Heather Church, PhD, RP, BCBA

Heather Church, PhD, RP, BCBA

Heather Church

Office: STH 326 

Extension: N/A

hchurch@brocku.ca 

My work focuses on mental health and developmental disorders. Specifically, I examine the experiences of people who have developmental disorders and (where applicable) those of their caregivers, as they relate to public policy. I am a registered psychotherapist and board certified behaviour analyst and came to my research interests through prior experiences working in the community, both in the public and private sectors. The goal of my work is to identify and develop strategies to overcome barriers to achieving health equity among people who have developmental disorders and/or mental health challenges, as well as those of their caregivers (where applicable).  

  • Health equity 
  • Developmental disorders 
  • Public policy 
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders 
  • Social determinants of health 

 

  • Registered Psychotherapist (RP) – College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) 
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) – Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) 
  • International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disorders (IASSIDD)  
  • Secretary-Treasurer for the Ethics Special Interest Group for IASSIDD  
  • Association for Behavior Analysts International (ABAI) 
  1. McGinley, J. M., Marsack-Topolewski, C. N., Church, H. L., Knoke, V. (Accepted for publication). Advance care planning for individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities: A State-by-state content analysis of person-centered service plans. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  
  2. Marsack-Topolewski, C.N., & Church, H. L. (2019) Impact of caregiver burden on quality of life for parents of adult children with ASD. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 124(2), 145-156. 
  3. Ouellette-Kuntz, H., Martin, L., Shooshtari, S. Church, H. & Temple, B. (2020). Understanding Frailty and Related Planning: A Workshop Aimed at Self-Advocates. To be Presented at the International Association for the Scientific Study in Developmental Disabilities, Health Special Interest Research Group Conference, Toronto, Canada.  
  4. Church, H., McGinley, J., Marsack-Topolewski, C. & Knoke, V. (2019). Advance Care Planning as a Component of Person-Centered Planning. Presented at the World Congress of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Glasgow, Scotland.  
  5. Church, H. & So, P. (2019). Vocational Skills Training Among Adults with ASD, Presented at the World Congress of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Glasgow, Scotland.  
  6. Church, H. & Marsack-Topolewski, C. (2019). Health Equity Assessment of Social Inclusion Policy, Presented at the World Congress of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Glasgow, Scotland.  
  7. Church, H. & So, P. (2019). Teaching Job Interview Skills Using Behaviour Analysis, Presented at the Association for Behavior Analysts International 2019 Annual Convention, Chicago, USA.  
  8. McGinley, J., Marsack, C. & Church, H. (2018). Advance Care Planning for People with Intellectual Disabilities: A State-by-State Content Analysis. Presented at the Council for Social Work Education 64th Annual Program Meeting in Orlando, USA.  
  9. Knoke, V., McGinley, J., Marsack, C. & Church, H. (2018). Advance Care Planning for People with Intellectual Disabilities: A State-by-State Content Analysis of Person-centered Service Plans. Presented at the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 142nd Annual Meeting, in St. Louis, USA.  
  10. Church, H. & Marsack, C. (2018). Health Equity Assessment of Social Inclusion Policy. Presented at the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Congress 5th European Congress in Athens, Greece 
  11. Church, H. & Marsack, C. (2018). Impact of Caregiver Burden on Quality of Life: Parental Caregivers of Adults with Autism. Presented at the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Congress 5th European Congress in Athens, Greece 
  12. Church, H. & Marsack, C. (2017). Assessing the Health Equity Impacts on Parental Caregivers of Adults who Have Autism, Presented at the International Association for Geriatrics and Gerontology 2017 World Congress in San Francisco, USA.  
  13. Church, H. (2017). Institutionalizing De-Institutionalization: Unintended Health Equity Impacts on Social Inclusion Policy Among Older Adults with Autism. Accepted for presentation at the Canadian Bioethics Society Annual Conference May 24-26, 2017 in Montreal, Canada.  
  14. Church, H. (2016). Autism: Social Determinants of Health Experienced By Older Adults with Autism and their Caregivers. Presented at the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) Comparative Policy & Practice Special Interest Group Conference in Zagreb, Croatia, October 20-21, 2016.  
  15. Church, H. (2016). Family Functioning & Quality of Life in Families of School-Age Children with Autism Presented at the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) World Congress in Melbourne, Australia August 14-19, 2016.  
  • Introduction to Health Sciences 
  • Infection Control & Safety 
  • Global Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Pandemics & Impacts on Society 

I first became interested in mental health through my work working at a women’s centre for women working in the sex trade in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Since then, I have focused on understanding people’s lived experiences and meeting them where they’re at. With this in mind, approach my work with the following vision and mission:  

Vision 

I am inclusive and responsive to the needs of those I work with and the realities they face in their day-to-day lives.  

I aim to help students to identify the value they bring to their field of study and becoming effective at achieving their goals. This can include, but is not limited to, assisting them to identify the areas in which they can improve.  

I am committed to excellence and effectiveness in the work that I do and assist those with whom I work to achieve the same. I approach my work with students and colleagues with respect for them, as well as for their relationships with their loved ones and the communities in which they live. 

I am committed to assisting my studentscolleagues and members of the community to live according to their values and strive to provide a safe, supportive and objective environment in which we can work together.  

Mission 

  1. To assist studentscolleagues and members of the community to achieve their goals, building on their strengths in our work together 
  2. To assist students to develop confidence in their ability to navigate their chosen fields of study, as well as their personal and professional circumstances 
  3. To enhance the lived experiences of those I work with through learning, research and advocacy