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Esme Fuller-Thomson


Professor & Director, Institute for Life Course and Aging
Ph.D., Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley

Phone Number: 
(416) 978-3269
Office Location: 

Room 514

Research Interests: 
  • social determinants of health
  • gerontology
  • chronic health conditions
  • mental health
  • adverse childhood experiences

Esme Fuller-Thomson has been Director of the Institute for Life Course and Aging since 2016. She is a full professor with cross-appointments to the Department of Family & Community Medicine and the Faculty of Nursing. She joined the FIFSW in 1995.

She has published 140 peer-reviewed articles on the long-term health impacts of adverse childhood experience, grandparents raising grandchildren, social determinants of disability among older adults and immigrants’ health.  She has publications in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, American Journal of Public Health and Social Work. SSHRC, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Retirement Research Foundation, Health Canada, the Commonwealth Foundation and the Archstone Foundation have funded Esme’s research.

Esme’s research has also had an influence outside the academic community. Her research on disability and poverty was discussed in Time Magazine’s cover story (12/04/06) on “This Year in Medicine”. Her studies have been featured in all major wire services and in hundreds of newspaper articles on five continents including front page articles in The Chicago Tribune and The National Post and front of section articles in The Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail. Esme’s research was profiled in a television documentary on CBC’s The National. Her research on the housing needs of American grandparent caregivers provided the background for testimony to the U.S. Congress. She held the Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair in Social Work from 2009-2019, and was the I. Anson Assistant Professor from 1995-2002. Esme is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.


Recent Media Coverage of Esme Fuller-Thomson’s Research:

– Esme panelist on “The Future of Health Care in an Aging World” session presented by the Sandra A. Rotman Centre for Health Sector Strategy at Rotman

– Reader’s Digest article on Migraines and Anxiety

Globe & Mail article on The Truth About Teen Drinking (October 2016)

– Coverage of Esme’s early adversity research in UofT Magazine (September 2016)

– Washington Post article on Surprising News about Depression(June 2016)

Full Recovery from Depression Possible article in Glamour Magazine (June 2016)

CBC interview’s Esme on binge drinking research (March 9, 2016)

More Grandparents are Raising their Grandchildren PBS (February 2016)

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Toronto Star article (August 2014)

Toronto Star article on link between childhood abuse and dyslexia (July 2014)

CTV News highlights Esme’s research on binge drinking among junior high students.

CBS TV and the Toronto Star features Esme’s research on the link between parental divorce and men’s risk of stroke.

– NBC’s Today Show features Esme Fuller-Thomson’s research: ” Study links divorce and kids’ suicidal thoughts .”

Atlantic article on Esme’s research linking parental divorce and smoking.

– Research by Esme Fuller-Thomson was featured in the New York Times report, “Sons of Divorce Fare Worse Than Daughters “, January 25, 2011.

– Esme Fuller-Thomson appears on TVO’s, The Agenda with Steve Paikin to address Boomers and Elderly Care.

Listen to Esme’s interview on her research showing a link between parental divorce and stroke for BBC Radio’s World Service News (November 22, 2010).

– Canada AM (CTV) coverage of research linking childhood abuse and heart disease, July 23, 2010

– CTV National News reports on link between childhood abuse & cancer, June 25, 2009