Skip to content

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
Centre for Global Health
Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division
Associate Professor
SGS Status
Full Member
Appointment Status

Research Interests

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

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • CHL7001 Public Health Perspectives on COVID-19 (Course Director; summer 2020)
  • CHL5101 Social Theory & Health (fall term)
  • GGR 434 Building Community Resilience (winter term; 4th year undergraduate Geography)
  • CHL5126  Building Community Resilience
  • CHL 5111 (was CHL5221) Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (2008-2012)

Professional Summary & Appointments

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

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

Director, PhD Program in SBHS, DLSPH, 2016-2017

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

Co-Lead, Healthier Cities & Communities Hub, DLSPH, UofT, 2012-2019

Co-Chair, Ecological Determinants Group on Education (EDGE) (w/Margot Parkes, UNBC) national working group on education, training & professional development related to the ecological determinants of health (with CPHA, NSPPH, NCCAH, CAPE, other orgs) (2015-present)

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


2019 Green Ribbon Award (Faculty category), Sustainability Office, University of Toronto

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)

2007 Kiran van Rijn Annual Award for outstanding contributions made to the Health Care, Technology & Place CIHR Strategic Research Training Program, University of Toronto

2001 Robin Badgley Award for Excellence in Teaching (Graduate Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, U of T)

Current Research Projects

  • “Connected Communities in a time of Physical Distancing: Community-led responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in City of Toronto” B Poland (PI), A Gloger, S Jackson, I Rolston, S Murray, G Morgan; Toronto COVID-19 Action Initiative Fund & School of Cities, UofT; $100,000 (2020-2021)
  • “Towers in the Park: A Prospective for Equitable Resilience in Toronto” F Masoud (PI), A Buitenhuis, F Husain, J Lu, P Kushner, H Marshall, O Mercan, B Poland, R Rajabali, I Rolston, J Robinson, K Smith, L Swanston; School of Cities, UofT; $75,530 (2020-2022; 2 years)
  • “Margins to Frameworks: Praxis-ing (im)migrant/racialized/marginalized communities’ tacit knowledge in anti-oppressive social work”  I Sakamoto (PI), R Bhyyan (co-PI), E Lee, C Williams, L Fang, D Gastaldo, B Poland, L Gutierrez, N Ibaraki, H Takebata, N Massaquoi, S Zahraei, M Pintin-Perez, J Blueur, J Ricciardi, N Wood, I Niki, V Ichikawa, H Zhang, M Fahim, J Tanaka, A Yamamoto, C Ekmekcioglu, R Takamatsu, N Zarepour, M Zhong; Dean’s Networking Award, Social Work, UofT; $25,000 (2020-2021)
  • “City Food: Resiliency in a Global City”. K MacDonald (PI), S Baumann, D Bender, M Isaac, J Johnston, J Sharma, J Pilcher, I Mihalache, B Poland, E Ng, P Buklis, S Elton; UofT School of Cities Urban Challenge Grant; $100,000 (2019-2021)
  • “Healthy and Resilient Cities: A Connected Community Approach” B Poland (nominated PI), S Bunce, A Gloger, S Jackson, I Rolston, M Shareck, S Murray; Planning & Dissemination Grant – Institute of Community Support, IPPH/CIHR; $18,000 (2019-2020)

Representative Publications

  • Parkes, M.W., Poland, B., Allison, S. et al. (2020) Preparing for the future of public health: ecological determinants of health and the call for an eco-social approach to public health education. Can J Public Health 111, 60–64.

  • Hasdell R, Poland B, Cole D, Sheppard F, Burton L, Mah, C (2020) “Retail food environment intervention planning: Interviews with owners and managers of small- and medium-sized rural food stores”. Health Promotion Practice.

  • Nelson, W., Dubinsky, I., & Poland, B. (2020). An innovative model for healthcare leadership education. Healthcare Quarterly, 22(4), 55-58.  DOI: 10.12927/hcq.2020.26083

  • 4 chapters in K Zywert & S Quilley, Health In the Anthropocene: Living Well on a Finite Planet. University of Toronto Press.
    • Chapter 7: “A changing role for public health in the Anthropocene: the contribution of scenario thinking for reimagining the future” (Poland, Parkes, Hancock, McKibbon & Chircop)
    • Chapter 8: “The role of grassroots social movements as agents of change for societal transformation: the example of the Transition movement” (Poland, Buse, Haluza-Delay, Ling, Newman, Parent, Teelucksongh, Hasdell, Hayes)
    • Chapter 16: “Nurturing ecological consciousness” (Hathaway, Cole, Poland)
    • Chapter 19: ““Coming back to our true nature: what is the inner work that supports transition?”. (Poland)
  • Buse CG, Poland B, Haluza-Delay R, Wong J. (2019). “We’re all brave pioneers on this road”: Climate change adaptation activities among public health units in Ontario, Canada. Critical Public Health. 1-11.

  • Prescott, S. L., Hancock, T., Bland, J., van den Bosch, M., Jansson, J. K., Johnson, C. C., Kondo, M., Katz, D., Kort, R., Kozyrskyj, A., Logan, A.C., Lowry, C.A., Nanan, R., Poland, B., Robinson, J., Schroeck, N., Sinkkonen, A., Springmann, M., Wright, R.O., Wegienka, G.. (2019). Eighth Annual Conference of inVIVO Planetary Health: From Challenges to Opportunities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(21), 4302. doi:10.3390/ijerph16214302.

  • Hayes, K., & Poland, B. (2018). Addressing mental health in a changing climate: incorporating mental health indicators into climate change and health vulnerabilty and adaptation assessments. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15, 1806; doi:10.3390/ijerph15091806.

  • Poland, B., Buse, C., Antze, P., Haluza-DeLay, R., Ling, C., Newman, L. et al. (2018). The emergence of the Transition movement in Canada: Success and impact through the eyes of initiative leaders. Local Environment. 24(3): 180-200.

  • Mykhalovskiy, E, KL Frohlich, B Poland, E DiRuggiero, M Rock, L Comer (2018) “Critical social science with public health: Agonism, critique and engagement”. Critical Public Health.

  • Poland, B & R Cohen (2017) “Adaptation of a structured story-dialogue method for action research with social movement activists”. Action Research

  • Parent, AA & B Poland (2017) “La mobilisation des communautés pour des villes resilientes en transition” Les Politiques Sociales. 77(3-4): 37-46.

  • Bisset, S., Frohlich, K., Wright, M., Poland, B., & Tremblay, M.-C. (2017). Can reflexivity be learned? An experience with tobacco control practitioners in Canada. Health Promotion International, 32, 167-176.

  • Teelucksingh, C., C Buse, B Poland, (2016) “ Environmental justice in the environmental non-governmental organization landscape of Toronto (Canada)”, The Canadian Geographer. 60(3): 381-393.

  • Benatar, S. & B. Poland (2015) Lessons for health from the environmental crisis. International Journal of Health Services. pii: 0020731415596296
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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