Flora Matheson (Canada)

    Flora is a Scientist at Unity Health Toronto, a teaching hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada affiliated with the University of Canada. She is an Associate Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto.

    Situated at the intersection of health and social sciences, research is the culmination of 20 years of sociological work on gender, justice, health and social-structural inequities with a focus on the health and social challenges associated with (1) problem gambling, poverty, and homelessness and (2) traumatic brain injury, criminal justice involvement and homelessness. Her research in Canada is embedded in the community and engages people with lived expertise, as well as the service providers who support these communities. Her research also has an explicit practice and policy orientation aimed at improving the lives of people experiencing social-structural inequities. She led the creation of a unique –first in Canada –correctional data repository to understand the implications of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among persons entangled with the criminal justice system. Her research recently showed that 41.5% of men leaving the Toronto South Detention Centre were experiencing homelessness prior to their incarceration and that 30% had a medical diagnosis of TBI. The Breaking the Cycle Solutions Network which she originated with a group of stakeholders in Ontario, Canada, emerged in response to the need create a network of researchers, policymakers, community service providers, and persons with lived expertise to work together to educate justice and health professionals about the complex needs of people who are justice involved and specifically with respect to high prevalence of traumatic brain injury (80%) which is often concurrent with homelessness, mental health, and substance use concerns.