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Assistant Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Early Childhood: Diversity and Transitions

Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac is an Assistant Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Early Childhood: Diversity and Transitions with the Faculty of Education and Department of Child and Youth Study at Mount Saint Vincent University. She was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate Research Scholar with the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University. She holds a PhD in Public Health and an MSc in Health Promotion, both from the University of Alberta, and a BSc in Kinesiology from Dalhousie University.

The goal of her program of research is to enhance well-being during early childhood by ensuring policy and practice supports families as they transition across early learning environments. McIsaac studies early childhood and educational policy initiatives using an engaged scholarship approach to co-produce research that mobilizes knowledge and experiences for and with marginalised families. She works collaboratively with researchers, community, policy makers and research participants to inform policy and program design and decision-making.

Research and teaching interests:

  • Early childhood development, health and well-being
  • School-based health promotion and healthy living
  • Social determinants of health
  • Early childhood and educational policy
  • Engaged scholarship and research collaborations
  • Qualitative and participatory research methods
  • Knowledge mobilization


Select publications:

McIsaac JLD, Warner G, Lawrence L, Warner G, Urquhart R, Price S, Gahagan J, McNally M, Jackson L. The application of implementation science theories for population health: A critical interpretive synthesis. 2018 March, AIMS Public Health, 5(1): 13-30.

McIsaac JLD, Read K, Williams PL, Raine KD, Veugelers PJ, Kirk SFL. Reproducing or Reducing Inequity? Considerations for School Food Programs. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 2018 March; 79(1):8-22.

Penney TL, McIsaac JLD, Kontak J, Ata N, Kuhle S, Kirk SFL.  A translational approach to characterization and measurement of health-promoting school ethos. Health Promotion International.  2017 Aug 9. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dax039

McIsaac JLD, Jarvis S, Spencer R, Kirk SFL. “A tough sell”: findings from a qualitative analysis on the provision of healthy foods in recreation and sports settings Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada. 2018 Jan; 38(1).

Spencer R, McIsaac JLD, Kirk SFL. Food for thought: Youth experiences with school food. International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, 2017 Sept; 7(3): 53-63.

McIsaac JLD, Read K, Veugelers PV, Kirk SFL. Culture matters: A case of school health promotion in Canada. Health Promotion International. 2017; 32 (2): 207-217.

McIsaac JLD, Penney TL, Ata N, Munro-Sigfridson L, Cunningham J, Veugelers PJ, Storey K, Ohinmaa A, Kirk SFL, Kuhle S. Evaluation of a health promoting schools program in a school board in Nova Scotia, Canada. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2017 Jan 25; 5: 279-284.

Kontak JCH, McIsaac JLD, Penney TL, Kuhle S, Kirk SFL. The picture of health: Examining school-based health environments through photographs. Health Promotion International. 2017 Apr 1;32(2):322-330.

McIsaac JLD, Hernandez K, Curran J, Kirk SFL. Interventions to support system-level implementation of Health Promoting Schools: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2016 Feb 6;13(2):200.

McIsaac JLD, Kirk SFL, Kuhle S. The association between health behaviors and academic performance in Canadian elementary school students: a cross-sectional study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015 Nov 20;12(11):14857-71

McIsaac JLD, Mumtaz Z, Veugelers PJ, Kirk SFL. Providing context to the implementation of Health Promoting Schools: A Case Study. Evaluation and Program Planning, 2015 Dec; 53:65-71.

McIsaac JLD, Shearer CL, Veugelers PJ, Kirk SFL. Moving forward with school nutrition policies: A case study of policy adherence in Nova Scotia. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 2015 Dec;76(4):172-7.

McIsaac JLD, Chu YL, Blanchard B, Rossiter M, Williams P, Raine K, Kirk SFL, Veugelers PJ. The impact of school policies and practices on students’ diets, physical activity levels and body weights. A province-wide practice-based evaluation. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2015 Feb 3; 106(2): e43-51.

McIsaac JLD, Storey K, Veugelers PJ, Kirk SFL. Applying theoretical components to the implementation of health promoting schools. Health Education Journal. 2015, 74(2) 131–143.