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Dr. Dennis has focused her research career on rigorously evaluating interventions that can directly improve the health of mothers and fathers, with the overall goal of improving child health and well-being.
Dr. Dennis has over 25 years of experience leading large cohort studies and clinical trials — including intervention care models that leverage technology to improve clinical effectiveness and accessibility — recruiting participants from all across Canada. She is a leading international expert in perinatal mental health in both mothers and fathers. She developed the Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale, the most widely used breastfeeding measure internationally that has been translated into over 20 different languages to identify women early who are at risk of poor breastfeeding outcomes. She currently leads a $17 million study examining the TRajectories Of healthy life using Public Health and primary care Interventions in Canada (TROPHIC). This study is geared to understanding the effects of preconception lifestyle behaviours to optimize child growth and development.
Dr. Dennis’s achievements have been widely recognized; she has held mutiple research chairs, including a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Community Health (2007-2013, 2013-2018), the Shirley Brown Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research (2011-2016) and the Women’s Health Research Chair at St. Michael’s Hospital (2016-2023). She also holds an appointment as a Senior Scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tannenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Ontario. In 2018, Dr. Dennis was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She was also awarded the Marcé Medal by the International Marcé Society for her “continued achievements and commitment to research in the field of prenatal and postnatal mental health in women.”
2000 to 2002 – Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
1999 – PhD, University of Toronto
1995 – MScN, University of Western Ontario, London
1991 – BScN, University of Toronto
Jennifer Abbass Dick, PhD
Thesis Title: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Co-Parenting Breastfeeding Support Intervention (COSI) on Exclusive Breastfeeding Rates at Twelve Weeks Postpartum
Dr. Abbas Dick is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ontario Tech University.
Thesis Title: A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating Lanolin for the Treatment of Nipple Pain Among Breastfeeding Women
Barbara Chyzzy, RN, PhD
Thesis Title: A pilot randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of mobile phone peer support on the prevention of postpartum depression among pregnant adolescents
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Toronto Metropolitan University
Karen McQueen, PhD
Thesis Title: Improving Breastfeeding Outcomes: A pilot randomized controlled trial of a self-efficacy intervention with primiparous mothers
Current Position: Professor, Lakehead University