Joined September 2002

Jackie Bender BSc MSc PhD

Health Researcher

People, Health Equity and Innovation (PHI)

416.340.4800 x8116

Where are you from?

I grew up in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto. But I spent most of my time in gymnasiums, upside down on my hands.

What are you passionate about ?

I am passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of people with chronic conditions.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

Music, film, literature, language, good food, physical activity and travel.

Professional Bio

Jackie is an educator and behavioural health scientist. She a Research Scientist with the Phi Group at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, and ELLICSR Health, Wellness and Cancer Survivorship Centre at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Jackie studies ways to improve the health and health care experience of people with cancer and other chronic diseases through the use of information and communication technologies. Her main areas of research include: understanding the self-management needs, attitudes and behaviours of people with chronic conditions and their caregivers, and their use of information technology; designing and evaluating eHealth interventions to improve the delivery of supportive care services, create peer support networks and facilitate self-management; and developing strategies to foster collaboration among patients, researchers and clinicians to transform patient care.

Jackie received her PhD (2011) and MSc (2005) in Health and Behavioural Science from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Her thesis supervisor was Dr. Alejandro Jadad and her committee members were Dr. Lorraine Ferris and Dr. Joel Katz. For her doctoral dissertation, she examined the role of online communities as a source of supportive care for breast cancer survivors. This research included the first systematic review of online communities and groups on Facebook for breast cancer survivors, as well as a survey of the online support use of a national sample of peer support providers, and a theoretical examination of the conditions that influence their adoption of online communities as coping resources.

For her Master’s thesis, Jackie investigated the information needs of breast cancer patients in pain. This work led to the development of the Virtual Coach for Pain Management, a web-based clinical appointment preparation tool, which coaches patients to prepare questions to ask their health care team about their pain. As an undergraduate, she studied Physiology and Neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

Outside of academia, Jackie is known for her unique hand and head balancing skills – a testament to her previous career as a gymnast and member of the Canadian National Artistic Gymnastics Team.