Keri-Leigh Cassidy



Phone: 902-473-2927
Mailing Address: 
Seniors Mental Health Service
6th Floor, Room 6516, AJLB
5909 Veterans' Memorial Lane
Halifax, NS B3H 2E2
Research Topics:
  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Behavioural Activation
  • Positivism in Healthcare
  • Mental Health Promotion
  • Knowledge Translation
  • Social Policy and Advocacy

Related information


BA (Yale University)
MD/ BSc (Dalhousie University)
Psychiatry Residency (University of Toronto)


Dr. Cassidy is a Professor of Psychiatry and is the Director of Social Policy and Advocacy in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Cassidy is a nationally recognized leader in the areas of mental health advocacy and positivism in healthcare, psychotherapy, mood and anxiety disorders. She is Founder and Chair of the Fountain of Health Association, a national initiative for mental health promotion with a knowledge translation centre.  

Dr. Cassidy has contributed to the field of Geriatric Psychiatry as past Vice-President Canadian Academy, Steering Committee member of the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health, and founder and co-Chair of the Atlantic Seniors Mental Health Network (ASMHN). As Director of Dalhousie’s Geriatric Psychiatry Program for 20 years, she helped to establish Dalhousie’s Royal College accredited subspecialty training program in Geriatric Psychiatry.  

Research interests

Dr. Cassidy’s research interests include late life anxiety and mood disorders, psychotherapy including cognitive behavioural therapy and behavioural activation, acceptance and commitment therapy, transcultural psychiatry, and mindfulness-based interventions, as well as positivism in health care such as seniors’ mental health promotion, resilience and optimal aging. Dr. Cassidy has contributed to education, practice and policy at federal and provincial levels and has published research in national and international journals.

Selected publications 

  • D.V. Jeste, K.L. Cassidy et al., Age-Friendly Communities Initiative: Public Health Approach to Promoting Successful Agingin American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2016; 24:12:1158-70.
  • A. Gough, K.L. Cassidy, Toward psychosocial health in age-friendly communities: the Fountain of Health Peer-Led Education Series, in Mental Health and Prevention, 2017; 8:14-19. 
  • A. Gough, B. Cassidy, K. Rabheru, D. Conn, K.L. CassidyThe Fountain of Health: Effective health promotion knowledge transfer in individual primary care and group community-based formats. in International Psychogeriatrics, Positive Psychiatry Special Edition, 2018; 1-8. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610218000480
  • K.L. Cassidy, M. Vallis, D. Conn, A. Massie, D. Checkland. D Parsons, K Rabheru. Comparing a clinician- assisted and app-supported behavioural activation intervention to promote brain health and well-being in frontline care. In International Psychogeriatrics, 2020, p 1-11. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610220001325.
  • K. Rabheru, D. Conn, D. Parsons, A. Massie, J. Mitchell, M. Vallis, C. Checkland, K.L. Cassidy, Promoting Health Behaviour Change in Canada: A Quality Improvement Project Integrating Prevention and Wellness in Frontline Care, in Open Journal of Psychiatry, 2021, 11, 125-37. DOI: 10.4236/ojpsych.2021.113011.

Book chapters:

  1. K.L. Cassidy, L. Wiesenfeld, J. Freer, Psychotherapy in Late Life: Evidence and Applications, Book chapter in Geriatric Psychiatry Review and Exam Preparation Guide: A Case-Based Approach, Edited by Dr. M. Rapoport,  University of Toronto Press, 2016.
  2. K.L. Cassidy, B. Cassidy, Positive Psychiatry. Book chapter in Advances in Psychiatry, Volume 4, Edited by Dr. K. Fountoulakis and A. Javed, Springer Nature, 2019. DOI:
  3. K. Rabheru, K. L. Cassidy, B. Cassidy, D. Conn, Mental Health, Cognitive Resilience and Vitality- Promoting the Health of Older Adults, Book chapter in Promoting the Health of Older Adults, The Canadian Experience,  Edited by Irving Rootman, Peggy Edwards, Melanie Lavasseur, and Francis Grunberg, Canadian Scholar, 2021.  

Selected awards and honours

Local awards

  • Teacher of the Year Award, Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University (2007)
  • Vision Award, Nova Scotia Mental Health Foundation (2011)
  • R. Wayne Putnam Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Continuing Professional Development (2013)
  • Doctors Nova Scotia Physician Health Promotion Award, In recognition of a physician who has made an outstanding contribution to health promotion, safety and preventative care among Nova Scotians, Awarded by Doctors Nova Scotia. (2017)
  • Mentor of the Year AwardIn recognition of excellence in psychiatry resident mentorship, Nominated by Dalhousie University Psychiatry Residents. Awarded by Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University. (2021)

National awards

  • Eli Lilly Award, for Exceptional Promise for Leadership in the Field (2001)
  • Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry Regional Contribution to Geriatric Psychiatry AwardIn recognition of a geriatric psychiatrist who has made a significant regional contribution to geriatric psychiatry through education, research or innovations in service delivery. Awarded by Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (2014)
  • Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry Outstanding Achievement Award, In recognition of a Canadian geriatric psychiatrist who has made a significant contribution to geriatric psychiatry (national and/or international) through education, research or innovations in service delivery, Awarded by Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (CAGP). (2016)
  • CIHR-Institute of Aging Betty Havens Prize for Knowledge Translation in Aging, In recognition ofoutstanding achievements and excellence in knowledge translation in aging, and to foster excellence and innovation in knowledge translation activities, Awarded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) (2018)
  • Canadian Psychiatric Association Award for Creative Professional Activity, In recognition of exceptional contributions to instructional innovation and development of exemplary professional practice. Awarded by the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) (2019)



  • World Psychiatric Association
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • International Psychiatric Association


  • Canadian Medical Association
  • Canadian Psychiatric Association
  • Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health
  • Nova Scotia Psychiatric Association
  • Nova Scotia Medical Society