We are excited to be sharing that Paul Sharp will be joining the Men’s Health Research Program as a Postdoctoral fellow this summer and had the pleasure to interview him to learn more about his work, research interests and more!
“…it is my hope that this research contributes to the broader narrative and cultural paradigm shift needed to
breakdown stereotypical gender norms and address health inequities. More immediately, I hope that this research will help to inform service provision and spark the development and uptake of initiatives for men that support mental health and well-being.”
Can you tell me a little bit about your academic background?
I studied a Bachelor of Human Kinetics and Master of Science at the University of British Columbia, Canada. After completing my MSc., I worked as a Research Assistant and Research Coordinator where our team designed, implemented, and evaluated health promotion interventions targeted at smoking cessation, physical activity, healthy eating, and social connectedness. I also worked for several years in the public sector on homelessness and neighbourhood development, which helped me see the importance of applied research and translating research evidence into practice. Most recently, I have been living in beautiful Sydney, Australia, completing my PhD at the University of Technology Sydney, exploring novel strategies for improving men’s mental health through physical activity programs.
What are your research interests?
In the broadest sense, I have always been interested in helping people live happier and healthier lives. The complexity in accomplishing this goal lies in understanding the specific barriers and facilitators to behaviour change that stem from individual, environmental, social, and cultural factors. More specifically, my research focuses on men, masculinities, and health-related behaviours and how this knowledge can be implemented into community-based health promotion initiatives targeted at men’s health and well-being.
What led you to pursue your work in men’s health?
Men present unique challenges and opportunities for health promotion and there are sociocultural and contextual influences that are evident in everyday life. I find it fascinating to consider how these factors influence men’s lives, as well as my own. I’ve also been incredibly lucky to have academic mentors who are prominent men’s health researchers and who have really sparked my interest in this field.
Can you tell me a little bit about the research you will be doing with MHR in the coming months? How have you been involved with MHR in the past?
I have worked peripherally with Dr. John Oliffe and the MHR team for several years. I’ve contributed to the design and evaluation of several programs including QuitNow Men (quitnowmen.com), POWERPLAY at work (powerplayatwork.com), and HAT TRICK (hattrick.ok.ubc.ca). In the coming months, I will be (1) examining men’s relationship services and strategies to support men in building better relationships, and (2) exploring the psychosocial impacts of the pandemic on men’s health and novel approaches to engaging men in help-seeking.
What do you hope will change as a result of this research? Or what do you hope to contribute to this body of research?
Ultimately, it is my hope that this research contributes to the broader narrative and cultural paradigm shift needed to breakdown stereotypical gender norms and address health inequities. More immediately, I hope that this research will help to inform service provision and spark the development and uptake of initiatives for men that support mental health and well-being. Particularly in the wake of the pandemic, services are urgently needed that account for the changing landscape of men’s mental health with regards to emerging psychosocial concerns and the need for novel service delivery.
How has COVID-19 impacted your research in Australia? What kinds of things have you done to adapt?
As the COVID-19 situation began to unfold here in Australia in March 2020, we were in the midst of recruiting and collecting baseline measurements for a face-to-face lifestyle intervention set to commence later that month. The introduction of stay-at-home orders meant that we had to postpone the delivery of the intervention and re-think how we engage with men. In doing so, we’ve undertaken additional qualitative research to further explore novel strategies for delivering men’s health programs. What has been striking to me is some men’s recognition and interest in mental health, revealing opportunities to target men’s mental health promotion in community-based settings.
Are there any links that you would like to share?
Learn more about me and my research below.