Susan McGrath C.M., York University Professor helps to Improve the Lives of Refugees and Marginalized Groups

Photo of C. McGrath in front of Centre for Refugee Studies

Susan McGrath is a Professor at York University in the School of Social Work. She has an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of refugees and marginalized groups both in Canada and abroad. She achieves this through her academic and research interests, which include: developing a global refugee research network (, refugee resettlement, community development, community-based mental health programs, and transnational social work.

McGrath’s charisma and compassion for positively impacting the lives of marginalized groups in society, particularly refugees are evident in her work. She and colleagues in Canada and Sudan studied enterprise development needs in camps for the internally displaced in Southern Sudan and Darfur. Other previously funded projects explored the impact of collective trauma on community practice with refugees, GLBTT and Aboriginal populations and examined social sustainability among newcomers in three Canadian cities. She is currently leading three major international research initiatives, all funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), including a global network of refugee researchers and practitioners, a collaborative social work project in post-genocide Rwanda, and a ‘big data’ initiative studying forced displacement in Iraq.

From 2004-2012, McGrath served as Director of York’s Centre for Refugee Studies recognized as a leading research centre in North America. She has extensive experience in the non-profit sector, including serving as President of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration and Chair of the Board of the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture. As the principal investigator of a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Strategic Knowledge Cluster grant, she has supported the development of refugee research networks across Canada and globally. SSHRC recognized her consistent success over the past decade in forging innovative partnerships—interdisciplinary, equitable and cross-sector—that revolutionized the fields of refugee studies and forced migration by bestowing on her the 2015 Impact Award for Partnership.

Professor McGrath was invested into the Order of Canada in recognition of her outstanding achievement in research and policy on refugee rights and for fostering collaboration among scholars in her field. McGrath is a leader, innovator and visionary and her work is a depiction of her diligence, commitment and indomitable compassion.