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Faculty Member

Pia Kontos PhD

Email Address(es)
Office Phone
416-597-3422 x7609
Office Address
KITE-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network 550 University Avenue, Suite 11-171 Toronto, ON, M5G 2A2
Website(s) ,,
Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division
SGS Status
Full Member
Appointment Status
Status Only
Currently Accepting Doctoral Students?

Research Interests

  • Critical social theory applied to health, illness, and disability
  • Embodiment theory
  • Ethics
  • Dementia and dementia care
  • Qualitative and arts-based methodologies and practice

Other Appointments

  • 2016 – 2019  Honorary Professor, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 2013 – present   Senior Scientist, KITE-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network
  • 2013 – present   Adjunct Scientist, Baycrest Health Sciences, Rotman Research Institute
  • 2012 – present  Cross-Appointment, Associate Member, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto
  • 2011 – present  Cross-Appointment, Associate Member, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • JRP 1000 Theory and method of qualitative health research


  • 2021: Mid-Career Investigator Prize in Research in Aging, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • 2012-2017: Early Researcher Award, Ministry of Research and Innovation
  • 2009-2014: New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • 2007-2009: Career Scientist Award, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Research Project Highlights

  • 2022-2025 Co-Principal Investigator. “Imagining and promoting compassionate end of life care for people living with dementia using documentary film”. Funded by the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
  • 2021-2023 Co-Applicant. “Sharing dance with people with dementia”. Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • 2021-2024 Co-Principal Investigator. “Supporting safe and healthy sexual expression for people living with dementia in long-term care”. Funded by CIHR.
  • 2020-2023 Co-Investigator. “Living More with SMART Technology: Exploring the feasibility, usability, sustainability and scalability of SMART solutions to support increased quality of life in continuing care”. Funded by AGE-WELL.
  • 2020-2021 Co-Investigator. “Rapid development and implementation of a toolkit to prevent COVID-19 transmission among persons with dementia in long term care”. Funded by Ontario Together Fund.
  • 2019-2021 Principal Investigator. “Cracked: new light on dementia – A web-based educational program on stigma associated with dementia and relational caring”. Funded by The Waugh Family Foundation.
  • 2018-2020 Co-Investigator. “Promoting just and inclusive end-of-life decision-making for long-term care residents with dementia and their care partners”. Funded by CIHR.
  • 2018-2020 Co-Principal Investigator. “Reducing dementia stigma and fostering relational caring using research-based film”. Funded by Alzheimer Society of Canada.
  • 2017-2020 Co-Investigator. “Integrating brain injury, mental health, and addictions”. Funded by Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
  • 2017 – 2020  Co-Investigator. “Improving social inclusion for Canadians with dementia and carers through sharing dance”. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Social Inclusion of Individuals with Dementia and Carers Grant. Funded by CIHR.
  • 2017 – 2017  Principal Investigator. “Cracked: Interactive digital research resource”. Funded by the Waugh Family Foundation.

Publication Highlights

  • Kontos, P., Grigorovich, A., Dupuis, S., Colobong, R., Gray, J., Jonas-Simpson, C., Serota, A. Projecting a critique of stigma associated with dementia on screen: The impact of a Canadian film on the importance of relational caring in the community. The Gerontologist 2024; 64(2).
  • Carter, C., Mohammed, S., Upshur, R., Kontos, P. “I don’t see the whole picture of their health”: A critical ethnography of constraints to interprofessional collaboration in end-of-life conversations in primary care. BMC Primary Care 2023; 24(1): 225.
  • Grigorovich, A., Kontos, P., Popovic, M.R. Rehabilitation professionals’ perspectives and experiences with the use of technologies for violence prevention: A qualitative study. BMC Health Services 2023; 23 (Article 899).
  • Carter, C., Mohammed, S., Upshur, R., Kontos, P. How the more life discourse constrains end-of-life conversations in the primary care of medically frail older adults: A critical ethnography. Social Science & Medicine 2022.
  • Grigorovich, A., Kontos, P., Heesters, A., Schindel Martin, L., Gray, J., Tamblyn Watts, L. B. Dementia and sexuality in long-term care: Incompatible bedfellows? Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice 2021.
  • Kontos, P., Radnofsky, M., Fehr, P., Belleville, M.R., Bottenberg, F., Fridley, M., Massad, S., Grigorovich, A., Carson, J., Rogenski, K., Carpenter, K.S., Dupuis, S., Battalen, J., McDonagh, D., Fassbender, K., Whitehouse, P. Separate and unequal: A time to reimagine dementia. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2021; 80(4): 1395-1399.
  • Kontos, P., Grigorovich, A., Colobong, R. Towards a critical understanding of creativity and dementia: New directions for practice change. International Practice Development Journal (Special Issue: Critical perspectives on person, care and aging) 2020; 10(3).
  • Kontos, P., Grigorovich, A., Kosurko, A., Bar, R.J., Herron, R.V., Menec, V., Skinner, M. Dancing with dementia: Exploring the embodied dimensions of creativity and social engagement.  The Gerontologist 2020.
  • Kontos, P., Grigorovich, A., Dupuis, S., Jonas-Simpson, C., Mitchell, G., Gray, J. Raising the curtain on stigma associated with dementia: Fostering a new cultural imaginary for a more inclusive society. Critical Public Health 2020; 30(1): 91-102. DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2018.1508822.
  • Gray, J., Kontos, P.  Working at the margins: Theatre, social science and radical political engagement.  Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance 2019; 24(3): 402–407.
  • Grigorovich, A., Kontos, P.  A critical realist exploration of the vulnerability of staff to sexual harassment in residential long-term care. Social Science and Medicine 2019DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112356.
  • Grigorovich, A., Kontos, P., Kontos, A. P. The “violent resident”: A critical exploration of the ethics of resident-to-resident aggression. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 2019; 16(2): 173-183
  • Kontos, P., Grigorovich, A. Integrating citizenship, embodiment, and relationality:  Towards a reconceptualization of dance and dementia in long-term care.  Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 2018; 46(3):717-723.
  • Kontos, P., Grigorovich, A. ‘Sleight of hand’ or ‘selling our soul’? Surviving as critical qualitative health researchers in a positivist world. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research 2018; 19(2), 1-15.
  • Grigorovich, A., Kontos, P. Advancing an ethic of embodied relational sexuality to guide decision-making in dementia care. The Gerontologist 2018; 58(2):219-225.
  • Kontos, P., Grigorovich, A. Rethinking musicality in dementia as embodied and relational. Journal of Aging Studies (Special Issue: Ageing Body and Society – Critical Perspectives, Future Challenges) 2018; 45:39-48.
  • Kontos, P., Miller, K-L., Kontos, A.P. Relational citizenship: Supporting embodied selfhood and relationality in dementia care. Sociology of Health and Illness (Special Issue: Ageing, Dementia and the Social Mind). 2017; DOI:  10.1111/1467-9566.12453.