Professor Heather McKay is passionate about community-based health research, working with community partners to find ways to scale-up effective health interventions to positively effect health at a population level. Her program of research encompasses: effective interventions and myriad factors that influence the health of children, and the physical (mobility), social (connectedness) and mental (loneliness) well-being of older adults; the design, implementation and evaluation at scale of effective community-based health promoting interventions (implementation science); and knowledge mobilization. Professor McKay has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers and accrued more than $50 million in competitive grant funding. At the University of British Columbia, she is the Active Aging Research Team lead scientist. She has been in collaboration with the B.C. Ministry of Health for more than 15 years and currently leads a multi-level partnership with researchers, government, health authorities and NGOs to enact Active Aging BC (ABC). Professor McKay’s research team is currently scaling up and evaluating ABC’s signature program—Choose to Move—across the province. Choose to Move engaged more than 90 community-based organizations as delivery partners and 7000 older adults. This program effectively enhanced physical activity, mobility and decreased social isolation and loneliness in older adults who participated.
Professor McKay convenes highly effective, interdisciplinary research teams. She connects scholars with an array of cross-sectoral community and government stakeholders to “move research into action” to positively impact the health of children and older adults. Professor McKay led eight Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies teams with more than $10 million in grant funding that focused on aspects of older adult health in different settings, such as community, built environment and assisted living. From 2006 to 2016, Professor McKay was the inaugural director of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, a multidisciplinary centre that aims to enhance mobility and health across the life course. More recently she co-led UBC’s Healthy Aging Research Excellence cluster that convened 200 researchers, 50 trainees and 50 community partners across 10 academic disciplines to ignite collaboration in healthy aging research. Professor McKay was also recently inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
News and Awards
Research Excellence Staff Award 2023 RecipientsJan 10, 2023
People in profile: Thea FrankeOct 1, 2015
People in profile: Anna ChudykJan 20, 2014
- BMC public health -
- British journal of sports medicine -
- Journal of physical activity & health -
- The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity -
- Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research -
- International journal of environmental research and public health -