Dr. Yoshitaka (Yoshi) Iwasaki is the director of the Community-University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth, and Families (CUP) and associate dean of research in the Faculty of Extension.
Areas of Expertise
- Culture, diversity, and health
- Active living, coping/healing, and quality of life
- Community-based research
- Interdisciplinary, cross-sector, and cross-cultural community-engagement
- Working with and mobilizing marginalized population groups
- Addressing key life challenges (e.g., poverty, racism) from a holistic, humanistic, and strengths-based perspective
Dr. Iwasaki holds a doctorate in recreation and leisure studies in applied health sciences from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. Dr. Iwasaki brings over fifteen years of experience in cross-cultural and inclusive community engagement and research.
His collaborative, partnership-guided research combines the expertise of the community, professionals, and academics in a non-hierarchical and balanced way based on mutual respect and trust, co-learning and mutual capacity-building, power-sharing and co-ownership of research, and collective commitment to social change. His research appreciates the diversity of our society, especially how culture and race/ethnicity are connected with an individual’s socio-economic status, gender, age, disability/ability, and/or sexual orientation.
Using a holistic, social ecological framework, his research aims to mobilize people’s voices into improving their neighborhoods and communities and providing better support.
Dr. Iwasaki has led or co-led research teams working with a number of population groups in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. These include Indigenous/Aboriginal groups, gay/lesbian individuals, and cultural minorities with disabilities such as mental illness.
His research highlights the key life challenges that these minority groups face such as:
- discrimination, oppression, and stigma
- coping with stress and healing from trauma
- cultural identities, connectedness, and inclusion
- leisure, mental health, and life quality.
Dr. Iwasaki’s research aims for positive outcomes through community engagement from holistic/ecological and strengths-based perspectives. His research uses diverse expertise and voices of his community-university partnership-based team integrated into culturally meaningful solutions and pathways.
Dr. Iwasaki’s emerging research focuses on youth engagement and mental health with a goal of better supporting our youth and families. His team is using community-based and youth-oriented participatory action research (PAR) in engaging and working with, and for youth living in marginalized conditions. These conditions include mental health issues, abuse and neglect, and racism and other forms of discrimination. His youth engagement team consists of over 50 partners representing 22 community agencies and seven university disciplines.
Dr. Iwasaki was formerly a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences within the College of Health Professions and Social Work at Temple University, Pennsylvania and a professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation Studies at the University of Manitoba.
He has over 60 refereed journal articles and approximately $5 million in research funding, including federal research grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).