In recent years, the effective management of risks to human health has commanded more public attention and reaction as risk issues and the related scientific information become more complex and multi-faceted. As various agencies and organizations struggle to deal with a public who is increasingly apprehensive and distrustful about these risks, the critical role of effective communication has become apparent.
My research interests are in this multi-disciplinary area of environmental health risk communication. Specifically, my research looks at means and impediments to promoting better dialogue between stakeholders that will hopefully lead to more informed decisions on risks. This involves looking at the role of risk communication as a part of a comprehensive risk management strategy, including incorporating public perspectives into risk decision making. Knowledge translation and knowledge exchange are key considerations.
I use both qualitative and quantitative methods, often in a mixed-methods approach. Much of my work is done as participatory research with Indigenous communities in northern Canada and elsewhere to better understand their risk perspectives and risk communication needs. All of my research is based on the concepts of engaged scholarship, using partnerships with both decision-makers and community members to ensure that all forms of knowledge are known, understood and incorporated into risk decision-making.
I was a 2013/14 Fulbright Scholar, and am the former editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Qualitative Methods.