto, Canada.

George, M. (2017, April). Identifying daily stress, family conflict and health care resource gapsat the Sri Lankan Tamil refugee camps in India: Implications for developing an evidencebased family intervention for refugees. Consortium of Universities for Global Health. Washington D.C., U.S.A.