Dr. Michael Widener receives distinguished alumni award
Congratulations to Dr. Michael Widener who received the 2022 Early Career Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Geography & Geographic Information Science at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The Early Career Alumni Achievement Award recognizes younger graduates who have demonstrated innovative and responsible professional leadership, the potential for future distinction and a commitment to serving others.
Dr. Widener received a BA with Highest Distinction in Geography from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2007. He went on to obtain an MS in Geography from Florida State University in 2009 and a PhD in Geography from University at Buffalo in 2012.
Dr. Widener is a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Transportation and Health at the University of Toronto. He also serves as the Director of Health Studies at University College, and as an Associate Professor in Geography and Planning, with a cross-appointment in Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
Outside of U of T, Dr. Widener serves on various journals’ editorial boards, is a member of CIHR’s College of Reviewers, co-leads the Social and Health Factors Cluster of the Network of European Communication & Transportation Activity Researchers (NECTAR), and co-chairs the Prioritizing Populations theme of the Mobilizing Justice Partnership.
Dr. Widener is a health geographer whose research focuses on how public health affects, and is affected by, movement and transportation systems. His primary project at the moment is an exploration of how time pressure, transportation options, and divisions of household labour impact access to food and dietary behaviours. Additional studies are focused on the links between mobility, mental health, and isolation for older adult populations, and on how advanced geospatial technologies (like GPS) can be used to provide useful insights for public health policy.
In the classroom, Dr. Widener teaches courses on geographic information science, mapping health data, and spatial statistics at the undergraduate and graduate levels.