Ongoing Research

Age-Friendly Communities – Friendly for Whom?

This SSHRC-funded project (with Professors M.W. Rosenberg, Queen’s University and R. Walker, University of Saskatchewan) is predicated on a detailed analysis of census and other survey data from 1991 to 2011 to demonstrate that the older population of Canada has become increasingly geographically, ethnically and socially diverse. The voices of older people from visible minority populations, older people from new immigrant groups,

LGBT groups, the very old and frail population and Aboriginal older people are rarely reflected either in the academic research on age-friendly communities or the plans to make communities age-friendly. Therefore, the goals of the project are: to analyse how the combination of the changing geography, socio-demographics and social and public policies of Canada have created an older population which has much different needs than is currently understood within the age-friendly community literature and plans of communities; and to develop a new more inclusive theory of age friendly communities. A mixed methods approach of quantitative analysis of census and survey data and qualitative case studies in communities across Canada which highlight the voices of older people from visible minority populations, older people from new immigrant groups, LGBT groups, the very old and frail population and Aboriginal older people is used to achieve these goals.

GEMINI - Generational Differences
in Environmental Exposures caused by Migration: Impact on Incidence of Inflammatory Disease

Global migration is occurring at an unprecedented rate throughout the world, and yet we do not fully understand how migration will impact health and disease development in diverse populations migrating to new environments. In particular, the impact of global migration on the incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, and multiple sclerosis (MS) is not well appreciated. These diseases are prevalent in northern latitude countries including Canada, and impose an enormous burden on our society in terms of impact on quality of life and healthcare associated costs. South Asian immigrants raised in Western environments have an unexplained increased risk of developing a chronic inflammatory disease.  While the South Asian community represents a significant and growing proportion in the Greater Toronto Area, issues of health literacy, health beliefs, health-seeking behaviours, and healthcare needs are still not well understood. This Connaught-funded research seeks to address this gap in knowledge.

For more information on these and other research projects, please contact Professor Kathi Wilson.  kathi.wilson @ utoronto.ca or (905) 828-3864.