Faculty Member

Blake Poland Ph.D.

Email Address(es)
Office Phone
(416) 978-7542
Office Address
Dalla Lana School of Public Health Health Sciences Building, Room 588
155 College Street Toronto, ON M5T 3M7
Collaborative Program in Community Development, Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, Healthier Cities & Communities hub, Transition Emerging Study (SSHRC), Transformative Learning Centre, LinkedIn profile, Toronto Community Development meetup group
Office of Global Public Health Education & Training
Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division
Associate Professor
SGS Status
Full Member
Appointment Status

Research Interests

  • healthy cities & communities
  • community development as an arena of practice for health professionals
  • qualitative methods, critical social theory
  • settings approach in health promotion; social context
  • environmental health promotion; environmental justice
  • social movement as agents of social change
  • community resilience
  • arts-informed research, dialogical methods
  • reflexive practice in public health

Education & Training History

SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow – 1993-1994 – Centre for Health Promotion, University of Toronto

PhD – 1993 – (Health) Geography – McMaster University

M.A. – 1988 – (Health) Geography – McMaster University

Honours B.A. – 1986 – (Human/Health) Geography – Carleton University, Ottawa

Other Affiliations

Associate Professor (cross-appointment), Leadership, Higher and Adult Education (LHAE), OISE/UT (2015-present)

Associate Professor (cross-appointment), Geography & Planning (1999-present)

Senior Fellow, Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, University of Toronto, 2009-present

Graduate Faculty Member, Centre for Environment, University of Toronto (2007-present)

Co-Director, Environmental Health Justice in the City research network, Centre for Urban Health Initiatives, University of Toronto (2008-2011)

Graduate Faculty Member, Centre for Environment, University of Toronto, 2007-present

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • CHL8001H S3 Building Community Resilience (online 6-week module version of CHL5126)
  • CHL8001H S4 Community Development in Health (6-week module version of CHL5112)
  • CHL 5112 Community Development in Health (see CHL8001HS4)
  • CHL 5126 Building Community Resilience (see CHL8001HS3)
  • GGR 434 Building Community Resilience (winter term; 4th year undergraduate Geography)
  • CHL7001 Ecological Public Health (w/colleagues)
  • CHL7001 Healthy Cities & Communities (w/Pat O’Campo)
  • CHL7001 Dialogical Methods (forthcoming fall 2016)
  • CHL 5111 (was CHL5221) Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (2008-2012)

Professional Summary & Appointments

Director, Collaborative Program in Community Development, University of Toronto, 2007-2008 & 2012-present

Co-Director, WHO Collaborating Centre in Health Promotion, 2016-present

Interim Co-Director, Transformative Learning Centre, OISE/UT, 2014-2016

Co-Lead, Healthier Cities & Communities Hub, DLSPH, UofT, 2012-present

Member, Human & Ecosystem Health Working Group, Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), 2012-present

Member, Expert Working Group on Settings, Public Health Agency of Canada (2009-2013)

Member, Expert Panel on Health Promotion, Health Council of Canada, 2009-2010 

Member of Editorial Board, Aporia (an international, interdisciplinary, bilingual scholarly journal in critical social science and health) 2008-2013

Director, MHSc Program in Health Promotion, University of Toronto, 1999-2007

Co-Director, Environmental Health Justice in the City research network, Centre for Urban Health Initiatives, University of Toronto, 2008-2011

2006-2009 Associate Scientist, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto

2006-2010 Member, Editorial Board, Revista Brasileira em Promoçao da Saude (Brazilian Journal of Health Promotion).

2006-2009 Member, Research Advisory Board, Instituto de Promoçao da Saude (Health Promotion Institute), CNPq (National Research Office), Brazil.


2012 Oakville Community Spirit Award (environment category)

2010 Sarah Mazelis Paper of the Year Award for Health Promotion Practice, awarded by the Society for Public Health Education in Washington D.C. for the paper entitled “Settings for Health Promotion: An Analytic Framework to Guide Intervention Design and Implementation” (Health Promotion Practice, 2009, Vol.10, No.4)

Kiran van Rijn Annual Award for outstanding contributions made to the Health Care, Technology & Place CIHR Strategic Research Training Program, University of Toronto

Robin Badgley Award for Excellence in Teaching (Graduate Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, U of T)

Current Research Projects

  • “Comparing Healthy Public Policies: Active Transportation Policies in Montreal and Toronto”. C Clavier (PI), F Gagnon (co-PI), S Gower, R Macfarlane, S Paquin, N Vaillancourt (knowledge users), A Bilodeau, G Divay, B Poland, B Savan (co-investigators); CIHR Population Health Intervention Research/ Heart & Stroke Foundation Operating Grant, $196,257 over 2 years (2014-2016)
  • The Green Gap: Toward Inclusivity in Toronto’s Green Employment”. C Teelucksingh (PI), B Poland, GE Galabuzzi, W Ng. SSHRC Insight Grant, $73,478 over 3 years (2013-2016)
  • Resilience, Equity and the Development of Ecological Social Practices: Examining the Transition Town Movement in Canada” B Poland (PI), R Haluza-Delay, C Teelucksingh, P Antze, C Ling, L Newman. SSHRC Insight Grant, $184,609 over 3 years extended by one year (2012-2016)
  • Promoting Health Through Collaborative Engagement with Youth in Canada: Overcoming, Resisting, and Preventing Structural Violence” H Berman (PI), D Damant, H Johnson, W Thurston, M Gonick, C Richardson (co-PIs); L Ashbourne, L Donelle, C Forchuk, A Grzyb, P Jaffe, Y Jiwani, S Lapierre, G Lesssard, M Molgat, K Nixon, A Oudshoorn, JA Samuels-Dennis, L Tutt Collaborators: R Mason, B Poland, C Rousseau, L Dale CIHR, 2011-2016, $1,371,511

Representative Publications

  • Teelucksingh, C., C Buse, B Poland, (2016, in press) Environmental justice in the environmental non-governmental organization landscape of Toronto (Canada), The Canadian Geographer. DOI: 10.1111/cag.12278
  • Benatar, S. & B. Poland (2015) Lessons for health from the environmental crisis. International Journal of Health Services. pii: 0020731415596296
  • Buse, C. & B Poland (in press) Using practice theory to inform an emerging ‘field’ of public health practice: reconciling structure and agency in public health adaptation to climate change. Social Theory and Health. Accepted February 2015.
  • Patrick, R, M Dooris, B Poland (2016), Healthy Cities and the Transition movement: converging towards ecological well-being? Global Health Promotion. 23(S1):90-93.
  • Tarasuk, V, N Dachner, A-M Hamelin, A Ostry, P Williams, E Bosckei, B Poland, K Raine (2014) A survey of food bank operations in five Canadian cities. BMC Public Health. 14: 1234. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1234 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/1234
  • Jackson, S., AE Birn, SB Fawcett, B Poland, JA Schultz (2013). Synergy for health equity: integrating health promotion and social determinants of health approaches in and beyond the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Pub. 34(6): 473-480.
  • Sharek, M., Frohlich, K., & Poland, B. (2013). Reducing social inequities in health through settings-related interventions: a conceptual framework. Global Health Promotion. 20(2): 39-52
  • Abuelaish, I., N Fazal, N Doubleday, N Arya, B Poland, R Valani (2013) “Mutual determinants of individual, community, and societal health and peace”. International Journal of Peace and Development Studies. 4(1): 1-7.
  • Masuda, J.R., Teelucksingh, C., Haber, R., Skinner, E., Zupancic, T., Crabtree, A., Poland, B., Frankish, J., and Fridell, M. (2012) Out of our inner city backyards: Re-scaling urban health inequity assessment. Social Science and Medicine. 75(7):1244–1253 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.04.034)
  • Poland, B, M Dooris, R Haluza-Delay (2011) “Securing supportive environments for health in the face of ecosystem collapse: Meeting the triple threat with a sociology of creative transformation” Health Promotion International 26(Suppl.2): 202-215.
  • Teelucksingh, C. & B Poland (2011) “Energy solutions, neo-liberalism, and social diversity in Toronto, Canada”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 8(1): 185-202
  • J Masuda, B Poland, J Baxter (2010) “ Reaching for environmental health justice through health promotion: a Canadian perspective” Health Promotion International. 25(4): 453-463.
  • Poland, B. & M Dooris (2010) “A green and healthy future: the settings approach to building health, equity and sustainability”. Critical Public Health 20(3): 281-298.
  • B Poland, G Krupa, D McCall (2009) “Settings for health promotion: an analytic framework to guide intervention design and implementation”. Health Promotion Practice. 10(4): 505-516
  • Dachner, N, S Gaetz, B Poland, V Tarasuk (2009) An ethnographic study of meal programs for homeless and under-housed individuals in Toronto. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 20: 846-853.
  • P Kontos & B Poland (2009) “Mapping new theoretical and methodological terrain for knowledge translation: Contributions from critical realism & the arts”. Implementation Science. 4(1): 1-10
  • Masuda, J.R., Zupancic, T., Poland, B., and Cole, D. (2008) “Environmental health and vulnerable populations in Canada: mapping an integrated equity-focused research agenda” The Canadian Geographer 52(4): 427-450.
  • Poland B, K Frohlich, M Cargo (2008) “Context as a fundamental dimension of health promotion program evaluation”, in L Potvin & DV McQueen (Eds), Health Promotion Evaluation Practice in the Americas: Values and Research, New York, NY: Springer.
  • Poland, B. (2007) “Health promotion in Canada: Perspectives and future prospects” Revista Brasileira em Promoçao da Saude (Brazilian Journal of Health Promotion). 20(1): 3-11.
  • Frohlich, K. and B. Poland (2007) “Points of intervention in health promotion practice: The role of social context” in M. O’Neill, A. Pederson, I. Rootman, & S. Dupéré (eds), Health Promotion in Canada (2nd Edition), University of Toronto Press
  • Lehoux, P. B Poland, G Daudelin (2006) “Focus group research and ‘the patient’s view’”. Social Science and Medicine. 63 (8): 2091-2104.
  • Poland, B, K Frohlich, R Haines, E Mykhalovskiy, M Rock, R Sparks (2006) “The social context of smoking: The next frontier in tobacco control?” Tobacco Control. 15: 59-63.
  • Wakefield, S & B Poland (2005) “Family, friend or foe? Critical reflections on the relevance and role of social capital in health promotion and community development”. Social Science and Medicine. 60(12): 2819-2832.
  • Poland, B, H Graham, E Walsh, P Williams, JM Lum, J Polzer, S Syed, S Tobin, G Kim (2005) “’Working at the margins’ or ‘leading from behind’? A Canadian study of hospital-community collaboration”. Health and Social Care in the Community. 13(2): 125-135
  • Poland, B, P Lehoux, D Holmes, G Andrews (2005) “How place matters: unpacking technology and power in health and social care” Health and Social Care in the Community. 13(2): 170-180
  • Poland B, E Tupker, K Breland (2002) “Involving street youth in peer harm reduction education – The challenges of evaluation”. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 93(5): 344-348
  • Poland B, M Boutilier, S Tobin, R Badgley (2000) “A policy context for community development practice in public health: a Canadian case study”, Journal of Public Health Policy 21(1): 5-19.
  • Poland, B., L. Green, and Rootman, I. (eds) (2000) Settings for Health Promotion: Linking Theory and Practice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications
  • Poland B & A Pederson (1998) “Reading between the lines: interpreting silences in qualitative research”. Qualitative Inquiry. 4(2): 293-312
  • Poland B (1995) “Transcription quality as an aspect of rigor in qualitative research” Qualitative Inquiry. 1(3): 290-310