March 27, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

By: Subathra Varadharaj, King's Communications Intern

“Keep walking: never give up on your dreams,” says Dr. Bharati Sethi, an Assistant Professor in Social Work at Kings University College, University of Western Ontario. With great aspirations, Dr. Sethi immigrated to Canada from Mumbai, India as a student in Hotel Management in Montreal. “It was my lifelong dream to attain a PhD and someday teach at a university,” she says. She is now successful in making her dream a reality, drawing on her personal experiences to study immigrant women and mental health.

“I love teaching, that’s why I am here at King’s”, says Dr. Sethi. She has worked as a community-based researcher for the last eight years. Her research interests are focused primarily on issues effecting immigrants/refugees to Canada’s urban/rural communities. 

Dr. Sethi has earned several prestigious awards for her research including the Ontario Women’s Health Scholarship (2012 and 2013), Tutor-Primary Health Care Fellowship (2009), the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2009-2012), the Inaugural Hilary M. Weston Scholarship (MSW), and Provincial Newcomer Champion Award (2014). In 2012 she was nominated as one of the ‘top 25’ immigrants to Canada by Royal Bank of Canada.

Dr. Sethi herself faced many obstacles settling into small-town Ontario with her degree from Mumbai University which didn’t carry the same weight as a Canadian degree. “I never gave up, even when I cleaned houses and worked for years as a waitress bound by my immigration status,” says Dr. Sethi. “Many of my employers laughed at my dream. But even as a non-status individual in Canada, I kept a focus on my goal.”

Dr. Sethi is a co-investigator in three grants that were recently funded, two by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and one by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada- Canadian Institutes of Health Research (SSHRC-CIHR), totally $350,000 in funding for the three projects.

Do You See What I See? is a thesis by Dr. Sethi which is a community-based participatory research project using Photovoice. It is a visual arts-based research methodology based on the principles of empowerment education focusing to empower individuals, often those who are marginalized, by giving them an opportunity to tell their story in form of participant-gendered photographs.

Dr. Sethi has held her photovoice exhibits in several locations including Toronto, Hamilton, Peterborough, Brantford, Haldimand, Norfolk, and Burlington. Currently she is booking exhibits in London.

“The photographs that are part of the exhibit showcase some of the incredible women I had the pleasure of working with on my research. Using Photovoice, I am able to allow them to share their stories and experiences visually in their own voice, which is important,” said Dr. Sethi.

Dr. Sethi was selected as one of the London’s Community Diversity and Inclusion Champion.

“As a Champion, I will be a leader in creating London’s Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. This includes identifying specific strategies to make London more diverse and inclusive, and engaging the broader London community,” said Dr. Sethi. “The certificates signed by the Mayor were distributed last week after all sessions were completed.”

King’s feels so proud to have Dr. Sethi as a faculty of social work and we wish her the best with her research.