My research program, Promoting Optimal Weights through Ecological Research (POWER) explores the social and environmental determinants of the emerging obesity epidemic. My team’s research explores the ways in which social conditions and people’s behaviours (particularly food and eating behaviours) interact to transmit obesity and chronic diseases through social means.
Although my expertise is primarily in qualitative methods, such as ethnography, I collaborate with colleagues who bring diverse quantitative methods to the team, so that we are able to explore how social factors such as policies, commercialization of food, and the built environment of communities where people live may invisibly structure people’s choices.
With knowledge of how social forces may be shaping the health of people and communities, my current research priorities are on intervening on the social conditions contributing to obesity and chronic diseases. My contribution to intervention development and evaluation includes conducting large-scale, community-based and population policy-level health promotion initiatives to address chronic disease prevention.
My philosophy has always been to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and this can best be accomplished if stakeholders are made aware of the relationships demonstrated through research initiatives and stimulated to act on them. Therefore, a priority of all of my research endeavors is an integration of practitioners and policy decision-makers into the research/ intervention team to facilitate rapid action.
PhD, Dalhousie University, 1993
MA, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1988
RD, Victoria General Hospital, 1983
BSc, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1982
Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (FCAHS), 2012
Applied Public Health Chair, Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2008 – 2013
Health Senior Scholar, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 2005 – 2010
Health Scholar, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 2000 - 2004