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Blake Poland, PhD

Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

University of Toronto
Health Sciences Building, Rm 588, 155 College St.
Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 3M7
Phone: (416) 978-7542


Blake's main website is available to view here.

To view the website for the Environmental Health Justice in the City Research Network, of which Blake is  co-director, please visit here.

To view Blake's contributions towards research in community development in the professional health field, please visit here.

To view Blake's work involving the Transition Town movement, visit here.

Blake is also involved in a series of films that promote environmental awareness. More information is available here.


Dr. Blake Poland is a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, current co-Director of the Environmental Health Justice in the City Research Network and former Director of the Collaborative Program in Community Development (2007-2008) and MHSc Program in Health Promotion (1999-2007). Trained in social/health geography (PhD McMaster 1994), Blake’s research has focussed on the settings approach to health promotion (see Settings for Health Promotion, Sage, 2000), the health of marginalized groups, the sociology of tobacco control, and community development as an arena of practice for health professionals. More recently his attention has turned to environmental health promotion and building community resilience for the transition to a post-carbon society, including work in the global Transition Town movement. Blake also teaches introductory qualitative health research methods. His research is inspired by the work of Paulo Freire, Pierre Bourdieu, complexity theory, arts-enabled and community-based participatory approaches. He has led or worked on projects employing visual methods (photovoice), participatory research, research-based theatre, interactive multimedia installations.

CQ Teaching

In the past, Blake has taught courses in Community Development, Health Promotion, Social Capital, Dialogical Methods, and the Settings Approach (in health promotion).

Currently he teaches one course in CQ’s Essentials of Qualitative Research series:

  • CHL8001 - Generative Dialogue in Community Settings: Theory, Method and Ethics

Sample Publications

Poland, B., Krupa, G., McCall, D., “Settings for health promotion: an analytic framework to guide intervention design and implementation”. Health Promotion Practice.

Masuda, J., Poland, B., Baxter, J., “ Reaching for environmental health justice through health promotion: a Canadian perspective” Health Promotion International.

Poland, B., & Holmes, D. (2009). Celebrating risk: the politics of self-branding, transgression and resistance in public health. Aporia, 1(4), 27-36.

Poland, B., Gastaldo D., Pancham, A., Ferrence, R., (2009) “The interpersonal management of environmental tobacco smoke in the home: a qualitative study” Critical Public Health 19(2): 203-221.

Kontos, P., & Poland, B., (2009) “Mapping new theoretical and methodological terrain for knowledge translation: Contributions from critical realism & the arts”. Implementation Science. 4(1): 1-10.

Poland, B., K Frohlich, M Cargo (2008) “Context as a fundamental dimension of health promotion program evaluation”, in L Potvin & DV McQueen (Eds), Health Promotion Evaluation Practice in the Americas: Values and Research, New York, NY: Springer

Poland, B. (2007) “Health promotion in Canada: Perspectives and future prospects” Revista Brasileira em Promoçao da Saude (Brazilian Journal of Health Promotion). 20(1): 3-11

Dooris, M., B. Poland, et al (2007) “Healthy settings: Building evidence for the effectiveness of whole system health promotion - challenges & future directions” in McQueen & Jones (Eds), Global Perspectives on Health Promotion Effectiveness, Vol.1. New York, NY: Springer

Lehoux, P. B. Poland, G. Daudelin (2006) “Focus group research and ‘the patient's view’”. Social Science and Medicine. 63 (8): 2091-2104.

Poland, B., et al (2006) “The social context of smoking: The next frontier in tobacco control?” Tobacco Control. 15: 59-63.

Wakefield, S. & B. Poland (2005) "Family, friend or foe? Critical reflections on the relevance and role of social capital in health promotion and community development". Social Science and Medicine. 60(12): 2819-2832.

Poland, B., H. Graham, E. Walsh, P. Williams, J.M. Lum, J. Polzer, S. Syed, S. Tobin, G. Kim (2005) “’Working at the margins’ or ‘leading from behind’? A Canadian study of hospital-community collaboration”. Health and Social Care in the Community. 13(2): 125-135.

Poland, B., P. Lehoux, D. Holmes, G. Andrews (2005) “How place matters: unpacking technology and power in health and social care” Health and Social Care in the Community. 13(2): 170-180.

Poland, B., E. Tupker, K. Breland (2002) “Involving street youth in peer harm reduction education – The challenges of evaluation”. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 93(5): 344-348.

Poland, B., L. Green, and I. Rootman (Eds) (2000) Settings for Health Promotion: Linking Theory and Practice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications

Poland B., M. Boutilier, S. Tobin, R. Badgley (2000) "A policy context for community development practice in public health: a Canadian case study", Journal of Public Health Policy 21(1): 5-19.

Poland, B. (2000) “The considerate smoker in public space: the micro-politics and political economy of ‘doing the right thing’”. Health and Place. 6(1): 1-14.

Poland B., et al (1999) “Interactions between smokers and non-smokers in public places: a qualitative study”. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 90(5): 330-333.

Poland, B. & A, Pederson (1998) "Reading between the lines: interpreting silences in qualitative research". Qualitative Inquiry. 4(2): 293-312.

Eakin J., A. Robertson, B. Poland, D. Coburn, R. Edwards (1996) "A critical social science perspective on health promotion research". Health Promotion International. 11(2): 157-165

Poland B. (1995) "Transcription quality as an aspect of rigor in qualitative research" Qualitative Inquiry. 1(3): 290-310

Poland B. (1992) "Learning to 'walk our talk': the implications of sociological theory for research methodologies in health promotion" Canadian Journal of Public Health. 83(Supplement): S31-S46