Paula Gardner, PhD

Associate Professor, Health Sciences

Paula Gardner PhD

Office: STH 313
905 688 5550 x6176

I’m a critical qualitative health researcher, educator and meditator. My research interests include the social factors that influence community mobility among older adults; health and design; critical, visual and transformative research methodologies and mindfulness and mental health among post-secondary students.

I love to teach and appreciate both sharing what I know and learning from my students. Feeling strongly that ‘experience is at the root of understanding’ I integrate a range of experiential education opportunities into my courses and embrace a critical, participatory and mindful approach to my teaching.

  • Aging and Place
  • Community Mobility
  • Mindfulness and Mental Health
  • Mindfulness and Teaching and Learning

Gardner, P., Grose, J. (2015). Mindfulness in the Academy – Transforming our work and ourselves ‘one moment at a time’. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching (CELT), 8, 35-46.

Gardner, P., Muller, M., Prior, B., So, K., Tooze, J Eum, L., & Kuchur, O.  (2014). Wheelchair Cleaning and Disinfection in Canadian Healthcare Facilities: “That’s Wheelie Gross!” American Journal of Infection Control, 42, 1173-7.

Gardner, P. (2014). The role of social engagement and identity in community mobility among older adults aging in place. Disability & Rehabilitation. 36, 1249-1257.

Gardner, P., et al.  (2012). “Not for the fainthearted”: Engaging in cross-national comparative research. Journal of Aging Studies, 26, 253-261.

Gardner, P., Netherland, J., Kamber, T. (2012). “Getting Turned On”: Using ICT training to promote active ageing in New York City. Journal of Community Informatics, 8(1), 1-16.

Gardner, P. J.  (2011) Natural Neighborhood Networks – Important social networks in the public lives of older adults aging in place. Journal of Aging Studies, 25, 236-271.

Gardner, P. & Campagna, P. (2011). Pedometers – measurement tools and motivational devices: New insights for researchers and practitioners. Health Promotion Practice, 12, 55-62.

Published Book Chapters

Netherland, J., Finkelstein, R., Gardner, P. (2011). The age-friendly New York City project: An environmental intervention to increase aging resilience. In B. Resnick, L. Gwyther & K. Roberto (Eds.), Resilience in Aging:  Concepts, Research, and Outcomes (pp. 273-287). New York, NY: Springer.


  • Public Health
  • Community Health
  • Mental Health
  • Qualitative Research


  • Public Health
  • 2016 Brock University Chancellors Chair for Teaching Excellence ($15,000). Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.
  • 2014 Brock University Award for Excellence in Teaching for Early Career Faculty ($1000). Brock

Graduate students interested in working with Dr. Gardner should be committed to the following skills, knowledge and interests:

Approach to graduate study

  •  Curious
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Critical and reflexive
  • Independent and self-motivated
  • Collaborative and participatory
  • Mindful

Approach to Health

  • Health is a social phenomenon (produced through social, political and economic processes)
  • Health is contextual (culturally, physically, politically, economically, historically constituted)
  • Health is determined by a range of social determinants (environment, income, ethnicity)

Approach to Research

  • Qualitative
  • Critical
  • Theoretical
  • Reflexive

Topic Areas

A. Aging

  • Critical gerontology
  • Geographical gerontology
  • Gerontological Rehabilitation

B. Mindfulness

  • Mindfulness, Meditation and Mental Health
  • Mindfulness and Teaching and Learning

Interested students should

  • Review Dr. Gardner’s websites and publications to ensure both the approach and areas of research match their own, then, well in advance of the application deadline,
  • Contact her directly with their CV, introduction, and interests
The Mobility Project,

The Mobility Project

The Mobility Project is about movement – about people getting where they want to go and how they got there.  It’s about engaging people and sparking a dialogue about bodies & barriers, resilience & resistance, passion & determination, creativity & courage, stigma & disability.

Through Their Eyes Project

Through Their Eyes Project

Through Their Eyes is a community-campus partnership that gets undergraduate students who are studying public health out into the community to learn firsthand the strengths, challenges, and opportunities for making communities healthy places!