My passion for social justice, advocacy, and critical theory was sparked at the University of Toronto where I received an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies and English (2000). From there, I journeyed to Wilfrid Laurier University to complete my MSW degree, specializing in individuals, families, and groups (2002). I then worked in Toronto-based hospital and community mental health settings, providing counselling to and coordinating services for youth, adults, and elderly people. Because of my interest in research, I returned to Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work to pursue doctoral studies with a focus on gender and health (2015). Afterwards, I undertook a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Psychology Department at the University of Toronto (2016). Prior to joining the BSW team at Laurier Brantford, I worked as a sessional instructor in Social Work at both Renison University College and the University of Windsor.
For my dissertation study, I explored the healthcare experiences of men and women with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition of unknown origin. I was motivated to research this topic as a result of having coordinated home healthcare services for people with fibromyalgia and encountering with them the discrimination they experienced in the healthcare system. My research combined interviews and focus groups, with an arts-based research method called body-map storytelling, whereby participants created life-size self-portraits to narrate their healthcare journeys. In collaboration with community stakeholders, I held community art galleries in Toronto, Kitchener and London in order to display the body maps with the objective of increasing social awareness about disability.
During my postdoctoral fellowship, I continued to explore the intersections of gender and health by researching masculinities and cancer risk. Specifically, in collaboration with researchers at the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Women’s Health (University of Toronto) and the Male Oncology Research and Education Program (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre), I conducted a qualitative study investigating the ways in which being at risk for male breast and prostate cancer shaped men’s identities.
As a Laurier faculty member, I have built a program of community-engaged research that addresses issues of oppression, marginalization, and wellbeing and that prepares social workers for socially just practice.
My research aims to: (1) design, implement, and evaluate community-based pedagogies and simulation-based learning programs that support social work students in the development of anti-oppressive practice (AOP) skills; (2) explore how art making and arts-based research methods can foster collectivity and represent embodied and intersectional experiences of illness, disability, health, wellbeing, oppression, and social stigma; and (3) examine how people’s experiences of health and illness are mediated by gender and other intersecting social determinants.
Funded Research Projects:
Skop, M. & Peisachovich, E. (2020-2022). Practicing Communication and Interviewing Skills: The Application of Simulation-based Learning in a Bachelor of Social Work Course at Wilfrid Laurier University. Role: Principal Investigator. Teaching and Learning Instructional Development Grant; Office of Research Services Internal Grant, Wilfrid Laurier University.
Danilovic, S., Skop. M. & Oliver, V. (2020-2022). Autobiographical Game Design for Young Adults Living with Opioid Addiction: A Phenomenology of Sense-Making. Role: Co-Investigator. SSHRC Insight Development Grant.
Skop, M., Root, J. & Darewych, O. (2018-2021). Examining Intimate Partner Violence Survivors’ Experiences with Group Art Therapy: A Community-based Study. Role: Principal Investigator. SSHRC Partnership Engagement Grant.
Skop, M. (2017-2019). Integrated Pedagogy: A Model of Community Collaboration in Social Work Education. Role: Principal Investigator. Teaching and Learning Instructional Development Grant, Wilfrid Laurier University.
I would be delighted to speak to and supervise undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in social work research about pedagogy, arts-based research methodologies, and gender and health.
Skop, M., Peisachovich, E. & Cao, L. (2021). Curricular considerations: The process of integrating simulation-based learning into a social work communication and interviewing skills course. Cureus 13(11) doi:10.7759/cureus.19191
Skop, M., Lorentz, J., Jassi, M., Vesprini, D. & Einstein, G. (2018). “Guys don’t have breasts”: The lived experience of men who have BRCA gene mutations and are at risk for male breast cancer. American Journal of Men’s Health, 12(4), 961-972. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1557988317753241
Skop, M. (2016). The art of body mapping: A methodological guide for social work researchers. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 28(4), 29-43. https://anzswjournal.nz/anzsw/article/view/295/356
Cait, C.A., Skop, M., Booton, J., Stalker, C.A., Horton, S., & Riemer, M. (2016). Practice based qualitative research: Participant experiences of walk-in counselling and traditional counselling. Qualitative Social Work, 16(5), 612-630. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1473325016637910
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