Profile of Denise Gastaldo

Denise Gastaldo PhD

Associate Professor

Currently Accepting Students

I study the social and political dimensions of health using participatory methodologies

Dr. Denise Gastaldo is a methodologist, researcher, educator and mentor. She has degrees in Nursing, Public Health, Education and Social Sciences in the Global South and North. For the last 25 years, she has worked internationally to build capacity for health research and to develop critical and equitable approaches to produce transformative knowledge to promote health for all. Her methodological scholarship is focused on critical qualitative health research ( She has been the co-editor of four qualitative research books published in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, including contributions from 20 countries, in addition to numerous articles. Dr. Gastaldo has also co-created the methodology ‘body-map storytelling’ that has been used in the last 10 years in 15 countries. Her empirical scholarship concentrates on the health consequences of social inequity. She studies how power relations and socio-economic-environmental circumstances shape people’s lives and health, with applications to nursing and immigrants’ health. Over the last 25 years, Dr. Gastaldo has supervised or co-supervised over 60 postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

  • 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

Dr. Gastaldo’s PubMed link is available here.

Naomi Thulien

An 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

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.