SPHERU researcher becomes Canada Research Chair

August 22, 2016

While half a country away, Dr. Daniel Fuller is SPHERU’s first out of province researcher.

Dr. Daniel Fuller
Dr. Daniel Fuller

Recently, Fuller relocated to Memorial University start a new position as a Canada Research Chair in Population Physical Activity in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  However, his work within both the research unit and the province will continue through ongoing collaborative research with SPHERU colleagues. 

As a teen, Fuller spent plenty of time riding a bicycle through Saskatoon’s inner city neighbourhoods to go kayaking on the South Saskatchewan River. During this time, he began thinking about how urban environments can promote or limit physical activity.

One of Fuller’s first priorities as a research chair will be to develop a database of urban environment measures for Canada. Access to fast food restaurants and walkability within a city are both examples of urban environmental measures.

“Currently, we do not have this type of database for research in Canada, which limits our ability to conduct large national studies,” Fuller said.

Once he’s compiled the data, he plans to integrate it with the provincial and national health administrative data at the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information and the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre.

“I’ve done a lot of work with urban environment and health administrative data but it’s an exciting challenge to start a large data linkage project that can contribute to my own research and research capacity in Canada,” Fuller said.

While in Saskatchewan, in recent years Fuller has collaborated with researchers with the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology and SPHERU on several studies including studies on neighbourhood built environment, seasonality and physical activity in children, and impact of poverty and other social determinants on health outcomes of Saskatchewan population.

Fuller contributes chapter to health intervention book

In the midst of preparing for his new position, Fuller also contributed a chapter to the book “Population Health Intervention Research: Geographical perspectives.”

The goal of the book is to encourage the scientific community to be innovative with their way of thinking about population health issues.

Fuller joined co-author Erin Hobin at Public Health Ontario to write guidelines to help researchers plan and conduct natural experiment studies.

“We wanted to write something similar for natural experiments because nothing exists in that area,” Fuller said. “We also include examples from our own work to make the link between the concepts we propose and our experience doing this type of research.”

Hobin has conducted research studying healthy nutrition labelling on food, while Fuller has studied public bicycle share programs in North America. 


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