Ruth Wolfe, PhD, MPH, BA


School of Public Health



I have a background in a range of health and social service practice settings, with 50 years of experience in program planning, evaluation, policy development, teaching and research.

My substantive areas of interest are the social determinants of health inequities, immigration as a determinant of health, critical theory and the racialization of human services. My doctoral work was a critical examination of the race/culture divide in human services from the vantage points of grassroots immigrant community health workers who address inequities that minoritized immigrants' and refugees' experience with human services in Alberta.

I have a strong background, education and experience in qualitative research methods, especially those that examine power relations including critical ethnography, the extended case method and critical discourse analysis.

I am currently engaged in a an initiative to promote recognition of the community health worker workforce through the Canadian Community Health Worker Network.


PhD, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, 2010

MPH, School of Public Health, Columbia University, 1977

BA, Faculty of Arts, University of Saskatchewan, 1972


Graduate Student Research Award, Prairie Metropolis Centre, 2008

Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship, Government of Alberta, 2004-2009

Canadian Institutes of Health Research Strategic Training Fellowship (EQUIPP), International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, 2004


critical theory

gender studies

immigrant and refugee health

qualitative methods

racialized inequities

social determinants of health


Since 2014, a large proportion of my time has been dedicated to MPH curriculum review and redesign, through a stakeholder engagement process involving faculty, instructors, students and external public health practitioners. In 2018, we launched a new MPH core curriculum, taught by teaching teams. I taught the first round of many of the new MPH courses until mid-2022.

I also served as academic advisor and as Practice Coordinator for a small sub-group of MPH students in SPH 598 Field Practicum until December 2022.


I do NOT supervise thesis-based students in the MSc or PhD degree programs.

I worked with the course-based students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program, serving as academic advisor or practice coordinator for a select sub-group of MPH students in addition to curriculum responsibilities. 

Featured Publications

Wolfe, R.R.

2010 January;

Chui, Y., Ortiz, L., Wolfe, R.

Our Diverse Communities. 2009 January;

Morse, J.M., Wolfe, R.R., Niehaus, L.

Improving againg and public health research. L. Curry, R. Shield, T. Wetle (Eds.). 2006 January;

Morse, J.m., Niehaus, L., Wolfe, R.R., Wilkins, S.

Qualitative Research in Psychology. 2006 January; 3

Wolfe, R.R.

Journal of International Migration and Integration. 12 (1):109-112