Janet Parsons

Janet Parsons’ program of research is focused on the development and application of qualitative methodologies to study a range of issues in health services and health policy. While her work encompasses a variety of topic areas and approaches, she specializes in narrative and visual methods. Theoretically, she draws on the work of Arthur Frank and other narrative theorists, and is also interested in theories of representation, the role of images, and their intersection with text. How stories can be used to inform our understanding of patients’ experiences, clinicians’ practices and policy uptake is a major focus. Along with her colleague James Lavery (a fellow scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital and an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health) she has developed a new film-based research method called Brokered Dialogue, which explores how stories are shared and taken up by others, and how those with divergent perspectives encounter one another.

Janet is experienced in mixed methods research, because of her extensive collaborations with investigators from a broad range of disciplines. She has a specific interest in arts-based methods of inquiry and knowledge translation, and is a founding member of a national collaborative on arts-based qualitative health research, led by Dr. Katherine Boydell (Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto).

Janet is a physical therapist who practiced for 18 years in acute care settings, primarily in the areas of surgical oncology and critical care. She earned her MSc and PhD from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Her doctoral thesis entailed a narrative study of experiences of illness work, vocational work and identity work amongst persons treated for primary bone cancer. She undertook postdoctoral training at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital, in a CIHR-funded program focusing on the health of marginalized populations. Currently, she is a research scientist with the Applied Health Research Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital. She is cross-appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at University of Toronto, as well as being an Associate of the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, School of Graduate Studies. She is also a Fellow at the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research.


More information coming soon.

The FLOURISH Collective is supported in part by funding from the New Frontiers in Research Fund,
the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the University of Toronto Connaught Fund