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Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, Southern Medical ProgramOther Titles: Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UBC Faculty of Medicine; Affiliate Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital; Affiliate Investigator, Interior Health; Michael Smith Heath Research BC Scholar
Office: Reichwald Health Sciences Centre
The overall goals of my research are to investigate how physical activity behaviours relate to current and long-term health outcomes in children in both clinical and community-based settings, and to identify strategies to improve physical activity participation in children. I collaborate with Interior Health on projects relating to pediatric diabetes and BC Children's Hospital Research Institute to address physical activity behaviours in children and youth with congenital heart disease.
Courses & Teaching
Site Director FLEX (MEDD 419, MEDD 429, MEDD 449), MD Undergraduate Program, Southern Medical Program, UBC
R1 Research AHD Course, General Pediatrics Residency Program, Department of Pediatrics, BC Children’s Hospital, UBC
MEDD 412 Case-Based Learning, MD Undergraduate Program, Southern Medical Program, UBC
I earned my doctorate from the University of Essex, UK where I examined the association between cardiovascular health and modifiable health behaviours in a large cohort of schoolchildren. I first joined UBC as a postdoctoral fellow in 2011 at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility in Vancouver, before joining the Children’s Heart Centre at BC Children’s Hospital and UBC’s Department of Pediatrics in 2015. During these years, I have developed a keen interest in using state-of-the art technologies to understand complex physical activity behaviours, particularly in at-risk pediatric populations in whom such insight might inform clinical care. In 2019, I relocated to beautiful Kelowna to join the new UBC Faculty of Medicine Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management.
Research Interests & Projects
Big data in physical activity research: commercial activity trackers, accelerometers and global positioning systems
Accurate measurement of physical activity behaviours is difficult, especially in children. Across my research projects I work with a range of state-of-the-art measurement approaches to address this limitation. For example, commercial activity trackers hold great promise for use in the clinical setting, but questions around validity (do they measure what they claim to measure) and whether these devices can change behaviours remain. Accelerometers and global positioning systems can provide invaluable insight on the context of physical activity behaviours (when, where, with whom?), information which is helpful for generating specific physical activity recommendations. Technology is constantly evolving, necessitating ongoing evaluation of these devices for use in pediatric health research.
Physical activity in children and teens with congenital heart disease
Reports on physical activity patterns in children with CHD are conflicting, and the interplay of medical-, environmental-, parental- and intra-personal factors are not well understood in this patient population. This poses a great challenge if we are to effectively promote physical activity behaviours in these children and teens. In collaboration with colleagues at the Children’s Heart Centre, I aim to address this problem by investigating activity levels, contexts, determinants (intra-personal, socio-cultural and environmental), and changes over time.
Selected Publications & Presentations