Community Research Initiatives

We partner with and make contributions to local, regional, provincial, national, and international communities and organizations.

Improving the treatment and management of hypertension (HTN)

 

Our researchers pioneered proof-of-concept evidence for isometric handgrip (IHG) training, which is now listed as one of the “Best Proven Nonpharmacological Interventions for Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension” in international guidelines. Deemed a global health crisis by the World Health Organization, HTN (high blood pressure - BP) is the leading global risk factor for death and disability. Despite well-publicized pharmacotherapy, dietary and aerobic exercise-based guidelines for the treatment of HTN, many people around the world do not have their high BP adequately controlled. Thus, implementing time- and cost-efficient therapies, such as IHG training, that lower and maintain BP to within a healthy range is of tremendous public health importance. Together, our researchers and community partners continue to advance HTN treatment options and IHG training, with a global emphasis.

Dr. Cheri McGowan

Dr. Kevin Milne

Dr. Paula
van Wyk

Contributing to the awareness and addressing of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action (#87-91) linked to sport

 

Our researchers continue to explore ways to enhance our ability to tell this national story as our contribution towards reconciliation in Canada. The TRC released its final report in 2015, outlining the devastating impact of over 100 years of residential schooling on Indigenous students in Canada. Ninety-four calls to action were included, which outlined ways to inform Canadians about the ‘truth’ of Indigenous lives in Canada and to build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians in order to move towards reconciliation between these groups in Canada. These calls to action have become the foundational justification for ‘legitimate’ research on Indigenous peoples in Canada. In keeping with call to action #87, which directs us to ensure the public is aware of the national history of Indigenous athletes in Canada, we have been working to ensure that Wikipedia entries on elite Indigenous athletes are available and easily accessed. Graduate and undergraduate students enhance and increase existing entries and use them as part of class assignments. We organized an editathon to increase and improve entries, involving professors and graduate students in sport sociology from across North America. We created a website, www.Indigenoussporthistory.ca, as an additional method for reaching the public and ensuring easy access to knowledge about the national accomplishments of Indigenous athletes, organizers and professors who have been researching in this area. We nominate elite Indigenous athletes for national awards such as the Canada Sports Hall of Fame.

Dr. Vicky Paraschak

Generating knowledge that encompasses older adult perspectives to enrich the development of programs and policy

 

Our researchers work with older adults to learn about their perspectives of aging, their understandings of concepts such as healthy aging and successful aging. Since 2015, there have been more Ontarians 65 years of age and older than children 14 years of age and younger. Health and well-being of older adults has been at the forefront of many research initiatives in our department. Among these initiatives, enhancing older adult engagement in their own health and physical activity has been paramount. Only about 13% of our older adult population meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines that recommend 2.5 hours of weekly physical activity. This statistic highlights a major public health concern – sedentary behaviour. It is imperative, therefore, to learn why older adults remain non-physically active and, in turn, what motivates them to “get moving”. To this end, we have conducted interviews with older (Masters) athletes, who provide important examples of healthy and active lifestyles at later ages.
As a result, we are working towards building resources regarding physically active leisure and physical literacy among our older adult population. Additionally, we engage older adults to appreciate their experiences when they interact with various components of the healthcare system. By asking older adults how we can improve their engagement and experiences, we can improve the quality of healthcare provided and reduce various associated challenges. Thus, many of our initiatives invite older adults to partner in our research. Overall, generating knowledge that encompasses older adult perspectives affords us the ability to enrich the development of programs and policies at the local, provincial, and national levels.

Dr. Sean Horton

Dr. Patti
Weir

Dr. Paula
van Wyk

Enhancing the lives of children and adolescents through research by informing practice and guidelines

 

Community-based research affords us the opportunity to learn common concerns and questions from the public. Together we develop more appropriate and applicable research questions. By working with community organizations, we directly impact the lives of people living, working, and playing in our neighbourhoods. From physiological, psychological, health, motor skill and development, and adapted lens, our research involves: working with children and adolescents at various schools to learn about their knowledge of fruit, vegetables, and physical activity; engaging with children to learn different components related to their motor skill and development; helping youth sport athletes develop their mental and physical skills in order to reach peak performance; examining age grouping policies and its impact one the opportunities and experiences that youth have participating and competing in sport; providing services for children at varying stages of development who may need modifications to enable abilities that may otherwise be muted due to physical and/or cognitive disabilities. There are also many community organizations, with whom we partner, that provide opportunities for children and adolescents to engage in sport.

Dr. Patti Millar

Dr. Kevin Milne

Dr. Paula
van Wyk

Dr. Sean Horton

Dr. Patti
Weir

Dr. Jess Dixon

Dr. Sarah Gee

Dr. Todd Loughead

Dr. Krista Chandler

Dr. Sara Schroun-Benson

Building the capacity of sport and recreation organizations

 

Our researchers contribute to a greater understanding of the capacity needs and assets of community sport and recreation organizations at the local, regional, provincial, national and international level. Community sport and recreation organizations occupy a unique position within the broader sport system as the central provider of local sport participation opportunities. Community sport organizations are also expanding the scope of their efforts to address social problems and develop social engagement opportunities in their communities. Together, this demonstrates the importance of understanding how these organizations build their capacity in order to deliver sport and support social change efforts at the community level. Our research has resulted in the development of a strategic model of capacity building, identification of key factors in (un)successful capacity building, and an examination of organizational readiness to build capacity. Our work has provided community sport organizations with a strategic approach to leveraging their assets and addressing areas of need in order to better fulfill their mandate of offering sport participation opportunities at the community level.

Dr. Patti Millar

Dr. Scott Martyn

Inspiring meaningful change through partnership with municipalities, schools, and organizations

 

Our long-standing research commitment to and participation with the Windsor-Essex community and beyond promotes positive and well-balanced social networking, adolescent mentorship, leadership and team building, psychological skills and food training. For instance, our researchers have partnered with the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (BANA) to co-create a community-based workshop and podcast series for mothers and positive influencers to help promote well-balanced use of social networking sites among their daughters, the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society to co-create a girls mentoring program for adolescents in foster care, the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame to highlight the sporting accomplishments in our community, and the Faculty of Education and the Southwest Ontario Student Nutrition Program to co-create a grade 5 curriculum relating to food literacy. We also work to inspire, interact, and educate local sport organizations to further promote positive body image, leadership and team building, psychological skills training, and minimizing barriers that prevent children from participating in organized sport.

Dr. Sarah Woodruff

Dr. Todd Loughead

Dr. Krista Chandler

Dr. Scott Martyn

Generating innovative tools that enhance teaching and learning

 

We are active, both on campus and throughout the broader academic community, in generating, testing, and sharing innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Areas in which we have performed pedagogy-related research include curriculum design, assessment and evaluation of teaching in higher education, educational leadership, Laboratory Pedagogy and Developing Normative-Referenced Standards, and student engagement in large classes. We have also studied innovative practices, including the integration of social media as a teaching tool, particularly the use of Twitter and Instagram for engaging students both inside and outside the classroom. We regularly contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning by sharing our research on best practices at teaching and learning workshops offered through the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), at institutions and conferences such as the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and in a variety of education/pedagogy journals.

Dr. Francesco Biondi

Prof. Adriana Duquette

Understanding driver behaviour and Improving road safety

 

Our researchers investigate the interaction between drivers and in-vehicle technology. With our community partners, we examine the potential to affect driver behaviour and road safety. We contribute to the understanding and measurement of Cognitive Ergonomics components involved in driver-vehicle interaction. Through our collaborations with the Windsor-Essex Road Safety Working Group, the Canadian Automated Vehicle Institute, and the University of Windsor Faculty of Engineering, we make driver-vehicle interaction more effective, and enhance driving safety. We advance knowledge and technology through understanding the impacts on driving and frequency of cell phone use, driver behaviours, and driver attitudes utilizing qualitative and quantitative methods.

Dr. Nadia Azar

Dr. Jess Dixon

Dr. Terry Eddy

Dr. Patti Millar

Dr. Krista Chandler

Dr. Sarah Woodruff

Dr. Cheri McGowan

Dr. Kevin Milne

Dr. Paula van Wyk

Dr. Sarah Gee

Dr. Dave Andrews

Dr. Todd Loughead

Dr. Craig Greenham

Prof. Adriana Duquette

Dr. Scott Martyn

Supporting healthy living of people with an intellectual disability (ID) through physical activity

 

Our researchers in the Adapted Physical Exercise Research Group (APEX) create and evaluate programs that improve fitness and motor skills of adults with ID, while teaching proper exercise techniques and gym etiquette. APEX programming has been positively received by participants and support staff – participants have also reported increased confidence to engage in an active lifestyle, resulting in continued exercise engagement. The impact of this program is extended and sustained through knowledge transferred by way of an APEX manual, website, workshops/webinars, lay-based videos, and scholarly publications. The program also highlights a model of a sustained community-based health program for people with an intellectual disability.

Dr. Nadia Azar

Dr. Sean Horton

Dr. Todd Loughead