Scott Leatherdale, Ph.D.
Scott Leatherdale, Ph.D.
Dr. Scott Leatherdale is an Associate Professor and Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair in Population Studies in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Leatherdale has expertise in ecological models of health (understanding the impact that context has on health), system-level approaches to prevention programming, evaluation, and knowledge exchange, research design and methods, and the critical appraisal of research. The focus of his research is twofold: understanding the association between environment contexts (both social and physical environments) and risk behaviour; and developing systems to improve the uptake of evidence-based practices in population-based prevention programming. In order to carry out this work, he has developed well-funded parallel research agendas within both youth and adult populations. The impact of Dr. Leatherdale’s work is evident as he is a board member of the Institute Advisory Board for the Institute of Cancer Research (IAB-ICR) of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and his research recently received Canadian Cancer Society's Top Research Achievements of 2011 award.
The focus of Dr. Leatherdale’s current and future research is twofold: (1) understanding the association between environment contexts (both social and physical environments) and cancer risk behaviour; and (2) developing systems to improve the uptake of evidence-based practices in population-based cancer control prevention programming. In order to carry out this work, Dr. Leatherdale will continue to develop his parallel research agendas within both youth and adult populations.
Among youth populations, Dr. Leatherdale is working to expand and implement his program of research as a principal investigator with the School Health Action, Planning and Evaluation System (SHAPES). SHAPES is a school-based data collection and knowledge exchange system that is designed to create a more effective bridge between research and prevention practice in multiple youth risk behaviour domains (tobacco control, physical inactivity/obesity prevention, alcohol and drug use, healthy eating). Research tools have been developed and tested to collect relevant data at the student- and school-levels, and knowledge exchange tools (i.e., customized school specific feedback reports) have also been developed to transfer the student- and school-level data school stakeholders. As Dr. Leatherdale’s work and research with SHAPES continues in the coming years, he will focus on four areas. First, considering that demand for SHAPES has grown substantially since Dr. Leatherdale has been involved with this program of research (since 2003, SHAPES has been completed by over 350,000 students in more than 700 schools in Canada for projects initiated by both researchers and school stakeholders), he will continue to take a lead in developing the protocols and overseeing SHAPES projects that emerge as a result of ongoing stakeholder demand for SHAPES data, and projects he designs to test his hypotheses about the influence of contextual factors on student behaviour. Second, Dr. Leatherdale will work to complete the publications associated with the data collected from different SHAPES projects. These publications will use multi-level modelling techniques to examine how different school-level programs and policies are associated with student-level behavioural variability in tobacco use, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and obesity. Such insight is valuable for informing the development and targeting of future school-based prevention programs. Third, Dr. Leatherdale will work to develop two new SHAPES modules (e.g., bullying) as new modules will be required to address behavioural and program/policy domains that researchers and stakeholders deem as prevention priorities. These activities involve the development and testing of student- and school-level questionnaires, and the development of the student- and school-level knowledge exchange tools. Finally, Dr. Leatherdale is currently implementing the COMPASS study; a longitudinal study will follow a cohort of 6,500 grade 9 students from 115 Ontario secondary schools for 4 years as they progress through secondary school to understand how changes in school environment characteristics (policies, programs and the built environment) are associated with smoking, physical activity (PA), eating behaviour, obesity, marijuana use, alcohol use, sedentary behaviour and educational outcomes among students over time. In this study, Dr. Leatherdale is also evaluating the impact of providing school-specific annual reports that suggest where the greatest needs are at a school and suggestions for evidence-based school-level interventions. The outcomes of this study will provide valuable insight for understanding how to best tailor and target future school-based interventions so that they have impact.
Among adult populations, Dr. Leatherdale will continue to develop his program of research designed to understand how contextual factors (programs, policies, built environment) influence risk behaviours and health outcomes. For instance, Dr. Leatherdale currently has funding as a principal investigator from the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre to evaluate the impact of the Province of Ontario legalizing online gambling (through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, OLG) on gambling behaviour, attitudes, social norms, self-efficacy, and awareness of online gambling using a prospective cohort survey (quasi-experimental design) to compare responses among adults (18+) in Ontario (experimental group) and Atlantic Canada (control group) pre- and post- launch of the OLG internet gaming program.
Principal – M.Sc.
Principal – Ph.D.
BA, BSc, MA, Ph.D., DipClinPsych, MNZCCP
BA (Econ), MA, Dip Psych, Ph.D., MAPS
W. A. (Bill) Bogart
B.A., LL.B., LL.M.
Ph.D. Community Health