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Professor, Social Work, University of Waterloo

Susan's research concerns positive aspects of stress and coping in various health situations, particularly posttraumatic growth. She is a member of several multidisciplinary research teams in grief and beravement. Current research includes memorial tattoos and grief after an assisted death (Medical Assistance in Dying or MAiD). Past projects include posttraumatic growth in parents caring for a child with a life-limiting illness, couples coping with caregiving together as well as undertaking an exploration of family bereavement over time when a child dies. Susan was also a member of a team working to increase social work education in palliative care through the development of social work competencies.

Susan has always been passionate about strengths in social work and human service. One strength that she has always recognized is spirituality. For some, this is the same as religion and for others, those are very different. However they are defined, they can be a source of power and strength and meaning for individuals. Since discovering the notions of the strengths perspective in social work practice and posttraumatic growth, she has dedicated her career in academia to examining the positive aspects of stressful experiences alongside the negatives. She has advocated for more inclusion of both grief and spirituality in social work practice and education.


  • –present
    Professor, University of Waterloo


  • 2000 
    Wilfrid Laurier University, Social Work