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:
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)
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
This course is an introduction to: how the field of public health has evolved, views of health and wellness, determinants of health, social justice and health inequities, systems thinking, core public health functions, community-based strategies and interventions to improve public health, intercultural competence, Indigenous ways of knowing, and the role of evidence in public health planning and evaluation. The course uses a problem-based learning (PBL) approach to respond to a specific public health crisis in real time. PBL is based on the complex problems encountered in the real world as a stimulus for learning and for integrating and organizing learned information and concepts in public health in ways that will ensure recall and application to future public health problems. The course also introduces Canadian experiences related to Indigenous history, treaties, and Indigenous values and creates an environment where students can reflect on their position as individual public health practitioners and their collective role in advancing reconciliation in public health. SPH 530 is the required first course for the degree of Master of Public Health in General Public Health.Fall Term 2022
20180430 to 20200430
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).
Nominated Principal Applicant. Funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)
Nominated Principal Applicant. Project funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research