Work in the Spatial Determinants Lab focusses on the study of inequities in human health outcomes and determinants of health in small places and small spaces. Despite decades of universal healthcare for many countries around the world, there still remain pronounced inequities in the social determinants of health, health outcomes, and in environmental exposures. These systemic differences are manifest between social groups and across a range of factors such as income, education, and ethnicity. At the same time, health inequities are spatially evident, with differences between countries, regions, communities, and neighbourhoods. Understanding these relationship between social processes, geography, and human health is the focus of our Lab.

Our lab has a large group of scholars working on a diverse range of projects. These include a large focus on rural and remote health with projects on eHealth, rural youth services, patient and provider perspectives of eHealth interventions, and recruitment and retention programs. Other students are examining high-resource health users from quantitative and qualitative perspectives, linking health needs to the availability of health services in rural communities.

Spatial Determinants of Health Lab

In addition to our work on rural health, we also work on environmental and occupational epidemiology. We have projects examining injury and retention in the Canadian Armed Forces using new, linked administrative databases. A new project we are supporting in our lab is on the links between environmental contaminants such as air pollution, protective factors such as greenspace, and the genetic markers for ADHD and OCD.

We support scholars at all stages in their academic careers – from undergraduate interns in their first or second years, directed studies projects, and senior honours theses – to graduate students in our Master’s in Health, Science, Technology, and Policy (HSTP), research-based Master’s of Science, and PhD programs. We also have several affiliated scholars from other departments and faculties on campus, including Public Affairs and Policy Management, School of Social Work, and Geography and Environmental Studies.

Research Updates