Dr. Valerie Michaelson
Promoting the well-being of children by integrating
empirical research with
critical reflection on social, cultural and religious values
Cultural, social and religious values and practices often function as protective health assets in children’s lives. Sometimes, however, related messaging is used to violate the rights and well-being of children. For example, it can be used to justify and normalize violence against children, to deny children the right to comprehensive sexuality education, and to provide constraining messages about gender expectations, roles and norms.
I am a qualitative researcher who works collaboratively in mixed research paradigms. My current projects focus on the spiritual and mental dimensions of health, health equity, decolonization and violence against children.
The goal of my work is to examine the social factors that support or impede the well-being of children. My hope is that this knowledge contributes to optimizing health outcomes in Canadian children.
I recognize children as competent, active agents in interpreting their own worlds, and therefore have participatory strands, in which young people are positioned as co-researchers, in most of my projects.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela