Dr. Jamie Baxter received his PhD (1997) and MA (1992) from McMaster University and his BA (1989) from Queen s University (all in Geography). Much of his Jamie s work is guided by a socio-ecological model of health and explores risk perception as being socially constructed in place, instead of solely as the product of perceived hazard characteristics. He has a long standing interest in how people perceive technological hazards (e.g., waste sites, contaminated sites, pollution) specifically, why various groups of people view the same hazards quite differently and with what implications. He has demonstrated, for example, how the same hazard may be a catalyst for divisive community conflict that threatens community and individual health in one context; and evocative of generally low concern and community unity in another. The findings from this work are directly relevant to facility siting, environmental impact assessment, environmental monitoring, and environmental equity.
More recently, Jamie has been exploring risk perception in the context of urban pesticide use since some municipalities across Canada and elsewhere, are implementing by-laws banning cosmetic pesticide use in the name of public health. In 2006, Jamie and colleagues at Western and Queen’s Universities received SSHRC funding to study environmental inequity in Canada. This will build on the work of Jerrett, Buzzelli and other by combining quantitative modelling with qualitative interviewing to not only decipher patterns of pollution relative to populations under stress, but also the experience of living with pollution in inequitably exposed neighbourhoods.
Jamie has served as Chair of the CAG’s Geography of health Specialty Group and as a board member of the AAG-MGSG. He is one in a recent wave of geography faculty hires at UWO that signals a future re-focus there on environment, development and health.