Jason Gilliland

Children's Health & Therapeutics Dr. Jason Gilliland


Scientist, Division of Children’s Health and Therapeutics, Children's Health Research Institute
Director, Urban Development, Western University
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Western University
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute

How my research helps children

My research examines the influence of the physical environment on children’s health and well being. I am particularly interested in understanding the relationship between modern urban planning and development practices and the rise of certain children’s health issues such as asthma, physical inactivity, obesity, and injury.  By gaining a better understanding of how the physical environment influences the health and well-being of children, we can better inform public policymakers and city planners of how to make effective changes to public policy and neighbourhood design to promote children’s health.


Current Research Activities

Dr. Gilliland’s research has been published in a variety of leading journals, including American Journal of Public Health, Canadian Journal of Public Health, and Health & Place. He has recently given several invited keynote addresses on his research on “urban design and children’s health” to various meetings of policymakers, including: the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ontario; the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Rural Affairs; the City of Auckland and City of Hamilton (New Zealand); and the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.

Research Team

Dr. Gilliland’s research team consists of a technician, five doctoral students, seven masters students, and a team of undergraduate student research assistants. Members of Dr. Gilliland’s team have held several major awards from agencies such as the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and Engineers Canada.

Future Research Plans

Dr. Gilliland (with Dr. William Avison, Dr. Victor Han, and Dr. Jerry Kidder) is building a multi-layered geographic information system for identifying spatial clusters of prevalent childhood diseases in Southwestern Ontario and for examining potential environmental determinants in order to suggest potential interventions.  He has also recently received funding for a study which explores how characteristics of children’s neighbourhood environments influence their physical activity levels and exposure to air pollution.

Awards & Grants

Awards & Grants

Funding in support of "Evaluation of a Physical Activity Intervention for Elementary School Children in London, Ontario" - Awarded by CIHR

Funding in support of "How does providing free access to community recreation facilities and programs change physical activity levels among the Grade 5 population in London, Ontario?" - Awarded by Canadian Cancer Society/CIHR

Funding in support of Local Food Ontario Website and Smartphone App - Awarded by MTCU

Funding in support of "Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease in Southwestern Ontario: Epidemiology and role of envrionmental factors" - Awarded by Lawson Health Research Institute

Funding in support of "Developing and analyzing a methodology to evaluate the health of schools in Oxford County" - Awarded by Oxford County Public Health

Funding in support of "HealtheSteps: Engaging Boys and Men in a Healthier Lifestyle" - Awarded by CIHR

Funding in support of Development of a smart phone 'app' to examine the influence of a spatially and temporally targeted intervention on food purchasing, diet and food literacy - Awarded by Western University

Funding in support of "Eavluating Act-i-Pass program" - Awarded by Middlesex-London Health Unit

Funding in support of Quality of Life Initiative - Graduate Student support - Awarded by Children's Health Foundation & CHRI

Funding in "Changes in Environment and Well-Being in the Vicinity of Major Traffic Pollution: A Comparison of Relocatees and Non-Relocatees" - Awarded by SSHRC

Funding in support of "Traffic and road injury prevention program for children" - Awarded by CIHR

Funding in support of "Identifying causal effects of the built environment on physical activity, diet and obesity among children" - Awarded by HSFC & CIHR

Funding in support of "Welcoming communities" - Awarded by CURA

Funding in support of "Evaluating Act-i-Pass program" - Awarded by City of London

Funding in support of "Linking Health and the Built Environment in Rural Settings" - Awarded by Middlesex-London Health Unit

Funding in support of Quality of Life Initiative - Grad Student support - Awarded by Children's Health Foundation & CHRI

Funding in support of "Mapping barriers and enablers for health in Grey and Bruce Counties" - Awarded by Grey-Bruce Public Health

Funding in support of "Mapping barriers and enablers for health in Lambton County" - Awarded by Lambton County

Funding in support of "A multidisciplinary team approach to prevent motor vehicle crash related injuries in Southwestern Ontario - Awarded by Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario

Funding in support of "Understanding Obesity among Metis and Off-Reserve First Nations Children: Contexts and Determinants" - Awarded by CIHR

Funding in support of "Making a case for active transportation" - Awarded by Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU)

Funding in support of "Environment and Health Impacts in the Vicinity of Major Traffic Pollution" (Resubmission - 4A) - Awarded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC)

Funding in support of "BMI Trajectories among Young Children in Canada: The Effect of the Built Environment" - Awarded by Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)

Funding in support of "Mapping barriers and enablers for health in Middlesex-London" - Awarded by Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU)

Recent Publications


The Effect of leisure-time physical activity on obesity, diabetes, high BP and heart disease among Canadians: Evidence from 2000/01 to 2005/06
Sarma S, Devlin RA, Gilliland J, Campbell MK, Zaric G
Health Economics. 2014

Free range kids? Using GPS-derived activity spaces to examine children's independent neighborhood activity and mobility
Loebach J, Gilliland J
Environment & Behavior. 2014; 1-33

"All the World's a Stage": A GIS framework for recreating personal tim-space qualitative and quantitative sources
Lafreniere D, Gilliland J
Transactions in GIS. 2014

The Effect of Physical Activity on Adult Obesity: Evidence from the Canadian NPHS Panel
Sarma S, Zaric G, Campbell MK, Gillliland J
Economics and Human Biology. 2014; 14:1-21

Association between neighbourhood fast-food and full-service restaurant density and BMI: A cross-sectional study of Canadian adults
Hollands S, Campbell K, Gilliland J, Sarma S
Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2014; 105(3):e172-e178

Stakeholder and policy-maker perception of key issues in food systems planning and policy-making
Sadler R, Gilliland J, Arku G
Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 2014; 9(1):1-15

Local food networks as a catalyst for food policy change
Sadler RC, Arku G, Gilliland J
Local Envirionment. 2014

An epidemiologic profile of pediatric concussions: Identifying urban and rural differences
Charyk-Stewart T, Gilliland JA, Fraser DD
J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2013

Comparison of hip fracture and osteoporosis medication prescription rates across Canadian provinces
Crilly RG, Kloseck M, Chesworth B, Mequanint S, Sadowski E, Gilliland JA
Osteoporos Int. 2013

A Food Retail-Based Intervention on Food Security and Consumption
Sadler RC, Gilliland JA, Arku G
Int J Environ Res Pub Health. 2013; 10(8):3325-3346

Urban wageworkers and their dwellings in the Pacific Northwest: A GIS case study and new epistemology
Dunae P, Lafreniere D, Gilliland JA, Lutz J
Labour/ Le Travail. 2013, Fall; 71

A Spatial Analysis of the Association between Restaurant Density and BMI in Canadian Adults
Hollands S, Campbell K, Gilliland JA, Sarma S
Preventive Medicine. 2013; 57(4):258-64

Fruit and vegetable consumption among urban Canadian schoolchildren living in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhood
Glen KE, Thomas HM, Loebach JE, Gilliland JA, Gobert C
Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. 2013; 74(3):114-8

An economic impact comparative analysis of farmers' markets in Michigan and Ontario
Sadler R, Clark M, Gilliland JA
J Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 2013; Vol 3, No 3, pp. 61-81

A comparison of injuries, crashes and outcomes for pediatric rear occupants in traffic motor vehicle collisions
Stewart TC, McClafferty K, Shkrum M, Comeau JL, Gilliland JA, Fraser DD
J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2013 Feb; 74(2):628-33

Community Development and the Influence of New Food Retail Sources on the Price and Availability of Nutritious Food
Sadler RC, Gilliland JA, Arku G
J Urban Affairs. 2013

Quantifying the Magnitude of Environmental Exposure Misclassification When Using Imprecise Address Proxies in Public Health Research
Healy M, Gilliland JA
Spatial and Spatio-Temporal Epidemiology. 2013; 3(1):55-67

The influence of local food environments on adolescents' food purchasing bevaviors
He M, Tucker P, Gilliland JA, Irwin J, Larsen K, Hess P
Int J Environmental and Public Health Research. 2012; 9:1458-1471

Obesogenic Neighborhoods: The Impact of Neighborhood Restaurants and Convenience Stores on Adolescents' Food Consumption Behaviors
He M, Tucker P, Gilliland JA, Irwin J, Larsen K, Hess P
Public Health Nutrition. 2012

Opportunities for Healthy Living in Southwestern Ontario: A Focus on Children's Environments
Gilliland JA
London: Children's Health Research Institute. 2012; 417 pages

Food Retail Investment as an Intervention on Dietary Habits
Sadler RC, Gilliland JA, Arku G
Geographical Review. 2012

Shaken Baby Syndrome and a Triple-Dose Strategy for Its Prevention
Stewart TC, Polgar D, Gilliland JA, Tanner DA, Girotti MJ, Parry N, Fraser DD
J Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care. 2011; 71(6):1801-1807

Route based analysis to capture the environmental influences on a child's mode of travel between home and school
Larsen K, Gilliland JA, Hess P
Annals of the Assoc of American Geographers. 2011

Hip fracture types in men and women change differently with age
Tanner DA, Kloseck M, Crilly RG, Chesworth B, Gilliland JA
BMC Geriatr. 2010 Mar 9; 10:12

Additional publications



Phone: (519) 661-2111, x81239
Fax: (519) 661-3750
Email: jgillila [at] uwo [dot] ca
Websites: www.spatialists.com / www.healthycities.ca

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