Stephanie Montesanti, PhD, MA, BA (honours)

Associate Professor, School of Public Health


Associate Professor, School of Public Health
(587) 968-1316
3-266 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 1C9


Area of Study / Keywords

health policy health systems primary health care mental health Indigenous health


I am a health policy and health systems researcher within the field of population and public health. My research program examines the determinants of policy and systems change in addressing the health of populations. My research focuses on understanding chronic disease and health inequities in Indigenous and other underserved populations in Canada and globally. I apply a socioecological and life course perspective to examine key community and societal-level factors that influence the health of individuals and communities throughout their life course. My research also applies policy analysis and systems thinking to identify innovative approaches to transforming health systems to be better equipped to address the conditions driving health disparities and disease burden among our most vulnerable populations. My research program involves strong partnerships and collaborations with policy and decision-makers, health providers and community.

I have a PhD in Health Policy and a Graduate Diploma Certificate in Health Services and Policy Research from McMaster University, and a Master's degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Toronto. I completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. I have broad health sector experience in both Ontario and Alberta working in government and non-profit organizations on complex public health issues including mental health, domestic violence, Indigenous health and newcomer health.

I am passionate about supporting and increasing our collective understanding about how Canadians can be meaningfully and effectively engaged in shaping the future of healthcare in Canada. In Alberta, I am a founding member of IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health, a grassroots citizen-led group that works to support citizen, patient and community engagement in health system transformation.

My primary areas of inquiry include Indigenous primary health care, mental health, and domestic and interpersonal violence. My research projects are guided by principles of transdisciplinarity, systems thinking, equity, knowledge translation, as well as respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships and collaboration.

I was the Guest Editor for a thematic series in BMC Women's Health on structural and interpersonal violence in the lives of women. Currently, a Guest Editor for Frontiers in Public Health for special research topic on Disaster Health Outcomes and Resilience. I co-chair the University of Alberta's School of Public Health (SPH) Indigenous Reconciliation Strategy and Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Working Group with the guidance of Cree Elder Bert Auger.

Degrees and Fellowships

PhD (Health Policy), McMaster University, 2013

MA (Medical Anthropology), University of Toronto, 2008

BA (honours), University of Toronto, 2006

Diploma Certificate in Health Services and Policy Research, 2012

Post-doctoral fellowship, University of Calgary, 2015


My research expertise include policy intervention and analysis; the design and evaluation of public and community engagement processes to inform health services planning and health system decision making; the determinants of health policy change; and knowledge translation. 

Some of my current funded research projects include:

  • A comparative policy analysis study across four provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec) to examine macro (provincial) and meso (health authority) level policies that facilitate the development, implementation and sustainability of team-based primary healthcare models with a focus on complex patients. The project involves patient partners and health system decision-makers (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • A 5-year CIHR Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR) grant to establish the Indigenous Primary Health Care and Policy Research (IPHCPR) Network in Alberta to promote a renewed and transformed primary health care (PHC) system to achieve Indigenous health equity (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Knowledge Translation Platform for Equity-focused Health Evidence and Research (KT-PEER). KT-PEER forges new evidence-driven collaborations that accelerates mutual access to wise practices and lessons learned to improve NCD-related health outcomes for Indigenous communities and other excluded populations in Canada and globally (Principal Investigator)
  • A CIHR Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectory Initiative (I-HeLTI) study to support research on the development, implementation, testing and evaluation of Indigenous-focused early interventions (preconception, pregnancy, infancy and early childhood) designed to improve health outcomes in later life for Indigenous communities (Principal Investigator)
  • CIHR COVID-19 research on the use of e-mental health solutions to address domestic and family violence in Alberta (Principal Investigator)
  • CIHR COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use Knowledge Synthesis Operating Grant "Mobilizing Knowledge on the Use of Virtual Care Interventions to Reach Individuals Experiencing or At-risk of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault" (Principal Investigator; Co-PIs: Dr. Peter Silverstone and Prof Lana Wells)
  • Experience-Based Co-Design pilot for health system redesign in Alberta (in partnership with IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health)

Current Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows:

Tara Azimi, PhD Student (Public Health)

Stephanie Reardon, Phd Student (Health Policy Research)

Karlee Tomkow, MSc Student (Health Promotion)

Lauren Kennedy, MSc Student (Health Policy Research) 

Danika Goveas, MSc Student (Epidemiology)

Caillie Pritchard, MPH Student (Health Promotion)

Vicki Loader, MPH Student (Health Policy & Management)

Samantha Roan, MPH Student (Health Policy & Management)


Indigenous Primary Health Care and Policy Research Network (IPHCPR)

IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health

Centre for Health Communities


Instructor: Health Policy and Health Systems Research Methods, School of Public Health, University of Alberta

Instructor, Foundations of Health Promotion, Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences (CUHAS), Mwanza, Tanzania 

Academic Mentor, Health System Improvement Fellowship, School of Public Health

Instructor, SPH530: This is Public Health

Instructor, SPH500: Introduction to Health Policy and Management


Currently accepting MSc, MPH and PhD students

Scholarly Activities

Research - Developing a Métis Mental Health First Aid Program for Alberta

20180430 to 20200430

Principal Applicant

This project is carried out in partnership with the Métis Nation of Alberta. Funding is provided by Alberta Health Services (Valuing Mental Health Integration and Innovation). 

Research - Examining the Health and Mental Health Effects of the 2016 Wildfire to Indigenous Peoples and Communities in Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Nominated Principal Applicant. Funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)

Research - Indigenous Leadership and Inclusion to Reduce Non-Communicable Disease and Mental Health Inequities through a Collaborative Knowledge Translation and Exchange Platform

Started: 20180706

Nominated Principal Applicant. Project funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research

Featured Publications

Raelene Marceau, Kathleen Hunter, Tammy O'Rourke

2020 May; 21 (2)

Stephanie Montesanti, Ardene Robinson-Vollman, Lee Green

2018 August; 19 (144)

Severin Kabakama, Sospatro Ngallaba, Richard Musto, Stephanie Montesanti, Eveline Konje, Coleman Kishamawe

2016 September; 93

Montesanti SR, Thurston WE.

Case Studies in One Health: Solving Complex Problems in a Changing World.

Abelson J, Montesanti SR, Li K, Gauvin FP, Martin E.

Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF).

Lavis JN, Montesanti SR

McMaster Health Forum.

Montesanti SR, Lavis JN, Wilson M.

McMaster Health Forum.

Montesanti SR

Vis-a-Vis: Explorations in Anthropology. 11 (1):90-106

Montesanti SR, Nduagu E. Tam CL, Smits, J. Thurston W.E., Draper D.,Gerlach G, Gates I

Nature. 513 (172)

Henderson, R., Montesanti, S., Crowshoe, L., Leduc, C.

Health Policy. 122

Montesanti, S.

BMC Women's Health. (In Press)

Donald J. Philippon, Stephanie Montesanti, Tania Stafinski

Healthcare Management Forum. 31 (2):62-65

Montesanti SR, Abelson J, Lavis JN, Dunn JR

Social Science & Medicine. 142