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Image of James R. Dunn

James R. Dunn

PhD, Simon Fraser; MA, McMaster; B.Arts.Sc. (Hon), McMaster


Scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital

CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael's Hospital

Scientist, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael's Hospital

Associate Professor, Department of Health, Aging & Society, McMaster University

Associate Member, School of Geography & Earth Sciences, McMaster University

Associate Professor, Geography and Planning, University of Toronto

Associate Professor, Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto

Research Interests

Socio-economic determinants of health; health inequalities; housing and health; housing and mental illness; geography of early child development; neighbourhoods and health, built environment and health.

Research Activities

My research is concerned with the social and economic determinants of health and urban health inequities. My work on socio-economic dimensions of housing and health is concerned with identifying the social and economic attributes of housing which may affect a variety of health outcomes. I have two quasi-experimental studies of the impact of subsidized housing on health currently in progress: one is investigating the impact of the demolition and reconstruction of Regent Park, one of Canada's oldest and largest public housing developments, on adult mental health and child development, and the second concerns the provocative hypothesis that in the affluent societies of the world, places with a more unequal distribution of income have poorer overall health status, even after adjustment for the absolute wealth of the population. Since 1999, I have been collaborating on a large program of research investigating this hypothesis in North American cities and currently plan to extend this work to other countries. The third major emphasis in my research, for which I was awarded a five-year chair in applied public health by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Public Health Agency of Canada is on the ways in which residential neighbourhood socio-economic conditions shape health status. My particular focus is on how and to what extent interventions in neighbourhoods, such as the Regent Park Redevelopment or the City of Toronto's Priority Neighbourhoods Strategy, may affect health and reduce health inequites. The emphasis of this work is on adult mental health, healthy body weights and healthy child development.

The questions I work on straddle the sub-disciplines of health geography and social epidemiology primarily, but a number of other disciplines are also influential, including environmental psychology, sociology, psychiatric epidemiology, developmental psychology. I strive to conduct research that is theoretically informed and informative, empirically rigorous and innovative, and both policy and community relevant.

Selected Research

Link to Pub Med

Other Activities

  1. Co-Editor, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health
  2. Editorial Advisory Board, Health Reports, 2007-present

Educational Activities

My main university appointment is at McMaster University in the Department of Health, Aging & Society. I am able to supervise Master’s students through that department and Ph.D. students through the Ph.D. in Health Policy at McMaster. I can also accept students through the School of Geography & Earth Sciences at McMaster. I welcome inquiries from students and post-docs who share my research interests.

Although I am appointed as a full member of the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto I am not currently accepting students at the University of Toronto.


E-mail: jim.dunn@mcmaster.ca
Phone: 416-864-6060 Ext. 77313
Phone: 905-525-9140 Ext. 23832
Fax: 416-864-5485