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Jennifer M. Poole, BA, MSW, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street, Toronto
Phone: (416) 979-5000 (6253)


To view the website for the Journal of Critical Anti-Oppressive Social Inquiry (CAOS), please click here.

To view Jennifer's TEDx talk, please click here.

Jennifer's presentation in "Making Mad Studies: Process, practice and contestations" is availabe here.

 The website for Hybrid Bodies, an innovative research study exploring the process of incorporating a transplanted heart, of which Jennifer is a researcher, can be found here.


Jennifer Poole is a social scientist with a PhD from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. She is Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Ryerson; Associate Director, Graduate Program at the School of Social Work and Adjunct Faculty at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. She is the Editor of the Journal of Critical Anti-Oppressive Social Inquiry (CAOS).

With a background in community work and mental/health, Jennifer’s interdisciplinary research program is centred on madness, health and heartbreak, taking up theoretical, practice and policy concerns. Current projects focus on the experiences of Mad people in the helping professions and post-secondary education, sanism, racism, decolonization as well as critical approaches to grief, death and transplantation. Author of Behind the Rhetoric: Mental Health Recovery in Ontario (2011), she is particularly interested in Foucauldian notions of discourse/critical discourse analysis, visual methods as well as critical social work practice/pedagogy, critical disability, community based research and anti-oppressive practice(s).

Jennifer has accumulated a range of research experience including community participatory research at Across Boundaries Ethno-Racial Mental Health Centre (Toronto) and the development of innovative audio/visual methods with the PITH heart transplantation project at Toronto General.  She collaborates on the Hybrid Bodies Art Project, based on PITH findings to date. Jennifer has published and presented her work nationally and internationally, and was invited to do a TEDx talk in 2013. Her research has been supported by various granting agencies including CIHR, UHN, Ryerson University and Manulife Financial.

Research Interests

Critical approaches to ‘mental health’; Mad Studies; Critical Disability; Critical Pedagogy; Discourse; Anti-Oppressive Practice; Transdisciplinary scholarship; Transformative research methodologies; Visual methods.


Jennifer is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Ryerson University where she has been recognized as an outstanding educator receiving the Sue Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching. She also teaches at the First Nations Technical Institute in Ontario and supports a variety of graduate students at multiple institutions.

Sample Publications

Poole, J.M. & Jivraj, T. (2015). Mental health, mentalism and sanism. In James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 15 (pp. 200–203). Oxford: Elsevier.

Mauthner, O. E., De Luca, E., Poole, J. M., Abbey, S. E., Shildrick, M., Gewarges, M., & Ross, H. J. (2014). Heart transplants: Identity disruption, bodily integrity and interconnectedness. Health: DOI 1363459314560067.

Poole, J. & Ward, J. (2013). Chapter 6: Breaking open the bone: Storying, sanism and Mad grief. In B. LeFrancois, R. Menzies and G. Rheaume (Eds.), Mad matters: A critical reader in Canadian Mad Studies (pp. 94-104). Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

Poole, J., Jivraj, T., Arslanian, A., Bellows, K., Chiasson, S., Hakimy, H., Pasini, J. & Reid, J. (2012). Sanism, ‘mental health’ and social work/education: A review and call to action. Intersectionalities: A Global Journal of Social Work Analysis, Research, Polity and Practice, Available at 

Poole, J. (2011). Behind the Rhetoric: Mental Health Recovery in Ontario. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Fernwood.   

Poole, J., Shildrick, M., McKeever, P., Abbey, S., DeLuca, E., Mauthner, O. and Ross, H. (2011). The obligation to say thank you: Heart transplant recipients’ experience of writing to the donor family. American Journal of Transplantation, 11: 619-622.

Poole, J. (2010). Progressive until graduation? Helping students hold onto critical and anti-oppressive practices. Critical Social Work, 11(2): 2-11.

Lavallée, L. and Poole, J. (2010). Beyond recovery: Colonization, health and healing for Indigenous People in Ontario, Canada. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 8(2), April: 271-281.

Poole, J. Shildrick, M., McKeever, P., Abbey, S. & Ross, H. (2009). Chapter 2- ‘You might not feel like yourself’: On heart transplants, identity and ethics. In S. Murray and D. Holmes (Eds.), Critical interventions in the ethics of healthcare: Challenging the principle of autonomy in bioethics (pp.33-44). New York: Ashgate.

Poole, J. & Gardner, P., Flower, M., Cooper, C. (2009). Narrative therapy in a group for older adults. Practice, research and recommendations. Social Work with Groups, 32, 288-302.

Gardner, P. and Poole, J. One story at a time: Narrative therapy, older adults and addictions. The Journal of Applied Gerontology, 28 (5): 600-620.