Student & ECR Spotlight – Dr. Isabelle Doré is interested in psychosocial mechanisms underpinning the benefits of (group) physical activity on mental health among youth, cancer patients and survivors and immunosuppressed populations

Please tell us about your career pathway to date (positions and institutes).

I completed a master’s degree in sociology and a PhD in epidemiology and public health at the Université de Montréal and a postdoctoral fellowship in kinesiology at University of Toronto. Since July 2019, I hold an assistant professor position at the School of Kinesiology and Physical Activity Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine of Université de Montréal and a researcher position at the CHUM Research Centre.

What is your main research interest?

My main research interests focus on social contexts of physical activity (informal groups, team sports, clinical group prehabilitation and rehabilitation interventions) and positive mental health (well-being, wellness) and anxiety and depressive symptoms. I am also interested in investigating psychosocial mechanisms such as, sense of belonging, relatedness, social support underpinning the association between physical activity and mental health using innovative causal inference analysis.

How do you explain your current research/job to friends and family?

I want to better understand how physical activity can positively impact mental health to develop adapted, targeted and effective interventions to foster well-being and prevent anxiety and depression in youth, cancer population and immunosuppressed people.

What do you think will be the next most important development in the nutrition and/or physical activity field? 

It might not be the next one… but I do hope (and I will work hard for it!) that one day we will have physical activity guidelines that recognize the importance of specific physical activity modalities (context, motives/reasons why to be active, free and active play, etc.) do matter to promote global health, and especially mental health.

What’s something you have learnt about your research or yourself that was unexpected?

Being now an assistant professor and researcher, I realized that I am still learning every day and most of the time, I am learning from my graduate students. They make me work hard, they make me realize every day that I have the most amazing job, they drive my curiosity; I am so grateful to navigate with them in their discovery of scientific research.

If you’d like to get in contact with Isabelle, you can reach her via Twitter @isab_dore or email [email protected]