Researchers and Advisors

Don Carruthers Den Hoed, PhD (candidate) is a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program at the University of Calgary and is the Public Engagement and Inclusion Team Lead for Alberta Parks – Kananaskis Region. His previous Masters Degree examined the inclusion of persons with disabilities in parks and informed Alberta Parks’ Inclusion Plan. His current Interdisciplinary PhD work is co-housed in Environmental Design, Education, Social Work, and Medicine and aims for a better understanding of the effects of experiencing nature in parks, public lands, and special sites on health, connection to nature, and stewardship. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Mount Royal University.

Sonya Jakubec, RN, BHScN, MN, Ph.D (candidate)., is an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Health and Community Studies at Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada. Her area of practice and research is community mental health across the lifespan, focusing on the social determinants of mental health – in particular the physical and social environments that shape mental health and wellbeing. She has researched and published in the areas of community mental health services development, crisis mental health, refugee and rural mental health issues, nature experiences and mental wellbeing, and supported recreation in mental health promotion.

Michael Quinn, Ph.D., is the Director of the Institute for Environmental Sustainability, Mount Royal University. Mike is a consummate generalist with a penchant for working at the interface of the social and natural sciences. His work focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems with the ultimate goal of sustaining social-ecological systems. Most recently, he finds himself drawn to the thought and literature emerging under the banner of ‘resilience’ analysis. This is an exciting field of inquiry and practice that addresses the complex and dynamic features of our shared world. He applies this thinking to problems associated with environmental sustainability, protected areas, road ecology, regional ecohydrology, human-wildlife conflict and transboundary ecosystem management. Mike joined MRU in January 2013 as the inaugural Talisman Energy Chair for Environmental Sustainability and the Director of MRU’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability. The mission of the Institute is to improve environmental health and sustainability through scholarship that integrates diverse academic disciplines, student learning and community engagement.

Heather Ray, Ph.D., has been an MRU faculty member since 2002, She is a leader in the field of integrative and community health. Her work is multidisciplinary, crossing the fields of health promotion, disease prevention, emotional well-being and nature-based interventions. Her particular area of focus investigates the influence of natural supportive environments on physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being outcomes. Recent and ongoing research initiatives include: “Influence of Nature Experiences on the Health-Related Quality of Life of Cancer Survivors’, “Dragon Boat Racing and Health-Related Quality of Life of Breast Cancer Survivors”, “Understanding Teachers’ Motivations for Including Nature-Based Programs in Off- Campus Learning Activities” and “Patients’ and Caregivers’ End of Life Experiences in Nature”. Her research has been published in journals such as the BioMed Central (BMC), Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Acute Oncology & Medical Conditions, and College Quarterly.

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