Emma Ostermeier and Alina Medeiros Successfully Defend their MSc Theses
The HEAL would like to congratulate Emma Ostermeier and Alina Medeiros who successfully defended their theses under the supervision of Dr. Jason Gilliland in 2020.
Emma Ostermeier successfully defended her MSc thesis titled Investigating Children’s Experiences and Participation in a Free Community-Based Physical Activity Program: The Grade 5 ACT-i-Pass. Emma completed her Master of Science in Geography under the supervision of Dr. Jason Gilliland. During her studies, she examined the Grade 5 ACT-i-Pass Program (G5AP), a community-based physical activity initiative in London, Ontario, to investigate the factors that influence children’s involvement in a free physical activity program.
This thesis consisted of two interrelated manuscripts. First, this thesis explored children’s experiences and perceptions of their involvement in the G5AP. An analysis of G5AP focus groups was used to investigate children’s perceived physical activity levels, and factors that acted as barriers or enablers to program use. This thesis also described the influence of a promotional campaign on the number of grade five children that registered for the G5AP. A combination of spatial analysis and statistical tests were used to examine the change in the registration rates from the pre-campaign year (2018-2019) to the campaign year (2019-2020).
Overall, findings reveal that the accessibility of the program affected children’s enrollment and use of the G5AP. The G5AP promotional campaign effectively increased the registration rate of the program, with children that received both passive and active forms of recruitment having the greatest increase in registrations. Thus, findings contribute to the understanding of information accessibility and engagement in community-based health initiatives. Future research regarding all three types of accessibility must be considered when implementing interventions to provide accessible programming to all groups in the target population.
Alina Medeiros successfully defended her MSc thesis titled Equity Considerations in Active School Travel Interventions. Alina completed her Master of Science in Geography under the supervision of Dr. Jason Gilliland. During her studies, she identified ways to increase equity in active school travel interventions by investigating (1) how equity is considered in intervention development, implementation, and evaluation, and (2) whether boys and girls have different barriers and facilitators to engaging in independent mobility on their school trips.
To study this, she reviewed active school travel interventions and did a quantitative investigation of differences in determinants of independent mobility between boys and girls. Findings have implications for future research and practice among intervention facilitators and evaluators, public health practitioners, policymakers, educators, and school administrators.