MEET OUR DIRECTOR
Dr. Colleen McGrath is an Assistant Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Western University. She completed her BA in Gerontology and Health Studies as well as her MSc in Occupational Therapy at McMaster University. She completed her PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Health & Aging) at Western University where her research was focused on how the environment influences the abilities of older adults with age-related vision loss to engage in their desired occupations. Her Postdoctoral Fellowship was completed at the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences with AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network.
Her program of research adopts a critical social theory approach and uses qualitative methodologies to better understand the experiences of older adults aging with vision loss.
Dr. McGrath’s current research includes:
1) Addressing social, political, and pragmatic barriers to community mobility for older adults with ARVL.
2) Exploring how environmental forces shape experiences of risk for older adults aging with vision loss.
3) Identifying the impact of combined dementia and ARVL on the participation experiences of older adults.
Dr. McGrath has worked with students from diverse disciplines in the past and welcomes students who may be interested in working with VITAL to contact her.
MEET OUR CURRENT LAB MEMBERS
2nd Year PhD Student
Emmanuel is a PhD student in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Health & Aging) program at Western University.
Emmanuel’s current research interests are focused on psychosocial interventions for middle-aged and older adults living with acquired vision impairment. He is also interested in the experiences of living with a vision impairment at the intersection of gender, social class, ethnicity, and race among adults with age-related vision loss.
1st Year Master’s Student
Claire is a Masters student in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Occupational Science) program at Western University.
Her research interests are focused on the impact of assistive technologies on the community mobility of older adults with age-related vision loss (ARVL). She hopes to be able to elucidate the extent to which assistive technologies are used by seniors living with age-related vision loss and the way it influences their movement, while they perform their daily activities.
4th Year PhD Student
Jovana is a PhD candidate in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Health & Aging) program at Western University.
Her research focuses on family caregiving. Specifically, Jovana is interested in understanding how caregivers of stroke survivors’ access and receive support from the people in their social networks and how the receipt of social support influences the caregiving experience.
Funding: 2020-2021 Ontario Graduate Scholarship
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0ysEPv4AAAAJ&hl=en
2nd Year Master’s Student
Zakara is a Master’s student in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Health & Aging) program at Western University.
Her research interests are focused on the psychological adaptation strategies of older adults with age-related vision loss (ARVL). She hopes to be able to shine a light on the importance of psychology and mental health when considering rehabilitation strategies for older adults, regardless of the diagnosis.
2nd Year PhD Student
Elizabeth is a PhD student in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Occupational Science) program at Western University.
Her research explores the impact that access to direct funding has on the occupational performance and engagement of people with disabilities (PWDs) who receive funding from the Ontario Direct Funding (ODF) program to ‘self-manage’ their attendant services. To address this central aim, this project will focus on three objectives including: (i) to identify how direct funding promotes occupational engagement and performance for PWDs; (ii) to critically examine the enabling and potentially disabling effects of direct funding (DF) models when they are put into practice and; (iii) to inform changes to existing policy, specific to funding for attendant care across Canada that is relevant, effective and accessible.
Funding: 2020-2025 SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations user=48aLWaoAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao
MEET OUR PREVIOUS TRAINEES
Elena Sheldrake (2019), Masters in Health and Rehabilitation Science (Health & Aging). Thesis: "It's not that I have Parkinson's, I am Parkinson's": The management and negotiation of identity in older adults with Parkinson's disease.
Peiwen Cao (2020), Masters in Health and Rehabilitation Science (Occupational Science). Thesis: Navigating the “Blind World”: The Psychosocial Experiences of Parents of Adolescents with Visual Impairments.
Ji Won Kang (2021), Masters in Health and Rehabilitation Science (Health & Aging). Thesis: Occupational Engagement of Older Adults with Age-Related Vision Loss (ARVL): Understanding the Influences of Social Networks.