Profile: Allison M. Williams

Allison Williams, Associate Professor, School of Geography and Geology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Allison is a social / health geographer, primarily interested in the examination of how environments (physical, social, economic, cultural, etc.) at all scales operate as determinants to health. Her interest in a broad understanding of the environment-health relationship is reflected in her ongoing contributions to the therapeutic landscape concept.

Allison Williams took her advanced degrees at the University of Toronto (MA) and York University (Ph.D.) — the latter in the mid 1990’s. She held appointments with the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit and the Department of Geography at the University of Saskatchewan (1998-2004), and the Health Sciences Department at Brock University (1996-1998). She currently collaborates across a wide range of health-related disciplines. Her current funded research can be categorized in four main areas: (1) rural palliative and end-of-life services, (2) family caregiving at end-of-life, (3) links between sense of place and health/well-being, and (4) the identification and tracking of neighbourhood-based quality of life indicators. She currently holds a mid-career award dedicated to women’s health and leads a 5-year research program funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) addressing seamless transitions and timely access to palliative/end-of-life care services in rural Canada. She is also part of a CIHR-funded interdisciplinary New Emerging Team in Palliative and End-of-Life, and is examining how various settings impact the health and well-being of family caregivers in palliative family situations.

She also continues to contribute to the growing literature on therapeutic landscapes and is conducting site-specific case studies. Allison is also currently conducting a cross-country evaluation of the Compassionate Care Benefit, a Federal program for family caregivers in palliative/end-of-life situations.

Allison has authored and co-authored numerous articles, many of which are found in Social Science and Medicine, Evaluation and Program Planning, Health Place, and Health Care for Women International. She has two collections on therapeutic landscapes (1999, 2007) and has co-edited a collection examining the links between sense of place, health and quality of life (2008). She is currently co-editing a collection on rural health in Canada. Allison teaches health geography at the undergraduate level and supervises numerous graduate students.

Allison may be contacted at awill@nullmcmaster.ca. See also www.science.mcmaster.ca/geo/

Updated: February 2009