Student Researcher Profile: Dr. Anne Dezetter

Dr. Anne Dezetter
Post-Doctoral Fellow, New Brunswick

Originally from France, Dr. Anne Dezetter lived in several parts of France and Canada before moving to the Maritimes in 2015. She completed her studies at the renowned Université Paris Descartes where she specialized in sociology, epidemiology, and health economics. Her research interest is mental health, and she did her first postdoctoral fellowship on the unmet mental health needs of users of front-line services. She then worked on a project that involved assessing the costs and benefits of providing better access to psychotherapies for Canadian adults with depressive or anxiety disorders.

Last year, Anne came across an ad for a postdoctoral fellowship related to the SPOR Access Open Minds New Brunswick project. The project was in perfect continuity with her earlier work, with a focus on youth. After meeting with the researchers responsible for the project, Anne applied and was the successful candidate. “The meeting with my team, under the direction of Ann Beaton and Jimmy Bourque, was a decisive factor,” she said.

As a child, she dreamed of being a market gardener with a fox and a crow, in the tradition of her uncle. Later, she wanted to be an oceanographer. In the end, research became her passion and her vocation. “I’ve always been interested in the analytical side of things, research questions, problem solving, especially applied research. Research really nourishes us intellectually; how people think and live, these are new universes that we’re moving into and that enable us to grow; at the same time, in my mental health research, I’m working on coming up with solutions to improve health and quality of life for young people, as well as for those around them. Ultimately, it’s a career where there’s a sense that you’re taking action, however modestly, for the benefit of the community.

Bubbling with enthusiasm and energy, Dr. Dezetter has a diverse and busy schedule. Between the statistical analyses, questionnaire design, requests for approval from the ethics committee, literature reviews to find the best scale for measuring impacts on families, and requests for access to databases, Anne still finds time to take a short yin yoga break at noon and to share moments with co-workers and the student she works with. Always eager to learn more, she spends her evenings evaluating scientific articles or being inspired by reports on First Nations that inform the research she’s doing.

In addition to the cost/benefit assessment for the ACCESS Open Minds project, Dr. Dezetter is also looking at the impact of mental disorders among young people on those around them, a very important subject, she believes, but one that is too little studied. “I’m also working on a qualitative investigation of the impact of youth suicide in a First Nations community. This will be original research that I’m doing with an undergraduate student in her final year – Amy Desjardins.” Her goal: to improve young people’s access to psychotherapy and improve the prevention of mental illness.