Janet Parsons

PhD, MScm, PT, BSc, BA

Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute


My research is focused on applying qualitative methodologies to a variety of health care issues. Most recently I have been developing a new film-based method (Brokered Dialogue) with my colleague Dr. Jim Lavery. While working in a variety of topic areas, my main interests include patients’ experiences of cancer and other illnesses, health services delivery, drug policy, health disparities, and the sociology of health and illness. Additional interests include arts-based research, knowledge translation, and public engagement in health care. Theoretically my research is informed by narrative analytic theory, including the work of Arthur Frank and others.

Recent Publications

  1. Stevens, ME, Parsons, JA, Read, SE, Nixon, SA. The conceptualization of stigma within a rehabilitation framework using HIV as an example. Disabil Rehabil. 2017; :1-9. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1385099. PubMed PMID:28978242 .
  2. Hart, C, Poole, JM, Facey, ME, Parsons, JA. Holding Firm: Power, Push-Back, and Opportunities in Navigating the Liminal Space of Critical Qualitative Health Research. Qual Health Res. 2017;27 (12):1765-1774. doi: 10.1177/1049732317715631. PubMed PMID:28936929 .
  3. Parsons, JA, Yu, CH, Baker, NA, Mamdani, MM, Bhattacharyya, O, Zwarenstein, M et al.. Practice Doesn't Always Make Perfect: A Qualitative Study Explaining Why a Trial of an Educational Toolkit Did Not Improve Quality of Care. PLoS ONE. 2016;11 (12):e0167878. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167878. PubMed PMID:28030547 PubMed Central PMC5193379.
  4. Markowitz, B, Parsons, JA, Advani, A. Diabetes in Emerging Adulthood: Transitions Lost in Translation. Can J Diabetes. 2017;41 (1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2016.06.004. PubMed PMID:27658766 .
  5. McKillop, C, Parsons, JA, Brown, J, Scott, S, Holness, DL. Rights, responsibilities and (re)presentation: Using drawings to convey health and safety messages among immigrant workers. Work. 2016;55 (1):37-50. doi: 10.3233/WOR-162385. PubMed PMID:27612066 .
  6. Parsons, JA, Bond, VA, Nixon, SA. 'Are We Not Human?' Stories of Stigma, Disability and HIV from Lusaka, Zambia and Their Implications for Access to Health Services. PLoS ONE. 2015;10 (6):e0127392. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127392. PubMed PMID:26039666 PubMed Central PMC4454491.
  7. Kolopack, PA, Parsons, JA, Lavery, JV. What makes community engagement effective?: Lessons from the Eliminate Dengue Program in Queensland Australia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015;9 (4):e0003713. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003713. PubMed PMID:25875485 PubMed Central PMC4395388.
  8. Yu, CH, Parsons, JA, Mamdani, M, Lebovic, G, Hall, S, Newton, D et al.. A web-based intervention to support self-management of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: effect on self-efficacy, self-care and diabetes distress. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2014;14 :117. doi: 10.1186/s12911-014-0117-3. PubMed PMID:25495847 PubMed Central PMC4272538.
  9. Yu, CH, Parsons, JA, Hall, S, Newton, D, Jovicic, A, Lottridge, D et al.. User-centered design of a web-based self-management site for individuals with type 2 diabetes - providing a sense of control and community. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2014;14 :60. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-14-60. PubMed PMID:25056379 PubMed Central PMC4222757.
  10. Parsons, JA, Baker, NA, Smith-Gorvie, T, Hudak, PL. To 'Get by' or 'get help'? A qualitative study of physicians' challenges and dilemmas when patients have limited English proficiency. BMJ Open. 2014;4 (6):e004613. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004613. PubMed PMID:24902724 PubMed Central PMC4054645.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Co-Director, Research Training Centre (RTC), Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science & Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto
  • Associate Member, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto
  • CQ Fellow, Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto