Leia Minaker

Associate Professor | Director, Future Cities Institute

Leia Minaker

Ph.D. Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta, 2013

M.Sc. Health Promotion, University of Alberta, 2006

B.Sc. Health Studies, University of Waterloo

Contact information

519-888-4567 ext. 45615
Location:  EV3 3239

Academic honours

  • Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute Career Development Award in Cancer Prevention (2016-2019)
  • Faculty of Environment: Environment Research Excellence Award

Research interests

  • Healthy Cities
  • Healthy environments for chronic disease prevention
  • Food systems, food environments, and nutrition
  • Youth mental health
  • Health equity
  • Population health intervention research

Research grants/projects

  • Urban environments and youth mental health: examining how adolescent mental health indicators are associated with urban design and cognitive architecture in a mid-sized Ontario city. 
    (NPA: L.M. Minaker Co-applicants: J. Dean, S. Doherty, C. Ellard.) 
    • Funded by: CIHR Operating Grant $100,000
    • Grant Period 2021-2022

  • Exploring children and teens’ engagement with restaurant marketing in Canada.
    (NPA: L.M. Minaker Co-applicants: M. Potvin Kent.)
    • Funded by: Health Canada Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion contract $40,000
    • Grant Period 2021-2022
  • An analysis of the food environment in Canada: INFORMAS Canada.
    (NPA: Lana Vanderlee, Mary L’Abbe Co-applicants: L.M. Minaker, S. Kirk, J. Moubarac, V. Provencher, M. Labonte, C.Mulligan, K. Raine, C. Mah, D. Olstad, A. Schram, M. Potvin Kent, L. Vergeer.)
    • Funded by: CIHR Operating Grant $585, 226
    • Grant Period 2020 – 2023
  • Food Retail Environment Surveillance for Health and Economic Resiliency (FRESHER) Ontario.
    (NPA: Jason Gilliland Co-Applicants: L.M. Minaker, S. Doherty, et al.)
    • Funded by: Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund $114,460
    • Grant Period 2020-2021
  • Food Retail Environment Surveillance for Health & Economic Resiliency: The FRESHER Futures Project.
    (NPA: Jason Gilliland Co-Applicants: L.M. Minaker, S. Doherty, et al.)
    • Funded by: Western Catalyst Grant $48,187
    • Grant Period 2020 – 2021
  • Smart Cities, Healthy Citizens? Optimizing Health and Equity in City Policy Making.
    (Winters M, Cloutier MS (co-PI) Fuller, D, Brauer M, Breux S, Riva M, Holden M, Minaker L, German M, Belaye H.)
    • Funded by: CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant (Healthy Cities) $23,235
    • Grant Period 2019 –2020
  • The role of retailers in food availability, food prices, and population dietary risk: a mixed-method study of the consumer food environment.
    (NPA: Catherine Mah. Co-As: Kristie Jameson, Leia Minaker, Yanqing Yi.)
    • Funded by: Heart and Stroke Foundation $287,500
    • Grant Period 2019 – 2022
  • Creating healthier cities through monitoring Canadian retail food environments: using a novel administrative database to establish valid, small-area, Canada-wide, open-access measures to monitor the retail food environment for population health intervention research and municipal food environment policy action.
    (NPA: Minaker, LM, Co-As: Ross, N, Widener M.)
    • Funded by: CIHR Operating Grant: Data analysis using existing databases and cohorts $99,628
    • Grant Period 2019-2021
  • Reducing retail merchandising of discretionary food and beverages in remote Indigenous community stores.
    (PI: Julie Brimblecombe. Co-Applicants: Leia. M. Minaker, Catherine Mah, Anna Peeters, Erica Miles, Tom Wycherley, Megan Ferguson, Emma McMahon.)
    • Funded by: National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Government $940,176 (AUD) (approx. $874,000 CAD)
    • Grant Period 2017-2020

Contact Leia Minaker for more information on research opportunities for students. 

Graduate student supervision

  Number of students currently supervising/co-supervising Total number of student supervisions/co-supervisions
Masters 4 11
PhD 3 4

Recent/key publications

[* = student co-authors]

  • Olstad, D.L., Nejatinamini, S., Victorino, C., Kirkpatrick, S.I., Minaker, L.M., McLaren, L. (Accepted). Socioeconomic inequities in diet quality among a nationally representative sample of adults living in Canada: An analysis of trends between 2004 and 2015. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • Smith, L., Liu, B.*, Farber, S., Larsen, K., Patterson, Z., Minaker, L.M., Gilliland, J., Widener, M. (2021). Comparing household and individual measures of access through a food environment lens: what household food opportunities are missed when measuring access to food retail at the individual level? Annals of the American Association of Geographers. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2021.1930513
  • Liu, B., Widener, M., Lindsey, S., Farber, S., Minaker, L.M., Patterson, Z., Larsen, K., Gilliland, J. (Accepted). Disentangling Time Use, Food Environment, and Food Behaviors using Multi-Channel Sequence Analysis. Geographical Analysis.
  • Buttazzoni, A.,* Parker, A.,* Minaker, L.M. (2021). Investigating the mental health implications of urban environments with neuroscientific methods and mobile technologies: A systematic literature review. Health and Place. 70, 102597. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca/10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102597
  • Ong, V.,* Skinner, K., Minaker, L.M. (2021). Life stories of food agency, health, and resilience in a rapidly gentrifying urban centre: Building a multidimensional concept of food access. Social Science and Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114074
  • Nejatinamini, S., Godley, J., Minaker, L.M., Sajobi, T.T., McCormack, G.R., Cooke, M.J., Nykiforuk, C.I.J., de Koning, L., Olstad, D.L. (2021). Quantifying the contribution of modifiable risk factors to socio-economic inequities in cancer morbidity and mortality: a nationally representative population-based cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca/10.1093/ije/dyab067
  • Mollaei, S.,* Dias, G., Minaker, L.M. (2021). Development and Testing of the Sustainable Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Retail Stores in Ontario. Public Health Nutrition. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980021000446 
  • K. Brar,* L.M. Minaker. (2021). Geographic reach and nutritional quality of foods available from mobile Online Food Delivery Service applications: novel opportunities for retail food environment surveillance. BMC Public Health. 21(458). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10489-2
  • A. Buttazzoni,* S. Doherty, L.M. Minaker. (2021). How do Urban Environments Affect Youth Mental Health? A Novel Conceptual Framework to Bridge Public Health, Planning, and Neurourbanism. Public Health Reports. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033354920982088
  • Buttazzoni, A.,* Brar, K.,* Minaker, L.M. (2021). Smartphone-based interventions and internalizing disorders in youth: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 23(1), e16490.
  • Huang, Y.,* Parker, D., Minaker, L.M. (2021) Identifying the latent demand for transit-oriented development neighbourhoods: evidence from a mid-sized urban area in Canada. Journal of Transport Geography. 90 (102940). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2020.102940
  • Buttazzoni, A.,* Tariq, U., Thompson-Haile, A., Burkhalter, R., Cooke, M., Minaker, L.M. (2021). Adolescent gender identity, sexual preference, and cannabis use: potential mediations by internalizing disorder risk. Health Education & Behavior. 48(1) https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198120965509
  • Brimblecombe, J. McMahon, E., Ferguson, M., De Silva, K, Peeters, A., Miles, E., Wycherley, T., Minaker, L., Greenacre, L., Gunther, A., Chappell, E., Chatfield, M.D., Mah, C.L. (2020) Effect of restricted retail merchandising of discretionary food and beverages on population diet: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial.  Lancet Planetary Health. 4(10):e4630e473. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30202-3.
  • A. Buttazzoni,* U. Tariq, A. Thompson-Haile, R. Burkhalter, M. Cooke, L. M. Minaker.(2020). Cannabis use and stigma among Canadian high school students: results from the 2015 and 2017 Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey. Addictive Behaviors. 111:106547 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106547.
  • Michelle Aktary, BSc; Stephanie Caron-Roy; Tolulope Sajobi; Heather O'Hara; Peter Leblanc; Sharlette Dunn; Gavin R. McCormack; Dianne Timmins; Kylie Ball; Shauna Downs; Leia M. Minaker; Candace I. J. Nykiforuk; Jenny Godley; Katrina Milaney; Bonnie Lashewicz; Bonnie Fournier; Charlene Elliott; Kim D. Raine; Rachel J. L. Prowse; Dana Lee Olstad. (2020). Impact of a farmers' market nutrition coupon program on diet quality and psychosocial well-being among low-income adults: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial and a longitudinal qualitative investigation. BMJ Open. 10: e035143.http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035143.
  • A. Buttazzoni,* M. Veenhof,* L.M. Minaker. (2020). Smart city and high-tech urban interventions targeting human health: an equity-focused systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 17(7): 2325. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17072325.
  • S. Turner,* L.M. Minaker. (2020). The value in community gardens: a return on investment analysis. Canadian Food Studies. 7(1):154-177.DOI: https://doi.org/10.15353/cfs-rcea.v7i1.332 .

Courses taught

  • ENVS 178: Environmental Research Methods
  • PLAN 432/HLTH 420/GEOG 432: Health, Environment and Planning
  • PLAN 639: Health, Environment and Planning
  • PLAN 700: Planning Paradigms and Theory