Karen Rideout, PhD

I am a human ecologist with over 20 years' experience in population health and equity, food systems, and healthy environments. 

I believe that people, society, and the planet need to be healthy in order for our world to thrive. We can achieve that if healthier choices are the easiest choices and when all people have equitable opportunities to live healthy lives.

My Services

I love complexity — seeing how all the messy parts connect to make something whole. My process is a little like untangling a crazy pile of yarn, making nice tidy skeins, and then weaving or knitting them into something else. Or turning a pile of scraps into a quilt. You can still distinguish all the original elements but together they create something new. All the original pieces keep their integrity yet are somehow easier to see as parts in a whole new thing.

As a knowledge creation, translation and implementation specialist, I create new knowledge, synthesize existing information, and help put it into practice. I will ask creative questions to answer complex questions, assess needs and gaps, and help you use research evidence and practical knowledge for practice and policy development.

My expertise in evidence-informed policy and guidance can help you move from theory to practice. I will integrate diverse types of knowledge from multiple sources to develop policies, practical tools, and effective guidelines.

As an educator, speaker and facilitator, I support professional development, engagement, and cross-sector collaboration. I can help you build capacity and guide practice change, develop curriculum and deliver training, and facilitate planning sessions or workshops.

My work

These are some highlights from previous projects. 

Fish for Dinner? Balancing Risks, Benefits, and Values in Formulating Food Consumption Advice

Many and complex factors underlie seemingly simple decisions about what to eat. This is particularly so for foods such as fish, which present consumers with both risks and benefits. Advice about what type of and how much fish to consume is abundant, but that advice is often confusing or contradictory, reflecting the differing mandates and orientations of those advising.

Policy options for healthier retail food environments in city-regions

Public policy is central to health promotion: it determines the distribution of resources in a society and establishes the structural context for the actions of both corporations and consumers. With this in mind, the purpose of this paper is to begin a discussion on promising policy options for a health-promoting retail food environment. Drawing on specific municipal examples, we examine four groups of policy options for healthier retail food environments in city-regions: planning for health; transforming consumer environments; economic and fiscal instruments; and a culture of transparency and participation.