Institute Director

Director, Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD, M.S.W.

Esme_photo 5 megs Dr. Esme Fuller-Thomson is the Director of the Institute for Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto. She is a professor in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and is cross-appointed with the Department of Family & Community Medicine and the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing.

Dr. Fuller-Thomson has published almost 200 peer-reviewed articles in academic journals. Her three major areas of research are the long-term health impacts of childhood maltreatment, grandparents raising grandchildren and social determinants of disability among older adults. She primarily teaches courses in the area of gerontology, research methods and evidence based practice. Esme has been on the faculty at the University of Toronto since completing her M.S.W. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 1995. She also holds a B.A. and a B.S.W. from McGill University.

Dr. Fuller-Thomson’s research has been published in a wide range of fields including medicine (e.g., New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet), Gerontology (e.g., Journals of Gerontology ), Public Health (e.g., American Journal of Public Health), Psychiatry (e.g., Psychiatry Research) and Social Work (e.g., Social Work; Health & Social Work). Her research has also had an influence outside the academic community. Her research on disability and poverty among older adults was discussed in Time Magazine’s cover story (12/04/06) on “This Year in Medicine”. Her studies have been featured in hundreds of newspaper articles including The Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The National Post, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail & Times of India. Esme’s research on Canadian grandparents raising grandchildren was profiled in a television documentary on CBC’s The National. Her research on the housing needs of American grandparent caregivers provided the background for testimony to the U.S. Congress. The resulting legislation funding demonstration projects of public housing for grandparent caregivers was passed into law in 2003.

Esme has been an investigator on research grants funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Retirement Research Foundation, Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement, Health Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Citizenship and Immigration, Canada, the Commonwealth Foundation and the Archstone Foundation.

Curriculum Vitae Oct 2021