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Mariana Brussoni

Mariana Brussoni

Professor, PhD

Director, Human Early Learning Partnership



F511–4480 Oak Street Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4


Dr. Mariana Brussoni is the Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership, and a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is a developmental psychologist and is an investigator with the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the British Columbia Injury Research & Prevention Unit.

Mariana’s award-winning research investigates child injury prevention and children’s unstructured, outdoor play, including risks that come with it. Mariana’s work focuses on the benefits of unstructured play on children’s development and addresses the barriers that get in the way of children playing outside. Her research has investigated parent and caregiver perceptions of risk, teachers’ and educators’ experiences with outdoor play and learning, and the design of outdoor play-friendly environments. Mariana’s work has been local, national and international in scope. Mariana partners with practitioners and policy makers in early childhood education, schooling, municipal planning and recreation provision, with the aim of promoting equitable access to outdoor play and creating environments where all children thrive in healthy societies.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research (2024)

Outdoor Play Canada Research Award (2023)

UBC Faculty of Medicine Excellence in Clinical and Applied Research Award (2020)

Outdoor Play Canada Dr. Mariana Brussoni Award (2019)

Category Champion Award, CST Inspired Minds Learning Project (2014)

Peter Wall Research Mentorship Award (2013)

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award (2009-2015)

Director, Human Early Learning Partnership

Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital

Board member, Outdoor Play Canada

Dr. Mariana Brussoni’s research program, the Outside Play Lab, focuses on child development, injury prevention and looking at the important role that children’s unstructured, outdoor, risky play has on their healthy development. Mariana’s work aims to better understand children’s risk-taking while playing outdoors, parent and caregivers’ perceptions of risk, teacher and educators’ experiences with children’s outdoor play and learning, and the impact of build outdoor environments on children’s play. In addition to research, Outside Play Lab provides tools to parents, teachers and educators that help them support children’s outdoor play. Mariana’s work has also focused on understanding injuries in children and youth, and measuring the physical, psychosocial and financial impacts of injuries on children, their families and the health care system.

Mariana regularly gives presentations and workshops on the importance of children’s risky, unstructured outdoor play, and on injury prevention in children and youth. She publishes extensively has been published extensively and has been widely featured in local, national and international media, including The New York Times, National Geographic, The Nature of Things, and The Globe and Mail, as well as in books, podcasts and blogs.

SPPH 555: Principles and Practices of Injury Prevention