School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Amplifying the Voices of Those Experiencing Chronic Pain and Survivors of Sexual Violence – Meet Landon Montag

MSc student in Neuroscience

by Amelia Ritchie May 2022

Landon Montag

As an MSc student in the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Landon Montag conducts research on how expectation effects can influence chronic pain treatment outcomes. Alongside her research, she is very active with the Queen’s Peer Health Educators, and specifically worked on the Red Flag Campaign this school year with the goal of raising awareness amongst students regarding red flags that one might see in situations where dating violence or intimate partner violence are occurring. Her research and volunteer work both strive to amplify the voices of those who should really be heard, and ask what we can do to better serve these groups of people.

Under the co-supervision of Dr. Tim Salomons (Department of Psychology, Queen’s University) and Dr. Etienne Bisson (Chronic Pain Clinic Research Coordinator at Hotel Dieu Hospital), Landon’s research looks at the placebo effect within pain treatment. Operating within the realm of neuropsychology, Landon works with chronic pain patients receiving intravenous lidocaine infusion, continuing the research relationship with them long after the few hours it takes for the anesthetic’s effects to cease. She asks: will thinking pain treatment is going to work actually make it work better? Alongside this research, Landon’s experiences as a graduate student at Queen’s have resulted in so many positive experiences and outcomes. She has been so grateful for the sense of camaraderie and mental health support from her friends and peers across the university, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The interpersonal and patient care skills she has developed throughout her research, as well as the flexibility and collaboration that have been crucial throughout her degree, will stay with her post-graduation.

Continuing on from her time as an undergraduate student at Queen’s, alongside her research, Landon’s volunteer work with the Queen’s Peer Health Educators led to her involvement as a team leader for the sexual health group this year. As such, Landon was involved in February’s week-long Red Flag Campaign, which focused on raising awareness amongst students on what to do when witnessing situations of intimate partner or dating violence. With a large focus on bystander intervention, the team developed online, shareable resources with reference to realistic scenarios and realistic actions that one can do to help. She stressed that while talking about sexual violence might be uncomfortable, it is important for all of us to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

            Landon’s research and her work with the Red Flag campaign hold similar significances to her. She expressed that, “A lot of the time, especially with chronic pain, patients are ignored because if you don’t see something physically wrong with someone, it’s really hard to treat it…sometimes you’re dismissed. The same thing happens with survivors of sexual violence. They’re just not heard. People don’t believe them, people aren’t comfortable with it – by both scenarios, they don’t know how to help and so they just don’t talk about it. I think in both scenarios it’s really talking about, what can we do to better serve these groups of people?” Both within and outside of her research, then, Landon is working to build dialogue and community surrounding important issues.

If anyone has experienced sexual violence, wants to talk about it, or would like more resources, Landon said, please reach out to the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services at Queen’s, or to Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator Barb Lotan (bjl7@queensu.ca).

For more details on the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, check out their website.