Elizabeth Onyango, PhD, MPH, BSc. Env

Assistant Professor, School of Public Health
Assistant Professor, Healthy and Sustainable Communities, School of Public Health

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Assistant Professor, School of Public Health

Assistant Professor, Healthy and Sustainable Communities, School of Public Health
(780) 492-9072
3-319 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 1C9

Wednesdays 12pm-1pm (also by appointment)


Area of Study / Keywords

Food Security and Nutrition Social Equity Health and Wellbeing of Immigrants Intersections of Gender and GBV Community Engagement Healthy Communities


Dr. Elizabeth Onyango is an Assistant Professor of Healthy and Sustainable Communities in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. 

She holds a PhD in Health Geography of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and a Master's of Public Health, Epidemiology and Population Health of Maseno University in Kenya. Current teaching and research focuses on healthy and sustainable communities, community-based and health promotion research, community engagement in food security initiatives, and leadership and professional skills in public health practice. 

Dr. Onyango's research work is grounded in eco-social framework, Afrocentrism, critical theory, community engagement and community-based participatory research approaches. She employs mixed methods approaches including both qualitative (interviews, focus groups, Afrocentric sharing circles, photovoice, and document reviews) and quantitative (survey methodologies) techniques. She has done research in Kenya, Ecuador, South Africa, and Canada and her work has been published in a variety of peer reviewed journals including Social Sciences & Medicine, PLos One, Wellbeing, Space & Society, Environments, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Public Health Nutrition, and Journal of Maternal & Child Nutrition.

Dr. Onyango’s research interests include explorative studies of what matters to communities/populations with a focus on food security and nutrition of populations and social inequalities in health and wellbeing. Her work also extends into intersections of gender, gender-based violence and household food security and the associated health outcomes in women, children, and youth. 

Dr. Onyango is passionate about community engagement and service and has worked in different capacities within the academic and non-academic communities. She is currently an associate member of the Women & Children's Health Research Institute at the University of Alberta, and an associate member of the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University. Dr. Onyango is a board member of the African Community Wellness Initiative a Waterloo Region, a member of the Edmonton Food Council, and a board of directors, of Pamoja Community-Based Organization (CBO), Kisumu, Kenya.


  • Food insecurity, nutrition and wellbeing
  • Intersections of gender, gender-based violence and household food security
  • Social inequality and health and wellbeing of immigrants
  • Community engagement and community-based health research
  • Mixed methods research - Afrocentric sharing circles, photovoice, and survey methodologies


  • Community-based  and health promotion research methods
  • Leadership and professional skills in public health


Currently accepting students!!!


SPH 546 - Public Health Practice & Professional Skills II

Building on SPH 541- Public Health Practice and Professional Skills I, students continue to practice and strengthen professional competencies through working in teams to address complex public health scenarios. This course highlights the action implementation and evaluation phases of the assessment-planning-action-evaluation cycle, and emphasizes the knowledge, skills, and behaviors needed in inter/intra-organizational teamwork and collaboration, including: assessment of the implementation context - such as the political climate and political will - ethics and values in decision-making, financing of health initiatives in the Canadian context, budget cycles and accountability, economic evaluation and resource allocation considerations, and governance. Teams continue to build stakeholder assessment skills - who needs to be at the table and their roles and responsibilities and accountabilities; and project management skills - scoping the work, developing a resource plan, including budget, work plan, and evaluation plan, and developing an advocacy briefing note in support of their proposed initiative. Particular attention is given to the implications for, and impacts of, policy making on, Indigenous people and other equity seeking groups. SPH 546 is a required course for the degree of Master of Public Health in General Public Health. Prerequisites: SPH 530, SPH 535, SPH 536, SPH 541, SPH 562. Corequisite: SPH 537, SPH 563, or consent of instructor.

Browse more courses taught by Elizabeth Onyango

Scholarly Activities

Research - COVID-19 pandemic and food insecurity in African Caribbean Black identifying households in Ontario

Started: 2021-09-01

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Funded

Research - Early Career Research Fellow, Hungry Cities Partnership, BSIA, WLU

2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

 Queen Elizabeth Advanced Scholarships funded: https://www.univcan.ca/programs-and-scholarships/queen-elizabeth-scholars/qes-advanced-scholars/

Research - Food Insecurity Consequences of COVID-19 on Marginalized Refugees and Migrants in Canada, Latin America, and Africa

Started: 2022-09-01

Funded by Canadian Institute of Health Research COVID-19 Research Grant

Research - Migration & Food Security in the Global South Research Project (MiFOOD)

2021-07-01 to 2022-06-30


Funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council - SSHRC

Research - Post-doctoral Fellow, Toronto Metropolitan University

2021-01-05 to 2022-04-30

Canadian school system and experiences of Black Youth in schools in Waterloo Region and Black youth mentorship. 


Traversing the geographies of displacement, livelihoods, and embodied health and wellbeing of senior women in Kenya.

Author(s): Onyango, E. O., & Elliott, S. J.
Publication Date: 10/10/2022
Publication: Wellbeing, Space & Society Journal
Volume: 3
Issue: 100110
DOI: 10.1016/j.wss.2022.100110
External Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666558122000392?via%3Dihub

Preparing for COVID-19: Household food insecurity and vulnerability to shocks in Nairobi, Kenya.

Author(s): Onyango, E. O., Crush, J., & Owuor, S.
Publication Date: 10/14/2021
Publication: Plos one
Volume: 16
Issue: 11

Migration, Rural–Urban Connectivity, and Food Remittances in Kenya

Author(s): Onyango, E. O., Crush, J., & Owuor, S.
Publication Date: 8/25/2021
Publication: Environments
Volume: 8
Issue: 9
Page Numbers: 92

Bleeding Bodies, Untrustworthy Bodies: A Social Constructionist Approach to Health and Wellbeing of Young People in Kenya

Author(s): Onyango, E. O., & Elliott, S. J.
Publication Date: 10/9/2020
Publication: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume: 72
Issue: 20
Page Numbers: 7555
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17207555

Wellbeing in Place.

Author(s): Onyango E. O. & Kangmennaang, J.
Publication Date: 3/9/2020
Publication: International Encyclopedia of Human Geography
Volume: 14
Page Numbers: 265-272
DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-102295-5.10443-3

Effectiveness of zinc-fortified water on zinc intake, status, and morbidity in Kenyan pre-school children: a randomized controlled trial.

Author(s): Kujinga, P., Galetti, V., Onyango, E. O., Jakab, V., Buerkli, S., Andang’o, P., Brouwer, I.D., Zimmerman, M.B. and Moretti, D.
Publication Date: 5/4/2018
Publication: Public Nealth Nutrition
Volume: 21
Issue: 15
Page Numbers: 2855–2865
DOI: 10.1017/S1368980018001441

The next Sub-Saharan African epidemic? A case study of the determinants of cervical cancer knowledge and screening in Kenya.

Author(s): Kangmennaang, J., Onyango, E. O., Luginaah, I., & Elliott, S. J. (2018). The next Sub Saharan African epidemic? A case study of the determinants of cervical cancer knowledge and screening in Kenya. Social Science & Medicine, 197, 203-212.
Publication Date: 4/1/2018
Publication: Social Science & Medicine.
Volume: 197
Page Numbers: 203-212
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.12.013

Combining food-based dietary recommendations using Optifood with zinc fortified water potentially improves nutrient adequacy among 4- to 6-year-old children in Kisumu West district, Kenya.

Author(s): ujunga, P., Borgonjen-van den Berg, K.J., Superchi, C., Ten Hove, H.J., Onyango, E.O., Andang'o, P., Galetti, V., Zimmerman, M.B., Morettie, D., Brouwer, I.D.
Publication Date: 12/5/2017
Publication: Maternal & child nutrition
Volume: 14
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: e12515

Factors in the management of feeding in nursery school children as perceived by their mothers in rural Bondo County, Kenya

Author(s): Allan R Were, Felix N Kioli, Kennedy Onkware, Elizabeth O Onyango, Sussy Gumo and Ouma C.
Publication Date: 6/10/2013
Publication: BMC International Health and Human Rights
Volume: 13
Issue: 47

Factors associated with non-adherence to Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) to malaria in a rural population from holoendemic region of western Kenya

Author(s): Onyango E.O., George A., Watsierah C.A., Were T., Okumu W., Anyona S.B., Raballah E., Orinda G.O. and Ouma C.
Publication Date: 8/5/2012
Publication: BMC Infectious Diseases
Volume: 12
Issue: 143