We are a team that brings together the University of Ottawa, the City of Ottawa, local Community Health & Resource Centres, Ottawa Public Health, United Way/Centraide Ottawa, The Champlain Local Health Integration Network, and other community-based partners. Our goal is to better understand the neighbourhoods in which we live, work and play in order to offer evidence about the dimensions that are important for community health and well-being. We also provide the City of Ottawa, health service providers, social service agencies, community organizations and residents with information on 107 neighbourhoods in Ottawa in order to help them to identify what is working well, and where community development is needed.
Strengths of our team
This project models ways that university, city, and community can collaborate effectively. Our multidisciplinary, multisectoral Steering Committee enables and supports the networking and knowledge exchange needed in this project. The ONS team is composed of the following:
University of Ottawa Lead Investigators
Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Kristjansson is a full Professor in the School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa. She is a health measurement expert whose place-based research focuses on the socio-economic determinants of health. Her primary research interest is in systematic reviews on nutrition and food security interventions. Dr. Kristjansson is passionate about working, and sharing the results of her research, with others so that the knowledge can be applied to make a difference in the community. Dr. Kristjansson leads the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS), a strong intersectoral partnership that has produced one of the world’s largest datasets on contextual and compositional determinants of health, health behaviour, and health outcomes. She is also the lead university investigator on Food for All, a productive community-university research partnership with a focus on Community Food Security. Elizabeth is dedicated to her family. She is also a passionate cyclist, cross-country skier, and nature-lover.
Michael Sawada is a full Professor in the Department of Geography and directs the Laboratory for Applied Geomatics and GIS Science (LAGGIS) at the University of Ottawa (www.geomatics.uottawa.ca). In 2005 he received the Julian M. Sciecz award from the Canadian Association of Geographers in recognition of early career accomplishments and the Young Researcher of the Year in 2007 from the Faculty of Arts. Prof. Sawada is a recognized expert in geomatics applications. His research encompasses spatial analysis and GIS applications and has over 15 years of research experience using GIS and optical remote sensing applied to a wide variety of urban, geomorphologic and agricultural questions. He also has considerable experience in development of GIS and spatial statistical software and mobile location-based services. Professor Sawada is member of the Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Management Research Center of the University of Ottawa and his transdisciplinary work has led to the development of new spatial analytical methods that address pressing social and environmental policy issues such as soil erosion and contaminant modeling and transport, disaster mitigation technologies, air quality and population health.
Project Coordinator/Knowledge Broker
David Hole is the community liaison and knowledge broker for the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study. He has been involved with ONS since shortly after its inception in 2005, initially as a representative of the Coalition of Community Health & Resource Centres but more recently as a consultant. A social worker by profession, throughout his career David has been committed to social change through community development. His interest is finding ways and means for research to be both relevant and empowering to local residents committed to improving their quality of life and the health of their community. David is a graduate of the University of Southampton UK (Politics/Sociology) and Carleton University (Social Work) and worked in England and Jamaica before coming to Canada. He has experience in child welfare, family counselling, services for children with special needs, and within the education sector. After 24 years as Executive Director of South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre he “retired” in 2008 to work as a consultant, play with the grandkids, and travel (mostly in that order).
University of Ottawa Co-Investigators
Kaitlyn Carr graduated from University of Ottawa with in an Honours BA program with a specialization in Psychology and has been on the ONS Team since 2012. Katie is the Coordinator & Data Manager for the ONS. She works on and manages various ONS projects to facilitate the use of ONS data to community partners and stakeholders. Katie manages the ONS datasets and oversees work done by our geocoders to ensure the quality and relevance of data. She also manages various aspects of the ONS website and its development.
City of Ottawa Team Members
Leonore is a Policy Research Analyst in the City of Ottawa’s Community and Social Services Department. Specific research interests include affordable housing, food systems, and the role that gender and immigration play in residents’ access to opportunities. Her role on the ONS Steering Committee is to facilitate access to City of Ottawa data. Personal interests include folk dancing, cross country skiing and her three kids.
United Way Ottawa
Paul Steeves is a Senior Manager, Research and Evaluation for Success By 6 Ottawa at the University of Ottawa. He has a wealth of experience in research, primarily focussed on Community and Population Health. He has worked as an Intranet Facilitator for the Canadian Health Network, Database Designer and Developer for the National Council Against Smoking in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Researcher, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. His research interest is in how population data can inform decisions made at the community-level on programs and services. ONS’ primary liaison with United Way Ottawa regarding its focus on Growing Up Great initiatives, especially the School Readiness and Critical Hours strategies. He also hosts most Steering Committee meetings at the United Way or C3 offices. On his spare time, Paul likes to cycle and run.
Ottawa Public Health
Katherine Russell is an epidemiologist at Ottawa Public Health with a focus on chronic disease and injuries, behavioural risk factors, reproductive health and the social determinants of health. Katherine’s role with the ONS is to analyze health data, interpret and transfer knowledge, and promote the application of the neighbourhood profiles for public health policy and program development. Her personal interests/hobbies include cooking, athletics and spending time with family.
Amira Ali is the Senior Epidemiologist at Ottawa Public Health. She has extensive experience in surveillance of chronic disease, injuries, behavioural risk factors and reproductive health. In her spare time, Amira is an avid movie-watcher, Oscar fan and also loves to cook.
Cameron McDermaid is an epidemiologist with Ottawa Public Health. He is co-chair of the Social Determinants of Health indicator working group of the Association of Public Health Epidemiologists of Ontario (APHEO). He also represents APHEO on the Association of Local Public Health Agencies – Ontario Public Health Association Health Equity Working Group. Cameron has participated in the Ottawa Neighbourhood study since 2009 in the area of measures of population health. Professionally his interests include social determinants of health, built environment, health equity, traffic safety and infectious disease epidemiology. Cameron lives a car-free, conserver lifestyle and enjoys Ottawa’s art, culture, and outdoor offerings.
Coalition of Community Health & Resource Centres
Cathy Jordan is the Executive Director of the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre (WOCRC). Cathy has over 30 years of experience working in the community health sector from front line nursing to management positions to work at the system level. Cathy is one of two representatives of the Ottawa Community Health and Resource Centre on the ONS Steering Committee. Cathy has lived (and raised a family) in West Carleton for nearly 30 years.
Simone Thibault is the Executive Director of the Centretown Community Health Centre (CCHC). Simone has led a number of non-profit community-based organizations in Ottawa for the past 20+ years. She has shared her leadership at a number of provincial networks to enable positive change in the area of woman abuse, cultural competency, reality of francophone population in Ontario and community health. Her key area of interest is to tie evidence-based research to support positive change at the individual, family and community level. This has led her to participate on the ONS Steering Committee as a representative of the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa. She is proud that Centretown CHC had the foresight to work with key academic and community partners to launch the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study in 2006 so that community organizations would have relevant data to inform their work in building healthier communities. Simone’s personal interests include cycling along Ottawa’s beautiful recreation paths and gardening while advocating for more sustainable ways to support healthier neighbourhoods.
Brian Schnarch is Senior Epidemiologist at the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). He transforms data into information to support health services planning and decision making. Brian works from a population health perspective and sees data as a tool to help us achieve more intelligent and equitable health care. His recent projects include surgical services planning and the Champlain Decision Support Network. Before joining the LHIN, Brian specialized in Aboriginal health. From 1993-2000, he coordinated community health research for the 14 Inuit communities in Northern Quebec. Between 2000 and 2007, he focused on First Nations data capacity and a groundbreaking national health survey. Brian’s role on the ONS Steering Committee is to represent the Champlain LHIN and to bring a health service planning and epidemiology perspective to the table. On his spare time, Brian enjoys playing racquetball.
Parent Resource Centre
Catherine Millar is a Data Analysis Coordinator (DAC) at the Parent Resource Centre (PRC). As a member of the DAC team, Catherine provides support for evidence-informed program planning and evaluation and facilitates knowledge transfer on child health and development in our communities. An expert in statistics and mapping, she works with a large variety of social and health databases, leads professional training sessions, coordinates the implementation of the Early Development Instrument in Ottawa, presents at conferences and symposia across Ontario, and prepares numerous products for community stakeholders and the public (e.g. maps, reports, infographics). In her spare time, Catherine can be found hiking nature trails with her daughter and introducing local college students to the amazing world of amphibians and reptiles.