Joanna has led community-based research and knowledge mobilization activities for over 25 years. She has been a primary applicant in over 100 research projects that focus on a range of social issues, including community mental health, disabilities, immigration, family support and faith and justice. Many of these studies involved translating research into new interventions. She also trains community and academic audiences about community-based research approach locally and internationally.

Since 1996, Joanna has directed the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) in Canada. CCBR is an independent, non-profit organization with vast of experience in community-based research in Canada and internationally, with involvement of over 350 projects in 30 years.

Joanna promotes community-based research in both academia and community. She is an adjunct associate professor at both University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses.  She was an organizer of CU Expo 2011, in Waterloo, Ontario that brought together about 550 scholars, practitioners and community members to showcase innovative, community-university research projects.