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Research in the Department of Health Aging and Society examines a wide range of issues and topics related to the fields of health studies and social gerontology.

Critical social science

We bring a critical perspective to bear on the four empirical fields of research below. This includes questioning and sometimes challenging the dominant models of thinking and acting in health policy and practice, giving voice to people and subjects that are neglected or marginalized, involving communities as partners in research, drawing on social theory to frame and inform studies, and being open to using all kinds of academic methodologies.  All of our faculty members are critical social scientists.

Collaborative research groups whose members include our faculty:

  • Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging
  • The Collaboratory for Research on Urban Neighbourhoods, Community Health and Housing (CRUNCH)
  • McMaster Institute for Healthier Environments (MIHE)
  • McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI)
  • McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA)

Research Groups

Research SNAPS: More Research and Action is Necessary to Combat Homelessness Among Older People in Canada

The number of older people who are homeless is expected to increase across Canada. Strategies to combat homelessness tend to neglect this group and this can be problematic as older homeless people have unique needs.

Learn more about Amanda Grenier's research...

Research SNAPS: How Indigenous Elder-Youth Relationships Influence Health and Well-Being

Intergenerational relationships play an integral role in maintaining cultural continuity through the process of storytelling and knowledge transmission. These processes also have positive implications for the health and well-being of Indigenous...

Learn more about Chelsea Gabel's research...

Research SNAPS: A New Way of Understanding Wellbeing

Through non-representational theory, wellbeing is understood as an immediate, less-than-fully conscious, physio-environmental process that emerges as we move through the world. With this perspective, we can begin to understand where and when...

Learn more about Gavin Andrews' research...

Research SNAPS: PAWSing Student Stress

Therapy dogs offer university students love and support. They could be used to help combat growing mental health concerns in university, such as depression, anxiety, and stress, especially during exam time.

Learn more about James Gillett's research...

Research Affiliations:

Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging:

The Centre serves as a critical hub of research, teaching and outreach.  Our mission is to improve all aspects of the lives of older adults in the community and in long-term care by linking research, education, policy and practice with local, national and global initiatives.

Learn more about the Gilbrea Centre

The Collaboratory for Research on Urban Neighbourhoods, Community Health and Housing (CRUNCH)

The Collaboratory for Research on Urban Neighbourhoods, Community Health and Housing (CRUNCH) is a cluster of research equipment and facilities and a network of affiliated researchers. Housed at McMaster University, CRUNCH is dedicated to examining the complex interactions between housing, neighbourhoods and health. Along with our partners in government, the charitable and nonprofit sectors, community groups, and industry, we collaborate on a number of studies that seek to understand neighbourhood-level, population-based health and child development their social determinants.

Learn more about CRUNCH

Arts-Centered Community-Engaged Social Sciences (ACCESS)

The A.C.C.E.S.S. Collaborative involves faculty members in the social sciences who share substantive interests in art, communication, representation and justice and who are working with artists or taking up arts practices in our research and teaching. Our project also involves key colleagues in the humanities whose work explicitly addresses ideas and practices about community building, ethics and care. As the Collaborative develops, seminars, events and research projects will engage additional faculty colleagues and graduate students from across the McMaster campus, University staff, community partners and Hamilton area artists.

Critical Health Research Network (CHRN)

A network of researchers at McMaster University has been established to create a deeper and more critical understanding of health and the health care environment.

McMaster University’s Critical Health Research Network will be headed by Department of Health, Aging and Society Professors Gavin Andrews and James Gillett and include researchers from ten areas of the university, ranging from geography, family medicine and English and anthropology.