Recent research on lifestyle-related interventions suggests that understanding setting (also referred to as context or environment) is central to the success of public health programs, policies, and practice. This means that the places where program and policy initiatives occur are just as important as the design of an intervention and the characteristics of the people involved.
The social environment, the built (or physical) environment, and an individual’s characteristics and behaviours work together to shape opportunities and barriers for individual and community health. Where a person lives, when and how they access the things they need in their daily life, and the policies that create their social, political, and economic environments all matter for his or her health. Therefore, understanding the relationships between people, policy, and place is essential for health promotion and public health.
The purpose of the Policy, Location and Access in Community Environments (PLACE) Research Lab is to systematically investigate relationships between people-policy-place by developing, evaluating and mobilizing evidence about population health interventions and other strategies that promote lifelong health and chronic disease prevention.
Work in the PLACE lab involves community-based participatory research, qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping.
Dr. Candace Nykiforuk is the Lead Investigator of the PLACE lab.