Rima Azar

Associate Professor of Health Psychology, Co-Director of NaviCare/SoinsNavi, & a former holder of a CIHR New Investigator salary award in Developmental Psychoneuroimmunology

Rima Azar

Contact Information

(506) 364-2461
219 Crabtree
Office hours
Fall: Wed 11 AM-1PM; Winter: Wed 3-5 PM
Other websites

Adjunct Professor, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick.

Adjunct Professor, École de Psychologie (School of Psychology), Faculty of Health Sciences and Community Services, Université de Moncton.

Honorary Research Associate in the Interdisciplinary PhD Program at the University of New Brunswick (UNB)

Scientific lead in the tripartite leadership of the NB-SPOR-PIHCI (New Brunswick Strategy for Patient Oriented Research - Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations) Network; a provincial network including 100 stakeholders under the leadership of two researchers, two clinicians, and two policy makers.

CIHR Advisory Board Member for the Institute of Human Development, Child, and Youth Health (IHDCYH)



For the NaviCare/SoinsNavi centre, please see:  

Website:  http://navicare-soinsnavi.ca/

Short video: https://tinyurl.com/y6etgbot

Coverage about NaviCare/SoinsNavi by the CIHR





Our patient navigation centre has served about 158 NB families of children/youth with complex care needs since January 10, 2017! 






  • CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow Position, University of Toronto Health Network's Women's Health Program (ON, Canada)
  • PhD, Developmental Psychoneuroendocrinology, University of Montreal's Psychology Department (QC, Canada) 
  • BSc & MSc, Developmental Psychology, University of Montreal's School of Developmental Psychology ["École de Psychoéducation"] (QC, Canada)


  • Psychology 1001: Introduction to Psychology I 
  • Psychology 2611: Health Psychology
  • Psychology 3021: Psychological Measurement (2008-2011)
  • Psychology 4501: Advanced Health Psychology [Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) Seminar]
  • Psychology 3991: Perinatal Health Psychology

For more details, please read the description of these courses on the PSHL's lab website (http://www.mta.ca/pshl/classes/classes.html)

Research interests

Taking a biopsychosocial approach to health, Dr. Azar’s work focuses on the biobehavioural mechanisms linking stress and health from a developmental perspective. She has a particular interest in: (1) maternal and paternal coping strategies when caring for children with chronic or complex health conditions; (2) patient/family navigation and peer-to-peer support for families of children/youth with complex care needs; & (3) biological (i.e. inflammatory and endocrine) mechanisms linking maternal prenatal depression and anxiety to birth weight, to postnatal stress response, and health.




Grants, awards, & honours


  1. Sabbatical Leave Award, Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fund (Category A, Fall 2016-Fall 2017)
  2. Plaque from CIHR's IHDCYH for Distinguished Service as Advisory Board Member (2013-2016)
  3. Our team (Dr. Shelley Doucet and myself) selected "Researchers of the Month" (August, 2015) by NBSPRN, http://www.policyresearchnetwork.ca/shelley-doucet-and-rima-azar/
  4. Selected "NB Health Researcher of the Month" (January, 2013) by NBHRF, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IH02GBR-30
  5. Adjunct Professor, École de psychologie, Faculté des sciences de la santé et des services communautaires, Université de Moncton
  6. Adjunct Professor, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick
  7. Honorary Research Associate, Interdisciplinary PhD Program, University of New Brunswick
  8. CIHR/RPP New Investigator Salary Award in Developmental Psychoneuroimmunology, Mount Allison University (2011-2016)




  • May 2018-19: CIHR-SPOR in PIHCI Knowledge Synthesis as Co-Principal Applicant/Investigator. Interventions to support transitions in care for children and families with complex health care needs in the community (Co-PIs: Doucet, S. from UNB Saint John, NB, et al.) [$62,700 funded 1:1 by CIHR and sevaral matching provincial partners from Atlantic Canada and beyond, including NBHRF].
  • December 2016-18: CIHR-SPOR-PIHCI Policies and program innovations that connect primary health care, social services, public health and community supports in Canada: A comparative policy analysis as Co-Applicant/Co-Investigator (Co-PIs: Haggertie, J. from McGill University, Québec, et al.) [$243,750 funded 1:1 by CIHR and 8 matching provincial partners, including NBHRF].
  • March 2016-2021: CIHR SPOR Network in Chronic Diseases as Co-Applicant. CHILD BRIGHT - Child Health Initiatives Limiting Disabilty - Brain Research Improving Growth and Health Trajectories (Co-PIs: Majnemer A., Miller S., Goldowitz D.; Co-Investigators: Several Canadian stakeholders across sectors [$25,000,000; funded 1:1 by CIHR ($12,500,000) and matching partners across Canada ($12,500,000), including NBHRF ($250,000)].        
  • March 2016-17: Royal Society of Canada (RSC) grant ($3000) as Applicant/Moderator (co-Applicants/Speakers: Doucet, S. + our research/clinical team in the Maritimes, Elkouby K. as a clinician from Montreal's Saint Justine Hospital, QC, a NB parent, and a NB Youth). Mount A Breakfast Chat: Growing up with a complex health condition (this public community event took place on Saturday, Dec 3rd, 2016 at 9 AM at the Marshlands Inn, Sackville, NB. Thanks to all the participants!).
  • MTA Breakfast Chat poster in English
    MTA Breakfast Chat poster in French  
  • http://www.sackvilletribunepost.com/community/2016/11/28/mount-a-breakfast-chat-event-to-explore-complex-health-condition.html
  • July 2015: CIHR Quick Strike SPOR-PIHIC operating grant as co-PI (co-PI in NB: Doucet S. & co-PI in PEI: Montelpare W. with a diverse team of researchers, trainees, decision makers, patient/family advisors, clinicians, and other stakeholders from NB and PEI). Project title: Children with complex health conditions: Let's learn who they are and their needs to better serve them! (CIHR: $100,175).
  • July 2015-2020: CIHR-SPOR grant as co-Applicant. Creating a New Brunswick Strategic Patient Oriented Research Network for the Primary and Integrated Primary Health Care Innovations. NB Tripartite Leadership Team: B. Miedema, S. Doucet, M.A. Doucet, B. Green, J. Kingston, & J. Young; Several additional co-applicants and knowledge users across sectors ($1,000,000; funded 1:1 by CIHR & NBHRF).
  • Dec 2014-Dec2018: Donation operating grant from the New Brunswick Children's Foundation to assist in the development of the New Brunswick Virtual Health Centre for Children as co-PI (co-PI: S. Doucet) ($750,000). This project is jointly led by Drs. Doucet from UNB-Saint John & myself from Mount Allison University.  Description available here:
  • http://www.policyresearchnetwork.ca/shelley-doucet-and-rima-azar/
  • http://www.mta.ca/Community/News/2014/December_2014/NB_Children%E2%80%99s_Foundation_provides_$750,000_gift_for_Mount_Allison,_UNB_research/
  • http://blogs.unb.ca/newsroom/2014/12/19/new-brunswick-childrens-foundation-provides-gift-for-university-of-new-brunswick-and-mount-allison-research/
  •  April 2014-May15: New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) Research Workshop Support as co-Applicant (PI: S. Doucet & Dubé A.). New Brunswick Community of Practice in Interprofessional Education and Practice Workshop ($4,304.05).
  • March 2014: CIHR-SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Development Grant as co-I ($150,000). NB Tripartite Leadership Team: B. Miedema B., Davies, Wilson; Co-Is: S. Doucet, R. Azar, & T. Rickards; Participants: several additional stakeholders across sectors ($150,000; funded 1:1 by CIHR & NBHRF).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  • Jan 2014: The SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations as co-I ($150,000). PEI Tripartite Leadership Team: W. Montelpare; Co-Is: A. Celliers; K.F Aubrey-Bassler; R. Azar; B. J. Battistini; L.A. Carr; B. Davies; S. Doucet; V. Harrop, J. Jbilou; J. Kingston; B. Miedema; T. Rickards; C. Sanford; M. Spiedel; W.M. Whealan; K. Wilson ($150,000; funded 1:1 by CIHR & PEI).     
  • April 14–May 15: New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) Operating grant as PI (co-Is:  M. Belanger, N. Letourneau, & M. Sermer). Pregnancy with depressive & anxiety symptoms: A prospective investigation of maternal inflammatory biomarkers and low birth weight. ($25,000).
  • April 13–May 14: New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) Operating grant as PI (co-Is:  M. Belanger, P. Kelly-Spurles, N. Letourneau, & M. Sermer).  Inflammation in subclinical depression and anxiety during pregnancy: New approaches to understanding low birth weight. ($15,000).
  • April 13: Mindfulness Training for Leadership Effectiveness: Training Opportunity for Horizon Managers as co-I (PI: J. Holton & other co-I: L. Wasylkyw). ($13,000; funded by Horizon Health Network, $8,000 & NBHRF, $5,000).
  • Sept 12-13: CIHR Café Scientifique as PI & Moderator, My body is simmering: Minimizing the inflammatory effects of stress and depression (Speakers: 1. Dr. Édouard Kouassi, pharmacist & Associate Professor, Department of Medicine and Medical Specialties, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal; Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital & Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, QC; 2. Dr. Karl Looper, psychiatrist; Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Assistant Professor, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University; & Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC) ($3,000). Note: This CIHR Café Scientifique that took place on Nov 19, 2012 in Sackville (NB) had a big turnout: 50 participants!
  • March 11-13: CIHR operating grant as PI (co-Is: Drs. M. Belanger, P. Kelly-Spurles, N. Letourneau, & M. Sermer). Maternal prenatal negative mood & infant stress and immunity: Could increased inflammation during pregnancy be the linking mechanism? ($88,888).  
  • Mar 09-11: Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Award as PI (# 31-1-505095) ($7,000).
  • July 08-11: Marjorie Young Bell Start-Up Award as PI (# 48-1-595949) ($25,000).


  • 2011-2016: CIHR/RPP New Investigator Salary Award in Developmental Psychoneuroimmunology ($300,000).


 SELECT PUBLICATIONS (** underlines names indicate trainees)

  •  Reid A., Doucet S., Luke A., Azar R., & Horsman AR (2019). The impact of patient navigation: A scoping review protocol. The JBI Database for Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports.
  • Doucet, S., Luke A., Splane J., & Azar R. (in press, 2019). Patient navigation as a strategy to improve the integration of care: The case of NaviCare/SoinsNavi. Journal of Integrated Care.
  •  Charlton P., Doucet S., Azar R. et al. (in press, 2019). A scoping review of the use of environmental scan in health services delivery research: A study protocol. BMJ Open.
  • Luke A., Doucet S., & Azar R. (2018). An environmental scan of pediatric navigation models in Canada. Pediatric and Child Health, 1-10. Published ahead of print in 2017: doi: 10.1093/pch/pxx176
  • Charlton P., Azar R., Luke A., Doucet S., Montelpare W., Nagel D., Hyndman N. (2017). Falling through the cracks: Barriers to accessing services for children with complex health conditions and their families in New Brunswick. Journal of New Brunswick Studies, 8, 133-58. Published online: https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/JNBS/article/view/25883/30037.
  • Doucet S., Nagel D., Azar R., Montelpare W.J., Charlton P., Hyndman L., Luke A. & Stoddard R. (2017). A mixed-methods Quick Strike research protocol to learn about children with complex health conditions and their families. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16: 1-12, DOI: 10.1177/1609406917731426. 
  •  Azar R., Doucet S., Luke A., Charlton P., Hyndman N., MacCallum S., Kim PDH., Montelpare W.J. (2016, Oct., published abstract). Children with complex health conditions: Linking the pieces of the puzzle prior to the creation of a patient and family navigation centre (New Brunswick, Canada). Online Supplement of the European Journal of Pediatrics. 175 1501. doi: 10.1007/s00431-016-2785-8
  •  Azar R., Blacquiere M., Letourneau N., Bélanger M., & Sermer M (2015, Nov., published abstract). Are maternal prenatal smoking and perceived stress associated with umbilical cord C-reative protein? A pilot study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 66: 33. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.07.480. Epub 2015.
  •  Lewis, J.Azar, R.  (2015). The prevalence of depressive symptoms in men post-miscarriage: A review of the literature. Journal of Men's Health; 11(5): 8-13.
  • Wasylkiw, L., Holton, J., Cook, B., & Azar, R. (2015). The impact of mindfulness on leadership in a health care setting: A pilot study. Journal of Health Organization and Management; 29(7): 893-911. 
  •  Tryphanopoulos PD, Letourneau N, Azar R. (2014). Approaches to salivary cortisol collection and analysis in infants. Biological Research for Nursing; 00(0): 1-11. First published online on October 16 2013, doi:10.1177/1099800413507128.
  •  Azar R. & Mercer D. (2013). Mild depression symptoms are associated with elevated C-reactive protein and pro-inflammatory cytokines during early to midgestation: A pilot prospective study. Journal of Women's Health; 22(4): 385-389.
  •  Azar R. & Singer D. (2012). Maternal prenatal state anxiety symptoms and birth weight: A pilot study. Central European Journal of Medicine; 7(6): 747-752. doi:10.2478/s11536-012-0078-9.
  •  Azar R., Nolan R., & Steward DE. (2012). Listening to the heart-brain talk: Persistent depressive symptoms are associated with hsCRP in apparently healthy individuals at high risk for coronary artery disease. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, first published online before print on July 5, 2011.
  •  Azar R. & Richard A. (2011). Elevated salivary C-reactive protein levels are associated with active and passive smoking in healthy youth with no periodontal disease: A pilot study. Journal of Inflammation, 8(37), published online ahead of print on December 7, 2011. 
  •  Azar R., Paquette D., & Stewart DE. (2010). Prenatal tobacco exposure (PTE) and cortisol levels in infants of teen mothers. Journal of Perinatal Medicine; 38(6): 689-692 & published online on August 13, 2010. 
  •  Azar R., Paquette D., Zoccolillo M., Baltzer F., & Tremblay (2007). The association of major depression, conduct disorder, and maternal overcontrol with a failure to show a cortisol buffered response in four-month-old infants of teenage mothers. Biological Psychiatry; 62(6): 573-579. Note: This article was chosen by the journal for a press release announcement: The paper has been identified by the Editors as "one with important findings that will be especially valuable for the community". The Editors issued a press release upon publication. The impact factor of this journal is of 9.247 with an acceptance rate of about 15%. In the 2011 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Thompson Reuters, this journal ranked 5th out of 129 Psychiatry titles and 16th out of 243 Neurosciences titles.  
  •  Azar R., Zoccolillo M., Paquette D., Quiros E., Baltzer F., & Tremblay RE. (2004). Cortisol levels and conduct disorder in adolescent mothers. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; 43(4): 461-468. Note: This article generated (favourable) commentary by two leading experts, Drs. Pajer K. & Gardner W. "Commentary: Cortisol levels and conduct disorder in adolescent mothers", pages 469-472. This study was the first on conduct disorder and cortisol levels in high-risk families (e.g., teen mothers). This paper was the third in the literature on women's antisocial behaviour and cortisol levels (Pajer's work was the first one).
  • Paquette D., Zoccolillo M., Bigras M., Labelle ME, Azar R, & Emery J. (2004). A comparative study of parental sensitivity between three groups of adolescent mothers. Journal of Emotional Abuse; 4(1): 85-104.
  •  Azar R. & Solomon CR. (2001). Coping strategies of parents facing child diabetes mellitus. Journal of Pediatric Nursing; 16(6): 418-428.
  • Paquette D., Brigras M., Zoccolillo M., Tremblay RE, Labelle ME, & Azar R. (2001). Comparaison de la sensibilite maternelle entre des mères adolescentes et des mères adultes peu scolarisées. Revue de Psychoéducation et d'Orientation; 30(2): 283-298.


  • Azar R. Depression in adolescent girls. Diaz-Granados N.,  Ross L., Azar R., Cheng C., Coulombe L., DesMeules M., Fear J.M., Grace S.L., Gucciardi E., McDermott S., Munce S., Poynter B., Steele L., Strohm S., Wang S., Wathen C.N., Webster F., Whitney D., & Stewart D.E. (2006). A Literature Review on Depression among Women: Focusing on Ontario. Report for the Ontario Women’s Health Council, Toronto, Canada.   
  • Zoccolillo M., Paquette D., Azar R., Coté S., & Tremblay R.E. (2004). Parenting as an important outcome of conduct disorder in girls. In M Putallaz & K Bierman (Eds.).  Aggression, Antisocial Behavior, and Violence Among Girls: A developmental perspective, Duke Series in Child Development and Public Policy. New York: Guilford Publications.


  •  Azar R. (2004). Cortisol salivaire des mères adolescentes et leur nourrisson: exploration de quelques corrélats psychopathologiques et comportementaux. [Salivary cortisol in adolescent mothers and their infant: Exploring some psychopathological and behavioral correlates]. PhD Dissertation. Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Montreal.
  •  Azar R. (1996). Stratégies d’adaptation des parents de l’enfant diabétique face au stress de la maladie chronique [Coping strategies of parents with a diabetic child facing the stress of chronic illness]. MSc. thesis, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Montreal.