Pauli 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

Sibley, K.M., Gardner, P., Bentley, D.C., Khan, M., McGlynn, M., Shing, P., Shaffer, J., O’Hoski, S., & Salbach, N.M. (2021). Exploring factors influencing physiotherapists’ perceptions of measuring reactive balance following a theory-based multi-component intervention: A qualitative descriptive study. Disability & Rehabilitation. DOI:

Gardner, P. (2020). Contemplative Pedagogy: Fostering Transformative Learning in a Critical Service Learning Course. Journal of Experiential Education. DOI:

Elliott, M., Gardner, P., Narushima, M., & McCleary, L. (2020). Music Lessons: Exploring the role and meaning of music for older adults with dementia who are aging in place. Canadian Journal on Aging, 39(4)DOI:

Gardner, P. & Kerridge, K. (2019). Everybody Present: Exploring the use of an in-class meditation intervention to promote positive mental health among university students. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 37(4), 1-13. DOI: 10.7870/cjcmh-2018-022

Gardner, P. & *Alegre, R. (2019). “Just like us”: Increasing awareness, prompting action and combating ageism through a critical intergenerational service learning project. Educational Gerontology, 45(2), 146-158. DOI: 10.1080/03601277.2019.1584976.

Sibley, K.M., Bentley, D., Salbach, N.M., Gardner, P., McGlynn, M., O’Hoski, S., … Jaglal, S.B. (2018). A theory-based multi-component intervention to increase reactive balance measurement by physiotherapists in three rehabilitation hospitals: An uncontrolled single group study. BMC Health Services Research, 18(724), 1-10.

Gardner, P. (2016). MAPx (Mobility Aid Personalization): Examining why older adults ‘pimp their ride’ and the impact of doing so. Disability & Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 5,1-7.

Elliott, M., & Gardner, P. (2016). The role of music in the lives of older adults with dementia aging in place: A scoping review. Dementia: The international journal of social research and practice, 17(2),199-213.

Egan, M., Ceci, C., Gardner, P. Kessler, D., King., J., Lanoix, M., Malhotra, R., McGrath, C. & Rudman, D. (2016). Seniors, risk and rehabilitation: Broadening our thinking. Disability & Rehabilitation, 39(13),1348-1355.

Sibley, K., Brooks, D., Gardner, P., Janaudis-Ferreira, T., McGlynn, M., O’Hoski, S., McEwen, S., Salbach, N., Shaffer, J., Shing, P., Straus, S., & Jaglal, B. (2016). Development of a theory-based intervention to increase clinical measurement of reactive balance in adults at risk of falls: A case report. Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, 40, 1-7.

Seaborn, K., Edey, J., Dolinar, G., Whitfield, M., Gardner, P., Branje, C. & Fels, D. (2016). Accessible play in everyday spaces: Mixed reality gaming for adult power chair users. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 23(2), Article 12.

Egan, M., Kessler, D., Rudman, D., McGrath, C., Sikora, L., Gardner, P. & Ceci, C. (2016). Problematizing risk in stroke rehabilitation. Disability & Rehabilitation, 38(23), 2334-2344.

Rudman, D.L., Egan, M.Y., McGrath, C.E., Kessler, D., Gardner, P., King, J., & Ceci, C. (2016). Low vision rehabilitation, age-related vision loss and risk: A critical interpretive synthesis. The Gerontologist, 56(3), e32-e45.

Alvaro, C., Wilkinson, A., Gallant, S.N., Kostovski, D., & Gardner, P. (2016). Evaluating intention and effect. The impact of healthcare facility design on patient and staff well-being. Health Environments Research & Design (HERD) Journal, 9(2), 82-104.

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

Gardner, P. (August 15, 2018). Qualitative Interviewing: More than asking questions and getting answers Learning and Teaching Qualitative Research in Ontario: A Resource Guide. Retrieved from:

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


  • Gerontology
  • Public Health
  • 2018 Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching. Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.
  • 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
  • 2018 Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching. Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.

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!