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The Ontario Tech University Mental Health and Wellness Study

Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s workforce. However, an epidemic of back pain and mental health problems is disabling undergraduate students, and little is known about the causes of this problem. In partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association-Durham, Professor Côté secured funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services to develop a program of epidemiologic research aimed at understanding the burden and risk factors for disabling pain and psychological distress in university students. To date, Côté and his team have completed two systematic reviews on the association between physical activity, sleep quality and mental health in undergraduate students; conducted a pilot study; and conducted a cross-sectional study of students enrolled in Ontario Tech University’s faculties of Health Sciences and Education, and CMCC. 

Professor Côté has supervised four Master of Health Sciences (MHSc) students at Ontario Tech University (Nayantara Hatagandi, Nancy Fynn, Andrew Reynolds and Michael Short) and served on the thesis committee of two post-graduate residents at the CMCC (Lydia Brodie and Christine Meckamalil). The project involved collaborators from:

  • Ontario Tech University:
    • Faculty of Health Sciences: Dr. Lori Livingston, Dr. Efrosini Papaconstantinou and Dr. Shilpa Dogra
    • Faculty of Education: Dr. Jennifer Laffier
    • Faculty of Social Science and Humanities: Dr. Tyler Fredrick
  • Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences: Dr. Krystle Martin
  • CMCC: Dr. Sheilah Hogg-Johnson
  • University of Alberta: Dr. Linda Carroll

To date, this project has led to two peer-reviewed publications and the funding of the Sustainable University Life (SUN), a large cohort study of university students from Stockholm Sweden, at the Karolinska Institutet where Professor Côté is a co-principal investigator.