Driven by a passion for the health and well-being of older adults, Thea Franke aims to broaden and define dominant conceptions of mobility in later life through her work. Thea investigates alternative perspectives and unnoticed relationships that may create both barriers and facilitators for mobility among community-dwelling older adults. Thea’s research methods place the voices and perspectives of older adults at the centre.
Currently a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia, Thea’s work and study crosses disciplines such as sociology, gerontology, transportation and public health. Thea completed her Masters in Gerontology, in which she developed a tool that assessed built-environment features that facilitate mobility and independence in community day programs for persons with dementia. This tool, along with her data, is now used by the Government of Nova Scotia.
Thea has worked with both the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health Authorities to implement programs of inquiry ranging from hip fracture recovery, and falls prevention, to the evaluation of home care worker’s implementation of a mobility program. Thea has also worked with the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research on a systematic review of skills required for effective Knowledge Translation.
Thea is the recipient of several scholarships and grants, including the prestigious Canadian Institute of Health Research Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Doctoral Scholarship, and a UBC Four-Year Fellowship.
While pursuing her PhD, Thea continues to work as a Project Manager at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility on a multi-disciplinary project that looks at areas of built environment, mobility, and healthy aging for older adults. Thea seeks to continue her work with multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral teams of researchers, and key industry leaders, in order to translate research knowledge for effective and sustainable change.