Shannon MacDonald, PhD RN

Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing
Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Public Health


Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 1C9

Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Public Health


Area of Study / Keywords

Immunization Vaccine Child health Public health


My program of research focuses on vaccine hesitancy, uptake, and safety, with an emphasis on supporting immunization best practice and policies. I have a particular interest in addressing system-level barriers and supports to achieving high immunization coverage, especially in under-served populations. My research training is in epidemiology, public health, and nursing, including a post-doctoral fellowship in the Alberta Ministry of Health. 

My clinical background is in pediatric intensive care, having worked in pediatric ICUs in Newfoundland and North Carolina, before I changed my focus more toward public health and preventive care. I subsequently taught in schools of nursing in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and participated in various international maternal-child health projects. My primary interest continues to be child health/pediatrics, although I also study adult immunization.

My areas of interest and expertise include:

  • Immunization
  • Infectious disease
  • Child health, particularly under-served populations such as children in the child welfare system and Indigenous child health
  • Public health

Academic and clinical training

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow (2013-2016) University of Calgary Department of Pediatrics & Alberta Ministry of Health
  • PhD (Nursing) (2013) University of Alberta
  • Master of Nursing (2002) Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Bachelor of Nursing (1997) Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Bachelor of Science (Zoology) (1993) University of Alberta

Recent awards

  • Alberta Health Services President’s Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Innovation and Research Excellence (2018), as part of the Alberta Provincial Pediatric EnTeric Infection TEam (APPETITE)
  • Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program (CCHCSP) Career Development Award (2017-2021)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fellowship (2014-2016)


My methodological strengths are in quantitative research, epidemiology, administrative health data, and survey methods. I also include qualitative methods in many of my research projects, working with colleagues with expertise in this approach. I often collaborate with multi-disciplinary clinicians and policy-makers at Alberta Health and AHS to answer questions of practical importance to immunization policy and clinical practice.


As Principal investigator/Co-PI

  • Vaccination in a pandemic: The impact on routine vaccinations and future COVID-19 vaccine acceptance. CIHR COVID Rapid Funding Grant ($335,000)
  • Optimizing adult vaccination outcomes under public health budgetary constraints. Co-PI. CIHR Catalyst Grant: Impacts of financial/organizational restructuring of public health. ($139,850)
  • Influenza immunization for all Canadians: Does one size fit all? Co-PI. CIHR Catalyst Grant: Sex as a Variable in Biomedical Research ($149,815).
  • Evaluating public health interventions II: Evidence-based decisions regarding immunization policy and programs to reduce the burden of preventable disease (vaccine coverage, determinants, & safety). Alberta Ministry of Health, 2018-2021 ($872,500). 
  • Helping health care providers address the drop in childhood immunization coverage between age 12 and 18 months: A pilot test of text message reminders. Public Health Agency of Canada, 2018-2021 ($320,055).
  • Childhood immunization in Alberta First Nations people: Measurement of coverage and identification of barriers and supports. CIHR, 2017-2019 ($199,884). 
  • Evaluating public health interventions I: Evidence-based decisions regarding immunization policy and programs to reduce the burden of preventable disease (vaccine safety & health economics). Alberta Ministry of Health, 2017-2018 ($250,000). 

As Co-investigator

  • An intervention using narratives to address vaccine hesitancy online. CIHR Catalyst Grant: Understanding Disease Prevention and Risk Factor Modification program ($99,475)
  • The nature and extent of vaccine hesitancy among chiropractors and naturopaths: Identifying how vaccination views impact practice. SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2018-2022 ($205,418). PI: Dube E, Co-Is: Bettinger J, Dreidger M, Graham J, Greyson D, MacDonald N, MacDonald SE, Meyer S.
  • Enhancing HPV vaccine uptake in school-based programs in Canada (Alberta site lead). Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN), 2017-2019 (Total grant $247,000; Alberta sub-grant $46,435). PI: Dube E. Co-Is: Bettinger J, Crowcroft N, Deeks S, Dubey V, Guay M, Guichon J, MacDonald N, MacDonald SE, Naus M, Ogilvie G, Sauvageau C, Wilson S, Dube E.
  • Enhancing HPV vaccination in First Nations populations in Alberta (EHVINA Study): Towards a sustainable, community-driven, knowledge translation strategy. Alberta Innovates Cancer Prevention Research Opportunity, 2016-2021 ($1,240,000). PI: Nelson G. Principal Knowledge User: Letendre A, Shea-Budgell M. Co-Is: Guichon J, Henderson R, Kellner J, MacDonald SE, Mrklas K. Co-knowledge Users: Glaze S, Healy B, Kromm S, Richardson R, Tiwana S. Collaborator: Bell C.
  •  Alberta Provincial Pediatric EnTeric Infection Team (APPETITE): Epidemiology, emerging organisms, economics, and parental preferences Alberta Innovates Collaborative Research & Innovation Opportunities (CRIO) Team Grant, 2014-2019 ($4,999,166). PI: Freedman S. Co-Is: Ali S, Chuck A, Chui L, Currie G, Dickinson J, Drews S, Eltorki M, Jiang J, Johnson D, Kellner J, Lee B, Louie M, MacDonald SE, Pang X, Tarr P, Tellier R, Vanderkooi O. Co-knowledge Users: Graham T, Lavoie M, MacDonald J, Svenson L, Talbot J. 
  • Planning for Syndemics. CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant – IPPH–ICS-Artificial Intelligence, 2018-2019 ($19,375). PI: Crowcroft N. Co-Is: Bolotin S, Brudno M, Buckeridge D, Janjua N, Kwong J, MacDonald SE, Wilson K 
  • Unpacking vaccine hesitancy among perinatal healthcare providers: Influences on beliefs and practices. CIHR Operating Grant: Improved Immunization Coverage Initiative, 2017-2019 ($78,785). PI: Bettinger J. Co-Is: Dube E, Graham J, Greyson D, MacDonald N, MacDonald SE, Meyer S, Russell M, Witteman H.


I currently teach NURS 682 (Causal analysis in health research) and encourage both Masters and PhD students to take this course if they plan to include any quantitative methods in their thesis project. My aim is to develop an appreciation of statistics as a valuable tool in answering students' research questions, rather than something to be feared.  


NURS 589 - Community of Inquiry I - Engaging with Nursing Scholarship

Deepen understanding of the nature of nursing scholarship and research by engaging with the work of nursing faculty researchers. Emphasis is placed on developing collaborative critical dialogue as an introduction to systematic enquiry into a topic of relevance to the student's selected area of advanced focus.

Fall Term 2021
NURS 590 - Community of Inquiry II - Research Question and Literature Review

Explore development of questions appropriate for systematic research and inquiry. Emphasis is placed on locating and exploring literature that informs the current state and limits of knowledge relevant to the student's selected advanced focus area of study. Prerequisite: NURS 589.

Winter Term 2022

Browse more courses taught by Shannon MacDonald


See google scholar profile for most current and complete list of publications
Publication Date: 6/26/2020
External Link:
First Nations people's perspectives on barriers and supports for enhancing HPV vaccination: Foundations for sustainable, community-driven strategies
Author(s): 1. Henderson R, Shea-Budgell M, Healy C, Letendre A, Bill L, Healy B, Bednarczyk R, Mrklas K; Barnabe C, Guichon J, Bedingfield N, MacDonald SE, Colquhoun A; Glaze S, Nash T, Bell C, Kellner J, Richardson R, Nelson G
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Gynecologic Oncology
Volume: 149
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 93-100
External Link: DOI:10.1016/j.ygyno.2017.12.024
Coverage and determinants of uptake for privately funded rotavirus vaccine in a Canadian birth cohort, 2008-2013
Author(s): MacDonald SE, Bell CA, Simmonds KA
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal
External Link: DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012803
Do children who receive an ‘early dose’ of MMR vaccine during a measles outbreak return for their regularly scheduled dose? A retrospective population based study
Author(s): 2. Guo X, Simmonds KA, Svenson J, MacDonald SE
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: BMJ Open
Volume: 6
Page Numbers: e012803
External Link: DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012803
Exploring the heterogeneity among partially vaccinated children in a population-based cohort
Author(s): Bell CA, Simmonds KA, MacDonald SE
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Vaccine
Volume: 33
Issue: 36
Page Numbers: 4572-4578
External Link: DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.07.004
Neonatal vitamin K refusal and non-immunization
Author(s): Sahni, V, Lai, F, & MacDonald, SE
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Pediatrics
Volume: 134
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 497-503
External Link: DOI:10.1542/peds.2014-1092
Risk of febrile seizures after first dose of measles–mumps–rubella–varicella vaccine: A population-based cohort study
Author(s): MacDonald, SE, Dover, DC, Simmonds, KA, & Svenson, LW
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: CMAJ
Volume: 186
Issue: 11
Page Numbers: 824-829