Heather McKay

Heather McKay


Centre for Hip Health and Mobility
7/F, 2635 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3 Canada




Research in health aging

Professor McKay is known internationally for her study of: (i) myriad factors that influence health promoting behaviours that promote the health of children and the mobility, social connectedness and health of older adults; (ii) design, implementation and evaluation at scale of effective community-based health promoting interventions (implementation science), and (iii) knowledge mobilization. Professor McKay has published >250 peer reviewed papers and accrued >$50M in competitive grant funding. At UBC, Professor McKay is Active Aging Research Team lead scientist. Based on her >15-year collaboration with BC Min of Health she currently leads a multi-level partnership (researchers, government, health authorities and NGOs) to enact Active Aging BC (ABC). Professor McKay’s team is currently scaling up and evaluating ABC’s signature program–Choose to Move–across British Columbia. Choose to Move effectively enhanced physical activity, mobility and decreased social isolation and loneliness in older adults who participated.

Building interdisciplinary teams

Professor McKay convenes highly effective, interdisciplinary research teams. She connects academic scholars with an array of cross-sectoral community and government stakeholders to “move research into action” so as to positively impact the health of children and older adults. Professor McKay led eight CIHR and Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies teams that focused on aspects of older adult health (>$10M grant funding) in different settings (e.g. community, built environment, assisted living). Professor McKay was inaugural Director (2006-16), Centre for Hip Health & Mobility, a multidisciplinary, $40M CFI funded centre that aimed to enhance mobility and health across the life course. More recently she co-led UBC’s Healthy Aging Research Excellence cluster that convened 200 researchers, 50 trainees and 50 community partners across 10 academic disciplines to ignite collaboration in healthy aging research.


Professor McKay was recently inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.