People

Dr. Nancy Ross

Position: Professor, Department of Geography; Research Group Leader

Education: PhD Geography, McMaster University; MA Geography, Queen’s University; BA (honours) Geography, Queen’s University

Email: nancy.ross@mcgill.ca

Dr. Ross’ CV

Nancy is a Professor in the Department of Geography, is an associate member of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the Institute for Health and Social Policy, and the School of Environment, and is also the Associate Vice Principal of Research and Innovation at McGill University. Nancy’s research interests include how social and built environments affect human health. In her position as the leader of the Geo-Social Determinants of Health Research Group, Nancy currently oversees a broad range of research, including studies which analyze the relationship between neighbourhood-level built design, food environments and health outcomes. Nancy is a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) and currently holds research funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), and the Trottier Fellowship in Science and Public Policy.

Sarah M. Mah

Program: PhD Geography

Education: BSc Biology Honours (Genetics), University of British Columbia; MSc Epidemiology, McGill University

Email: sarah.mah@mail.mcgill.ca

Sarah is a PhD student in Geography. Having sought broad training in epidemiology and epigenetics, in addition to her with front-line work experience in counselling and policy, her current research centers on the socio-spatial determinants of health. Recent Canadian data linkage initiatives, in combination with the increased availability of environmental exposures, affords the opportunity to assess how population-wide health patterns are shaped by the neighborhoods in which we live. Sarah is particularly interested whether neighborhood walkability has any bearing on hospital burden for individuals with type 2 diabetes – a chronic condition that is caused, in part, by environmental factors influencing physical activity, obesity, and diet. She is also in the process of forming international collaborations to further investigate whether walkable places are able to positively impact the health of populations, both here and abroad.

 

 

 


Madeleine Steinmetz-Wood

Program: PhD Geography, McGill University

Education: BSc Environment, McGill University; MSc Public Health, University of Montreal

Email: madeleine.steinmetz-wood@mail.mcgill.ca

Madeleine is currently undertaking doctoral studies in the Department of Geography at McGill University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environment from McGill University (2013) and a Master’s in Public Health from University of Montreal (2015). Her master’s research project aimed to investigate the environmental determinants of active transportation using the Origin Destination (OD) survey. After finishing her master’s degree, she was employed as a research assistant at the Centre de Recherche du CHUM (CRCHUM), where she was involved in research projects that explored the built environment determinants of mobility. She also worked as a research assistant at University of Montreal on a project regarding social inequalities in smoking in young adults. Presently, Madeleine is working on her doctoral thesis that will use a mixed methods approach to identify the characteristics of urban environments that contribute to physical activity in older adults. She currently holds a doctoral fellowship from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec– Fonds de Recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).

 

 


 

Andrew Stevenson

Program: PhD Geography, McGill University

Education: MSc Public Health, McGill University; BA Economics and Environmental Studies, McGill University

Email: andrew.stevenson@mail.mcgill.ca

As a recent Master of Science in Public Health (MScPH) graduate from McGill University, Andrew is interested in the built environment and social determinants of health in Canada. Following the completion of his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and economics, he worked as a research coordinator for Dr. Brent Richard’s lab at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology at the Lady Davis Institute. It was through this experience that he focused his interest in epidemiology and public health. Currently he is working on a project to measure the retail food environment in Canada using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and to link these environmental variables to national survey data through Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centre at McGill. He also assists in report writing, writing of scientific papers and preparing proposals for the group.

 

 

 


Madeleine Pawlowski

Program: MA Geography, McGill University

Education: BA Joint Honours Geography & International Development Studies, McGill University

Email: madeleine.pawlowski@mail.mcgill.ca

Madeleine is a Master’s candidate in Health Geography, co-supervised by Dr. Ross and Dr. Mylene Riva. Her research interests draw from past work on Indigenous student success in the non-profit sector, and focus mainly on the relationship between Inuit student well-being and postsecondary retention for students moving from Nunavik to Montreal for CEGEP. Madeleine previously completed her BA Joint Honours in Geography and International Development Studies at McGill in 2015, and was a 2015-2016 OceanPath Fellow.

 

 

 

 


Clara Kaufmann

Program: MA Geography, McGill University

Education: BA Health and Social Psychology, Bryn Mawr College

Email: clara.kaufmann@mail.mcgill.ca

Clara is a Master’s student in Geography. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Social Psychology at Bryn Mawr College, Clara became more interested in developing population-based health interventions. Her research interests include the geo-social determinants of obesity, health disparities between social groups, and immigrant health. Clara is a recipient of the 2017-18 Lorne Trottier Science Accelerator Fellowship.

 

 

 

 

 


Rania Wasfi

Position: Associate Researcher

Education: BSc Architectural Engineering, Alexandria University; MURP, Portland State University; PhD Geography, McGill University

Email: rania.wasfi@mail.mcgill.ca

Rania is an associate researcher at the Department of Geography at McGill University working with Prof. Nancy Ross. Her research interest is in health geography, specifically looking at the social determinants of health and the role of active transportation in the production of health. Her research focuses on the role of environmental factors— such as a neighbourhood’s physical characteristics (built environment), socio-economic characteristics and transportation systems— in shaping travel behaviour, physical activity and body weight of urban Canadians, using longitudinal and cross sectional datasets.

 

 

 

 


Thomas Herrmann

Position: Research Assistant

Education: BA Geography (Urban Systems), McGill University

Email: thomas.herrmann@mail.mcgill.ca

Thomas is a full-time research assistant for the Group. His research interests include Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the impact of built environments on population health and active behaviour. Prior to completing a BA in Geography in December 2016, Thomas’ work as a research assistant at the McGill School of Urban Planning focused on analyzing discrepancies between measures of walking-friendly environments and rates of walking in Montreal. Presently, Thomas is on the Group’s research team for Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) project, where he is involved with producing a database of GIS-derived measures of local walkability in Canada and analyzing the relationship between characteristics of the built environment and population health through data linkage with national health surveys. He also provides GIS, survey design, and administrative assistance for other projects and group members.

 

 

 


William Gleckner

Position: Research Assistant

Education: BA Geography (Urban Systems, McGill University)

Email: william.gleckner@mail.mcgill.ca

Will is a full-time research assistant working on the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) walkability project . His research interests include the relationship between built environment and community health as well as housing issues in cities. As of earlier this year, he has a B.A. Honours in Urban Systems from McGill University. His work with the PHAC project involves using GIS measures to create a walkability model for all Canadian postal codes. He also assists in documenting and planning for the project.

 

 

 

 


Zach Ripka

Position: Research Assistant

Education: BA Geography (Urban Systems, McGill University)

Email: zachary.ripka@mail.mcgill.ca

Zach is a part-time research assistant with the Geo-Social Determinants of Health Research Group. His interests include the ways that political discourse shapes policy around urban planning, and the ultimate health outcomes of those policy decisions. Zach’s work for the research group consists of data visualization, mapmaking & GIS, and web design.