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Dr. Ferguson part of large landmark study on mental health in the workplace

Dr. Kristen Ferguson, associate professor in the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing, is leading a research team investigating stress, mental health and leaves of absence among teachers.  The work is part of a large research project, the first interdisciplinary and collaborative research to study workplace mental health in Canada.

Led by Dr. Ivy Bourgeault, Telfer School of Management Professor and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health Human Resources, the project is looking at seven professions: medicine, dentistry, nursing, midwifery, professors, teachers and accountants.

The title of the project is Healthy Professional/Knowledge Workers: Examining the Gendered Nature of Mental Health Issues, Leaves of Absence & Return to Work Experiences from a Comparative Perspective.

The team has been awarded a $1,425,000 Partnership Grant for their project on workplace mental health. The grant is part of the Healthy and Productive Work Initiative jointly overseen by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research(CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Dr. Ferguson’s team includes researchers from the Canadian Teachers' Federation, researchers from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation; Dr. Susan Roger from Western; Dr. Robert Klassen from University of York; Yvonne James, a doctoral researcher from University of Ottawa; and research assistants from Nipissing University.

“We will be surveying and interviewing workers and stakeholders in elementary and secondary education about teacher mental health, leaves of absences, and return to work,” said Ferguson. “We will be working to develop and evaluate interventions to promote return to work and healthy work places in education.  Each of the seven professions in this large project will be working with their partners following the same basic methodology.  This allows us the ability to compare professions with cross cutting themes, and more importantly, do significant work that is very specific to each profession to better the lives of knowledge workers.”




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