The long-term vision of this lab is to develop a sustainable program of population health intervention research that would be a pillar of empirical evidence for policymakers, as well as a fertile ground for the next generation of scholars.
The primary goal of the lab is to establish a network of interdisciplinary researchers, community partners and multisectoral stakeholders to synthesize and translate evidence in influencing policies to improve population health.
- To advance research methods by incorporating innovative computational epidemiological tools with community-based participatory and patient-oriented research
- To inform population health interventions through cross-jurisdictional program and policy evaluation
- To address policy-driven health inequities among vulnerable groups, especially Indigenous populations
Tarun Katapally, PhD, MSc, MBBS
Associate Professor, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Dr. Tarun Katapally is a physician and a population health policy researcher at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. He holds an adjunct faculty position in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and is a research affiliate with the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre and the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture. Internationally, he is the India lead for the generation of the Global Report Card on physical activity of children and youth, a knowledge translation endeavour to inform policy on active living across 40 countries. Dr. Katapally’s expertise is in linking advanced mixed-methods and complex analytical techniques with community-based participatory research to understand the impact of policy and policy-driven contexts and systems on health and wellbeing of populations. Increasingly, his focus is on the usage of digital epidemiological tools in informing active living policy.
Priyanka Chopra was born and raised in the central part of India. In 2014, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery and then she started practicing as an Assistant Dentist at a private dental clinic in her hometown. With the desire to learn more about health care system and policies of North America she traveled to the United States and had the opportunity to observe and volunteer at various hospitals and dental schools. Currently, she is studying Masters of Public Policy at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. She joined Dr. Katapally’s research team in fall 2017 as a Research Coordinator based in Regina.
Ann Dorion is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and her grandparents in northern Saskatchewan raised her. Ann joined Dr. Katapally’s research team in the winter of 2018. Ann is interested in health intervention research, with a specific focus on the Indigenous populations. Ann’s research will be part of the SMART Platform, which combines Indigenous methodologies with citizen science and community-based participatory approaches in implementing a land-based active intervention among Indigenous youth – SMART Indigenous Youth. Ann believes that embracing cultural backgrounds and interests while engaging in physical activity is meaningful and sustainable. In September 2018, she will join the Masters of Public Policy program at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy under Dr. Katapally’s supervision.
In 2016 Maryna Moskalenko graduated from the University of Regina with Bachelor of Science, Majoring in Computer Science, Great Distinction. Her passion includes looking for ways data analytics could be used to leverage pools of information to drive effective insights. This passion led her to start a quantitative research project under the supervision of Dr. Tarun Katapally and join Conexus Credit Union in a role of Data Scientist. In 2018 she successfully defended her thesis as a part of JSGS Master's of Public Policy program. Maryna’s thesis fits with the vision of the population health policy lab in utilizing innovative tools to develop policy recommendations for promoting mental health.
Kayla Stevenson joined Dr. Katapally’s research team in Winter 2017 as a student Research Coordinator. Kayla recently graduated from the University of Regina with a B.A. Hons. Psychology and will complete her Bachelor of Health Studies in April 2017. Kayla had the opportunity to grow up in a rural community and continues to live in a rural area. Kayla would like to complete a Masters degree in Public Policy at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy to further her research abilities. Once complete, she will apply to a Canadian medical school in hopes to provide healthcare services to rural populations.
Susannah Walker is Waganakising Odawa (from northern Michigan) and grew up in the U.S. She has worked as a teacher in Texas and Colombia and completed her MSW in 2012 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work experience in Saskatchewan has been in the non-profit sector, and as an instructor in Indigenous Social Work at the First Nations University. Her research interests include health disparities among Indigenous people, especially access differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and culturally responsive, community-based participatory research approaches for Indigenous communities. Susannah joined the Population Health Policy Lab in June 2018. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy under Dr. Katapally’s supervision, and her research will be part of the SMART Platform.
Nathaniel Osgood, PhD, MS
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Mark Tremblay, PhD
Director, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research (HALO); Professor, Faculty of Medicine , University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario.
Scott Leatherdale, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
Daniel Rainham, PhD
Associate Professor; endowed Chair in Sustainability and Environmental Health, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Leah Ferguson, PhD, MSc
Assistant Professor, College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Richard Larouche, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Human Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI.
Justin Longo, PhD, MPA
Cisco Systems Research Chair in Big Data and Open Government, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Community Services, Université de Moncton, Moncton, New Brunswick.
Distinguished Research Chair, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Professor of Biostatistics, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Associate Professor, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Professor, College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Ontario Research Chair in Health Policy and Systems Design, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario,
Associate Professor, Applied Human Sciences, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan.
Assistant Professor, College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Land-Based Culturally Appropriate Active Living in Indigenous Youth
This five-year land-based active living intervention has been conceptualized by combining western and Indigenous methods (two-eyed seeing). The study utilizes both objective physical activity and contextual measurement using smartphones and accelerometers, as well as multi-method qualitative approaches to understand how a land-based culturally appropriate active living intervention would influence eudaimonic wellbeing among Indigenous youth. The study uses both community-based participatory research action and citizen science approaches in engaging youth in all seasons. Moreover, the intervention is rooted in Indigenous methodologies, with self-determination as a central goal to transform colonial bonds and mobilize local resources (including local traditional knowledge) towards a process of healing. The intervention involves communities across Saskatchewan: File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council Region (Southern Saskatchewan), Prince Albert Grand Council (Central Saskatchewan), and Northern Lights School Division (Northern Saskatchewan).
SMART Study is a three-year longitudinal observational study that uses citizen science to understand the influence of upstream determinants of active living on patterns of movement across seasons among citizen scientists in Regina and Saskatoon. The study utilizes smartphone sensors and ecological momentary assessments that are triggered based on user location, movement, and social context. The smartphone functions that are being used in this study include global positioning system (GPS), accelerometer, camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, gyroscope, among many other functions. This approach will be important to active living research, as the advanced methods used here could be replicated to develop evidence-based active living policies and programs specific to different jurisdictions.
Impact of Childcare Policies and Programs on Early Years Children's Physical Activity: A Natural Experiment
This is a prospective community trial that investigates the effect of different policy, program, and physical environment settings across the four childcare settings in Regina on active play among early years children (2-5 years). In essence, it will be a natural experiment to inform future policies and programs by evaluating the impact of existing settings.
Informing Upstream Evidence-Based Policies to Minimize Screen Time Among Youth: A compass sub-study
This project uses data from the COMPASS Study’s prospective quasi-experimental platform to evaluate the influence of school policies and programs on youth behaviour across Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec (https://uwaterloo.ca/compass-system/compass-system-projects/compass-study). The project is divided into two phases: 1. Informing school policies by understanding the influence of school physical activity policies and programs on multiple screen time behaviours among youth. 2. Informing school policies by understanding the influence of school bullying policies and perception of school connectedness on multiples screen time behaviours among youth. The multiple types of screen time include: television viewing, video gaming, Internet usage, and texting.
Global Matrix 3.0: Cross-Country Knowledge Translation
Global Matrix 3.0 is the next installment (2018) of the twice-yearly international initiatives that Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance conducts. In 2016, Global Matrix 2.0 evaluated various aspects of child and youth active living in 38 countries spread across six continents (https://www.activehealthykids.org/). Global Matrix 3.0 is scaling up the project to include 52 countries. As part of this initiative, country-specific teams are developing Report Cards by appraising current evidence using rigorous methods and by assigning standardized grades to previously developed indicators of active living. The Report Cards summarizes current evidence on not only key contexts such as family and peers, schools, and neighbourhood environment, but also the government strategies, policies, and investments that impact these contexts. The Report Cards will be unveiled in December 2018 in Aldelaide, Australia.
SMART India will leverage innovative, smartphone-based methods that are currently being employed by the Saskatchewan-based SMART study (www.smartstudysask.ca) to collect physical activity and complex contextual data by engaging with Indian children and youth in two mega cities: Delhi and Chennai. SMART Study is one of the few initiatives in the world utilizing this novel approach, which combines population health research with computational epidemiology, for physical activity data collection and analysis.
SMART Youth extend SMART study to schools in Saskatchewan, where we will work closely with the school boards and individual schools in giving youth and educators the opportunity to become citizen scientists. As part of this initiative, we hope to co-create knowledge with schools, where youth share their perceptions of school environment, as well as behavioural data. Educators would be invited to provide policy and programming data. This initiative will allow youth and educators to use a free smartphone application in different seasons in Saskatchewan to engage with researchers from the University of Regina and Saskatchewan.
Addressing Access Differences in Healthcare Between Status Indians and Other Canadians
This initiative is to inform policy solutions through the quasi-experimental evaluation of natural policy experiments as part of the bifurcated health care system in Canada. The goal is to address inequities in access to extended health benefits to a legally defined sub-group of Indigenous Canadians registered by the federal government as “status Indians.” This study is based on a pilot conducted by the principal applicants (Greg Marchildon and Tarun Katapally) in Saskatchewan that revealed difficulties in access to diagnostic and treatment services for obstructive sleep apnea among status Indians. This difficulty in access, which manifests in longer wait times, is an example of a health inequity that exacerbates lower health status and poorer health outcomes in Indigenous populations across Canada and other settler nations.
Addressing Inequities in Access to Health Care among Indigenous Populations
Policy Solutions through quasi-experimental evaluation of natural experiments: addressing inequities in access to extended health benefits to a legally defined sub-group of Indigenous Canadians registered by the federal government as “status Indians.” This study is based on a pilot conducted by the principal applicants in Saskatchewan, which revealed difficulties in access to diagnostic and treatment services for obstructive sleep apnea among status Indians. This difficulty in access, which manifests in longer wait times, is an example of a health inequity that exacerbates lower health status and poorer health outcomes in Indigenous populations across Canada and other settler nations.
Assess, Redress, Re-Assess: Addressing Disparities in Respiratory Health Among First Nations Youth
This is a complex multi-year community-based participatory research initiative involving two On-Reserves First Nations communities in central Saskatchewan. Implemented in four phases (baseline assessment, policy interventions [redress], community interventions [address] and evaluation), this population health intervention study targets four key determinant-outcome dyads identified by the communities.
Seasonality and Active Saskatoon Kids
Seasonality and Active Saskatoon Kids is an active living initiative that investigates children's physical activity and sedentary behaviour patterns longitudinally. This study utilizes GPS-equipped accelerometers to determine how children interact with urban spaces in all seasons to identify indicators of active living. This knowledge will inform urban planning policy in Saskatoon to help develop active urban communities.
Manyanga T, Barnes JD, Abdeta C, Adeniy AF, Bhawra J, Draper CE, Katapally TR, Khan A, Lambert E, Makaza D, Nyawornota VK, Ocansey R, Subedi N, Uddin R, Tladi D, Tremblay MS. Indicators of physical activity among children and youth in nine countries with low and medium Human Development Indices: A Global Matrix 3.0 paper. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. (Under-Review).
Katapally TR, Bhawra J, Leatherdale ST, Ferguson L, Longo J, Rainham D, Larouche R, Osgood N. The SMART study, a mobile health and citizen science methodological platform for active living surveillance, integrated knowledge translation, and policy interventions: longitudinal study. JMIR Pub Health Surveillance 2018;4(1):e1.
Katapally TR, Thorisdottir AS, Laxer R, Qian W, Leatherdale ST. The association of school connectedness and bullying involvement with multiple screen time behaviours among youth in two Canadian provinces: A COMPASS study. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada (In-Press).
Katapally TR, Bhawra J. A systematic review of the evolution of GPS use in active living research: from traditional methods to geocaching, gamification, and natural experiments. American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Under-Review).
Katapally TR, Laxer R, Qian W, Leatherdale S. Do school physical activity policies and programs have a role in decreasing multiple screen time behaviours among youth? A hierarchical cross-jurisdictional comparison. Preventive Medicine 2017 [In-Press]. Available online: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.11.026
Janzen B, Karunanayake C, Rennie D, Katapally TR, Dyck R, MCMullin K, Fenton M, Ramsden V, Dosman J, Abonyi S, Pahwa P. Racial discrimination and depression among on-reserve First Nations people in rural Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2017 [In-Press].
Belanger M, Katapally TR, Sabiston C, Barnett T, Maximova K, O’Loughlin J. Sustained participation in running, sports, fitness and dance activities throughout adolescence and body composition in adulthood: A longitudinal analysis. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2017 [In-Press].
Marchildon GP, Beck C, Katapally TR, Episkenew J, Abonyi S, Dosman J, Pahwa P. Bifurcation of health policy regimes: A study of sleep apnea care and benefits coverage in Saskatchewan. Healthcare Policy 2017; 12 (4): 69–85. http://www.longwoods.com/content/25097
Katapally TR, Goenka S, Bhawra J, Mani S, Ghattu KV, Kehoe SH, Lamkang AS, Raj M, McNutt K. Results from the India 2016 report card on physical activity for children and youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 2016; 13 (11): S176 -S182. http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/abs/10.1123/jpah.2016-0393?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&
Tremblay MS, Aguilar-Farias N, Akinroye KK, Al-Kuwari MG, Amornsri-watanakul A, Aubert S, Barnes JD, Belton S, Go1dys A, González SA, Herrera-Cuenca M, Jeon JY, Jürimäe J, Katapally TR, et al. Global matrix 2.0: Report card grades on the physical activity of children and youth comparing 38 countries. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 2016; 13 (11): S343 -S366. http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/abs/10.1123/jpah.2016-0393?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&
Katapally TR, Rainham D, Muhajarine N. A methodology to leverage cross-sectional accelerometry to capture weather’s influence in active living research. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2016; 107 (1): e30–e36. http://journal.cpha.ca/index.php/cjph/article/viewFile/5242/3349
Katapally TR, Abonyi S, Episkenew J, Kirychuck S, Rennie D, Ramsden V, Karunanayake C, Dosman J, Pahwa P. Catalyzing action on First Nations respiratory health through community-based participatory research: Integrated knowledge translation through strategic symposia. Engaged Scholar Journal 2016; 2 (1): 57-70. http://esj.usask.ca/index.php/esj/article/view/198/56
Katapally TR, Rainham D, Muhajarine N. The influence of weather variation, urban design and built environment on objectively measured sedentary behaviour in children. AIMS Public Health 2016; 3 (4): 663-681. http://www.aimspress.com/aimsph/2016/4/663
Katapally TR, Rainham D, Muhajarine N. Factoring in weather variation to capture the influence of urban design and built environment on globally recommended levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity in children. BMJ Open 2015; 5(11): e009045. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/11/e009045
Katapally TR, Muhajarine N. Capturing the interrelationship between objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour in children in the context of diverse environmental exposures. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2015; 12: 10995-11011. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/9/10995/htm
Marchildon GP, Katapally TR, Beck C, Episkenew J, Pahwa P, Abonyi S. Exploring policy driven systemic inequities in Canadian health care through physician perspectives. International Journal for Equity in Health 2015; 14: 148. http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/pmcc/articles/PMC4683910/
Pahwa P, Abonyi S, Karunanayake C, Rennie D, Janzen B, Kirychuk K, Lawson J, Katapally TR, et al. A community-based participatory research methodology to address, redress and reassess disparities in respiratory health among First Nations. BMC Research Notes 2015; 8: 199. https://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13104-015-1137-5
Muhajarine N, Katapally TR, Fuller D, Stanley KG, Rainham D. Longitudinal active living research to address physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in children in transition from preadolescence to adolescence. BMC Public Health 2015; 15: 495. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-015-1822-2
Katapally TR, Muhajarine N. Towards uniform accelerometry analysis: A standardization methodology to minimize measurement bias due to systematic accelerometer wear-time variation. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 2014; 13 (2): 379-386. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3990893/
Béland D, Katapally TR. Shaping policy change in population health. International Journal of Health Policy and Management 2017 [Accepted].
Katapally TR, Bhawra J, Leatherdale S, Rainham D, Ferguson L, Longo J, Larouche R, Tremblay M. The SMART study: A mobile-health methodological platform for active living surveillance, knowledge translation, and policy interventions. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2016 [Revisions Submitted].
Katapally TR, Thorisdottir AS, Laxer R, Qian W, Leatherdale S. Examining the association between school connectedness and involvement in bullying on multiple screen time behaviours among youth in the COMPASS study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2017 [Revisions Submitted]
Katapally TR, Bhawra J. Systematic review of the evolution of GPS use in active living research: From traditional methods to geocaching, gamification and natural experiments. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2016 [Submitted]
Stevenson K, Bhawra J, Katapally TR. Screen time’s effect on health in adults: A systematic review. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health [In-Progress].
Bhawra J, Chopra P, Katapally TR. A multi-level jurisdictional scoping review to understand active living policy and programming in Canada. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada [In-progress].
Katapally TR, Ma T, Karunanayake C, Lawson J, Rennie D, Dosman J, Pahwa P. Relationship between screen time and blood pressure among On-Reserve First Nations youth. International Journal for Equity in Health [In-Progress]
Katapally TR, Stevenson K, Karunanayake C, Lawson J, Rennie d, D Dosman J, Pahwa P. Relationship between screen time and lung function among On-Reserve First Nations Youth. [In-Progress].
Katapally TR, Laxer R, Qian W, Leatherdale S. The influence of changing school policies and programs on multiple screen time behaviours among youth: A cross-jurisdictional quasi-experimental study. Preventive Medicine [In-Progress]
Katapally TR, Thorisdottir AS, Laxer R, Qian W, Leatherdale S. The influence the changing school bullying policies and perception of school connectedness on multiple screen time behaviours among youth: A cross-jurisdictional quasi-experimental study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity [In-Progress].
Bhawra J, Robbins J, Katapally TR. A culturally appropriate evaluation framework for a land-based active living intervention among First Nations Youth. International Journal for Equity in Health [In-Progress].
Rainham D, Katapally TR. Relationship between recreation spaces and active living among children and youth. Health & Place. [In-Progress].
Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance
Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance is a global network of researchers, health professionals, and stakeholders who are working together to advance physical activity in children and youth from around the world. Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance focuses on cross-jurisdictional policy advocacy across countries in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia (https://www.activehealthykids.org/). As part of this Alliance, a Global Report Card on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth is developed every two years. The Global Report Card, which includes individual Report Cards from different countries, generates extensive global media attention, including in Canada, to raise awareness of the detrimental effects of physical inactivity in children and youth, and serves as a knowledge translation tool for policy makers. In November 2016, Report Cards for 38 countries were developed and global comparisons were presented at the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Bangkok, Thailand. The 2018 Report Cards are currently being developed, and Dr. Tarun Katapally is country leader for the India Report Card. These Report cards will be unveiled in December 2018 in Adelaide, Australia.
Active Healthy Kids India
To advance Global Health research and advocacy for active living policy, Dr. Tarun Katapally co-founded the non-profit organization, Active Healthy Kids India (https://www.activehealthykidsindia.com/). Active Healthy Kids India will not only address critical research gaps identified in the 2016 Report Card, but will also serve as a platform to raise funds, bring together stakeholders, and implement studies to generate evidence for the 2018 Report Card. Significant work has already been concluded and we have established research and data sharing agreements with collaborators in different centres. The first project being conducted in the mega cities of Delhi and Chennai is titled, “ SMART India,” and is an extension of SMART Study (www.smartstudysask.com).