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Alexandria is a current SSHRC CGS-D and Dean’s Doctoral Scholarship recipient studying at the University of Saskatchewan. She identifies as a “pain sociologist,” where her academic pursuits revolve around experiences of pain and social suffering. Her work is informed by an interdisciplinary approach combining elements of social psychology, medical anthropology, critical disability studies, and sociological theory. An aspiring suicidologist, her primary academic interests include the chronic pain, mental health, mattering in the context of health promotional, animal-assisted intervention, and trauma-informed practice.
Alexandria’s SSHRC CGS-M and Dean’s Master’s Scholarship funded Master’s thesis - “Exploring Mattering and the Human-Animal Bond: The Impact of Service Dogs for Military Veterans at High Risk for Suicide” - was a secondary thematic analysis conducted with Canadian military veterans to analyze the potential impact psychiatric service dogs have for those at high risk for suicide. Primary findings of the thesis – available HERE - concluded that mattering can exist through human-canine interactions (which has previously only been explored on a human-human basis), and that service dogs are reported as being a direct catalyst in reducing suicidality, therefore highlighting the importance of the human-animal bond in assisting with overall suicide risk.
Alexandria received her Sociology Honours (Summa Cum Laude) B.A. from York University in Toronto. With a major focus on medical sociology, she had a minor focus in medical anthropology and was the Blishen-Richmond Award recipient of her graduating class. At YorkU, Alexandria was the sole sociology research assistant in the Infant and Child Mental Health Psychology Lab working under Dr. Yvonne Bohr on a CIHR-funded Inuit youth suicide prevention project – “Making I-SPARX Fly in Nunavut.” She has been a research assistant in the One Health & Wellness office since 2019, and collaborates with the Saskatchewan Pain Society as a patient advocate and researcher. Alexandria was the recipient of the Outstanding Graduating Sociology Student award for her Master's level work in 2022 on behalf of the Canadian Sociological Association. As of 2023, she is a Mental Health of Canada Studentship Research award recipient, and will be proceeding with her PhD research on how the human-animal bond impacts suicidality. She has completed over 2 dozen media appearances nationally and abroad, positioning herself as an early-career researcher in animal-assisted intervention. More information regarding her award history and project management skills can be found on LinkedIn.
Alexandria grew up on a farm in central Saskatchewan and currently lives with her grouchy senior cat, Ivan, and her St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog, Zola. Alexandria spends her spare time volunteering with SaskPain, as a Therapy Dog recruiter/evaluator for St. John Ambulance, and when she is not focusing on her studies, Alexandria is busy gardening, attending concerts, or taking photos. Her history of academic project involvement can be found at www.alexandriapavelich.com
Doctor of Philosophy (Ongoing), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK
Masters of Arts (2021), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK
Bachelor of Arts Honours (Summa Cum Laude, 2019), York University, Toronto ON
Medical Administrative Assistant (Honours), Saskatoon SK
IN PREPARATION: Pavelich, A., Tupper, S., Jack, J, & Jones, C. (2023). “I Lost All Hope Of Finding Help:” A Descriptive Study of Stigma Experiences with Chronic Pain in Saskatchewan. For submission to International Journal of Equity in Health.
IN PREPARATION: Pavelich, A., & Dell, C. (2023). The Significance of Mattering and Service Dogs for Veterans Living with Syndemic Pain. For submission to Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin.
IN PREPARATION: Tupper, S., Jack, J., Pavelich, A., & Jones, C. (2023). “Improving Pain in Saskatchewan:” Gaps Analysis and Mapping Improvement Strategies Through Community-Based Participatory Action. For submission to Canadian Journal of Pain.
UNDER REVISION: Pavelich, A. (2023). Exploring the Role of Service Dogs for Canadian Military Veterans Experiencing Suicidality. Journal of Veteran Studies. 13 Pages.
SUBMITED - McKenzie, H.A., Dell, C.A., Arisman, K., Pavelich, A., Williamson, L., Snead, E., Gibson, M., Carey, B., Raichuk, E., Beaupre, C., Khalid, A., Buhr, E., Smith. J. & Peachey, S. (2023). Where Narratives About Human-Animal Relations During the COVID-19 Pandemic Lead Us: Advancing Animal-Inclusive Housing to Promote Human and Animal Health. Frontiers in Communication.
Carey, B., Dell, C.A., Pavelich, A. (2023). The Pawsitive Effect of Therapy Dogs in a Hospital Emergency Department. The ScienceBreaker. 2 pages.
Pavelich, A. (2019, May). Culture as Intervention: Applying Indigenous Knowledge & Self-Determination to Suicide Prevention Policies in Northern Saskatchewan. Sojourners: Undergraduate Journal of Sociology, 11. UBC.
Pavelich, A.,McKenzie, H., Dell, C., Stempien, J., Laliberte, L., Arisman, K., Smith, J., Hozack, A., Tupper, S., Acoose, S., Gunderson, J., and Pease, E. (2023). Understanding if and how therapy-dog handler teams benefit emergency department patients with mental health concerns. Congress: Federation for the Humanities & Social Sciences – Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, ON, May 27 - June 2.
Tupper, S., Beckwell, E., Pavelich, A.,Arisman, K., Fesciuc, D., Coe, J., MacFadden, M., Desnomie, C., Fornssler, B., Downe, P. (2023) Solutions-focused story-telling: challenging pain- and drug-related stigma and marginalization with graphic medicine. Canadian Journal of Pain. Canadian Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting, Banff, AB. May 10-12.
McKenzie, H. A., Dell, C.A., Arisman, K., Pavelich, A., Williamson, L., Snead, E., Gibson, M., Carey, B., Raichuk, E., Beaupre, C., Khalid, A., Buhr, E., Smith. J., Peachey, S., Kubes, K. (2023). Where Narratives About Human-Animal Relations During the COVID-19 Pandemic Lead Us: Advancing Animal-Inclusive Housing to Promote Human and Animal Health. ISAZ 2023 Anthrozoology: The Spectrum of Human-Animal Interactions and Relationships, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 15-18.
Tupper, S., Jack, J., Jones, C., Juckes, K., Hewson, M., Pavelich, A., Beckwell, E., McCreery, R., Ugolini, C., Coe, J., Baerg, K., Downe, P., Dell, C., and Lawson, K. (2022). Improving pain in Saskatchewan, Canada: a community-based participatory project to identify, co-design, and engage change in pain management. International Association for the Study of Pain, Toronto, ON, September 19 - 23.
INVITED - Pavelich, A.(2022). Navigating iatrogenic harm among female pain patients: Utilizing institutional ethnography to explore the social organization of trauma-informed care. Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California, on August 5 - 7.
INVITED - Pavelich, A. (2022). The significance of "mattering:" Exploring the experiences of military veterans living with PTSD, substance use harms, and pain while working alongside service dogs. Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California, on August 5 – 7.
Pavelich, A. (2022). The life-saving role of service dogs for military veterans experiencing suicidality. Suicide Research Symposium (SRS) – Inaugural Conference, Mount Sinai Health System, New York City, NY on June 16– 17.
Pavelich, A. (2022). Promoting “mattering:” The life-saving role of service dogs for military veterans experiencing suicidality. Congress: Federation for the Humanities & Social Sciences – Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Ottawa, ON, on May 12 - 20.
Jones, C., Jack, J., Hewson, M., Pavelich, A., Okeeweehow, S., Beckwell, E., McCreery, R., Baerg, K., Juckes, K., Coe, J., Dell, Cell., Downe, P., Lawson, K., Ugulini, C., and Tupper, S. (2022). Partners in Pain: Evaluation of a virtual community engagement group for people living with chronic pain in Saskatchewan. Canadian Pain Society - Annual Meeting in Montreal, Quebec on May 11-13.
Williamson, L., Carey, B., McKenzie, H., Pavelich, A., Gibson, M., & Cruz, M. (2021). Responding to university student substance use and mental health concerns during COVID-19 through an on-line therapy dog program. Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, Issues of Substance 2021: Driving Change Together, in Ottawa, Ontario on November 23 – 25.
Dell, C., Williamson, L., Gibson, M., & Pavelich, A.(2021) The varied helping roles of service dogs in the recovery journeys of veterans diagnosed with PTSD & substance use disorder. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) Issues of Substance 2021 Conference. Virtual format, November 23 – 25.
Pavelich, A. (2021). Animal-assisted intervention and suicidality: The impact of service dogs for Veterans at high-risk for suicide. American Psychological Association (APA) Convention - Human Animal Interaction Social Hour in Washington, DC on August 12, 2021.
Carey, B., Pavelich, A., Fletcher-Hildebrand, S. (2021). Transitioning therapy dogs online during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons learned. Workshop presentation at the 10th Annual E-Mental Health Conference: Virtual Care in Times of Crisis and Beyond, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., on March 4, 2021.
Carey, B. (Presenter), Dell, C., Williamson, L., Pavelich, A., McKenzie, H., Gibson, M., Cruz, M. (2020). “Transitioning a Therapy Dog Program Online during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned”. Virtual Solutions for Substance Use Care Conference. University of British Columbia. Virtual Platform. In absentia.
Pavelich, A. (2019, March) The Medicalization of Suicide and its Depoliticization of Social Suffering. Presenter at the Sociology Undergraduate Student Association Academic Conference on March 15th, 2019 at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Best Presentation Recipient.
Bohr, Y., Manion, I., Lee, Y., Armour, L., Pavelich, A., & Abdelmaseh, M. (2019). I(nuit)-SPARX: Design of a Culture Specific Mental Health e-Intervention by Nunavut Youth for Nunavut Youth. Paper presentation at the International Meeting on Indigenous Child Health at the Hyatt Regency in Calgary, Alberta, March 22-24.
Pavelich, A. (2018). Culture as Intervention: Applying Indigenous Knowledge & Self-Determination to Suicide Prevention Policy in Northern Saskatchewan. Paper presented at the Sociology Undergraduate Student Association Academic Conference on March 15th, 2018 at York University in Toronto, Ontario.
Pavelich, A. (2017). From Deviance to Disease: The Role of Medicalization in the History of Psychopathology. Paper presented at the Medical Practices & Processes Panel at the Mount Royal Historical Society Foothills Colloquium on April 30th, 2017 at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.
Pavelich, A. (2021 - 2022). Episodes 1 – 10; 16-20: Various pain topics with pain researchers and people with lived experience.” Your Partners in Pain. Spotify/Transistor Podcast (30 minutes).
Animal-Assisted Intervention: The Impact of Working Dogs through the One Health & Wellness Office / SUAP (April 13th, 2022).
University of Saskatchewan – Presentation for the Honorable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health & Addictions with Dr. Colleen Dell, Darlene Chalmers, Maryellen Gibson, & Alexandria Pavelich.
Partners in Pain Webinar: Pain Management and Medical Cannabis (March 30th, 2022). Saskatchewan Pain Society – Presentation for the “Partners in Pain” Webinar Series alongside pharmacist Kelly Kizlyk and Dr. Robert Laprairie about the use of medical cannabis in pain management, and Alexandria’s lived experience of pain.
Pavelich, A. (2021, September). Animal-assisted intervention and suicidality: The impact of service dogs for Veterans at high risk for suicide. Instructional Online Webinar for the “Human-Animal Interactions Research” group on September 15, 2021 at the HAI Research Group of the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC.
Pavelich, A. (2021, April). Exploring animal-assisted intervention among military veterans: The potential social significance and impact of psychiatric service dogs. Instructional 990 Series Webinar presented to the Department of Sociology on April 30th, 2021 at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Pavelich, A., McKenzie, H., & Hedley, P. (2020, May). “Episode 11: "Hey all you cool dogs and puppies." BeWell at USask. Spotify/Youtube Podcast (27:26 seconds).
Guest Lecture session in Peer Health Mentor Education Seminar (January 27th, 2022). Introducing Animal-Assisted Intervention & Therapy Dogs at the University of Saskatchewan
Pavelich, A., & Wirchenko, T. (2020, January). Introducing a Therapy Dog for Staff Members in the Peter MacKinnon and Administration Building: Pilot Project Report.University of Saskatchewan, Pilot Project Report. Office of Centennial Enhancement Chair in One Health & Wellness.
Pavelich, A., Dell, C., & Ogresko, J. (2019, November). PAWS Your Stress: A Therapy Dog Program on the University of Saskatchewan Campus. USask Media Production - Promotional Video. (6:24 seconds). Fostering Graduate Student Success: SSHRC Funding (October 4th, 2019). University of Saskatchewan – 990 Seminar Series, Department of Sociology.
Be Well: Therapy Dogs & Animal-Assisted Interventions (2019, September). USask Student Wellness Center Information [Brochure]. Saskatoon, SK: Pavelich, A.
McQuay, J., Pavelich, A.,Porter, S., Tarantini, M., Van Dusen, O., and Wong, F. (2019, August). Undergraduate Student Expectations and Experiences in York University’s Sociology Program Final Report for FLR at York University in 2018 – 2019 as supported by the Sociology Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA) at York University in Toronto, Ontario.