Howatt HR Applied Workplace Research Institute

A core Howatt HR value is to promote wellness. This Institute will operate as a non-profit. We make no profit from applied research initiatives.

The institute will price all research projects using a cost recovery approach for researchers’ time, except for Dr. Bill Howatt. If he is involved, it will be in-kind. However, for tax purposes we need to charge HST.

Our goal is to put all of our applied research projects through a university IRB.

Our Mission is to:

  • Facilitate thought-provoking research focused on workplace psychological health and safety and mental health.
  • Contribute evidence-based workplace research to both academic and gray literature. 
  • Adhere to the highest applied ethical research standards.
  • Collaborate with like-minded researchers and organizations to achieve our mission.

Our Research Team

Note: Each research project team may also include external team members from research partners.

Dr. Bill Howatt, Ph.D., Ed.D.

Founder & President

President & founder of Howatt HR Consulting, behavioural scientist Dr. Bill Howatt and is known as one of Canada’s top experts in mental health issues in the workplace and has more than 30 years of experience in the field of mental health, addiction, and HR consulting most recently focusing on psychological safety in the workplace. He is a highly-respected columnist for the Globe and Mail and Chronicle Herald, author, clinician, consultant and speaker.

Dr. Howatt is the creator of the Certified Management Essential (CME), Mental Fitness Practice, Pathway to Coping and Psychological Safe Leaders for the University of New Brunswick.

Dr. Howatt Chair of CSA Standard 21008: Management of Substance-Related Impairment in the Workplace.

Dr. Howatt filled the role of Chief of Research and Workforce Productivity at The Conference Board of Canada, leading the Board’s applied research programs in workplace wellness, mental health, and workforce productivity. Dr. Howatt is also the former Chief of Research and Development, Workforce Productivity at Morneau Shepell where he launched a total health consulting strategy designed to improve health engagement and productivity in Canadian organizations, as well as co-creator of The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell Employee Recommended Workplace Award. Dr. Howatt also filled different roles as a consultant over a 12 year period working in Wall Street in the financial district.

He has published numerous books such as Stop Hiding and Start Living: How to Say F-IT to Fear and Develop Mental Fitness, The Coping Crisis, the Wiley Series on addictions, The Human Services Counseling Toolbox, and The Addiction Counselor’s Desk Reference.

Bill Howatt, is Ph.D., Ed.D., Post Doctorate Behavioural Science, University of California.

Howatt HR Consulting (1993-Present), Founder and President
University of New Brunswick (2012-Present), Instructor CEL
Chair of National CSA standard on impairment substance use related (2019-Present)
Canadian Safety Association - OHS National steering committee (2019-Present)
International Research Advisory Council (IRAC) at Pacific Coast University of Workplace Health Sciences (PCU-WHS) (2019-Present)
Regular contributor to The Globe Mail (2013-Present)
Regular contributor to the Chronicle Herald (2018-Present)
Regular contributor to Talent Canada (2019-Present)
The Conference Board of Canada (2018-2020), Chief Research and Development Officer, Workforce Productivity
Morneau Shepell (2015-2018), Chief Research and Development Officer, Workforce Productivity

University of California, Los Angeles, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour, Post Doctorate in Behavioural Science (2012)
Walden University, Ph.D., Organizational Psychology (2010)


Golf, Boating, Bulldogs, and Granddaughter

Jesse Adams, MSc

VP & Chief Learning Officer

As a part of his current role, Jesse continues to use his in-depth knowledge of strategic HR, workplace health and wellness, and predictive modelling to support organizations in implementing evidence-based solutions for tangible impacts on key business metrics.

For the last 10+ years, Jesse has worked in the field of corporate health and performance as a senior consultant and National Lead for Morneau Shepell’s Total Health Index (THI) Analytics team, an exercise physiologist for Olympic athletes and business professionals. As the national lead for the THI analytics team Jesse led the development of the THI assessment, employee feedback, reporting and predictive modelling techniques that helped connect and identify key drivers of employee health, engagement and productivity. Along with leading the THI, Jesse was a key contributor to the development of the Employee Recommended Workplace Award.

Jesse is also a contributing author to The Globe and Mail, and white papers with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, The Conference Board of Canada, The HR Reporter and Morneau Shepell. These have a key focus on understanding respect in the workplace, mental health and developing a total health strategy among other topics pertaining to the health, engagement, and productivity of organizations.

Howatt HR (2018-Present)
Morneau Shepell (2015-2018) — Senior Consultant and Total Health Index National lead, Health Solutions
Vendura Wellness (2013–2015) — Co-Owner
Adams Exercise Training Programs (2010–2015) — Health and Fitness Consultant
Fusion Halifax (2015–2016) — Director of Health and Wellness
Canadian Sport Center Atlantic (2010–2014) — Strength and Physiology Coach

Dalhousie University — Master of Science, Kinesiology and Exercise Science (2013)
Brock University — Bachelor of Kinesiology (Honours), Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Distinction (2010)

Dayna Lee-Baggley, MA, Ph.D.

Chief of Research

Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley specializes in behaviour change, both to encourage better health in individuals and to create healthier workplaces in organizations. She uses evidence-based practices to provide practical and applicable skills to improve behavioural effectiveness both in the workplace and at home.

Dr. Lee-Baggley has an active research program on behaviour change, obesity, chronic disease, professional resiliency, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Dr. Lee-Baggley has close to 40 peer-reviewed publications and over 115 scholarly presentations. In 2017 she was a recipient of the Women of Excellence Award for her contributions to Health, Sport and Wellness (Canadian Progress Club Halifax Cornwallis). She is the author of the book “Healthy Habits Suck: How to get off the couch & live a healthy life…even if you don’t want to.”


Dalhousie University/Nova Scotia Health Authority, Behaviour Change Research Institute (2018-Present) — Director
Dalhousie University, Department of Surgery (2017-Present) — Cross Appointed Faculty
Dalhousie University, Department of Family Medicine (2016-Present) — Assistant Professor
Saint Mary’s University, Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2016-present) — Part Time Teaching Appointment
Dalhousie University, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience (2016-Present) — Clinical Associate
Saint Mary’s University, Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2015-present) — Adjunct Faculty


University of British Columbia — Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology; CPA and APA accredited; 2006)
University of British Columbia — Master of Arts (Clinical Psychology; CPA and APA accredited; 2002)
University of Calgary — Bachelor of Science (Honours, Psychology; 2000)
Association for Contextual Behavioural Science — Peer Reviewed Trainer for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (2018)
International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy — Certified Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) Couples Therapist (2017)
Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology —Registered Psychologist (#R0598)

Audrey Kruisselbrink

Senior Research Assistant

For the past 15 years, Audrey has worked as a research coordinator at the following organizations: Acadia University, University of Ottawa, Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, and the Nova Scotia Health Authority. She has worked on the CREW project, the Leading Workplace Communities project, the Employment-Related Geographic Mobility of NS Healthcare Workers project, the EMPOWER project, the Understanding Feeding in the Early Years project and the Healthy Professional Workers Partnership.

Current Research Projects

Hugr Authentic Connection App Validation Study 1

WSPS Ontario


To validate the effectiveness of Hugr Authentic Connections, a new mental health support digital software program, for reducing employees’ risk of isolation and loneliness.

Examine the supply and demand for mental health services

Canadian Psychological Association & Mental Health Commission of Canada


To explore employers’ and employees’ experiences around mental health services provided through the employer.

Initiatives taken to protect employees form mental harm and to promote mental health during COVID 19

Canadian Standards Association (CSA)


To better understand employers’ experiences and learning facilitating psychological health and safety initiatives during COVID-19, particularly what was done and what evidence was obtained of impact and benefit.

Hugr Authentic Connection App Validation study 2

Johnson Insurance


To validate the effectiveness of Hugr Authentic Connections, a new mental health support digital software program, for reducing employees’ risk of isolation and loneliness.

Mental Fitness Index (MFI) Validation

View MFI white paper


Conduct a full statistical validation of the MFI scales annually. The result will be published and posted on this website each year and a white paper will be filed every August.

Note: The MFI has been successfully used in a study conducted with The Conference Board of Canada in partnership with WSPS Ontario

Moving to Action: Implementing the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services’ Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap

Download PDF


The Howatt HR Mental Fitness Index (MFI) was used to support Workplace Safety & Prevention Services and The Conference Board of Canada’s development of the Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap.

Our Research Partners

Below are the organizations we have partnered with to conduct applied research

Looking to collaborate?

For more information on our research projects or if you would like us to look at a research project, please drop us an email at

Get in touch