Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

Navi Mental Health Wayfinder

Denise Gastaldo

Associate Professor

“Collectively, we have the resources and knowledge to make health for all a reality worldwide. We lack only the political and economic commitment.”

Dr. Denise Gastaldo’s academic work explores health as a social phenomenon. She focuses on how health is produced through social, political and economic processes, exploring migration and gender as social determinants of health, both in Canada and internationally.

As the Director of U of T’s Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, Dr. Gastaldo has hosted visiting scholars and worked with numerous doctoral students undertaking interdisciplinary qualitative health research in several countries.

At U of T Nursing, Dr. Gastaldo introduced global health as a core component of the graduate nursing curriculum and has made great strides in building capacity for international health research and education. She founded the International Nursing PhD Collaboration that involves nursing faculties in Canada, Spain, Mexico, Australia and Finland.

Dr. Gastaldo is cross-appointed to the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and to the graduate programs  in the Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy at the Universitat de les Illes Balears and at the Universitat de Lleida in Spain.

Visit Dr. Gastaldo’s Website

  • Academic Credentials
    1995 – PhD, Sociology, University of London, England
    1989 – MA, Education, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
    1985 – BSc, Nursing, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Publications
    Dr. Gastaldo’s PubMed link is available here.

PhD Students / Trainees

Naomi Thulien

Naomi-Thulien-ProfileAn Ethnographic Study of Homeless Youth Transitions to Independent Housing

Naomi Thulien is interested in understanding how best to support homeless youth as they transition off the streets and attempt to achieve meaningful social integration. Thulien is closely following a small group of homeless youth who have recently transitioned into independent housing. The objectives of this nine-month ethnographic study are to: describe how homeless young people experience the transition from homelessness into independent housing; identify the range of social support and social connectedness experiences that homeless young people consider of fundamental importance before, during, and in the first six months after their transition to independent housing; and explore what homeless youth consider meaningful social integration during their transition to independent housing. The findings from this study will contribute to our limited understanding about how to facilitate and sustain homeless youth transitions off the streets.


Ruth Rodney

PhD Student Ruth Rodney

Building healthier relationships: Guyanese perspectives on adolescent dating violence

Ruth Rodney’s research focuses on understanding the perceptions of Guyanese adolescents, parents, teachers’, and school official views on adolescent dating violence and its prevention in Guyana, South America.  Domestic violence is considered a national problem in this country and great strides have been made to improve awareness and decrease the incidence of violence.  However, newspaper reports continue to be inundated with stories of women being killed by their abusers.  Ruth’s research will contribute to Guyana’s countrywide initiatives by providing greater understanding of this issue amongst its youth. This critical exploratory qualitative study utilized six key informant interviews and eight focus group discussions within a Guyanese public secondary school in the capital city of Georgetown to engage students, teachers, and parents.  The findings from this study will be useful in developing primary preventative programs and models.  To date, there has been no study of its kind completed within Guyana focusing on adolescents and dating violence from a health perspective.



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