LCol (Retd) Alexandra Heber, MD, FRCPC

Chief of Psychiatry, Veterans Affairs Canada
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University

Dr. Alexandra Heber is the Chief of Psychiatry for Veterans Affairs Canada, with over 40 years’ experience in mental health as both a nurse and a psychiatrist. After a decade at the University of Toronto working with HIV+ clients and leading an A.C.T. Team, she enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 2006, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. In 2016, she became inaugural Chief Psychiatrist for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and Lead Author for VAC on the CAF-VAC Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy. In 2019, she served on the Ontario Chief Coroner’s Expert Panel on Police Officer Deaths by Suicide, and then worked closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop the Federal Framework on PTSD. In March 2020, she led a Task Force for the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment, to create resilience supports for first-responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2022, she appeared as an expert witness before the Mass Casualty Commission investigating the 2020 shooting rampage in Portapique, Nova Scotia. Last year, she led the creation of a Knowledge Hub, the Canadian Institute for Pandemic Health Education and Response (CIPHER), a federally-funded project to curate and mobilize mental health resources for frontline workers affected by COVID-19.

Dr Heber has published and presented nationally and internationally on trauma and mental health in military, Veteran, and public safety populations. She has written two online courses on PTSD treatment. She co-chairs the Canadian Military Sexual Trauma Community of Practice, and she is Lead Author on the Glossary of Terms 3.0. Dr. Heber is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at McMaster University.