WHO ARE WE?

The British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Dr. Mariana Brussoni 

Dr. Mariana Brussoni is Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership, an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. She is an investigator with the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the British Columbia Injury Research & Prevention Unit. Mariana is a founding member and on the leadership group of Outdoor Play Canada.

Mariana is a developmental psychologist whose award-winning research investigates child injury prevention and children’s risky play, focusing on parent and caregiver perceptions of risk, and design of outdoor play-friendly environments – with a special focus on promoting equitable access to outdoor play. After years spent examining child injury statistics and researching injury prevention, Mariana became interested in the intersection between injury prevention, risk taking and outdoor play, concerned that well-meaning attempts to keep children safe were putting excessive limitations on children’s play despite the fact that serious injuries are rare. She partners with practitioners and policy makers in early childhood education, schooling, municipal planning and recreation provision, with the aim of creating environments where all children thrive in healthy societies. She has published her research extensively and has been widely featured in international media. 

Mariana spends her free time playing outside with her family. 

Book Dr. Brussoni as a speaker

Dr. Brussoni is available for speaking engagements such as plenary presentations, lectures, workshops, conferences, interviews, and podcasts. Please provide a minimum of two months notice prior to your event.  

Current Team Members

Christina Han

Research Coordinator

Christina Han is a social science researcher working with Dr. Brussoni as Research Coordinator. She oversees the implementation, management, and data analyses of several research studies in the Brussoni lab. Christina has 10+ years of qualitative research experience and authored over 20 peer-refereed articles (link). She is currently interested in the role of children’s sense of agency and autonomy in their development and well-being.

Dawn Mount

Research Coordinator

Dawn Mount is coordinating the PROmoting Early Childhood Outside (PRO-ECO) project in partnership with the YMCA. She has over 10 years of experience working in pediatric research, focusing on prevention and clinical practice improvements. Dawn’s background is in early childhood education and psychology. She is passionate about community-oriented initiatives that empower children and families to live their best lives.

Rachel Ramsden

Research Coordinator

Rachel Ramsden is a public health researcher working with Dr. Brussoni as a Research Coordinator. She oversees the management of several research studies and provides methodology and statistical support to projects across the lab. Rachel’s PhD research investigates children’s movements and perspectives in outdoor child care environments using a mixed-methods approach. Rachel completed a Masters degree in Public Health in 2016 and a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree in 2013, both at UBC.

Dalia Vukmirovich

Research Assistant

Dalia Vukmirovich is a research assistant with Dr. Brussoni at the Human Early Learning Partnership (University of British Columbia) and BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Dalia completed her MA degree (Sociology) at Simon Fraser University, and has worked on Health and Social Science research at UBC, SFU, University of Victoria and City of Vancouver. She has also worked in tourism and marine transportation sectors, non-profit arts and the film industry.

Emily Fox

Research Assistant

Emily Fox recently graduated from the  University of British Columbia with her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology. She is also a Research Assistant for the PRO-ECO project. Emily is interested in how reframing risk in outdoor play influences children’s self-efficacy and risk-taking behaviours. 

Hebah Hussaina

Research Assistant

Hebah Hussaina is an incoming MSc. student at the University of British Columbia, having a background in children’s health sciences research in a variety of settings. She is primarily a Research Assistant on the PRO-ECO project. Hebah’s interests lie in supporting early childhood development, especially through understanding adult perspectives to further promote healthy child development. 

Julia Zhu

Research Assistant

Julia Zhu is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia, with a BA degree in Human Geography and a minor in Urban Studies. She also has a background in Communication Design and a passion for Urban Design. She is currently involved with the PRO-ECO project and is interested in studying how children interact with the outdoor space and environment, as well as ways to facilitate and enhance such interactions.

 

Mathilde Duflos

Postdoctoral Fellow

Mathilde Duflos is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on the grandparent-grandchild relationship and on emotional closeness.
Dr. Duflos is involved in the Grandparent-Grandchild Outdoor Play study where she interviews grandparents about outdoor play with their grandchildren.

Megan Zeni

Graduate Student

Megan Zeni is a PhD student in the Faculty of Education at UBC. Her research interests include developing professional learning communities with in-service teachers to bridge emerging theories with teaching practices that include unstructured outdoor play as a pedagogical approach. Megan has over 20 years of experiences as a professional educator, and currently teaches in a public school outdoor and garden classroom. To learn more about her work, visit: www.meganzeni.com.

Ivana Lexa-French

Graduate Student

Ivana Lexa-French is a graduate student at UBC’s Department of Landscape Architecture. Raised by American artists in Denmark, she grew up valuing multiculturalism and creativity. She completed her undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, and thereafter spent ten years teaching in Laos before moving to Vancouver. Ivana’s current focus is on playscapes and designing with Indigenous ways of knowing.

Breann Corcoran

Graduate Student

Breann Corcoran is a PhD student in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC.  She has 15 years of experience working with local health authorities in BC in community development and community engagement roles.  She currently works part-time with BC Cancer’s Screening & Prevention team and is particularly interested in neighbourhood design to support healthy child development.  More recently Breann’s work has focused on the use of shade as a design tool for skin cancer prevention in early childhood settings.  

Anchal Kataria

Work Learn Student

Anchal Kataria is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Chemistry, Life Science, and Earth Science at UBC. She is currently a work learn student at the Brussoni Lab and working on the Pro-ECO project. She is interested in studying the development of pediatric populations and pursuing a career in pediatric healthcare.

Hannah Coo

Work Learn Student

Hannah Coo is a M.Sc. student at the University of British Columbia with the School of Audiology and Speech Sciences. She is involved with the PRO-ECO project. She is interested in researching early childhood educators’ and parental attitudes towards outdoor risky play for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Juliana Lane

Volunteer

Juliana Lane is in her final year at the University of British Columbia, completing a BA degree in Psychology with a Minor in Education. She will be working with Dr. Mathilde Duflos on the Grandparent-Grandchild Outdoor Play study. Currently, she works part-time as an Education Assistant in the West Vancouver School District. She has a particular interest in the development of resilience in children and is passionate about educating parents on how to foster resilience in their children.

Emma Raaflaub

Graduate Student

Emma Raaflaub is a MPH student at UBC and holds her MEd in curriculum development. Emma has six years of education experience exploring how outdoor play can be integrated further in curriculum and is interested in ways children learn and grow in outdoor spaces. She is involved with the FUN 2 project, providing intervention tools for families to support children’s agency in outdoor play.

Varun Nair

Volunteer

Varun Nair is a final-year undergraduate student studying Genetics and Global Health through the Integrated Sciences program at the University of British Columbia. His desire to explore the intersection between research and health policy in improving the lives of children worldwide drew him to the Brussoni Lab, where he is a Research Assistant with the PRO-ECO project. Beyond his undergraduate studies, Varun aims for a career in pediatrics as a clinician-researcher.

Past Team Members

Allison Ezzat

Graduate Student

Physical Activity Participation and Health-Related Outcomes in Adolescent Females following Sport-Related Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: A Mixed Methods Study

Amalie Lambert

Graduate Student

Playability Study (PLAY)

Amy Schneeberg

Graduate Student

Burden of Injury Study (BOI)

Andrew Wilson

Research Assistant

Playability Study (PLAY)

Erica Zallen

Research Assistant

Burden of Injury Study (BOI)

Fritha Munday

Graduate Student

Early Childhood Outside Study (ECO)

Genevieve Creighton

Graduate Student

 Father’s Injury Prevention (FIP)

George Ko

Medical Student

Burden of Injury Study (BOI)

Grace Chan

Medical Student

Child Home Safety Study and Mothers’ Risk Engagement and Protection Study (REPS)

Hannah Zimmering

Volunteer

Burden of Injury Study (BOI)

Janae Vlaar

Graduate Student

Playability Study (PLAY)

Jaspreet Dhillon

Work Learn Student

Playability Study (PLAY) and Go Play Outside Study (GPO)

Jessica Flores

Graduate Student

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and ED Injuries’ Psychological Dimensions Study

Kathryn Soo

Work Learn Student

Playability Study (PLAY), Go Play Outside Study (GPO), Early Childhood Outside (ECO), and Early Childhood Outside RCT (ECO-RCT)

Keeva Lupton

Medical Student 

Burden of Injury Study (BOI)

Kendra Wong

Work Learn Student

Child Home Safety Study, Fathers’ Risks Engagement and Protection Study (REPS), and Burden of Injury Study (BOI)

Kerry Walker

Medical Student 

Validity and Reliability of the EQ5D among a Paediatric Injury Population Study and Burden of Injury Study (BOI) 

Linlin Wang

Work Learn Student

PRO-ECO Study

Lise Olsen

Graduate Student

Burden of Injury Study (BOI) & Father’s Injury Prevention (FIP)

Matthew Hanna

Work Learn Student

Aging Road Warriors: An Emerging Public Health Concern

Michelle O’Kane

Graduate Student

Playability study (PLAY)

Morgan Yates

Graduate Student

Playability Study (PLAY)

Nelson Luk

Volunteer

Burden of Injury Study (BOI) and Fathers on Child’s Play Masculinities in Rural and Urban Canada

Ricky Zhang

Volunteer

Examining Childhood Risk Appraisal Measurements using Electroencephalography

Sami Kruse

Research Coordinator

Burden of Injury Study (BOI)

Sara Brunelle

Graduate Student

Play worth remembering I

Sarah Foster

Medical Student 

Urban Versus Rural Fathers’ Ideas of Risk and Risk Prevention

Tak Ishikawa

Graduate Student

Go Play Outside! Study (GPO)

Tina Cheng

Volunteer

Early Childhood Outside Study (ECO)

Vincent Li

Work Learn Student

Playability Study (PLAY)

Yingyi Lin

Research Assistant

Playability Study (PLAY) & Go Play Outside! Study (GPO)

Willow Leahy

Volunteer

Literature review outdoor risky play for children with exceptionalities

For Potential Students

Become a Graduate Student

Dr. Brussoni supervises graduate students through the UBC School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) and the Experimental Medicine Program. If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies, you can check program requirements through SPPH or Experimental Medicine.

Become a Work Study Student or Volunteer

Work/Learn is a program at the University of British Columbia that provides students with opportunities to gain professional skills. At the Brussoni lab, Dr. Brussoni and the research team place a strong emphasis on students’ learning experience. Many students have had the opportunity to gain research experience through working or volunteering in the Brussoni lab.

If you would like to work or volunteer at the Brussoni lab, please contact the research coordinator at playoutside@bcchr.ca, visit the Work/Learn program website, and/or apply for a position in UBC Career Services Online.