James Dunn

PhD, MA, BSc, BA

Affiliate Scientist


James R. Dunn (Jim) is a Scientist at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and Professor and Chair of the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University. He is the Senator William McMaster Chair in Urban Health Equity and Director of the McMaster for Health Equity. He holds adjunct appointments at the University of Toronto (Geography and Planning) and the University of Waterloo (Planning) and in 2011-2012 was the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Chair in Canadian Studies at Harvard University. He has published widely in geography, public health, urban planning and epidemiology journals over his career and since he has been the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, a specialty journal of the British Medical Journal.

Trained in the Urban Geography of Health, Dr. Dunn has extensive experience in strategic analysis of urban planning and municipal policy in North American cities, as it pertains to creating the conditions for routine physical activity, and population health more generally. He has also examined the impacts of metropolitan governance and finance on the relationship between income inequality and population health in North American cities. Most recently, he was awarded a SSHRC Partnership Grant for the Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative (CHEC), a research hub focused on knowledge mobilization and both human and data capacity-building in housing research and policy.

His current research program focuses on the social determinants of health and the influence of economic and social policies, especially housing and urban policies, on inequalities in health and child development, concentrating on urban housing and neighbourhoods. Specifically, his work includes projects on the health and social impacts of public housing redevelopment, such as Toronto’s Regent Park, health and child development, the effects of housing improvement more generally on health and child development, and the development of place-based cross-sectoral (between public health and urban planning) policy implementation solutions for urban health problems.

Dr. Dunn has advised numerous policy-related organizations including municipalities in southern Ontario, the Provincial Health Officer for Ontario, the National Housing Research Committee of Canada and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. In addition, Dr. Dunn is Co-Executive Lead and Co-Founder of the Hamilton Anchor Institutions Leadership Council, which provides evidence-informed decision-making and strategic alignment leadership for the CEO-level leaders of Hamilton’s anchor institutions (hospitals, municipal government, police, school boards, universities and colleges, etc.) in the area of urban development and population health and well-being.

Please note: Dr. Dunn will not be taking any summer students

Recent Publications

  1. Wyndham-West, CM, Dunn, JR. Housing Instability and Policy Considerations for Equitable Aging in Place in Canada. Can J Aging. 2024; :1-11. doi: 10.1017/S0714980824000205. PubMed PMID:38778474 .
  2. Weldrick, R, Dunn, JR, Andrews, GJ, Ploeg, J. Friendly Visiting Programs for Older People Experiencing Social Isolation: A Realist Review of what Works, for whom, and under what Conditions. Can J Aging. 2023;42 (4):538-550. doi: 10.1017/S0714980823000302. PubMed PMID:37551541 .
  3. Dunn, JR, Halapy, E, Moineddin, R, Young, M. Short-term impact of a neighbourhood-based intervention on mental health and self-rated health in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Health Place. 2023;83 :103052. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2023.103052. PubMed PMID:37459666 .
  4. Park, GR, Grignon, M, Young, M, Dunn, JR. The association between housing cost burden and avoidable mortality in wealthy countries: cross-national analysis of social and housing policies, 2000-2017. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2023;77 (2):65-73. doi: 10.1136/jech-2022-219545. PubMed PMID:36384959 .
  5. Park, GR, Grignon, M, Young, M, Dunn, JR. How do housing asset and income relate to mortality? A population-based cohort study of 881220 older adults in Canada. Soc Sci Med. 2022;314 :115429. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115429. PubMed PMID:36252439 .
  6. Dunn, JR, Park, GR, Brydon, R, Wolfson, M, Veall, M, Rolheiser, L et al.. Income inequality and population health: a political-economic research agenda. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2022; :. doi: 10.1136/jech-2022-219252. PubMed PMID:35676074 .
  7. O'Campo, P, Stergiopoulos, V, Davis, O, Lachaud, J, Nisenbaum, R, Dunn, JR et al.. Health and social outcomes in the Housing First model: Testing the theory of change. EClinicalMedicine. 2022;47 :101387. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101387. PubMed PMID:35497057 PubMed Central PMC9046122.
  8. Persaud, N, Woods, H, Workentin, A, Adekoya, I, Dunn, JR, Hwang, SW et al.. [Not Available]. CMAJ. 2022;194 (2):E60-E72. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.210904-f. PubMed PMID:35039395 PubMed Central PMC8900790.
  9. Persaud, N, Woods, H, Workentin, A, Adekoya, I, Dunn, JR, Hwang, SW et al.. Recommendations for equitable COVID-19 pandemic recovery in Canada. CMAJ. 2021;193 (49):E1878-E1888. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.210904. PubMed PMID:37578741 PubMed Central PMC8677581.
  10. Andrews, K, Dunn, JR, Prime, H, Duku, E, Atkinson, L, Tiwari, A et al.. Effects of household chaos and parental responsiveness on child executive functions: a novel, multi-method approach. BMC Psychol. 2021;9 (1):147. doi: 10.1186/s40359-021-00651-1. PubMed PMID:34548106 PubMed Central PMC8456676.
Search PubMed

Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Associate Professor, Geography and Planning, University of Toronto
  • Associate Professor, Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto
  • Professor and Chair, Department of Health, Aging & Society, McMaster University
  • Associate Member, School of Geography & Earth Sciences, McMaster University
  • Associate Professor, Planning, University of Waterloo