Our Team

Dr. Madine VanderPlaat 

Academic Director

Dr. Madine Vanderplaat

Dr. Madine VanderPlaat was co-director of the Centre at the time of its founding and has returned following Dr. Colin Howell’s departure. She is a Professor of Sociology who specializes in citizen participation, social inclusion, and the well-being of women, children and families. She is trained in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies with a particular focus on participatory research strategies, gender analysis and evaluation research. Her research has been published in the Canadian Journal of Ethnic StudiesCommunity Development JournalCanadian Journal of Sociology, and School Psychology International among others. She has extensive experience working in multidisciplinary, inter-sectoral research environments at both the national and international levels. 



Dr. Cheryl MacDonald

Associate Director of Outreach

Dr. Cheryl MacDonald is a Saint Mary's University alumna who returned as a SSHRC postdoctoral scholar in 2018. She currently teaches in the HWSS Certificate program and has also taught in Criminology and Atlantic Canada Studies. She is a predominantly qualitative methodologist who spent the past ten years studying masculinity and ice hockey. She has recently undertaken an analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Atlantic University Sport (AUS) athletes. Her research has been published in the Sociology of Sport Journal and she has co-edited a recently released anthology on ice hockey with Dr. Jon Edwards (UNB) through the University of Alberta Press titled Overcoming the Neutral Zone Trap: Hockey's Agents of Change. Dr. MacDonald has twice been a media panelist for the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone initiative through the Edmonton Oilers. More recently she was named a leading social change advocate by The Hockey News Magazine. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Dr. Colin Howell 

Former Academic Director

Dr. Colin Howell

Dr. Colin Howell is a retired History professor and the founder of the Centre for the Study of Sport & Health at Saint Mary’s University.  His teaching and research focused on the history of sport, medicine, and health in Canada.  At Saint Mary’s, Dr. Howell was also a co-founder of the Atlantic Canada Studies undergraduate and graduate programs, the Gorsebrook Research Institute, and the Austin Willis Moving Images Research Centre. Dr. Howell has published widely in the field of sport and health studies, authoring Blood, Sweat and Cheers: Sport and the Making of Modern Canada (2001), Northern Sandlots (1995), a history of the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax and several edited collections. As of June 2020, Dr. Howell retired from his position with the Centre for the Study of Sport & Health but will remain on the Advisory Board. We will celebrate his 50 years at SMU during summer 2021 at the 10th anniversary of The Hockey Conference, which he founded at Saint Mary’s in 2001.



Centre for the Study of Sport and Health
The Homburg Centre for Health and Wellness
920 Tower Road, 2nd Floor
Halifax, NS
Mailing address:
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3C3