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Fiona Moola

Fiona J. Moola

Assistant Professor
EducationMSc, PhD
Areas of ExpertiseChildhood disability and chronic illness; Arts-based research; Qualitative research; Inclusion; Critical health psychology; Equity and diversity

Dr. Fiona J. Moola is an Associate Professor in the School of Early Childhood Studies in the Faculty of Community Services at Toronto Metropolitan University. Dr. Moola is a Canadian-South African who is the daughter of anti-apartheid activists from South Africa. Dr. Moola is a woman of colour. Dr. Moola is also a Research Associate at the Grandview Kids Hospital. 

Dr. Moola completed Undergraduate, Masters, and Doctoral Degrees at the University of Toronto, graduating in 2011. She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Concordia University in 2012 before joining the Faculty at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Moola comes with a long history of excellence across many children’s in Canada where she has maintained many lines of research. These include a) children with disabilities, play, and physical activity, b) childhood disability and the arts, c) marginalized childhoods, and d) childhood disability, narrative, and storytelling. Dr. Moola also maintains ongoing lines of research in Indigenous childhoods and children’s mental health.

Dr. Moola’s research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Research, TMU, VERTEX, the Holland Bloorview Foundation, and the University of Toronto. Dr. Moola’s work is strongly committed to principles of critical health psychology, social justice, and anti-oppression. Thus far, Dr. Moola has contributed 55 publications (articles and book chapters) to the academic peer reviewed literature. Fiona is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and has a small therapy practice. Fiona also teaches and delivers equity, diversity, and inclusion workshops. 

 (PDF file) Listening to the Margins

This is a best practice guide for anti-racist and culturally safe pediatric health care and research, led by Dr. Fiona J. Moola and her research team. This document was created through the shared voices of many racialized and disabled community members, as well as those that work in the field. Feel free to share and distribute.

This knowledge dissemination product was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada


  • PERS 3100: Inclusive Physical Activity and Leisure, University of Manitoba
  • KIN 2500: The Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, University of Manitoba
  • PHED 3750: Lifestyle Activities, University of Manitoba
  • PERS 4600: Contemporary Approaches to Understanding Exercise and Anorexia, University of Manitoba


  • CHL 7000: Psychosocial Dimensions of Childhood, University of Toronto
  • PERS 7160: Qualitative Methods and Research Design, University of Manitoba
  • PERS 7080: Contemporary Approaches to Exercise Psychology, University of Manitoba
  • PERS 7080: Contemporary Issues in Psychological Wellbeing, Mental Illness and Exercise   Psychology, University of Manitoba
  • PHED 7060: Social and Psychological Components of Sports and Physical Education, University of Manitoba
  • PERS 7000: Research in Kinesiology and Recreation Studies, University of Manitoba

Research interests:

  • The experiences of children and caregivers living with disability and chronic illness
  • The use of the arts and arts-based research as a means to convey health and illness experiences in childhood
  • Qualitative theory, methodology and epistemology
  • Childhood physical activity
  • Indigenous children and disability
  • Childhood mental health
  • Critical heath psychology and health promotion

Current projects:

1. Telling my Tale: Exploring the Role of Storybooks in the Lives of Children with Cystic Fibrosis and Muscular Dystropy – Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

2. The Psychosocial Impact of Camp for Children with Cancer – Funded by Camp Quality and the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

3. Exploring the Role of Body Image, Self Identity and Fashion in the Lives of Patients with Cystic Fibrosis – Funded by VERTEX

Research funding:


Biddiss, E., Lamont, A., Fehlings, D., John, B., Moola, F., Chau, C., Churchill, J., McKeever, P., Mitro., Scott, A., & Wong, S. The Virtual Music Teacher: Children of All Abilities Banking Together in Early Childhood Music Education. Canadian Institute for Health Research – Collaborative Health Research Projects. $944 555.00

McPherson, A., Kingsnorth, S., Provvidenza, C., Wincentak, J., Gan, C., Moola, F., Gurza, A., Dangerfield, B., & Lacey, E. Nobody is Talking to me About Sex! A Needs Assessment to Explore Information and Communication Needs of Children and Youth People Around Sexuality. Accessibility Excellent in Research Award Competition. $7500.00


Moola, F. J. CF Coutour: The Role of Fashion in the Lives of Patients Living with Cystic Fibrosis. VERTEX. $82 000.00. Role: Primary Investigator. 

Moola, F. J., Curran, C.J., & Crossman, S. Exploring the Impact of Community-Based Arts for Emerging Adults with Disability. Holland Bloorview Foundation. $22 000.00. Role: Primary Investigator. 


McPherson, A., Moffet, H., Maltais, D., Bidissis, E., Keenan, S., Church, P., King, G., Merette, C., Moola, F., Schwellnus, H., Chen, L., De Groot, J., Sandles, M., Baldwin, P. The impact of solution focused coping for young people with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. Canadian Institute for Health Research. $ 273 000. Role: Collaborator.


Moola, F. J. Interpreting the Life Stories of People Living with Cystic Fibrosis in Manitoba. Funded through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada — Insight Development Grant. $62,000.00. Role: Primary Investigator.

Moola, F. J. Circle of Care: Exploring the Process and Outcome of a Transition Program for Young Patients Living with Cystic Fibrosis in Manitoba, Canada. Funded through VERTEX. $49,000.00. Role: Primary Investigator.


Moola, F. J. Understanding the Experience of Social Isolation in Youth with Cystic Fibrosis and Those that Care for Them. Funded through the Small Grants Program, The Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. $4,674.00. Role: Primary Investigator. 

Moola, F. J. “Peer 2 Peer:” A Physical Activity Mentorship Program for Students with Disabilities at the University of Manitoba. Funded through the University of Manitoba Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Award. $6,900.00. Role: Primary Investigator.


Duan, K., Moola, F. J., Chelekani, P., & Pasterkamp, H. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Investigate Cystic Fibrosis. Funded through the Biology of Breathing Catalyst Grants Program, Health Sciences Centre of Winnipeg. $15,000.00. Role: Co-investigator.


Moola, F. J., Faulkner, G., & Pasterkamp, H. CF Chatters: The Feasibility of a Parent Mediated Physical Activity Counselling Program for Children Living with Cystic Fibrosis. Funded through the Manitoba Health Research Council (MHRC). $97,000.00. Role: Primary Investigator.


Moola, F. J. Accessibility on the Move: A Mixed Methods Study to Investigate the Physical Activity Experiences of Students with Disabilities at the University of Manitoba. Funded through the University of Manitoba’s Research Grants Program. $4,400.00. Role: Principal Investigator.

Norman, M. E., & Moola, F. J. Weighing the Poles of Health: Obesity, Anorexia and a Relational Analysis of Weight Pathologies. Funded through the University of Manitoba's University Research Grants Program (URGP), $6,070.00. Role: Co-investigator.

Amara, C., Moola, F. J., & Gairdner, S. Anorexia and Exercise. Funded through the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, The University of Toronto. $5,000.00. Role: Co- investigator.

Rail, G., Fusco, C., Bryson, M., Moola, F. J., Norman, M., Petherick, L., Polzer, J., McDonald, M., Russell, K., & Burns, K. HPV Vaccination Discourses, Spaces and Practices: Constructing Youth as Biocitizens. Funded through the Canadian Institute for Health Research. $275,000.00. Role: Co-investigator.

Journal articles:


  • Moola, F. J., & Huynh, E. (2017). Free to play: The role of physical activity in the lives of children with chronic illnesses. In A. Morin, C. Maiano, D. Tracey & R. Craven (Eds.), Inclusive physical activities: International perspectives (pp. 53-74). Information Age Publishing.
  • Moola, F. J. (2008). The Shadowland. In J. Canfield & M. Hansen (Eds.), Chicken soup for the soul: Teens talk in tough times (pp. 294-297). Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing.
  • Moola, F. J & Cannizzaro, J. (in press). When Alice fell through the rabbit hole: The emerging role of arts-based research in qualitative inquiry on sport, exercise, and health. In M. Giardina & B. Smith (Eds.), Qualitative Research on Sport and Exercise. Sage.
  • Moola, F. J., & Cannizzaro, J. (in press). From liminality to liberation? The complex relationship between disability and art from the Renaissance to present day. In N. Hansen (Ed.), Chronically Unexpected. Anthem Press.

Journal articles in submission:

  • Moola, F.J., Ladwig, J., & Glazebrook, C. (in press). Destabilizing Balanchine’s body: The experiences of adults with intellectual disabilities and their respite workers in a nine-month ballet program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly.
  • Huynh, E., Neville, A., Buliung, R., Naganathan, M., Moothathamby, N., & Moola, F.J. (in press). Using the American Camp Association Youth Outcomes Battery Questionnaire to examine the camp outcomes of children and youth with cancer in Ontario, Canada. Psycho-oncology.


University of Manitoba Outreach Award – in recognition of community service

University of Manitoba’s Undergraduate Research Award – Alexandrea Murray: $6,000.00. Role: Supervisor


Certificate of Teaching Excellence – Campus Life Program: Including students with disabilities in the classroom


Concordia University Post Doctoral Fellow Top Up Award: $5000.00