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Faculty Member

Joan Eakin Ph.D. (Sociology)

Email Address(es)
Office Address
Dalla Lana School of Public Health Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, Rm 556 Toronto, ON M5T 3M7
Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division
Professor Emerita
SGS Status
Member Emerita
Appointment Status

Research Interests

social dimensions of work and health (including etiology, prevention, change, disability & rehabilitation) health and safety in small workplaces, OHS systems, return to work policy & practice, physicians’role in compensation effects, health and the organization of work, social relations of work, effects of compensation on injured workers, determinants of occupational disease/injury reporting; stigma and work injury.)

qualitative research methodology and practice

critical social science as applied to health

social theory in the health research field

Education & Training History

Ph.D Sociology 1980 McGill University

Primary Teaching Responsibilities


Primary Supervision (Doctoral):

E. MacEachen. Managing Repetitive Strain Injury in Ontario’s Newspaper Workplaces: An Ethnography of Governance (2003)

A. Brooker. Work, Dignity and Health (2005)

H. Scott. (co-supervised with P. McDonough) Job insecurity and in the ‘new’ economy (2005)

C. Hart. Dimensions of Emotion Work in Home Health Care (2006)

I. Kosny. Hazards of Helping: Mission, Work and Risk in Non-Profit Social Service Organizations (2006)

M. Facey. Contingent Work, Health, and Citizenship: The Discursive Management of Stigmatising Employment Among Temporary Help Agency Workers (2007)

S. Moll. Mental Health Issues and Work: Institutional Practices of Silence in a Mental Healthcare Organization (2010)

E. Mansfield. “True Accounts” and the Politics of Prevention: Sociological Perspective on a Young Worker Safety Campaign (2011)

E. Ignagni. Disabled young people, support and the dialogical work of accomplishing citizenship (2011)

B. Seaton. Constructing and Managing Risk in Everyday Nursing Work (in progress)

D. Howse. Claim making in Workers’ Compensation (in progress)

Primary Supervision (Masters)

M. Facey Inside Coloured Cabs: Work and Health from The Perspective of Visible Minority Taxicab Drivers (1999)

J. Kopinak (co-supervised, D. Coburn), Experience of Health Among Canadian Refugees (1998)

I. Bourgeault (co-supervised with MJ Kelner) Physicians’ attitudes toward patients’ use of alternative cancer therapies (1992)

D. Bortolussi. Legislating Empowerment: The Case of Ontario’s Workplace Certification Program (1994)

N. Latimer. An Analysis of Menstrual Teaching Texts (1993)

J. Birdsell. Personal, Social and Health Care Systems Factors and Stage of Disease at Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer (1987)

K. Semchuk. Illness Behaviour of Single Working Mothers (1986)

S. Boyd. Job Choice in Nursing (1985)

II COURSE TEACHING & other educational

CHL 5115 – Qualitative Analysis and Interpretation

CHL 5122 Advanced Qualitative Research: Framing, Writing and Beyond (with E. MacEachen)

CHL7001 Reading Course: Advanced Social Theory and Health

CHL 5004 Introduction to Public health Sciences, plenary lecturer

Coordinator, Essentials of Qualitative Research collaborative course series in the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health ResearchSocial Science and Health PhD Program administration; qualifying exams

Professional Summary & Appointments

1977-79 Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Health, McGill University

1980-87 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Alberta

1987- 2014 University of Toronto (Department of Behavioural Science, Department of Public Health Sciences, Dalla Lana School of Public Health)

Founder and Director, Centre for Critical Qualiative Health Research, 2009-2014

Past President, CARWH (Canadian Association for Research in Work and Health)

Member, Ontario Expert Panel of Occupational Health and Safety (2009)

Member Interim Prevention Council, Ontario Minstry of Labour (2010-11)

Honours & Awards

2008 Anthony B. Miller Award, Excellence in Research, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto

2006, 2007 Faculty of Medicine Nominee for University of Toronto’s President’s Teaching Award

2002 Teaching Award, Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

1997 Robin F. Badgley Award for Excellence in Teaching, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto

1992 Citation for Outstanding Student Evaluation, Graduate Department of Community Health, University of Toronto

1987 Superior Teacher Award, University of Calgary

Current Research Projects

  • 2009-13 K. Lippel and J. Eakin (Co-PIs) and L. Holness. The consequences of work injury:a comparative study in Quebec and Ontario of the role of doctors, SSHRC
  • 2006-11 E. Tompa (PI) and S. Mantis (Community PI.), Eakin, J. (Co-I with 10 other team members), “Worker Compensation and the Consequences of Work Injury”, SSHRC CURA (Community-University Research Alliance), $997,322.
  • 2004-2007 – J. Eakin (PI), E. MacEachen, J. Clarke. “The logic of practice: Ethnographic study of front line workers in Ontario’s worksplace prevention and compensation system”, WSIB, $52,000
  • 2006-2007 – House, R. and J. Eakin (Co-PIs), with L. Holness, D. Howse, “Under-reporting in occupational disease”, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, $30,000.

selected Representative Publications

Eakin, J.”Educating critical qualitative health researchers in the land of the randomized controlled trial”, Qualitative Inquiry, 2016, Vol.22(2) 107-118.

Eakin, J. “Towards a standpoint perspective: Occupational health and safety from the perspective of the workers”, Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 2010, 8 (2).

Eakin, J. and Mykhalovskiy, E. “Reframing the evaluation of qualitative health research: reflections on a review of appraisal guidelines in the health sciences”, Journal of Evaluation of Clinical Practice, 2002, 9, 2:187-194.

Eakin J. Work-Related Determinants of Health Behavior. In: D. Gochman (Ed.), Handbook of Health Behavior Research I: Personal and Social Determinants. Plenum Press, N.Y., 1997, pp 337-357.

Eakin, J. and Endicott, M. “Knowledge translation through research-based theatre/L’Application des connaissances par le théâtre fondé sur la recherche”, Healthcare Policy, 2006, 2 (2) 51-55.

Eakin, J. & Mykhalovskiy, Eric (2005, April). Teaching Against the Grain: A Workshop on Teaching Qualitative Research in the Health Sciences. Conference Report: A National Workshop on Teaching Qualitative Research in the Health Sciences [43 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [On-line Journal], 6(2), Art. 42. Available at:

Eakin, J. “The discourse of abuse in return-to-work: A hidden epidemic of suffering”, Chapter 9, in Peterson, C. and Mayhew, C. (Eds.),Occupational Health and Safety: International Influences and the new Epidemics Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 159-174.

Eakin, J. MacEachen, E. and Clarke, J. “’Playing it smart’ with return to work: Small workplace experience under Ontario’s policy of self-reliance and early return”, Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 2003, 01 (2) 20-41. Tarasuk,V. and

Tarasuk, V. and Eakin, J. “Charitable food distribution as symbolic gesture: An ethnographic study of food bank work in Ontario”, Social Science and Medicine, 56 (7) 1505-1515 (2003).

Eakin, J., Cava, M., Smith, T. “From Theory to Practice: A Determinants Approach to Workplace Health Promotion in Small Businesses”, Health Promotion Practice 2001, 2(2) 172-181 Eakin, J., Lamm, F., Limborg, H. “International perspective on the promotion of health and safety in small workplaces”, in Frick, K., Jensen, P-L., Quinlan, M., Wilthagen, T. Systematic Occupational Health and Safety Management: Perspectives on an International Development, Elsevier Science, Oxford UK, 2000: 227-247.

Eakin, J. and MacEachen, E. “Health and the social relations of work: a study of the health-related experiences of employees in small workplaces”, Sociology of Health and Illness, 1998 20(6): 896-914.

Eakin J, Robertson A, Poland B, Coburn D, and Edwards R. Toward a critical social science perspective on health promotion research. Health Promotion International 1996; 11:157-165. Coburn D and Eakin J. The sociology of health in Canada: first impressions. Health and Canadian Society 1993; 1(1):83-112.

Eakin J. “Leaving it up to the workers”: Sociological perspective on the management of health and safety in small workplaces. International Journal of Health Services 1992; 22:689- 704.