Lise Gauvin, PhD
Professor of Social & Preventive Medicine
Lise Gauvin PhD is a Full Professor in the Department of Social
and Preventive Medicine at the Université de Montréal, a Researcher at the Research
Center of the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), and an Associate
Researcher at the Léa-Roback Center on Social Inequalities of Health. Dr Gauvin
currently holds an Applied Public Health Chair on Neighbourhoods, Lifestyle, and
Healthy Body Weight which is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
and the Centre de recherche en prévention de l'obésité. She completed her doctoral
work in Physical Activity Sciences at the Université de Montréal in 1985 and has
held positions at Queen's University, Concordia University, and more recently at
Université de Montréal.
Dr Gauvin's work addresses diabetes from a population health
perspective. She and her team focus on how environmental exposures such urban form,
availability of services and amenities, and media messages influence known risk
factors for diabetes like low levels of physical activity and hypercaloric eating
patterns. Selected projects also revolve around understanding the impact of
environmental and policy interventions to promote physical activity or to prevent
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Selected Scientific Contributions
Dr Gauvin's early work revolved around understanding the
psychological outcomes of acute bouts of exercise in physically active and sedentary
adults. In partnership with other colleagues, she developed and validated a self-report
instrument to tap into feeling states influenced by exercise - a measure which is now
widely used in the field. She also lead some of the first studies involving the
application of real-time data capture (i.e. ongoing collection of self-report
and physiological data in real-world situations) to understand the determinants and
outcomes of involvement in physical activity and of episodes of binge eating. These
papers are widely cited as exemplars of the potential of real-time data capture for
advancing knowledge about health behaviours.
More recently, Dr Gauvin has used epidemiologic methods to
understand some of the environmental determinants of physical activity and to quantify
the burden of disordered eating in the young adult female population. In one large
scale investigation, observational measures of walkability in urban areas were
developed and then linked to population-based data on walking and travel patterns.
In addition, to developing a new measurement tool, data from the project contributed
to the growing body of literature showing that to shift population levels of physical
activity, it is necessary to make environments more conducive to active lifestyles.
In another epidemiologic study, data showed that about 20% of women aged 20 to 40
years had engaged in at least one type of disordered eating behavior in the past month
suggesting that deviant eating practices may be more widespread than previously thought.
These findings are daunting as they speak to the challenge of promoting healthier body
weights while avoiding the promotion of maladaptive eating patterns.
In addition to publishing her work in the peer-review scientific
literature, Dr Gauvin has experimented with novel ways of translating scientific
knowledge into public health practice. Her most recent foray into knowledge transfer
and exchange lead to the launching of the
Toronto Charter for Physical Activity: A Global Call for Action within the context of the
3rd International Conference on Physical Activity and Public Health held in Toronto
in May 2010. Development of the Charter involved international consultations in three
languages (English, French, Spanish). The Toronto Charter is now available in 15
different languages and has been broadly endorsed by individuals and organizations
across 80 countries throughout the world.
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Current projects include both epidemiologic research into the
determinants of physical activity and disordered eating but also population health
intervention research to understand the reach and impact of programs and policies aimed
at increasing physical activity and preventing disordered eating in the population.
Identifying environmental determinants of walking, healthy
eating, and social participation among urban-dwelling seniors. By linking data
from a geographic information system and longitudinal data from a cohort of
urban-dwelling seniors, we seek to describe how accessibility to services and amenities
such as supermarkets, restaurants, community centers, and parks are associated with
different types of walking, healthy eating patterns, and greater social participation.
Understanding the impact of the implementation of a public
self-service bicycle sharing program in Montreal. In this project, we aim to
understand how the implementation of a new public self-service bicycle sharing program
(called BIXI) influences both travel practices and the risk of collisions between
cyclists and motor vehicles. We are using population based surveys, interviews with
users of the system, and geographic position system data to better understand the
impact of the implementation of this environmental intervention.
Understanding the reach and perceived impact of the creation
of a voluntary Charter aimed at promoting healthy and diverse body image. In
2009, the Minister of Culture, Communication, and the Status of Women spearheaded an
initiative to create a voluntary Charter aimed at reducing media pressures favoring
thinness through inducements towards voluntary involvement by key media and image-industry
players. In this project, we aim to establish the reach, acceptability, and perceived
impact of the government task force-developed Charter.
Understanding how the promotion of sustainable development
by community groups can support physically active lifestyles. In this project
which is jointly lead with researchers and interventionists at Montreal Public Health
Department, we aim to understand under what circumstances community groups can best
meet their goals of transforming neighbourhood environments to render them in continuity
with principles of sustainable development. This project involves inventorying projects
run by non-governmental organisations aimed at sustainable development, conducting
pedestrian audits of neighbourhood environments, analyzing information provided by
key informants, and sharing evidence gleaned from the project with stakeholders on the
Island of Montreal.
The work done by Dr Gauvin and her team involves a variety of
quantitative and qualitative methodologies including real-time data capture, multilevel
modeling, ecometric analysis, and software-supported qualitative data analysis.
Projects unfold in real-world contexts and involve capacity building through training
of highly qualified master's and doctoral students as well as postdoctoral fellows.
All current projects also involve partnerships with interventionists and policy-makers
who work in public health.