Dr. Rachel Herron


Dr. Rachel Herron is a health geographer and a Canada Research Chair in Rural and Remote Mental Health. Rachel’s interest in rural health and well-being stems from her experience
growing up on a farm in Midwestern Ontario. Her academic path took her to Trent University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and English literature and Master of Arts in Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies. She obtained her Doctorate in Geography and Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University.


The overarching goal of Rachel’s research is to work with rural communities, students, researchers and policy makers to create more supportive environments for people with dementia, and other mental health conditions. She is currently working with Dr. Mark Skinner (CRC in Rural Aging, Health and Social Care, Trent University) on a CIHR funded project to examine the potential of the National Ballet School of Canada’s Sharing Dance Program to improve the social inclusion of people with dementia and their carers. She is also working on several projects examining the the complex demands of caring for people with dementia who exhibit reactive behaviours (e.g., hitting, spitting, kicking and screaming) across a range of care settings including a SSHRC-funded study with Dr. Laura Funk (University of Manitoba) and Dr. Dale Spencer (Carleton University)Her broader research interests include rural mental health and aging, care and caregiving, the ethics of doing research with vulnerable populations, and gender and women’s health. Her research contributes to the fields of rural health and social care, social gerontology, gender and women’s studies, and the geographies of voluntarism.


Refereed Journal Articles

Herron, R.V., Funk, L.M. Spencer, D., Wrathall, M. (2019) Assisted living facilities as sites of encounter: implications for older adults’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion, Ageing and Society. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X19000187

Funk, L.M., Herron, R., Spencer, D., Dansereau, L., & Wrathall, M. (2019) More than “petty squabbles” – developing a contextual understanding of conflict and aggression among older women in low-income assisted living. Journal of Aging Studies. doi: 10.1016/j.jaging.2018.11.001

Skinner, M.W., Herron, R.V., Bar, R. J., Kontos, P., Menec, V. (2018) Improving social inclusion for people with dementia and carers through sharing dance: a qualitative sequential continuum of care pilot study protocol BMJ Open. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026912

Allan, J., Waddell, C., Herron, R., Rogers, K. (2018) Are Rural Prairie Masculinities Hegemonic Masculinities? NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies.

Spencer, D., Funk, L.M., Herron, R.V., Gerbrandt, E., Dansereau, L. (2018) Fear, Defensive Strategies and Caring for Cognitively Impaired Family Members. Journal of Gerontological Social Work.

Herron, R. V., & Wrathall, M. A. (2018). Putting responsive behaviours in place: Examining how formal and informal carers understand the actions of people with dementia. Social Science & Medicine, 204, 9–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.03.017

Herron, R.V., & Rosenberg, M.W. (2017) Dementia in rural settings: Examining the experiences of former partners in care. Ageing and Society, DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X17000952

Herron, R.V., & Rosenberg, M.W. (2017) Responding to reactive behaviours (or aggression) in the home. Dementia, DOI: 10.1177/1471301217699676

Herron, R.V., & Rosenberg, M.W. (2017) “Not there yet:” Examining community support from the perspective of people with dementia and their partners in care. Social Science & Medicine, 173, 81-87.

Herron, R.V., Rosenberg, M.W., & Skinner, M.W. (2016) The dynamics of voluntarism in rural dementia care. Health & Place, 41: 31-41.

Skinner, M. W., Joseph, A. E., & Herron, R. V. (2016). Voluntarism, defensive localism and spaces of resistance to health care restructuring. Geoforum, 72, 67-75.

Herron, R. V., & Skinner, M. W. (2013). Using care ethics to enhance qualitative research on rural aging and care. Qualitative health research, 23(12), 1697-1707.

Skinner, M. W., Joseph, A. E., & Herron, R. V. (2013). Spaces of resistance or acquiescence? Learning from media discourses on the role of voluntarism in ageing communities. Environment and Planning A, 45(2), 438-450.

Herron, R.V. & Skinner, M.W. (2012). The emotional overlay: Negotiating aging and care in the countryside, Social Science & Medicine, 91, 186-193.

Herron, R.V. & Skinner M.W. (2012). Farmwomen’s emotional geographies of care, Gender, Place and Culture, 19(2), 232-248.

Book Chapters

Herron, R. (2018). Ageing, Embodiment and Emotion. In M. Skinner, G. Andrews & M. Cutchin (Eds.), Geographical Gerontology: Concepts and Approaches. Routledge.

Herron, R.V. & Waldrook, N. (2016) Emerging issues in Aging Resource Communities in M. Skinner and N. Hanlon Eds. Growing Old in Resource Communities: New Frontiers of Rural Ageing. Routledge.

Herron, R.V. & Rosenberg, M.W. (2016) Aging, Gender and “Triple Jeopardy” through the Life Course in M. Giesbrecht and V. Crooks Eds. Place, Health, and Diversity: Learning from the Canadian Experience. Ashgate.


Graduate Students

Meghan Wrathall, M.A. in Rural Development (completed) https://people.brandonu.ca/herronr/?page_id=39&preview=true

If you are interested in undertaking undergraduate or graduate research in health, social, or rural geography with me, please send me an email with a brief statement of your research interests.