Dr. Dawn Mackey

Associate Professor
Postdoctoral Fellowship (San Francisco Coordinating Center)
Ph.D. Epidemiology (University of California, Berkeley)
M.Sc. Kinesiology (Simon Fraser University)

B.Sc. Honours Kinesiology (Simon Fraser University)

 (778) 782-9330
 (778) 782-3040

Lab website: Aging and Population Health Lab


Associate Member, Department of Gerontology, Simon Fraser University
Core Member, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
Scholar, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

Research Interests

Mobility Matters!

Mobility encompasses the ability to walk and perform daily activities, to be physically active, and to participate in society. Mobility fosters wellbeing, purpose, and connectedness. Unfortunately, mobility limitations are common among older adults and have profound negative impacts on independence and quality of life. Major sources of mobility limitation include fall-related injuries, lack of physical activity, and fatigue during daily activities.

In Dr. Mackey’s Aging and Population Health Lab, we are committed to conducting clinical research on mobility and aging to ensure healthy aging for all Canadians and the sustainability of the nation’s health care costs. Our research generates new insights about the cause, prevention, and management of age-related mobility limitations, which we translate with our partners, into new strategies to improve mobility for older Canadians.

Research in the Aging and Population Health Lab incorporates methods and techniques from epidemiology, biostatistics, and knowledge translation. These include clinical trials, feasibility and proof-of-concept studies, longitudinal cohort studies, causal inference, laboratory experiments, qualitative inquiries, knowledge synthesis, meta-analysis, and formative evaluation.

Our Mission: To enable mobility in older adults.

Selected Publications

  1. Lachance CC, Korall AMB, Russell CM, Feldman F, Robinovitch SN, Mackey DC. Hand forces exerted by long-term care staff when pushing wheelchairs on compliant and non-compliant flooring. Appl Ergon. 2018;71:95-101.

  2. Lachance CC, Mackey DC. Feasibility of compliant flooring in long-term care: Results from a stakeholder symposium. Can J Aging. 2018;37(1):84-94.
  3. Lachance CC, Jurkowski MP, Dymarz AC, Robinovitch SN, Feldman F, Laing AC, Mackey DC. Compliant flooring to prevent fall-related injuries in older adults: A scoping review of biomechanical efficacy, clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and workplace safety. PLoS One. 2017;12(2):e0171652.
  4. Mackey DC, Lui LY, Cawthon PM, Ensrud K, Yaffe K, Cummings SR. Life-space mobility and mortality in older women: Prospective results from the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016;64(11):2226-2234.
  5. Yang Y, Mackey DC, Liu-Ambrose T, Leung PM, Feldman F, Robinovitch SN. Clinical risk factors for head impact during falls in older adults: A prospective cohort study in long-term care. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2017;32(3):168-177.
  6. Lachance CC, Korall AM, Russell CM, Feldman F, Robinovitch SN, Mackey DC. External hand forces exerted by long-term care staff to push floor-based lifts: Effects of flooring system and resident weight. Hum Factors. 2016;58(6):927-43.
  7. Lachance CC, Feldman F, Laing AC, Leung PM, Robinovitch SN, Mackey DC. Study protocol for the Flooring for Injury Prevention (FLIP) Study: a randomised controlled trial in long-term care. Inj Prev. 2016;22(6):453-460.
  8. Ensrud KE, Blackwell TL, Cauley JA, Dam TT, Cawthon PM, Schousboe JT, Barrett-Connor E, Stone KL, Bauer DC, Shikany JM, Mackey DC; Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study Group. Objective measures of activity level and mortality in older men. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014;62(11):2079-87.
  9. Richardson CA, Glynn NW, Ferrucci LG, Mackey DC. Walking energetics, fatigability, and fatigue in older adults: the study of energy and aging pilot. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2015;70(4):487-94.
  10. Mackey DC, Cauley JA, Barrett-Connor E, Schousboe JT, Cawthon PM, Cummings SR; Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Research Group. Life-space mobility and mortality in older men: a prospective cohort study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014;62(7):1288-96.
  11. Cauley JA, Harrison SL, Cawthon PM, Ensrud KE, Danielson ME, Orwoll E, Mackey DC. Objective measures of physical activity, fractures, and falls: The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS). J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Jul;61(7):1080-8.
  12. Cawthon PM, Blackwell TL, Cauley JA, Ensrud K, Dam TT, Harrison S, Peters KW, Mackey DC. Objective assessment of activity, energy expenditure, and functional limitations in older men: The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS). J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013;68(12):1518-24.
  13. Mackey DC, Manini TM, Schoeller D, Goodpaster BH, Koster A, Glynn NW, Satterfield S, Newman AB, Harris TB, Cummings SR. Validation of an armband to measure free-living energy expenditure in older adults: The Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011;66A(10):1108-13.
  14. Mackey DC, Black DM, Bauer DC, McCloskey EV, Eastell R, Mesenbrink P, Thompson JR, Cummings SR. Effects of antiresorptive treatment on non-vertebral fracture outcomes. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2011;26(10):2411-8.
  15. Mackey DC, Hubbard AE, Cawthon PM, Cauley JA, Cummings SR, Tager IB; for the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Research Group. Usual Physical Activity and Hip Fracture in Older Men: An Application of Semiparametric Methods to Observational Data. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2011;173(5):578-86.
  16. Mackey DC, Lui LY, Cawthon PM, Bauer DC, Nevitt MC, Cauley JA, Hillier TA, Lewis CE, Barrett-Connor E, Cummings SR. High-trauma fractures and low bone mineral density in older women and men. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;298(20):2381-8.

For a full list of publications, please see PubMed


BPK 304W – Inquiry and Measurement in Kinesiology (Writing Intensive)

Training Opportunities

Graduate Students and Post Docs

Dr. Dawn Mackey welcomes applications from prospective MSc and PhD students from a range of backgrounds including kinesiology, human kinetics, exercise physiology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, public health, knowledge translation, biostatistics, and epidemiology.

Dr. Mackey is an Associate Professor at SFU in the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar, a core member of the UBC Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, and an Associate Member of the Department of Gerontology at SFU. Through these affiliations, trainees have access to a wide variety of valuable and high-level training resources.

Dr. Mackey is currently accepting applications for graduate students in two main areas.

  1. Core Outcome Sets for Physical Activity Trials. This project will use knowledge synthesis techniques and consensus building exercises toward the definition of standardized sets of outcome domains for physical activity trials.
  2. Physical Activity Adherence. This project will determine the effects of physical activity promotion interventions on uptake and adherence to regular physical activity among inactive older adults.

If you are interested and qualified, please contact Dr. Mackey via email at with your areas of interest, current curriculum vitae, and academic transcripts. Positions will be available until filled. Start dates are flexible.

Undergraduate Student Opportunities

Dr. Mackey accepts applications from undergraduate students to gain experience in the lab through volunteer positions, undergraduate student research awards (USRA), Co-op education placements, and directed studies and honour’s courses. See the Aging and Population Health Lab web page for more details.


The Lab’s research is funded by the following agencies: