Community-driven exploration of girls’ mental health leads to new support

A graphic of a women with a cloudy head

Partnering with community organizations is essential for equity-informed population health researchers, and York University Faculty of Health professors Cheryl van Daalen-Smith and Marina Morrow have embarked on a community-driven inquiry exploring girls’ and young women’s mental health, leading to new local supports.

The project, titled “Pressure, Judgement, Fear & Girlhood: A Girl-Centred Understanding of the Social Determinants of Girls’ Mental Health and What We Can Do About It,” investigates the issues – as seen by diverse girls and young women – that enhance or erode mental health.

Partnering with Girls Incorporated of York Region and the Canadian Mental Health Association of York Region, the researchers and York Research Assistant Ariella Markus (master of arts, interdisciplinary studies) pursued a girl-centred exploration of girls’ own views regarding the issues they face.

In September, a community knowledge mobilization launch was held in Newmarket, Ont., where an open-access research monograph was shared and discussed with representatives from community organizations, policy developers, girl-serving organizations and government. As a result, a new and community-driven girls’ mental health network initiative, led by community partners, is in the early stages of development in York Region.

The community-based study strove to: explore girls’ and young women’s views regarding the current state of girls’ mental health; understand the issues impacting mental health; understand what they deem as helpful models of mental health support; and hear and document their views about what needs to change.

“The research team heard that girls’ lives are full of worry, with girls routinely hearing negative comments, and that the pervasiveness of judgement and pressure leaves girls simultaneously feeling too much and not enough,” says van Daalen-Smith.

While the participants varied in age, experience, cultural background and other aspects, the top three pressing issues identified in the project are: anxiety and depression related to judgement from others/society; social expectations and the constant comparison to others; and learned hatred of their own bodies and wishing they were (like) someone else.

“All of this pressure, judgment and fear gave way to clouded thinking, with the young women clearly telling us that their anxiety ‘was a symptom of gender-based devaluation and social pressure’ and not so-called ‘poor coping skills,’” says Morrow.

The inquiry, say researchers, confirmed the continuing trend that how girls are viewed, referred to and treated determines their mental health and well-being. It was also determined that the erosion of mental health is linked to a breach of their rights – something Girls Incorporated has been working to address over the past three decades.

The team also consulted with girl-serving professionals, including social workers, peer support workers/specialists, gender-affirming care workers, youth mental health workers, nurse practitioners and more. From listening to girls, young women and girl-serving professionals, the researchers put forth recommendations to consider when seeking to support girls’ and young women’s mental health.

Some of these recommendations are:

  • Believe, affirm and validate girls’ appraisals of their lives and experiences. They want to be believed.
  • Girls are afraid that others will find out they went to talk with someone. Help them find you in ways that feel safe.
  • Don’t focus on the symptom nor infuse girls with psychiatric labels through which to view themselves – language matters.
  • Girls want comfortable, girl-friendly spaces to be heard, affirmed, valued and believed – not fixed.
  • Empower girls to actively remove self-deprecating notions of themselves and other girls through individual and group activities that protect girls’ social vulnerabilities.
  • Remind girls about their right to authenticity, safety, bold expression, achievement, body appreciation, confidence and future self-reliance. Help them achieve these rights. Speak out when girls’ rights are breached.

The full list of recommendations can be found in the report.

Osgoode dean to speak at international access-to-justice conference

The statue of justice

In the midst of a global access-to-justice crisis, Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Trevor Farrow will join other international research leaders in the field at a conference on Dec. 6 to discuss the creation of a global research action plan aimed at making legal services more available to those least able to afford their spiralling costs.

Trevor Farrow
Trevor Farrow

The conference, titled “Building Evidence for People-Centred Access to Justice: Envisioning a Shared Research Agenda,” will take place in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It is sponsored by the Justice Data Observatory, a partnership involving the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, the American Bar Foundation and the International Development Research Centre.

“I am excited and honoured to be collaborating with some of the world’s leading access-to-justice research experts and policymakers,” said Farrow. “We will explore challenging aspects of the growing global access-to-justice crisis, as well as potential data-based solutions.

“While it’s a busy time of term and there’s a lot going on,” he added, “this will also be a very important opportunity for me, as dean, to champion and promote some of the great work that we’re doing here at Osgoode, as well as the major efforts that York University is making to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Access to justice for all is part of SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Participants at the event will explore opportunities for researchers, civil society actors, government representatives and policymakers around the world to identify and address gaps in justice data and evidence with the aim of collectively advancing a shared access-to-justice research agenda through the Justice Data Observatory.

The conference’s centrepiece panel discussion will follow a global report on access-to-justice research and data and will focus on the topic of “advancing people-centred access to justice through evidence-based policymaking.”

Alongside Farrow, guests on the panel will include: Daniela Barba, director of access-to-justice for the Washington, D.C.-based World Justice Project; Daniel Ricardo Cortes, director of the Justice, Security and Defense Directorate in Colombia; Maaike de Langen, a senior Fellow at New York University; and Qudsiya Naqui, senior counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice.

Beyond his role as dean of Osgoode, Farrow is also Chair of the Osgoode-based Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, a research and policy expert for the OECD’s access to justice advisory committee, and a steering committee member for Canada’s Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, which was founded by former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin.

It is expected that, with the OECD, World Bank and other partners, further access-to-justice research and reporting will follow from these discussions and initiatives.

SDGs in Action: from desk research to global citizenship curriculum


By Elaine Smith

Although they have now graduated, a team of students who took part in York University’s Go Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Action Student Challenge hope to continue pursuing opportunities to incorporate their community-oriented projects into university extracurriculars.

With funding from the Government of Canada’s outbound student mobility pilot program Global Skills Opportunity, the Student Challenge aims to empower York students and their peers around the world to take action toward achieving the United Nations SDGs with a global lens under the supervision of York International.

Under the auspices of the challenge, two York students, Christiane Marie Canillo, who earned her bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology, and Ravichandiranesan Ponnudurai, a bachelor of environmental studies graduate, along with two students from the University of the Philippines Diliman – Renchillina Supan, a BA sociology graduate, and Mila Monica Maralit, a master of arts in tourism student – connected to work toward ensuring SDG 4: Quality Education. Now known as the iGoCitizen team, they welcomed a new member in November 2022: Anjali Kumar, a BA in law and society graduate from York University, who also shares motivation to transform conversation into active global citizenship.

In the winter of 2022, the team earned the SDGs in Action Creative Solutions Award for exhibiting a high degree of interdisciplinary thinking to mobilize and engage communities to act on the SDGs. And that was only the beginning.

The iGoCitizen team determined that global citizenship education (GCED) is integral to achieving the SDGs because it teaches action skills for quality education. Their pilot project, based on a discourse analysis, targeted the need to integrate GCED into school curricula as extracurricular activities. This helped them build this program, which organizes and equips teams with global citizenship learnings, design thinking and project management skills that allow them to create socially grounded and concept-based social action plans (SAPs) in their own communities.

“We need a relevant and transformative education that will enable learners to think critically and act toward a more ‘just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive’ society,” they wrote in their plan.

Starting with Sri Lanka, the team prepared a country-specific curriculum to teach students about social cohesion, peace-building and active citizenship, and challenged them to create SAPs for their own communities.

Creating the curriculum required extensive research, consultations and discussions, and it would have been easy for the iGoCitizen team to hand in their deliverables and walk away at the end of the semester. Instead, they created an opportunity to deliver the curriculum the following fall, piloting it as a five-day hybrid workshop in partnership with VISIONS Global Empowerment Sri Lanka and the University of Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

Ponnudurai was on hand to deliver content live, while the other team members taught and facilitated the online portions of the workshop. The enthusiasm that greeted the workshop made them eager to keep the project alive.

“The participants wanted to model GCED and do projects in real time in Jaffna,” said Ponnudurai. “We all saw their passion. After three decades of the civil war in Sri Lanka, the younger generation wants to make changes to help rebuild their communities. This is so important in order to achieve the SDGs.”

Supan said, “It was great to see our ideas become reality. We met virtually to create this project, and I never thought that our concept notes would lead to social action plans and actual impact on student engagement activities.”

The iGoCitizen team is working on the possible second implementation in Sri Lanka and project contextualization in the Philippines. Anticipated efforts also include iterations to other countries not initially included in their discourse analysis, since there have been inquiries from countries such as Mexico. The team is also finalizing a memorandum of understanding discussion with their non-governmental organization partner, VISIONS Global Empowerment Sri Lanka.

It is challenging, because the team has limited funding and human resources, and members are also managing personal commitments such as work and studies. Nonetheless, all members remain passionate and committed. They hope that another team of students who join the Go Global SDGs in Action Student Challenge will be interested in pursuing the iGoCitizen initiative elsewhere in the world.

“York University’s SDGs in Action project team is in awe of team iGoCitizen. They are a model for anyone who aspires to create change and positive impact in their community(ies),” said Helen Balderama, director of global engagement and partnerships for York International. “With passion, determination and collaborations, the possibilities are endless.”

The 2023-24 SDGs in Action Knowledge Fair (third edition) is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Those interested can register to join the conversation and learn about the student groups’ transformative SDGs projects.

For more information about iGoCitizen, contact the team at or

C4 partnership to tackle climate anxiety

image shows a forest and stream

By Alexander Huls, deputy editor, YFile

York University’s C4: Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom program has partnered with GHD – an award-winning international company that offers engineering, architecture and construction services – and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to help students tackle climate anxiety.

Over the course of the upcoming 12-week winter term, up to 70 undergraduates will work with the partners to pursue multidisciplinary projects exploring the term’s challenge question: “How can we help young people in the Greater Toronto Area overcome climate anxiety, to be empowered to inform and drive our future pathways to an equitable and sustainable city?”

As the students develop their collaborative projects, GHD and TRCA will provide 10 to 20 hours of guidance throughout the term, including bringing in subject matter experts to participate, encourage and answer any technical questions that might arise.

Danielle Robinson
Danielle Robinson

GHD became interested in partnering with C4 while working on an environmental project with York, eager to find an opportunity to collaborate further with the University. “We were instantly interested in the C4 Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom and how it engages multidisciplinary teams to solve some of the world’s biggest problems,” says Tina Marano, GHD’s future communities leader, Canada, who will be involved with the program and students throughout the C4 winter term.

Early meetings with C4 made clear that a partnership would be a natural fit. “With GHD there was a clear alignment around our interests and values,” says Danielle Robinson, associate professor and co-founder of C4.

Like C4, GHD prioritizes sustainability in its work – with a focus on water, energy, infrastructure, and sustainable cities and communities – and seeks to drive positive change and make meaningful contributions to global sustainability goals.

Tina Marano
Tina Marano

GHD also shares an optimism that’s rooted in the capstone program and experience. “We’re a very positive, hopeful space. We think that we and our students can make a difference in the world and that we just need to figure out how to organize ourselves in order to do that,” says Robinson. “We need a partner that believes in those things.”

GHD does, says Marano. “Working with young professionals and new graduates across our organization and through partnerships like this, we nurture a culture that embraces optimism, collaboration, experimentation and curiosity,” she says.

The partnership with the TRCA acting as the community stakeholder followed soon after, and the organization echoes the shared goals of its partners. “We’re a community-based organization, so we want to look to our communities to help us find the solutions to the problems that we all face together,” says Darryl Gray, director, education and training at TRCA.

In the weeks ahead, the aim – as it is for all C4 partnerships – for the program is to benefit both partners and students.

Franz Newland
Franz Newland

For partners, the participating students provide fresh insights and point-of-views that are needed to right the future. “What we have found is getting the student and multidisciplinary perspective can often bring new ideas and approaches to the partners that they might not have considered before,” adds Franz Newland, professor and co-founder of C4 with Robinson.

“We need to work and think differently. We need to collaborate and exchange ideas with bright, young minds and emerging leaders that believe that change and impact is possible,” agrees Marano.

Partners working with undergraduate students also provides an opportunity through experiential learning to develop skills needed for them to, potentially, pursue a sustainability career. “Among the broader conversation we are having with York is, ‘How do we make sure that post-secondary institutions are meeting the workforce development needs of future employers?’ ” says Gray.

Opportunities like these can help provide that, closing a potential onboarding gap with developing skills students will need if they enter the sustainability field – whether with C4 partners or other organizations.

In addition to benefiting with real-world experience and connections to leading organizations, students also gain critical confidence in their abilities and potential to create change. “One of the things that we hope we uniquely offer our students is a chance to really find out who they are as leaders,” says Robinson.

“Organizations like GHD and TRCA help empower their voices so that they can feel there are people who are keen to listen,” says Newland.

That, he says, is a crucial element for this generation of students who can often feel anxious about the climate crisis without knowing what they can do about it, and if their point-of-view will even be heard.

“Often in these spaces there’s a sense of impotence or inability to actually take action, which is part of that challenge,” says Newland. “The fact that organizations like this are looking to engage students’ voices really points to the fact that they recognize that the existing solutions maybe aren’t doing what we need, and we need to be thinking about listening to other voices that may actually have a better path forward.”

The C4 program and its partners help them do that. “They get a chance to find out what skills and knowledge they have and what they can do with them to address a particular challenge the world is facing. It gives them a chance to see what they’re capable of in a really safe space where they can test their boundaries, fail, succeed,” says Robinson. “They want to feel empowered, to help repair the world. They need to see what their contribution might be.”

Applications for C4 are still open:

Federal grant supports innovative project to improve Canadian digital health care


A three-year grant totalling $500,000 will fund a collaborative project between York University Professor Maleknaz Nayebi and RxPx, a company that creates and supports digital health solutions.

Maleknaz Nayebi

Naybei is a professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and a member of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Society (CAIS). CAIS unites researchers who are collectively advancing the state of the art in the theory and practice of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, governance and policy. The research includes a focus on AI systems addressing societal priorities in health care.

The funding, awarded by the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Alliance Grant program, will support the development of the Digital Health Defragmenter Hub (DH2).

Alliance Grants support university researchers collaborating with partner organizations to “generate new knowledge and accelerate the application of research results to create benefits for Canadians.”

This collaborative project aims to address the intricate challenges within the Canadian digital health-care landscape by integrating advanced software engineering principles with machine-learning algorithms.

The project’s goal is to develop a software platform dedicated to digital health services. Currently, digital health services are designed and offered in isolation from other social, economic or health services, says Nayebi, adding that this results in inharmonious digital health care where many services overlap, while many pain points and requirements remain untacked.

“Lack of co-ordination among providers, the inability of patients to choose services and make open decisions, the rigidity of the market toward digital innovations and isolation of providers are known as the main barriers in the Canadian digital health-care ecosystem,” says Nayebi. “In this ecosystem, the physicians act as service-supply-side monopolists, exercising significantly more power than their demand-side patients. A survey conducted by Price Waterhouse Cooper showed the unpreparedness of the ecosystem, where only 40 per cent could envision a collaboration with other organizations. This further leads to increased inequality within the health-care system. In contrast, 62 per cent of American-based active health-care organizations had a digital health component in their strategic plan.”

DH2 is a platform that brings together open innovation in health care, allowing health-care providers to deliver personalized services to the public. The project is aimed to provide software and AI-based technology that makes digital health services more affordable and accessible to a broader population, integrates innovative business strategies for new entrants or low-end consumers, and creates a value network where all stakeholders benefit from the proliferation of innovative technologies.

“DH2 serves as a marketplace where not only can individuals with basic health-care services contribute, but it also features AI-driven matchmaking services, connecting patients with the specific demands of health-care providers and caregivers,” says Nayebi.

In this capacity, DH2 addresses the defragmentation in the wellness and health ecosystem by enabling users and user communities.

“DH2 goes beyond just connecting people; it also uses machine learning to help patients make informed decisions about their digital health-care options. Such platforms can act as the governing and strategic solution for leading market and innovation, and provide faster time to market by assisting providers in their deployment, distribution and monetization processes. They provide even access to information for all parties and effectively reduce inequalities.”

In addition, platforms add to the geographic diversity of participants. Moreover, says Nayebi, the platform enhances the diversity of participants across different geographic locations, establishing an ecosystem that enables quicker responses to disruptive events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

YSpace partners with BDC to support future female leaders

A group of professional women standing together

York University will support and advance early-stage, women-led social impact businesses through a new partnership between YSpace, the University’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub, and BDC’s Thrive Lab, a new venture offering equity and equity-like investments for these impact-driven companies.

After building the one-of-a-kind, $100-million Thrive Lab over the past nine months, BDC – Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs – has announced investments, training and support for at least 100 ambitious, women-led businesses committed to delivering solutions to some of the world’s most pressing social issues.

The lab’s first phase will co-invest – alongside 25 partners from across Canada, including YSpace – in businesses at the earliest stages of development, where they face the most fundraising challenges.

As a partner, YSpace will help identify and validate women-led ventures within its portfolios as candidates for this funding and support. As a representative of York University, YSpace is also partnering with Schulich Startups, an initiative led by the Schulich School of Business Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, to ensure that Schulich founders are also eligible and nominated. Thrive Lab is committing up to $250,000 in funding to help those companies accelerate, said Nafis Ahmed, entrepreneurship manager of YSpace.

“It’s a really good opportunity for our companies from YSpace. We have many women-led ventures that are looking for these investment opportunities and now they get a direct pipeline into the BDC program,” said Ahmed. “It’s helping them tap into extra funding opportunities that they didn’t have before. Our commitment to the founders is that we will be performing the due diligence process to prepare them for the BDC investment committee and provide up to 18 months of support should they be selected for investment.”

BDC has identified the first 25 partners as “changemakers for emerging companies.” Partners were selected based on their track record of supporting women entrepreneurs or their expertise in social impact, their capacity to deliver resources and their ability to reach women where they are across Canada, including in underserved communities.

David Kwok
David Kwok

“We are so excited to be partnering with BDC’s Thrive Lab to increase access to funding opportunities for women entrepreneurs across the country,” said David Kwok, director of entrepreneurship and innovation at YSpace and the Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation. “Our award-winning women’s entrepreneurship program ELLA has been a staple in the community supporting women-led ventures since 2019, and we recently went national this past year with our partners Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada and Desjardins, supporting women from coast to coast. This partnership is strongly aligned with York’s UN SDGs focus on gender equality, and it also further demonstrates how YSpace and York University is a leading organization in supporting women entrepreneurs.”

BDC has earmarked $35 million for the first phase of the initiative. To be eligible, a business must be women-led, making a measurable positive impact tied to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) – such as food security and responsible agriculture, health and well-being, education, reduced inequalities, and responsible consumption and production – as well as actively raising capital and nominated by a Thrive Lab partner.

“Women entrepreneurs are under-represented and underfunded,” said Sévrine Labelle, managing director of Thrive Lab. “BDC aims to change that, and the fastest and most impactful way to deliver on that change is to work with organizations already rolling up their sleeves to support emerging women-led and social impact companies.”

Working collaboratively, the lab is designed to experiment and adapt and pursue new ways of providing support in line with the needs of women-led businesses.

The second phase will build on learnings from this initiative and ongoing feedback from partners and women entrepreneurs.

The Thrive Lab is part of BDC’s $500-million Thrive Platform. Announced in fall 2022, it is the largest investment platform in the world supporting women-led businesses. It includes three components: the $300-million Thrive Venture Fund, a $100-million Indirect Investment Envelope and the $100-million Thrive Lab.

York U Motion Media Studio a hub for future creative talent

YUMMS green screen studio

By Alexander Huls, deputy editor, YFile

The York U Motion Media Studio (YUMMS), supported by Cinespace Studios, continues to see growth as it offers courses, workshops, talks and critical hands-on experiential education for those in the York University community looking to become the next generation of content creators across creative industries.

Originally gifted to York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) and York University in 2016 by the Mirkopoulos Family, the York U Motion Media Studio was branded and relaunched in its current iteration post-pandemic in February 2021. Located within Cinespace’s expansive content production complex in Toronto, YUMMS’ interdisciplinary studio space features a student lounge, two studios, a standing set, a green screen stage and state-of-the-art equipment provided by MBS Equipment Co. Its offerings are geared towards providing opportunities to receive hands-on experience with industry tools.

Students enrolled in AMPD courses have access to the space, and various courses – including production design, cinematography, virtual production, motion capture, creative producing and film production – integrate the space into the curriculum.

Ingrid Veninger
Ingrid Veninger

“We’re really on the ground with experiential education,” says Ingrid Veninger, director of YUMMS and associate professor in the Department of Cinema & Media Arts.

Beyond developing hands-on familiarity and mastering of filmmaking equipment, YUMMS intends to help students build up a resume of experiential accomplishments that will assist them with their future content creation careers. “The first thing they’re going to be asking you when you sit across an interview table will be, ‘What is your experience? What have you done? What sets have you worked on?’ ” says Veninger.

YUMMS empowers them with answers. It also aims to assist students navigating the industry by connecting them with creative professionals through the facility.

One way is through being located within the Cinespace complex – a hub of international filmmaking activity. “Our students and folks in the greater York U community can just open the door and look down the hall and see the world of productions swirling,” says Veninger. “They’re just one step away from the creative industries they want to be a part of.”

Another way is through workshops, masterclasses and programming like the YUMMS Industry Talks Series, a monthly career development and networking event, hosted in partnership with Cinespace’s CineCares program and OYA Black Arts Coalition, creating further opportunities to learn and form industry relationships. “We’re trying to help facilitate that extra step to foster meaningful connections, so that AMPD students can gain greater access, insight and opportunity to engage with our ever-growing on-screen industries.”

York U Motion Media Studio Industry Talk event
Ingrid Veninger moderating a session of the YUMMS Industry Talks series.

Veninger stresses that YUMMS isn’t solely meant for undergraduate students, however. “It’s a teaching, learning and research space for undergrad and graduate students, alumni and faculty researchers to utilize this invaluable resource for courses, labs, workshops, master classes and production,” she says. “The space is multifaceted. Media arts research faculty are building a three-panel installation on-site, graduate students are shooting thesis projects, AMPD alumni are returning to workshop feature film screenplays with actors, award-winning cinema and media arts instructors are launching new interdisciplinary courses like Shooting the Set, and more. We are continually receptive to new initiatives, which help us maximize the opportunity of this gift, originally from the Mirkopoulos family and now with TPG Real Estate Partners.”

Still relatively new, the use and awareness of the studio’s multiple offerings requires outreach through a variety of channels. In addition to social media, building excitement happens with students. “I’m sometimes surprised when I go into first- and second-year classes. And I’ll ask if they know about the Motion Media Studio and there will be crickets,” she says. “But as soon as I mention we are located at Cinespace, where award-winning features and shows have been produced – like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘The Umbrella Academy,’ Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water ­– their eyes light up.”

Awareness of YUMMS is changing quickly. As the University heads into the winter term, YUMMS currently has 13 student film productions booked back-to-back. “The space has never been more active. Our calendar is packed, which is a great problem to have,” says Veninger.

An ongoing $3.12-million investment of support, from 2022 by the Cinespace Film Studios, will continue to allow YUMMS to pursue its goals and build up momentum, not just to benefit those who use the studio but the industry as well.

“Our students are the next generation of original content creators. They’re the forward-thinking innovators,” says Veninger. “The industry wants to discover new talent? Well, here you go. Let us introduce you to the next wave of bold, new, fresh, original visionaries ready to ignite our creative industries across Canada and around the world.”

For more information about the York University Motion Media Studio, visit

Join discussions on qualitative accounting at upcoming symposium

man using calculator finanace math

York University’s School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, will co-host the eighth annual Qualitative Accounting Research Symposium with the University of Guelph’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics from Nov. 23 to 24 at the Second Student Centre on York’s Keele Campus. The hybrid event will allow for both in-person and virtual participation.

The symposium will showcase a niche area of research in the accounting field. Qualitative accounting scholars comprise a dynamic and growing component of the scholarly community. This symposium serves as a platform to unite the community, enable collaboration amongst its members and add legitimacy to its research output.

Helen Tregidga
Helen Tregidga

The event’s keynote speech will be presented by Helen Tregidga (Royal Holloway, University of London), director of the Centre for Research into Sustainability, whose research is grounded in an interest in social and environmental issues, and critical aspects of organizations and work. Her primary research has focused on the constructions of sustainable development and sustainability within the corporate context, its consequences and, more recently, the role of academics and others countering or resisting the dominant discourse.

The symposium will include presentations by 18 academics from Argentina, Canada, Ghana, South Africa and the U.K. The event’s theme, “Accounting at the Crossroads of Democracy,” will be explored by panellists including Tregidga, Carla Edgley (Cardiff University), Christine Gilbert (Université Laval), Julius Otusanya (University of Lagos) and Fernanda Sauerbronn (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro).

The hybrid event will close with a panel discussion titled “Building Ethical Leaders for the Future Accounting Profession,” geared towards professional accountants and funded by CPA Ontario.

For more information about the symposium and to register, visit the event web page.

York experts to lead discussion on aging in community lecture

Older adults in conversation
Group Of Senior Friends Chatting At Home Together

Experts from York University and Mackenzie Health will come together for a panel discussion on Nov. 6, in collaboration with the City of Vaughan, to shed light on the complex journey of aging.

This collaborative event, titled “Aging into the Future,” aims to explore the fundamental themes of health equity, empowerment and the significance of relationships between health-care providers, communities and families.

Taking place at Vaughan City Hall from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the community lecture is poised to unite thought leaders and professionals in an engaging and insightful conversation on innovative strategies to transform the landscape of older adult care. Experts will share insights on how researchers, health-care practitioners and policymakers are working to enhance the quality of life for older adults.

Panellists at the event are:

  • York University Professor Tamara Daly, an award-winning professor of health policy and equity, the director of the York University Centre of Aging Research & Education (YU-CARE), and the director of the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant Imagine Aging;
  • York University Associate Professor Mary Fox, a world-renowned expert in gerontological nursing and a health services researcher; and
  • Dr. Dmitriy Petrov, a practising geriatrician at Mackenzie Health with expertise in neurodegeneration and frailty.

Fox says that current policy emphasis on early hospital discharge helps avoid the risks associated with extended hospital stays for older people, but also leads to them being discharged “quicker and sicker.”

“Consequently, it is essential that older peoples and their families know how to manage care once home,” says Fox. “Health-care professionals, such as nurses, are pivotal in preparing them to manage such care. As a society, we need to ensure that health-care professionals have the support they need to fulfill this role.”

At York, she says researchers work closely with clinical leaders in developing health-care strategies that address the needs of an aging population.

The aim of YU-CARE is to support and promote the work of its researchers and graduate trainees who study changes, challenges and policies to support aging at individual, organizational and societal levels. The research conducted at YU-CARE encompasses ageism, aging policy, healthy aging, equity, health determinants, health services, diversity, gender, care settings and more.

“The experience of aging is not cut in stone. We have the capacity to imagine how we want our communities to be well supported as they age,” says Daly. “York researchers conduct leading-edge research exploring the needs of older people and their care teams as well as assessing how well our health and social care systems are functioning. It is vital to have conversations about what works – here and elsewhere – to help shape the future for us all.”

The event, moderated by Jill Dempsey, a veteran CBC Radio personality and York University alum, is open to the public and registration is recommended.

Milestones, funding and collaboration highlight research success at York

Header banner for ASPIRE

Welcome to the October issue of Aspire, a special issue of YFile highlighting research and innovation at York University, and the first for the 2023-24 academic year.

Aspire is produced by the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation in partnership with Communications & Public Affairs.

Amir Asif
Amir Asif

This month, we celebrate a milestone anniversary for VISTA (Vision: Science to Applications), one of the largest and most interdisciplinary research programs at York to date, in addition to new federal funds for several collaborative faculty research and knowledge mobilization projects.   

This issue also highlights recent research by Dr. Gordon Flett, a professor of psychology in the Faculty of Health. A long-serving faculty member, Dr. Flett’s scholarly work on perfectionism is world-leading.    

For those interested the University’s global engagement, this month’s newsletter features a story about Dr. Amrita Daftary, an associate professor in the School of Global Health and the School of Health Policy & Management, whose work studying tuberculosis stigma in India illustrates the global impact of York’s research partnerships.  

Also featured is one of the latest examples of how the University continues to drive innovation in the province of Ontario, with a new tri-party agreement. This agreement between York, Seneca Polytechnic and the Ontario Centre for Innovation facilitates new partnerships between our applied researchers and small- and medium-sized enterprises, with the goal of spurring business growth and expansion.  

I am also pleased to announce the appointment of the University’s first associate director research security, Rebecca Irwin. Ms. Irwin joins York after working with the Government of Canada on national security priorities for the last 16 years. I invite you to learn about her new role in more detail here.  

Research and innovation at York is constantly evolving and expanding. I hope this month’s Aspire provides an enticing glimpse into the wealth of activity taking place at York, and amongst our community of changemakers. 

Happy reading.


Amir Asif
Vice-President Research & Innovation

In this issue:

York’s world-leading vision research program looks towards the future 
VISTA: Vision Science to Application has played a significant role in growing York University’s reputation in the field of vision science, and will continue to create positive change operating as part of the Centre for Vision Research.

Overbearing dads fuel perfectionism in daughters, moms influence sons: York-UBC study
York University’s Gordon Flett continues to delve into what drives perfectionism in a new research collaboration with UBC.

Collaborative research projects exploring international justice, creative tech earn grants
Two researchers in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies are among the latest recipients of the Partnership Engage Grant awarded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.

York U health researcher tackles TB stigma through partnership in India 
As a leading international teaching and research university, a key focus at York is global health research, particularly on pressing issues facing the Global South. Associate Professor Amrita Daftary is investigating social determinants of tuberculosis (TB).

York researchers receive federal funding for knowledge mobilization projects
Four York University researchers are among the latest recipients of Connection Grants from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada for various knowledge mobilization activities related to their work.

New partnership empowers businesses through applied research
York University partners with Seneca Polytechnic and the Ontario Centre of Innovation to enhance applied research opportunities for Ontario businesses.