Dr. Mary Patricia Sullivan

Dr. Mary Patricia Sullivan
Professor / Faculty of Education and Professional Studies - School of Social Work - Social Work
Full-time Faculty
RDS Canada Lead
Mary Pat Sullivan is a registered social worker and social gerontologist. She is currently Full Professor in the School of Social Work and Graduate Faculty, Graduate Studies and Research. Dr. Sullivan previously headed social work at Brunel University London in the UK. Highlights from her career include Board of Directors, Alzheimer Society of Ontario; Executive Committee, British Society of Gerontology and Editor, Generations Review; inaugural recipient of the Tilda Goldberg Social Work Research Fellowship; and an honorary research appointment at the Dementia Research Centre, University College London. Prior to her academic career in the UK, Dr. Sullivan was a clinical social worker involved in the development, delivery and evaluation of geriatric mental health services in northern and eastern Ontario.
PGCert (Learning and Teaching), Brunel University London
PhD (Gerontology), King’s College London
MSW, Carleton University
BSW, Laurentian University
Areas of Specialization:

Dr. Sullivan’s principal research interests are focused on the social context of aging and older age including geriatric mental health, dementia care, social isolation and loneliness, elder abuse, aging without children and gerontological social work education and practice.

Current Awards:

Rare Dementia Support Canada (2022-2024)
Sullivan, M.P. 
The Hiliary and Galen Weston Foundation, $400,000

Interdependence and Pathways to (Dis) Concordant Experiences of Social Isolation and Loneliness in Dementia Care (2021-2023)
Sullivan, M.P., Victor, C. (Brunel University London), Williams, V., Grillo, A. (Nipissing University) and Bertuzzi-Gallo, Alzheimer Society of Sudbury Manitoulin North Bay and Districts
RTOERO, $25,000

The Impact of Multicomponent Support Groups for those Living with Rare Dementias (2019-2024)
Crutch, S., Stott, J., Camic, P. (University College London), Windle, G., Tudor-Edwards, R., Hoare, Z. (Bangor University), Sullivan, M.P. (Nipissing University) and McKee-Jackson, R. (National Brain Appeal)
Economic and Social Research Council and National Institute for Health Research, £3.7million


(Selected Papers)

Sullivan, M.P., Williams, V., Grillo, A., McKee-Jackson, R., Camic, P.M., Windle, G., Brotherhood, E., Stott, J. and Crutch, S.J. (in press) Peer support for people living with a rare or young onset dementia: An integrative review. Dementia The International Journal of Social Research and Practice.

Camic, P., Harding, E., Sullivan, M.P., Grillo, A., McKee-Jackson, R., Wilson, L., Zimmermann, N., Brotherhood, E.V. and Crutch S.J. (2022) Developing poetry as a research methodology with rarer forms of dementia: Four research protocols. International Methods of Qualitative Methods, 21, 1-9. DOI: 10.1177/16094069221081377.

O’Sullivan, R., Burns, A., Leavey, G., Leroi, I., Burholt, V., Lubben, J., Holt-Lunstad, J., Victor, C., Lawlor, B., Vilar-Compte, M., Perissinotto, C.M., Tully, M.A., Sullivan, M.P., Rosato, M., McHugh Power, J., Tillikainen, E. and Prohaska, T.R. (2021) Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on loneliness and social isolation: A Multi-Country Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(19), 9982; doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18199982

McIntyre, A., Harding, E., Yong, K.X.X., Sullivan, M.P., Gilhooly, M., Gilhooly, K. Gilhooly, K.J., Woodbridge, R. and Crutch, S. (2019) An exploration of health and social care practitioners understanding of the problems of people with dementia-related visual impairment. Health and Social Care in the Community, 27 (4), 982-990.

Harding, E., Sullivan, M.P., Woodbridge, R., Yong, K.X.X., McIntyre, A., Gilhooly, M.L., Gilhooly, K.J., and Crutch, S.J. (2018) ‘Because my brain isn’t as active as it should be, my eyes don’t always see’: a qualitative exploration of the stress process for those living with posterior cortical atrophy. BMJ Open; 8:e018663. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-018663.

Sullivan, M.P., Victor, C.R., and Thomas M. (2016) Understanding and alleviating loneliness in later life: Perspectives of older people. Quality in Ageing and Older Age, 17 (3), 168-178.

Woodbridge, R., Sullivan, M.P., Harding, E., Crutch, S., Gilhooly, K., Gilhooly, M., McIntyre, A., Wilson, L. (2016) Use of the physical environment to support everyday activities for people with dementia: A systematic review. Dementia the International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 17 (5), 533-572.

Gilhooly, K.J., Gilhooly, M., Sullivan, M.P., McIntyre, A., Wilson, L., Harding, E., Woodbridge, R., and Crutch, S. (2016) A meta-review of stress, coping and interventions in dementia and dementia caregiving. BMC Geriatrics doi: 10.1186/s12877-016-0280-8. PMID: 27193287; PMCID: PMC4872341.

Ray, M., Milne, A., Beech, C., Richards, S., Sullivan, M.P., Tanner, D., Phillips, J. and Lloyd, L. (2015) Gerontological social work: Reflections on its role, purpose and value. British Journal of Social Work, 45 (4), 1296-1312.

Richards, S., Sullivan, M.P., Tanner, D., Beech, C., Milne, A., Ray, M., Phillips, J. and Lloyd, L. (2014) On the edge of a new frontier: Is gerontological social work in the UK ready to meet 21st century challenges? British Journal of Social Work, 44 (8), 2307-2324.

Al-Makhamreh, S. and Sullivan, M.P. (2012) Professionalizing social work in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Processes and implications. European Journal of Social Work, 6 (4), 536-550.

Sullivan, M.P., Pokhrel, S., and Lim, K.H. (2010) Developing and promoting diverse learning environments. Diversity in Health and Care, 7 (4), 271-282.

Sullivan, M.P., Forrester, D. and Al-Makhamreh, S. (2010) What makes for effective trans-national social work collaboration? Reflections on an evaluation of a social work training workshop in Jordan. International Social Work, 53 (2), 217-232.

Sullivan, M.P. (2009) Social workers in community care practice: Ideologies and interactions with older people. British Journal of Social Work, 39 (7), 1306-1325.

(Selected Book Chapters)

Harding, E., Sullivan, M.P., Crutch, S. and Yong, K.X.X. (2021) Into the ordinary: Lessons learned from a mixed methods study in homes of people living with dementia. In P. Camic, J.E. Rhodes and L. Yardley (eds.) Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2nd Edition. Expanding Perspectives in Methodology and Design. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Sullivan, M.P. (2015) Elder care. In J. Wright (ed.) International Encyclopaedia of the Social & Behavioural Sciences, 2nd Edition. Oxford: Elsevier.

Victor, C.R. and Sullivan, M.P. (2015) Loneliness and isolation. In J. Twigg and W. Martin (Eds.) Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 261-268.

Al-Makhamreh, S. and Sullivan, M.P. (2013) Social work in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  In M. Gray, J. Coates, M. Yellow Bird and T. Hetherington (eds.) Decolonizing Social Work.  Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing.

Nelson-Becker, H. and Sullivan, M.P. (2012) Social care and spirituality.  In M. Cobb, C. Puchalski and B. Rumbold (eds.) Spirituality in Healthcare. Oxford: Oxford University Press.