Photo of Purnima Sundar

Purnima Sundar

Adjunct Research Professor


PhD in Social Work (Wilfrid Laurier University)
MA in Community Psychology (Wilfrid Laurier University)
BA (Hons) in Psychology (McMaster University)

Research interests:

  • Child and youth mental health
  • Knowledge mobilization
  • Implementation science
  • Leadership
  • Race/equity


Purnima Sundar (PhD) is the Executive Director at the Knowledge Institute on Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions (the Knowledge institute). With almost 25 years of experience doing community-based, participatory action and applied research, evaluation, implementation and knowledge mobilization in the areas of child and youth mental health and race/equity, Purnima sets the vision and strategy for the Knowledge Institute. Her training has been in the fields of psychology and social work, with a focus on community development and social planning. Since joining the Knowledge Institute in 2008, Purnima has worked with government partners across ministries, agency leaders, and young people and their families across the province to close the “research-practice gap” and ensure high quality, evidence-based mental health service delivery for Ontario’s children and youth.

Select publications:

Radomski, A., Cloutier, P., Gardner, W., Pajer, K., Sheridan, N., Sundar, P., Cappelli, M. Planning for the mental health surge: The self-reported mental health impact of COVID-19 on young people and their needs and preferences for future services. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health (in press).

Saunders, N., Kurdyak, P., Stukel, T., Strauss, R., Longdi, F., Guan, J., Fiksenbaum, L., Cohen, E., Guttman, A., Vigod, S., Chiu, M., Moore Hepburn, C., Moran, K., Gardener, W., Cappelli, W., Cappelli, M., Sundar, P. & Toulany, A. (2021). Utilization of mental health care services among children and adolescents before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada: a population-based study. JAMA Pediatrics.

Danseco, E., Kurzawa, J., Sundar, P., Brown, J. & Huang, C. (2021). Evaluating the sector-wide implementation of virtual mental child and youth health services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives from service providers, agency leaders and clients. Implementation Research and Practice,

Radomski, A., Cloutier, P., Polihronis, C., Gardner, W., Pajer, K., Sheridan, N., Sundar, P., Cappelli, M. Parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic: The sociodemographic and mental health factors associated with maternal caregiver strain. Families, Systems & Health (in press).

Bennett, K., Duda, S., Brouwers, M., Szatmari, P., Newton, A., McLennan, J., Sundar, P., Cleverly, K., Charach, A, Henderson, J., Courtney, D. & Rice, M. (2018). Towards high-quality, useful practice guidelines for child and youth mental health disorders: Protocol for a systematic review and consensus exercise. BMJ Open 2018;8:e018053. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018053.

Notarianni, M., Sundar, P., & Carter C. (2016). Just in time: How evidence-on-demand services support decision-making in Ontario’s child and youth mental health sector. Evidence & Policy, 12(1) pp. 127-137.

Hamm, M., Newton, A., Annabritt, C., Shulhan, J., Milne, A., Sundar, P., Ennis, H., Scott, S., & Hartling, L. (2015). The prevalence and impact of cyberbullying on children and young people: a scoping review of social media studies. Journal of the American Medical Association. Published online June 22, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0944.

Rhodes A., Boyle M., Bridge J., Sinyor M., Links P., Tonmyr L., Skinner R., Bethell J., Carlisle C., Goodday S., Hottes T., Newton, A., Bennett K., Sundar P., Cheung A., & Szatmari P. Antecedents and sex/gender differences in youth suicidal behavior. World J Psychiatry. 2014; 4(4):120-32.

Sundar, P. & Ly, M. (2013). Chapter 9: Multiculturalism. In M. Gray & S. Webb (Eds.), Thinking about social work, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, (pp. 126-136).

Sundar, P., Sylvestre, J. & Bassi, A. (2012). Chapter 23: Diversity in social work practice. In M. Gray, J. Midgley & S.A. Webb (Eds.), Sage Handbook of Social Work. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, (pp. 355-371).

Sundar, P., Todd, S., Danseco, E., Kelly, L. & Cunning, S. (2012). Toward a culturally responsive approach to child and youth mental health practice: Integrating the perspectives of service users and providers. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health 31(1), 99-113.