Gail L McVey, PhD, CPsych

Dr. Gail McVey is the Director of the Ontario Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Supported by a CIHR Career Scientist Award, Dr. McVey has carried out a 17-year program of community-based intervention research and published longitudinal studies in the prevention of eating disorders, anchored in mental health promotion. She has carried out a total of 8 randomized controlled trials in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education settings with an emphasis on partnership development, community engagement, and knowledge translation. Using an implementation science framework, McVey  has carried out a separate program of research in partnership with public health on a professional development intervention geared at supporting practice change in the delivery of healthy weights promotion.  McVey’s research findings have informed practice and policy change in the areas of body image, eating disorders, healthy eating, and healthy weights. She has hosted national and international knowledge exchange symposia with researchers, practitioners and policy makers from the fields of eating disorders and obesity geared at seeking common ways to promote health.  She is the senior co-editor of an edited volume, co-edited with Michael Levine, Niva Piran and Bruce Ferguson, entitled Preventing Eating and Weight-Related Issues: Collaborative Research, Advocacy, and Policy Change.

In parallel to her research career, Dr. McVey has significant experience working within the Ontario health care system. A key accomplishment is the establishment of the Ontario Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders, a community-based clinical training program in evidence-based treatment and prevention of eating disorders. The training program led to the development of a provincial network of specialized eating disorder services, earning Gail formal recognition for her leadership by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ontario Premier’s Office.

In 2013, McVey was the recipient of the Lori Irving Award for Excellence in Eating Disorders Prevention and Awareness. In 2014, she was awarded the status of Fellow with the International Academy of Eating Disorders for her distinguished contributions to the field of eating disorders.  In 2015, she was awarded  the Bryden Alumni Tentanda Via Award in recognition of a graduate who has demonstrated innovative, unconventional and daring leadership and successes  And in 2017, she was awarded a Certificate of Special Recognition from the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, awarded to ‘a person or an organization that has made outstanding contributions and provided important leadership in the field of child and adolescent mental health”.

Her expertise has allowed her the opportunity to advise provincial resource centres, governments, provincial health authorities, public health practitioners, health educators, service providers, and community-based coalitions on matters related to mental health promotion, body image, eating disorders, healthy eating and healthy weights.

In addition to these roles, Dr. McVey is the lead for Research and Evaluation with School Mental Health ASSIST, a provincial implementation support team funded by the Ministry of Education designed to help Ontario school boards to promote student mental health and well–being.

Dr. McVey's research and knowledge translation activities involve integrating universal, selective and indicated (targeted) prevention services, and coordinating programming and training in prevention with other clinical services, including assessment and treatment of eating disorders.

Dr. McVey has begun to work closely with professionals in the addiction field to clarify the relationships between substance misuse and eating disorders, and to develop programs and training accordingly. As part of the next stage of her prevention research program she is developing and evaluating a concurrent eating disorder and substance abuse prevention program for secondary students to be carried out in partnership with professionals from the eating disorder and addiction fields. Throughout the cycle of this latest intervention research, attention continues to be given to program development, community capacity building and partnership development as well as implementation and knowledge translation planning.

For a list of Dr. McVey's publications, please visit PubMed or Scopus.

Health Systems Scientist, Child and Youth Mental Health Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, The Hospital for Sick Children
Senior Associate Scientist,  Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children
Director, Ontario Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto