University of Calgary

Lana Wells

  • Associate Professor
  • Brenda Strafford Chair in Prev
  • Advocacy
  • Community Development & Practice
  • Family Issues & Family Violence
  • Gender
  • Leadership in Human Services

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


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 Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence ( The purpose of Shift is to enhance the capacity of policy makers, systems leaders, clinicians, service providers and the community at large, to significantly reduce the rates of domestic violence through primary prevention. Since the appointment to the Chair position in 2010, Lana has held over 5 million in research funding, grants and awards. In 2015, Lana was bestowed the Alberta Inspiration Award in Leadership in Family Violence and recognized as a PEAK scholar from the University of Calgary. In 2016, she received the John Hutton Memorial Award for Social Action/Policy from the Alberta College of Social Workers and in 2017 she was honoured in the YW’s She Who Dares 150 Women through 150+ Years Project and received a University of Calgary Teaching Award for Curriculum Development. 

Lana actively supervises graduate students within the Faculty of Social Work and the School of Public Policy where in 2012, she became a Fellow and Faculty member. Her areas of expertise include family and sexual violence, violence prevention, women’s issues, children and youth services, social policy, social justice and social change, leadership and organizational change and the not for profit sector. Lana has advised Manitoba, Nova Scotia and British Columbia governments on prevention research, supported the redesign of both the Government of Alberta’s family violence and bullying strategy and helped to change the investment landscape in Alberta, with the 2014 announcement of $29 million in new funds being invested in preventing, reducing and addressing family and sexual violence. In 2015, Lana started to collaborate with numerous international organizations, such as the Permanent Mission of Canada, United Nations Human Rights Council, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and International Gender Champions, all of which continue to invite her to contribute to panels, lead workshops and provide support to the development of resolutions that include engaging men and boys in violence prevention. In June 2017, Lana was the guest moderator of a panel discussion on engaging men in preventing and responding to violence against women and girls at the 35th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council. 

Lana volunteers widely, and is a Board member of PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) a national network of leading researchers and organizations, working together to stop bullying in Canada.

Research and Scholarly Activity

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 citizens. The goal of the initiative is to significantly reduce and prevent domestic violence.  

Current Research

Current research priorities include: 

1) Engaging men in violence prevention; 

2) Scaling healthy youth relationship policies and programs as a primary prevention strategy; and

3) Designing and implementing learning collaboratives to advance policy and practice change.


1997 MSW (International Specialization), University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada 

1996 BSW, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada 

1994 BA (Women & Religious Studies, Honours), McMaster University, Ontario, Canada 

1991 Overseas Undergraduate Program (Middle Easter Studies), Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Professional and Community Associations

Lana Wells is involved with various professional and community initiatives. Lana is a member of the Calgary Domestic Violence Collective, whose aim is to create a collaborative community response to end domestic and family violence, and a Board member of PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network), a national network of leading researchers and organizations, working together to stop bullying in Canada. In 2013, Lana was appointed to the Alberta Family Violence Death Review Committee whose purpose is to conduct a systematic and methodical analysis of homicides and suicides related to intimate partner violence in order to prevent future deaths. Lana has participated as an external expert for the Support for Albertans in Need Alberta Panel that was lead by the Alberta Treasury Board and Finance. Lana coaches and supports many executive directors throughout the not for profit sector to articulate their strategic vision for their organization and the community. She volunteers widely on many local and provincial social change initiatives.


2017                   Nominated and awarded the YW’s She Who Dares: 150 Women Through 150+ years

2017                   Nominated for 2017 U Make a Difference Award

2017                   Nominated for and awarded the 2017 University of Calgary Teaching Award for Curriculum Development

2016                   Nominated for and awarded the 2016 John Hutton Memorial Award for Social Action and Policy, Alberta College of Social Workers

2015                   Nominated for and awarded the Alberta Inspiration Award in Family and Community Safety, Government of Alberta

2015                   Nominated for and awarded the Peak Scholars in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Knowledge Engagement Award, University of Calgary

2015                   The Spirits of Gold Award for Social Innovation, United Way

2013-2015          Carthy Foundation Leadership Award, $5 000.

2011                   Tulips Award, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter


Media Work


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


Interview (2014, November 28). Is it possible to actually end violence towards women? Alberta Prime Time. Calgary, AB.


Interview (2014, November 17). Interview with Doug Dirks. CBC, Homestretch. Calgary, AB.


News story (2014, February 19). Developing healthy relationships in youth: Werklund School of Education, Faculty of Social Work collaborate to launch new Interdisciplinary graduate program: Safe Schools, Safe Communities. Werklund School of Education. Calgary, AB.


Interview (2013, November 29). Initiative aims at reducing family violence in the future. CTV Calgary. Calgary, AB.    


News Story (2013, November 29). Alberta’s new family violence framework released in Calgary. CBC Calgary. Calgary, AB.


News Story. (2013, November 29). University of Calgary researcher’s work key to new provincial strategy to prevent domestic violence. UToday. Calgary, AB.


News Story (2013, May 14). Should schools be required to teach about domestic violence? The Calgary Journal. Calgary, AB.


News Story (2012, June 5). Investing in Domestic Violence Prevention Cheaper in the Long Run: Researchers. The Calgary Sun. Calgary, AB.


Interview (2012, June 5). Domestic Abuse Costs Province Millions. Calgary Local CTV News. Calgary, AB.


Interview (2012, June 5). News Hour – The Cost of Domestic Violence. Global Calgary. Calgary, AB.

Publications from 2012-Present

Lorenzetti, L., Wells, L., Logie, C., & Callaghan, T. (In-print). Understanding and preventing domestic violence in the lives of gender and sexually diverse persons. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.

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. Retried from

Claussen, C., Wells, L., Aspenlieder, L., & Boutilier, S.  (2017). Developing domestic violence primary prevention capacity through acommunity 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.

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

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