Rural Aging Research Program
Based at Trent University, in one of Canada’s most rapidly aging rural regions, the Rural Aging Research Program, created out of the now completed Canada Research Chair in Rural Aging, Health and Social Care program, works towards building new knowledge, collaborations and capacity aimed at better understanding and informing how rural communities are responding to population aging.
Featuring community-based research projects across Canada and internationally, Dr. Mark Skinner, Dr. Elizabeth Russell and their team are looking to uncover how older residents, volunteers, service providers, community leaders and policymakers are adapting, often in innovative ways, to the challenges and opportunities of aging rural communities.
One of the unique emphases of the Rural Aging Research Program, led by Dr. Mark Skinner, is on developing rural insights into the important and increasingly precarious role of volunteers and voluntary organizations in supporting aging in place and in sustaining aging communities into the 21st Century.
Another unique emphasis, led by Dr. Elizabeth Russell, is on understanding the factors that may help or hinder the sustainability of rural age-friendly initiatives and the ways that these initiatives may be limited in their scope, reach and ability to be inclusive of marginalized older adults.
The Rural Aging Research Program was awarded Trent University’s inaugural 2021 Research Impact Award for its work stewarding original and impactful research that makes a significant contribution to society. Additionally, Elizabeth Russell was awarded a 2022 Early Career Researcher Award.
Who we are
Dr. Mark Skinner
Mark Skinner, Ph.D., is Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Trent University, where he also holds the appointment of Professor of Geography in the Trent School of the Environment. A leading rural aging scholar, Mark was the founding director of the Trent Centre for Aging & Society (2013-2018).
Follow Mark's research on Google Scholar.
E-mail - markskinner [at] trentu.ca
Dr. Elizabeth Russell
Elizabeth Russell, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology at Trent University, and the Director of the Trent Centre for Aging & Society.
E-mail - elizabethrussell [at] trentu.ca
Amber Zapletal, M.A., is Coordinator of both the Rural Aging Research Program, and the Trent Centre for Aging & Society. She graduated in 2018 with the Collaborative Specialization in Aging Studies from the Masters of Arts in Sustainability Studies program at Trent University.
Follow Amber's research on Google Scholar.
Email - amberzapletal [at] trentu.ca
Erika Snowden is a Research Assistant for the Rural Aging Research Program and Administrative Assistant for the Trent Centre for Aging & Society. She is also a 4th year honours thesis student in Trent's Department of Psychology.
Email - esnowden [at] trentu.ca
Building Sustainable Rural Age-Friendly Communities
Led by Dr. Elizabeth Russell (Trent University) and Dr. Mark Skinner (Trent University), a SSHRC funded study of the factors that both strengthen and inhibit the sustainability of age-friendly community programs in rural Canada.
Rural Gerontology: Towards Critical Perspectives on Rural Ageing
Led by Dr. Mark Skinner (Trent University), Dr. Rachel Winterton (La Trobe University) and Dr. Kieran Walsh (National University of Ireland Galway), a CRC funded collaboration to provide the first foundation of knowledge about the intellectual traditions, contemporary scope and future prospects for the interdisciplinary field of rural gerontology....
Older Voluntarism in Aging Rural Communities
Led by Dr. Mark Skinner (Trent University), Dr. Elizabeth Russell (Trent University) and Amber Colibaba (Trent University), a CRC funded community-based investigation into the prospect and precarity of older rural volunteers and volunteer-based supports for older people in rural communities, based on foundational work in rural libraries.
Services for an Aging Rural Population
Co-written by Dr. Mark Skinner & Dr. Elizabeth Russell for the Rural Ontario Institute 2019 Foresight Papers, Services for an Aging Rural Population describes how rural services are relevant to an aging population. It also discusses the challenges to delivering rural services and provides examples from rural Ontario communities who have been successful...
Improving Social Inclusion through Sharing Dance
Led by Dr. Mark Skinner (Trent University) and Dr. Rachel Herron (Brandon University), an innovative collaboration with Canada’s National Ballet School is building new knowledge and arts-based research capacity into the potential for dance programs to improve social inclusion for Canadians with dementia and their carers.
Community Reintegration of Aging Offenders
Led by Dr. Mark Skinner (Trent University), a community-based collaboration with partners from Correctional Services Canada, Trent University, Dalhousie University and Centennial College is at the forefront of examining the contexts and experiences of formerly incarcerated older adults as they re-enter the community.
Led by Dr. Mark Skinner (Trent University), Dr. Gavin Andrews (McMaster University) and Dr. Malcolm Cutchin (Wayne State University), a CRC funded collaboration to advance the foundation of knowledge about geographical perspectives, concepts and approaches to the study of aging, old age and older populations.
Aging Resource Communities
Led by Dr. Mark Skinner (Trent University) and Dr. Neil Hanlon (UNBC), in collaboration with Dr. Greg Halseth (UNBC) and Dr. Alun Joseph (University of Guelph), a SSHRC funded collaborative investigation into the new phenomenon of resource frontier aging in Canada and internationally.