Tanaz Javan: Shifting perspectives

By Gabriella Learn

Tanaz's hometown: London, Ontario.

Western student Tanaz Javan explores the implementation of trauma and violence informed care in health and social services.


Tanaz Javan is a current PhD student in the Health Information Science program. Her research focuses on the implementation of trauma and violence-informed care in health and social services. She’s in her fourth year, and at this stage in her graduate degree she spends most of her time collecting data and compiling research. She is working to evaluate the implementation and integration of TVIC into community-based health and social services in London, Ontario.

Before moving to Canada in 2005, Tanaz completed a diploma in Fine Arts in Tehran, Iran. After relocating, she pursued an undergraduate degree in psychology, followed by a master’s degree in neuroscience. During this time, she worked closely with individuals dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. She conducted trauma-specific therapy like meditation and neurofeedback – the measuring of brain waves to produce a signal that can be used as feedback to teach self-regulation of brain function. This led her to start working with her current supervisor, Dr. Nadine Wathen.

"The premise of this project is to enable health/social service providers to shift their focus from 'what is wrong with this person' to 'what has happened to this person.'"
She says her qualitative research, a notoriously open-ended endeavour, has benefitted from the joint Faculty of Health Sciences/Faculty of Information & Media Studies graduate program: “It’s the interdisciplinary aspect. Here at FIMS, you get exposed to a different line of thinking that’s very unique.”

Fun Fact

Her former supervisor, Dr. Paul Frewen, used one of her paintings for the cover of his book, Healing the Traumatized Self: Consciousness, Neuroscience, Treatment.

Outside of her research, Tanaz teaches psychology courses at Fanshawe College and works with Health Psychology to conduct psychoeducational group therapy for people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. “I’m very much invested in understanding trauma and violence from different perspectives.”

Tanaz also teaches meditation at Western through the Wellness Education Centre, and practices Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art form. Many of her hobbies and interests focus on mindfulness and staying in the present, values that have helped her stay calm and focused through all her graduate studies.

Research holds a place close to her heart, and Tanaz doesn’t expect to stop any time soon. When and if she decides to leave academia, she sees herself continuing her counselling work and going in to consulting, implementing the best practices informed by her research on health and social services.


Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.