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Special Projects

The Centre for Health Promotion is involved in special projects and initiatives related to particular health promotion topics in its area of focus. Over the years, these have covered a wide range of health promotion issues, including smoking cessation, quality of life and health and literacy.

Through our affiliation with the Public Health Science MSc program in Health Promotion, we also coordinate student practicum projects through partnerships with community-based organizations.

If there is a particular area of health promotion that is of interest to you, join one of the Centre's Special Interest Groups, or form one of your own. Currently, we have a Cancer Prevention and Health Schools interest groups, with plans underway to form one on Mental Health Promotion. If you want to initiate a new interest group, or join an existing one, email the Centre at centre.healthpromotion@utoronto.ca.

Special Projects
Student Practicum Projects
Special Interest Groups

Special Projects

National Literacy and Health Program (2002 to present)
Project Coordinator: Dr. Irving Rootman

The Centre for Health Promotion, with the Canadian Public Health Association, is involved in a research project designed to stimulate the development of a national program of research in the area of literacy and health. Dr. Irving Rootman, former Director of the Centre and now based at the Community Health Promotion Coalition of the University of Victoria, is the principal investigator and coordinator of the project. Funding is from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) with funding for a workshop comes from the Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

The objectives of the project are to:

  • stimulate research on adult literacy and health in Canada;
  • contribute to the development of research capacity in Canada on this topic;
  • encourage and assist cooperation between researchers and literacy and health practitioners;
  • improve the dissemination and application of research findings in this field;
  • encourage the training of future researchers in literacy and health;
  • stimulate collaboration among researchers from different disciplines; and
  • explore ways of using research to influence policy development in literacy and health.

For information about the Health and Literacy initiative, visit the project website at http://www.nlhp.cpha.ca/clhrp/index_e.htm.

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Student Practicum Projects


Wiebke Stoeppelmann visited the Centre from Germany, under the CEIHPAL exchange program between Canada and Europe. She worked in the Youth Engagement Unit providing activity and organizational support to “Royal Winter Fair – Journey to your good Health”. This is a project designed to enable youth to identify priorities on agriculture, food security, healthy living and the environment through Photovoice, and to set forth an agenda with research-based projects for youth to lead and take action in their own communities.

Kristin Haefner, also visiting from Germany under the CEIHPAL exchange program, revised a Guide for Mental Health Promotion in Adults 55+, helped to develop and pilot test a tool to assess the health promotion concepts incorporated into planning documents for local area health care, provided general assistance to the Ontario Health Promotion Summer School, and worked together with the Youth Engagement Unit.

Nicole Siegmund, our final German exchange student, provided assistance to the coordination of the 14th Ontario Health Promotion Summer School 2007. She assisted with the promotion of the event and developed, delivered and analyzed the evaluation.

Debbie Christacou, visiting from Greece with the CEIHPAL exchange program, worked with the Youth Engagement Unit, gathering information, liaising with youth organizations, and conducting literature reviews on their publications.

Dina Zota, another of our Greek exchange students, explored ideas and ways of working in the Canadian health system regarding school health and mental health.

Filippos Filippidis, our third student from Greece, worked with the Toronto Public Health for 3 months.

Katherine Minich, a UofT MHSc in health promotion student, worked with Suzanne over the summer helping to rewrite the THCU Health Promotion Planning Manual for a First Nations audience and assisting at the Yukon Health Promotion Planning Spring School in May 2007. The rest of the time she did small jobs for Suzanne and developed her research project which will be conducted from January to April with the Inuit population in Labrador and Nunavut.

At the end of the summer, Danielle Schirmer handed over her position as the UofT Coordinator for the CEIHPAL exchange program between Canada and Europe to Uitsile Ndlovu. Both students helped other students with the logistics of the exchange on both sides.


Four students from U of T's Masters of Health Sciences program completed their practicum assignments in cooperation with the offices of the Centre for Health Promotion.

Natalie Gierman, is currently a co-investigator on a larger study entitled Best Practices in Evaluation of Primary Health Care Interdisciplinary Teams being investigated by researchers from the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, University of Western and the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC). The project is being funded through the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) via the Primary Health Care Transition Fund. Her academic Supervisor is Dr Suzanne Jackson.

Fatima Jorge is working as a research assistant on the Viva Health Project, an action research project funded by the Population Health Fund, of the Ministry of Health. The project aims to increase the capacity of Portuguese communities across Canada to take action on the social and economic factors that adversely affect their health and increase their risk of chronic disease. Fatima will be conducting a literature review on the social determinants of health and immigrant/Portuguese communities and draft a report on the Health Status of the Portuguese community in Canada.

Kate Mason is conducting research to document and define best practice in peer education harm reduction programs for illicit drug users. This study is being undertaken on behalf of Street Health, a community-based agency that provides health care and advocacy for homeless and under-housed men and women in Toronto.

Heba Sadek is conducting a qualitative research evaluation for the Early Parenting Program in North Toronto. The objective of the evaluation is to explore the impact of the program on the establishment of the mother-child attachment relation and whether what the mothers learned during their participation in the program continued to be useful to them as their infants develop. The evaluation will be done as a comparative qualitative study between parents who graduated from the program and those who dropped out after attending one session. The researcher is looking into understanding the participants' experiences in order to provide information about the program impact on the mother-child attachment relation. Her academic Supervisor is Dr Suzanne Jackson.


Katia de Pinho Campos was at the Centre from January to May 2005. She conducted a qualitative evaluation of the North Toronto Early Parenting Program (EPP) that serves new parents of infants aged 0-12 months living in at-risk conditions. In addition, Katia performed an internal assessment of the EPP to identify the optimal mix of staffing, taking into account community needs while effectively utilizing all available resources.

Jacquie Dover was at the Centre from January to May 2005 to conduct an evaluation of the Positive Possibilities program which operates in north Toronto.

Blair Johnston joined us at the Centre from September to December 2005. Blair is a student in her final year in Nursing at U of T and assisted Suzanne in collecting information for a chapter in the 2nd edition of the book Health Promotion in Canada, worked on reviving the Healthy U of T Group with Jody MacDonald of Nursing, sat on the Healthy U of T Awards’ selection committee, and completed a literature search for the Urban Health Promotion Working Group.

Rosie Mishaiel started at the Centre in May 2005. For her practicum project, she edited the Participatory Evaluation Resource Manual for the Pan American Health Organization to make it community friendly, based on comments from health communities projects in Ontario and Trinidad-Tobago. Rosie also assisted with the Health Promotion Summer School 2005, analyzing pre-school and toolbox session evaluations. Following the end of her practicum, Rosie stayed on at the Centre to work on a research proposal for CIHR entitled “Reducing Vulnerability in Those Waiting for Social Housing” and is now doing work for the Health Promotion Summer School 2006.


Paola Ardiles is working on revising a Mental Health Promotion Checklist / tool (that practicum student, Maria Choi worked on previously) for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Centre for Health Promotion. The goal of the project is to provide mental health promotion practioners with a set of guiding principles in mental health promotion, as well as a practical tool which can give them examples of good mental health promotion practices, across the lifespan. Special attention will be paid to children and youth programs, due to the gap in the literature on mental health promotion of children 7-12 years old.

Michelle Ashem is involved in a variety of projects at the Centre. Her responsibilities include assisting with the Centre’s Health Promotion Summer School 2004 and working on a Safe Schools Act group survey.

Erika Khandor worked with the Social Planning Network of Ontario's "Closing the Distance" initiative, a group of five local projects led by social planning councils across Ontario working on Social and Economic Inclusion. She collected and analyzed information about the diverse experiences local communities had in working towards Social and Economic Inclusion in the communities of Kingston, Peel and Halton, Central West Region (Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge & North Dumfries and Brant County), Sudbury and Thunder Bay. The experiences of these projects will then be written into case studies in an accessible story format, for use by local groups working in the area of social inclusion and community development.

Jaime Pachis studied the ways in which the components of early parenting programs operating in Toronto influence the breastfeeding outcomes of mothers enrolled in the programs. In addition, she worked with the Centre, conducting an evaluation of an early parenting program at its eight different sites across North Toronto.

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Special Interest Groups

Cancer Prevention Interest Group

The Cancer Prevention Interest Group has been sponsored by the Centre since 1996. The group was established initially to monitor the implementation of the Recommendations of the 1995 Ontario Task Force on the Primary Prevention of Cancer, particularly in the areas of environmental and occupational health. The Centre for Health Promotion was the secretariat for the Task Force, which had been commissioned by Ruth Grier when she was the provincial Minister of Health. The group continues to be an active advocate for primary prevention of cancer and acts as a resource and network for other interested individuals and organizations. Its members belong to a variety of public health and volunteer agencies committed to the environmental and health aspects of cancer prevention. Over the years, group members have met with various health leaders and activists, organized public meetings, and participated in conferences.

If you are interested in joining the Cancer Prevention Interest Group, please contact Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg at dgoldinrosenberg@oise.utoronto.ca.

Cancer Prevention Interest Group - Important Links:
Women's Healthy Environments Network
Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition, Toronto Public Health
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Saunders-Matthey Cancer Prevention Coalition
Breast Cancer Action Montreal

Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition

The Centre for Health Promotion's School Health Interest group, founded in 1998 by Dr. Andy Anderson and Dr. Irving Rootman, joined with two other groups in December, 2000 to form the Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition (OHSC) with leadership from Carol MacDougall of Toronto Public Health and Barbara Ronson of the Centre for Health Promotion. This group is now an Ontario-wide, broad-based coalition, with members from health units, school boards, hospitals, mental health agencies, universities, health related organizations, education related organizations, parents, and students. The group's vision is that "every child and young person in Ontario will have the opportunity to be educated in a healthy school." They define a healthy school as one that promotes the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of the whole school community and constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning, and working. The OHSC members feel it is essential that Ontario take steps to make this vision a reality in our province and to draw on and contribute to the work of the World Health Organization's Global School Health Initiative that has been embraced by many countries (including Australia, 41 European countries, the United States, and Canada).

In partnership with key stakeholders who have an interest in the health and learning of the children and youth of Ontario, the OHSC aims to:

  • raise awareness of the benefits and need for healthy schools;
  • influence policy development and the provision of adequate public funding to guide the implementation of a healthy schools approach; and
  • provide a forum to share new and ongoing initiatives across health, education, and related sectors.

The group has bi-monthly meetings at which approximately half of the participants join from across the province by teleconference. If you are interested in joining the Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition, please go to http://www.opha.on.ca/ohsc/ and register online.

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Last Updated: 24-Nov-2008

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