My research is located at the intersection of health, aging and place. As a community-based public health researcher, communities, and in particular neighbourhoods and university campuses, are the living labs for my research.
As a social gerontologist and qualitative health researcher, I explore aging from a critical perspective to challenge assumptions about aging and disability, re-imagine practices and policies in community and care settings, and develop new ways of knowing that prioritize the lived experience of older adults. Often described as a “walker stalker”, my mobility research has me following (or chasing) older adults and observing them moving around in their neighbourhoods. One of my recent projects, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, explores the concept of mobility aid personalization (MAPx). Because sharing my work and learning from others, particularly those outside of academia, is important to me, I created a blog called The Mobility Project.
As an educator interested in supporting student wellness and academic success, I also lead a program of research aimed at promoting resilience and positive mental health among university students. The purpose of The Mindfulness Experiment is to examine the impact of meditation and mindfulness practices on students, instructors and the classroom environment. This work has received a great deal of attention from various audiences including mental health and public health organizations and school boards. A video of me teaching mindfulness to my students has circulated widely and I get emails regularly from people around the world who have seen it!
My research and approach to teaching have been described as ‘innovative’, ‘interesting’ and ‘fun’. I’ve been fortunate to be recognized for my work and have received several teaching awards including the 2018 Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching.
In addition to being an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University, I am a faculty fellow and Continuing Education Coordinator with the Critical Qualitative Health Research Centre at the University of Toronto. I have written and presented broadly on my methodological approach, most recently in a book chapter entitled Qualitative interviewing – More than asking questions.