Lana Wells

Associate Professor

Calgary Campus

Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence

Calgary Campus

MSW (International Specialization)

University of Calgary, 1997


University of Calgary, 1996

BA (Women & Religious Studies, Honours)

McMaster University, 1994

Overseas Undergraduate Program (Middle Eastern Studies)

Tel-Aviv University, 1991

Contact information


MacKimmie Tower : MT524

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science
  • Trauma and Violence
  • Sexuality and Gender
  • Human Service Organizations and Systems
  • International

Current Research

In 2010, Lana created Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence. Shift’s mandate is to develop and support the implementation of research-based primary prevention strategies in partnership with government, academics, community, public, private, non-profit organization and civil society to significantly reduce and prevent gender-based violence. 

Current Research

Current research priorities include:

1) Engaging and mobilizing men in violence prevention and gender equality in male-dominated settings.

2) Co-designing prevention policy frameworks with governments and community.

3) Scaling healthy youth relationship policies and programs.

4) Designing and implementing knowledge mobilization activities to advance primary prevention.


For detailed overview of Shift’s work, please check Our Work.


Lana is Associate Professor and the Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary where she is leading a primary prevention initiative called Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence ( Since her appointment as the Brenda Strafford Chair in 2010, Lana has held over 7 million in research funding/grants and has received numerous awards. She was bestowed the Alberta Inspiration Award in Leadership in Family Violence, recognized as a PEAK scholar from the University of Calgary, received the John Hutton Memorial Award for Social Action/Policy from the Alberta College of Social Workers and honoured in the YW’s She Who Dares 150 Women Project. In 2017, she received the University of Calgary Teaching Award for Curriculum Development for the co-creation of Advancing Healthy and Socially Just Schools and Communities graduate certificate program.

Lana actively supervises graduate students within the Faculty of Social Work and the School of Public Policy where in 2012, she became a Research Fellow and Instructor. Her passion includes advocating for the prevention of family and sexual violence, advancing gender equality and equity, developing social policies to prevent and respond to complex social issues, preventing teen dating violence, advancing social justice and creating transformational change. Lana loves to collaborate with leaders from diverse disciplines and sectors and works closely on organizational, system and policy change processes within government and the not-for-profit sector. Lana has advised, consulted and partnered with all orders of government in Canada on prevention research and social policy. She has also collaborated with numerous international organizations, where she has contributed to panels, led workshops and supported the development of international resolutions. Her current research interests include engaging and mobilizing men as allies and advocates in gender equality and violence prevention, advancing collective impact and systems change to stop gender-based violence, and advancing innovation in the not-for profit sector by going beyond programs and policy change.

Since COVID-19 there has been an increase in domestic and sexual violence in Alberta and around the world, and this is challenging our sector’s ability to implement primary prevention approaches – yet they are more critical now, than ever. To continue to advance primary prevention efforts, Lana and her team are leading and supporting a number of initiatives and projects that aim to understand the impact of COVID-19 on domestic and sexual violence and to identify and mobilize effective approaches to prevent and respond

The Data2Action initiative is a partnership with HelpSeeker (a social enterprise that offers machine learning and AI), and IMPACT (a provincial collective impact initiative to eradicate domestic and sexual violence in Alberta). Data2Action will curate, analyze, and disseminate real-time and long-term information from hundreds of community stakeholders in the areas of domestic and sexual violence to inform community-based strategies, interventions, and government policies that prevent and respond to domestic and sexual violence.

Funded in 2020, Lana partnered with Sagesse/IMPACT to design a Primary Prevention Framework for Alberta. This initiative aims to facilitate evidence-informed policy design and implementation, advance coordinated action among diverse stakeholders, and support appropriate allocation of resources to advance primary prevention in Alberta during the recovery phase of COVID. This project involves working with over 300 domestic and sexual violence organizations and policy-makers to research, design, and build the capacity for a primary prevention framework for Alberta.

For more information on these and other projects, please go to  


Publications from 2015-Present

Wells has over 50 additional publications including reports and issue briefs that can be found in Shift’s library.

Wells, L., & Fortheringham, S. (Accepted, 2020). A global review of violence prevention plans: Where are the men and boys? Violence Against Women

Exner-Cortens, D., Spiric, V., Crooks, V.C., Syeda, M., & Wells, L. (2020). Predictors of Healthy Youth Relationships Program Implementation in a Sample of Canadian Middle School Teachers. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 35(2): 100-12.

Fotheringham, S., Wells, L., & Goulet, S. (2020). Strengthening the circle: An international review of government domestic violence prevention plans and inclusion of Indigenous peoples. Violence Against Women.

Corcoran, L., Exner-Cortens, D., & Wells, L. (2019). Advancing healthy and socially just schools and communities: An interdisciplinary graduate program. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 31(2). Retrieved from

Exner-Cortens, D., Wells, L., Lee, L., & Spiric, V. (2019). Building a culture of intimate partner violence prevention in Alberta, Canada through the promotion of healthy youth relationships. Prevention Science. Retrieved from

Lorenzetti, L., Wells, L., Logie, C., & Callaghan, T. (2017). Understanding and preventing domestic violence in the lives of gender and sexually diverse persons. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 26(4): 3-12. Retrieved from  

Boutilier, S., Jadidzadeh, A., Esina, E., Wells, L., & Kneebone, R. (2017). The connection between professional sporting events, holidays and domestic violence in Calgary, Alberta. School of Public Policy, SPP Research Papers, 10(12): 1-27. Retrieved from

Claussen, C., Wells, L., Aspenlieder, L., & Boutilier, S.  (2017). Developing domestic violence primary prevention capacity through a community of practice project: Learnings from Alberta, Canada. Cogent Medicine, 4(1): 1-15. Retrieved from:

Crooks, C., Zwicker, J., Wells, L., Hughes, R., Langois, A., & Emery, H. (2017). Estimating costs and benefits associated with evidence-based violence prevention: Four case studies based on the Fourth R program. School of Public Policy, SPP Research Papers, 10(10): 1-25. Retrieved from

Claussen, C., Wells, L., Abboud, R., & Turner, A. (2016). The role of community-based organizations in school-based violence primary prevention programming: An action research project. Cogent Social Sciences, 2: 1238609.

Goulet, S., Lorenzetti, L., Walsh, C.A., Wells, L., & Claussen, C. (2016). Understanding the environment: Domestic violence and prevention in urban Aboriginal communities. The First Peoples Child & Family Review, 11(1): 9-23.

Dozois, E., Wells, L., & Crooks, C. (2016). Developing a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy for violence prevention: Lessons learned from Alberta, Canada. In M. F. Taylor, U. Khan and J. A. Pooley (Eds.) Crime and Violence Prevention: Moving Beyond Hot-Stove Policing and Perpetrator Rehabilitation (pp. 215-230). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Wells, L., Esina, E., & Turner, A. (2016). The case for alcohol outlet density controls as a promising approach to prevent domestic violence. In M. F. Taylor, U. Khan and J. A. Pooley (Eds.) Crime and Violence Prevention: Moving Beyond Hot-Stove Policing and Perpetrator Rehabilitation (pp. 297-312). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Wells, L., Turner, A., & Cooper, M. (2015). Overcoming the Gender Dyad: Engaging Men and Boys in Domestic Violence Prevention. In M.F. Taylor, J.A. Pooley, and R.S. Taylor (Eds.), Overcoming Domestic Violence: Creating a Resilience Dialogue Around Vulnerable Populations. (pp. 331-347). Hauppauge NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Wells, L., & Turner, A. (2014, November). Under the Influence: Liquor outlet density & Domestic violence in Alberta. LawNow. Retrieved from

Wells, L., & Turner, A. (2014, January). Corporal punishment and domestic violence: The case for “anti-spanking“ legislation. LawNow. Retrieved from

Wells, L., Hurlock, D., Antonio, M., Lantion, V., Abboud, R., Claussen, C., & Lorenzetti, L. A. (2013). Context of domestic violence: Learning’s for prevention from the Calgary Filipino community. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 4(1), 147-165. Retrieved from

Wells, L., Boodt, C., & Emery, H. (2012). Preventing domestic violence in Alberta: A cost savings perspective. The School of Public Policy, SPP Research Papers, 5(17), 1-13. Retrieved from


Media Work

Lana is engaged with the media often. For selected stories, please see list below.

News Story (2020, February 14). Calgary faces domestic violence epidemic, experts say. CBC.

News Story (2019, November 19). Domestic and gender-based violence: Joint statement. Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women and Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie issued a joint statement ahead of Grey-Cup Weekend to raise awareness of domestic violence. The statement referenced Shift's research report "The Connection Between Professional Sporting Events, Holidays and Domestic Violence in Calgary, Alberta."

The press release generated widespread local and national media attention. Shift's study was directly referenced in a CTV News story domestic-violence-organizations-meet-to-raise-awareness-ahead-of-grey-cup- 1.4692564

News Story (2019, November 19). Why men need to be part of the quest for gender equality in Canada. The Star Calgary.

News Story (2019, November 13). What men need to champion gender equality UToday. Calgary, AB.

Interview (2019, November 13). How restorative justice programs can help sexual- assault survivors. Danielle Smith Show, Global News. Calgary, AB.

Interview (2019, November 4). Restorative justice lets sexual-assault survivors take back their power. The Globe and Mail. Calgary, AB.

Press Release (2019, August 16). Federal funding reflects Social Work researcher’s approach to calling ‘men in’ to advance gender equality. UToday. Calgary, AB.

Press release resulted in the coverage by 2 media outlets across Canada including:

News Story (2019, June 11). Social Work professor helps Nova Scotia draft provincial domestic violence prevention strategy. International thought leader Lana Wells points to need for national strategy on issue. UToday. Calgary, AB

Interview (2019, January 2). Alberta advocates and police underline ‘epidemic’ of domestic violence in the province. The Star. Calgary, AB.

Interview (2019, February 14). Violence against women increases on Valentine’s Day. Radio-Canada

Interview (2018, November 17). Domestic violence in Alberta and how the newly passed Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan would impact this province. Calgary Journal. Calgary, AB.

Interview (2018, August 8). Public conversation about domestic violence needs to shift. The Star. Calgary, AB.

News Story (2018, January 25). Lana Wells takes violence against women prevention work to the United Nations. UToday. Calgary. AB.

Press Release (2017, June 8). Calgary’s domestic violence rate is on the rise. How do Stamps and Stampede Factor in? (print).

Interview (2017, June 8). Figuring out when domestic violence is more likely to happen in Calgary. The Homestretch CBC Radio. Calgary, AB.            

Interview (2017, June 8). CBC NEWS 6:00pm with Rob Brown

Interview & News Story (2017, March, Issue #1). Less liquor? The Bite News Magazine, Fort Saskatchewan, AB. 

News Story (2017, March 29). Celebrating excellence in teaching speaks to the spirit of our institution: Recipients of 2017 University of Calgary Teaching Awards recognized at annual celebration of teaching. UToday. Calgary, AB.

News Story (2017, March 14). Future teachers, social workers connect as advocates: Innovative, interdisciplinary student symposium works with future social workers and educators to end dating violence and bullying. UToday. Calgary, AB.

News Story (2017, January 5). Social Work research tells UN convention men and boys are the key to domestic violence prevention. UToday. Calgary, AB.

News Story (2016, April 4). Lana Wells: 'A remarkable advocate for creating social change'. UToday. Calgary, AB.

News Story (2015, November 3). Alberta report urges better workplace protection for employees from family violence. Edmonton Journal. Calgary, AB. 


Since 2010, Lana Wells held over 7mln in research funding. Examples include:

Wells, L. (2020-2022). Designing Online Modules to Increase Capacity on Primary Prevention. Silver Gummy. $75,000

Wells, L. & Stika, J. (2019-2020). Building and Developing a National Pro-feminist Network. Department for Women and Gender Equality. $125,000

Wells, L. (2019-2021). Engaging Parents to Prevent Teen Dating Violence and Promote Healthy Youth Relationships. Calgary Foundation. $75,000

Wells, L. (2018-2019). Insights and Reflections from Canadian Men about Supporting Gender Equality. Women and Gender Equality Canada. $87,604.06.

Wells, L. (2018). The Perceptions of Gender Norms amongst Sub-groups of Men and Boys in Canada and Abroad. Status of Women Canada. $24,937.50

Wells, L. (2018-2019). Building a Comprehensive Response to Support Men and Women to Stop Violence Against Women and Advance Gender Equality in Alberta. Government of Alberta. $20,000

Wells, L. (2017-2021). Engaging Men in Violence Prevention and Gender Equality: Changing Contexts. Government of Alberta. $585,600

Wells, L. (2016-2021). An Alberta Strategy to Promote Healthy Youth Relationships. Government of Alberta. $800,000

Wells, L. (2017-2019). Engaging Men and Boys in Domestic Violence Prevention. United Way of Calgary and Area. $120,000

Wells, L. (2015-2018). The Fourth R: Promoting Youth Well-being through Health Relationships. Sub-agreement to the Public Health Agency of Canada grant held by Dr. Claire Crooks at Western University. $67,000

Wells, L. (2015-2017). Advancing Innovation Projects: Fourth R Parent, Community and Evaluation Components. Anonymous Donor. $281,075

Wells, L., & Esina, E. (2015-2016). Family Violence Prevention: Best and Promising Practices. Public Health Agency of Canada. $24,976.88