My name is Ritika and I will be graduating from the Health Sciences program at McMaster University in May 2020. I will then be pursuing graduate training in Public Health in September 2020.
I became interested in the field of music therapy and its use as an intervention for mental health concerns when I first enrolled in the Introductory Music Therapy course in my 2nd year of undergraduate studies. This led me to pursue a literature review exploring the role of music therapy in alleviating trait anxiety concerns in non-clinical populations.
To address the scarcity of music therapy research in younger populations, I proposed a pilot study exploring the impact of Community Music Therapy in alleviating stress and anxiety in McMaster undergraduate students and was the lead student investigator for this study, as part of my final year thesis project. Since the timing of the study coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team is now continuing the study through an online platform. To our knowledge, our study is the first to deliver and evaluate a music therapy intervention to an undergraduate population, through an online platform.
Thus, engaging in music therapy research has been a very meaningful learning experience for me, and I hope to continue such work in the coming years! Some of my other research interests include resilience research, exploring culturally contextualized models for delivering mental health services and systems-level approaches/policy work pertaining to mental health care provision.