Henry Ford researcher, Sara Santarossa, PhD

Sara Santarossa, PhD

medical group

Specialties: Research

Services: Participatory Action Research

Board Certification and Education


  • University of Windsor, ON, 2020

About Me

Additional Education

  • PhD, Kinesiology, University of Windsor, Canada (2020)
  • Fundamentals of University Teaching Certificate, University of Windsor, Canada (2018)
  • MHK, Applied Human Performance University of Windsor, Canada (2015)
  • BHK (Honors), Movement Science, University of Windsor, Canada (2013)

Biographical Statement

Dr. Sara Santarossa is an assistant scientist in the Department of Public Health Sciences, working closely with the Mom and Baby Research Studies and the Center for Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Research (CAAIR). She is also the scientific director of the Patient-Engaged Research Center (PERC). She is committed to using diverse participant-driven methodologies that combine both qualitative and quantitative approaches and has expertise in engaging with diverse communities to improve patient-centered outcomes.

Dr. Santarossa's research program has emphasized a sociocultural lens to explore the impact of digital technology on a variety of psychosocial health outcomes. Much of this work uses a mixed method approach that enriches quantitative measures of behavioral interventions with qualitative data collection, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups. She also has experience with collecting and analyzing qualitative multimedia, including thematic analysis of visual and audiovisual data (e.g., photovoice projects that include images and/or videos posted on social media). Moreover, she has employed cutting-edge innovations in analyzing qualitative data, such as computer coding (e.g., Leximancer, Netlytic) to produce conceptual extraction (i.e., thematic) and relational (i.e., semantic) analyses.

Dr. Santarossa is committed to translating research to create knowledge mobilization outcomes and impacts (e.g., infographics, interactive workshops/handouts, webinars). For example prior to beginning as HFHS, her nationally funded SSHRC-funded work used Action Research to create Community-Academic Partnerships (CAPs) wherein a sustainable workshop and toolkit, a virtual learning experience through app development, and a podcast series were collaboratively developed as knowledge translation and exchange tools.

Research Interests

  • Patient Centered Research 
  • Patient Related Outcome Measures
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Behavior Change

Awards & Honors

  • Storytellers Top 25 Finalist, National Award for Knowledge Translation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (2020)
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canadian Doctoral Scholarship, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2017 - 2020)
  • Mitacs-Accelerate Internship Program and Scholarship (2014, 2019)

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, University of Windsor (2019)

  • Center for Teaching and Learning GATA Educational Practice Award, University of Windsor (2017)

  • Community Health Promotion Award for Outstanding Individual, Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (2017)






1 Ford Place
1 Ford Place Ste 5C
Public Health Sciences
Detroit, MI 48202

Hospital Privileges

  • Henry Ford Hospital

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