Senior Lecturer | University Research Associate

T: 778-782-9876
Office: SFU Vancouver, Room 2800

Sarah L. Canham

Dr. Canham is a University Research Associate with the GRC and a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Gerontology at SFU. She has an MA degree in Applied Sociology (2008) and a PhD in Gerontology (2011) from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Sarah has taught several undergraduate courses over her career, including: Sociology of Aging, Aging & Society, Introduction to Gerontology, and Mental Health & Aging.

Dr. Canham is a social gerontologist and researcher with broad research interests in mental health and aging, including loneliness, sleep problems, and substance abuse in later life, and ways in which aging can be supported through the built environment and technology. Dr. Canham’s strong interest and commitment to the fields of aging and the life course is evident in her work as a community-based researcher in the GRC where she pursues investigations with the support of multiple community partners. Dr. Canham is passionate about conducting research to inform policy, increase quality of life outcomes, and reduce health disparities. Sarah also has an active role in the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), where she is the convener for the Aging, Alcohol, and Addictions Interest Group. Sarah also co-founded and organizes the GSA’s Gerontologists Giving Back Service Event during their annual conference.

With close to 50 presentations and over 20 peer-reviewed articles published to date, Dr. Canham's interdisciplinary research has revolved around topics of social gerontology and the social context of medication and alcohol use in later life, with a specific focus on housing, the built environment, health services, service delivery, and social isolation.


  • PhD (Gerontology) University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • MA (Applied Sociology) University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • BA (Human Studies) St. Mary's College of Maryland


Sociobehavioural gerontology; mental health; substance abuse; health services; environments and aging; homelessness; sleep disorders; loneliness; social isolation; qualitative research methods; community-based participatory research; life-course perspective; social construction of knowledge; culture of medicine