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Dr. Gail Wideman

Assistant Professor
School of Social Work
St. John's College, J-4011
Phone: (709) 864-8161

Dr. Gail Wideman has been involved in the school as a sessional and per course instructor since 2001, becoming a full-time Assistant Professor in 2009. Gail completed her Ph.D. in social work at Memorial in March of 2010, a M.S.W. from Wilfrid Laurier in 1992, and a B.A. in sociology at the University of Western Ontario in 1988. Her academic interests span the fields of gerontology and community development. Throughout her career she has been involved primarily in community based programs and services aimed at maintaining and enhancing independence and quality of life for older persons.

The broad focus of Gail’s doctoral research was an exploration of the capacity for older residents to age in place in rural communities where traditional networks of support have been altered by the out-migration of younger persons. Of particular interest was learning about ways of strengthening social work practices through the development and support of what she described as “intermediate resources.” Intermediate resources in Gail’s research are operationalized as activities which are provided by local organizations, are user-driven and belong to the standardized categories of Instrumental or Advanced Activities of Daily Living. Using a case study design and qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews Gail’s doctoral research combined what is known about community development practices with what rural older persons and care providers say they need in order to support aging in place.

Gail’s current research activities include collaborative work to establish a Newfoundland and Labrador Centre on Aging as well ongoing work related to understanding the challenges and opportunities of social work practice with the volunteer sector. Gail also continues to be involved in community-based programs for older persons as member of the board of directors of the Seniors Resource Centre, and as volunteer Chair of the Provincial Caregivers Out of Isolation Project.

Dr. Wideman recently collaborated on an ageism in healthcare project. Treat Me, Not My Age! is a project that began as part of Eastern Health's Ethics Day when Dr. Rick Singleton asked Dr. Gail Wideman, School of Social Work, Memorial University, Liz Kennedy, Regional Director, Clinical Efficiency, Eastern Health, and Janine Churchill-Elliott and Heather Elliott, Long-Term Care, Eastern Health, to talk about ageism in healthcare settings.

The end result is a three-part slideshow that can be used as a learning resource by healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, social workers, pharmacists, as well as students, to assist them with awareness about ageism in healthcare.

Slideshow Part 1

Slideshow Part 2

Slideshow Part 3

Undergraduate Courses Taught:
Social Work in Gerontology
Community Development
Ethical and Legal Issues in Social Work Practice
Palliative Care in Social Work Practice
Research and Evaluation for Social Work Practice
Social Policy
Rural Social Work

Graduate Courses Taught:
Critical Thinking

Publications and Presentations

Gail Wideman, Janice Parsons, Tracy Swan, Cherish Wilkes, Patricia Meaney, “Conceptualizing Knowledge: Knowledge for Use”, presented at the Canadian Association for Social Work Education conference at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, June 2010.

Tracy Swan, Janice Parsons, Gail Wideman, Brenda Gillingham, Patricia Meaney, Bill Ruffett and Judit Alcdale, “Building Inclusion Through Community and University Partnerships: Creating and Mobilizing Knowledge Together”, presented at the Knowledge in Motion Conference, St. John’s, NL, October 2008.

Tracy Swan, Krista Hutchings, Patricia Meaney, Janice Parsons and Gail Wideman, “Barriers to Inclusion: Lone mothers of children with dis(abilities) share their experiences”, presented at the Social Work National Conference, Toronto, ON, May 2008.

Gail Wideman, “Strengthening rural social work practices: The relevance of intermediate support in a Newfoundland community” presented at the meeting of the Affinity Group on Aging, Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research, St. John’s, NL, October 2007.

Gail Wideman (2005) “Vision Impairment”, In F. Turner (Ed.). The Canadian Encyclopedia of Social Work. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier Press.

Gail Wideman, “The impact of out-migration on the lives of older persons in Newfoundland and Labrador: The emerging role of intermediate resources” presented at the meeting of the Seniors Policy and Programs Committee, Department of Health and Community Services, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, September 2003.

Gail Wideman, “The impact of out-migration on the lives of older persons in Newfoundland and Labrador: A research proposal” presented at the International Conference on Human Services in Rural Communities, Halifax, NS, May 2003.

Dr. C. Kenneth Banks and Gail Wideman (1996) “The Company of Neighbours: Building social support through the use of ethnography”, International Social Work 39:317-328.