Lakehead researchers secure SSHRC grants for innovative social projects

April 26, 2024 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

Seven researchers at Lakehead University have received $220,000 in grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for research topics ranging from food systems policy to intergenerational mobility and economics.

Dr. Idevania Costa in the School of Nursing will receive a $64,964 Insight Development Grant for the project, “Digital Storytelling: A Tool for Promoting Critical Reflection, Advancing Inclusivity and Creating Trauma-Informed Wound Care”.

Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo, Faculty of Education (Orillia Campus), will receive a Partnership Engage Grant worth $24,900 for her project, “The Applied Self-Regulation Knowledge Network Partnership: Improving Well-Being Among University Students”.

Dr. Costa's project will use digital storytelling (DST), which comprises arts-based visuals such as collage, photovoice and/or ebooks, for education and health promotion as a component of narrative therapy to support individuals and families in telling their stories.

“By combining storytelling with technology, the goal is to empower these individuals to express themselves and for others, like health-care providers and policymakers, to better understand their challenges,” explained Dr. Costa, an associate professor in nursing and research associate at Lakehead's Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health.

Researchers hope to uncover the factors that impact people's health and access to care, and to inform policymakers about the structural inequalities and fragmentation within the health-care system. Dr. Costa and her project team have garnered support from Wounds Canada, a leading national wound care association, which hosts the compelling stories on its website.

“This knowledge can lead to the development of more inclusive and culturally sensitive health-care policies and practices,” Dr. Costa said. “Furthermore, by amplifying the voices of marginalized people, the research can ensure that their perspectives are considered in decision-making processes, ultimately leading to more equitable and effective health-care services for all.”

Dr. Mastrangelo's project continues her work with the Applied Self-Regulation Knowledge Network (A.S.K.) to improve outcomes for university students who experience mental health challenges in the wake of COVID-19. A return to in-person learning has been a difficult transition for many students. The long period of isolation resulted in difficulties with emotion regulation, time management, group work, and overall university-life engagement.

“Drawing on research in the fields of mental health and post-secondary learning, the partnership will foster innovative research, training, and the co-creation of new knowledge on the critical issue of well being, which has intellectual, social and economic significance,” said Dr. Mastrangelo, assistant dean and associate professor in education.

The project will pilot video-based modules with Lakehead students, conduct focus groups, and administer a tool (the Post-Secondary Student Stressors Index) designed to help researchers and institutions evaluate the sources of student stress. Dr. Mastrangelo expects the research will also address community engagement, relationship building with faculty, and student collaboration groups.

“The long-term benefits and outcomes include an increased knowledge of the factors that contribute to well-being among post-secondary students, and integrated knowledge between researchers and campus student support centers to shape policies that will ultimately benefit all members of the university community,” she said.

“Congratulations to each researcher and thank you to SSHRC for the continued support of Lakehead University,” stated Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “Our researchers continue to do important work in the fields of health and social sciences, work that improves the quality of life for humanity and the economic viability of the communities and regions in which we live.”

In 2022/23, Lakehead University received more than $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, research facilities, and research security.

New SSHRC Funding
Total amount received: $219,710

Insight Development Grants (Two-Year Grants)

Dr. Lida Fan, School of Social Work, “Are Highborns Born High? An In-Depth Investigation of Intergenerational Mobility in Education in Canada in a Cross-Country Comparison with Meta-Study”, $30,158'


  • Dr. Nazim Habibov, University of Windsor
  • Dr. Rong Luo, University of Windsor

Dr. Idevania Geraldina Costa, School of Nursing, “Digital Storytelling: A Tool for Promoting Critical Reflection, Advancing Inclusivity and Creating Trauma-Informed Wound Care, School of Nursing”, $64,964


  • Dr. Virginie Blanchette, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
  • Dr. Pilar Camargo-Plazas, Queen’s University
  • Dr. Janet Kuhnke, Cape Breton University
  • Dr. Catherine Phillips, Lakehead University
  • Dr. Michelle Spadoni, Lakehead University


  • Mariam Botros, CEO, Wounds Canada
  • Jeremy Caul, Wound care lead
  • Linda Moss, Patients’/caregivers’ advocate

Partnership Engage Grants (One-Year Grants)

Dr. Deborah Scharf, Department of Psychology, “How are Youth Using Cannabis Today? Exploring Novel and Multimodal Cannabis Use in Thunder Bay”, $24,692.


  • Chelsea Noël, Lakehead University


  • City of Thunder Bay

Dr. Robert Petrunia, Department of Economics, “Access to Cash: The Role of Bank Competition and Entry in Local Markets”, $25,000.

Team Members:

  • Dr. Heng Chen, Bank of Canada
  • Dr. Kim Huynh, Bank of Canada


  • Bank of Canada

Dr. Charles Levkoe, Department of Health Sciences, “Building a Sustained, Cross-Sector, Participatory Provincial Food Systems Policy Process”, $25,000.

Team Member:

●      Dr. Leigh Potvin, Lakehead University


●      Sustain Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario

Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo, Faculty of Education (Orillia Campus), “The Applied Self Regulation Knowledge Network Partnership: Improving Well-Being Among University Students”, $24,900.


  • The Applied Self-Regulation Knowledge Network, Peterborough, Ontario

Connection Grant (One-year Grant)

Dr. Keira Loukes, School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Tourism, “Following Manoomin: Connecting Anishinaabe Harvesters through the Manoomin Harvesters’ Gathering”, $24,996.


  • Anishinaabek Employment and Training Services, Pic River, Ontario
  • Biigtigong Nishnaabeg Endzhi-gkinoohmaading Elementary School, Heron Bay, Ontario
Idevania Costa and Sonia Mastrangelo