PhD in Health

PhD in Health

Dalhousie University is home to the largest collection of educational programs related to health and social well-being in Canada. Graduates of the PhD in Health are on the right track to successful careers as researchers, academics and leaders in health - working to improve health and social well-being locally, nationally and internationally.

Program Objectives

  • To graduate high quality, independent researchers, academics and leaders who can lead research and research teams influencing and directing health outcomes, health promotion, health care delivery and services, and social well-being by facilitating acquisition of the research skills needed to succeed in the current and evolving health research context.
  • To expose future health leaders to the methodological and practical research issues in the broader health research context and to prepare them to function effectively on interdisciplinary/interprofessional teams working at a variety of organizational levels and in a variety of environments.
  • To prepare researchers to disseminate and promote their particular research focus to policy makers which will then inform practices, programs and policies to the general public.


Graduate Coordinator

Boe, S. BPhEd, MPT, PhD


Gahagan, J., BA, BA Honours (Carleton), MA (Univ of Windsor), PhD (Wayne State Univ). End of life care, Gender and health, Sexual health, Social determinants of health, Harm reduction
Jackson, L., BA, MA, PhD (Toronto). Harm reduction, Rural women's health, Marginalized populations, Sex industry
Jakeman, D., BSc, PhD (Sheffield). Chemical biology, Medicinal chemistry, Protein engineering, Natural products, Carbohydrates
Karabanow, J., BA (Hons), MA (McGill), PhD (Wilfrid Laurier). International social work, Organization theory, Globalization, Housing, Political economics, Homelessness and poverty
Kay-Raining Bird, E., BA, MSc, PhD (Wisconsin), Cultural and linguistic diversity, Down Syndrome, Language assessment and intervention, Autism, Child language development and disorders, Bilingualism
Kiefte, M., BA, MSc, PhD (Alberta). Speech processing, Speech perception and production
Hubley-Kozey, C., BPE (UNB), MSc (Waterloo), PhD (Dalhousie). Muscle activation and movement, Low back pain, Interrelationship of muscles in normal and pathological conditions, Knee joint pathologies, Osteoarthritis
MacKay-Lyons, M., BSc (PT) (Toronto), MScPT (USC), PhD (Dalhousie) Neurotherapeutics 
Packer, T., BSc (OT) (Western) MSc, PhD (Queen’s). Participation, Self Management, Disability, Chronic conditions, Health Education
Rehman, L., BHK, MA (UBC), PhD (Waterloo). Work relationships and health, Access to recreation, Youth and leisure, Children and leisure, Leisure and the internet
Singleton, J., BA (Waterloo), MS (Penn State), PhD (Maryland). Therapeutic recreation, Social gerontology, Leisure research, Leisure and aging
Shaw, L. E., BSc (OT), MSc (OT), PhD (Western). Occupational transitions, hearing in the workplace, return to work and employment disparities, and chronic pain 
Sketris, I
., BSc (Pharm) (Toronto), PharmD (Minn), MPA (HSA) (Dalhousie). Pharmacy practice, Drug safety, Pharmacoepidemiology, Pharmaceutical policy
Ungar, M., BA, BSW, MSW (McGill), PhD (Wilfrid Laurier). Social constructionism, Cross-cultural diversity research, Family therapy, Child and adolescent mental health, Delinquency, Program evaluation, Child development, Ecological social work, Resilience
Wang, J., BS, MA, PhD (SUNY). Instrumentation in audiology, Hearing Science, Neuroscience
Westwood, D., BSc, MA, PhD (Waterloo). Movement disorders, Cognitive neuroscience, Kinesiology, Physiology, Motor control
Yeung, P., BSc (Pharm), MSc (Man), PhD (Saskatchewan). Pharmacokinetics, Bioanalysis, Pharmacodynamics, Biomarkers, Drug metabolism

Associate Professors

Agu, R., BPharm, MPharm (Univ Nigeria), MPharm, PhD (Katholieke Universiteit, Belgium). Drug delivery, Toxicity screening, Transporters, Respiratory-Nasal
Aiken, S., BA, MSc, PhD (Toronto), Binaural processing, Hearing aid processing, Cortical event related potentials, Electrophysiology, Auditory temporal processing, Speech evoked responses, Auditory steady-state responses
Beagan, B., BA, MA (Dalhousie), PhD (UBC). Social Class, Professional Practice, Sexual and Gender Identity, Diversity Inclusion, Health Professional Education, Disability, Social Inequality and Occupation, Race Ethnicity and Racism
Blanchard, C., BA Honours (UPEI), MSc, PhD (Alberta),major appointment in the Department of Medicine. Determinants of health behaviours (mainly physical activity) in diseased (e.g. cardiac patients and cancer survivors) and non-diseased (e.g. adolescents, university students, adults, ethnic disparities) populations; quality of life outcomes associated with health behaviours in diseased and non-diseased populations; statistics, research methods, and measurement.
Brown,C., BA, MA (Manitoba), MSW (Carleton), PhD (Toronto). Feminist research, Cross-cultural diversity research, Depression, Sexual abuse, violence against women and children, Women's Health, Health and mental health policy, Eating disorders and body image, Childhood trauma, Addictions
Cleave, P., BA/BSW, MClSc, PhD (Kansas). Language and literacy skills of children with language impairment and Down Syndrome
Goldberg, L., BA (CBU), MA (Dalhousie), PhD (Alberta), RN. Perinatal nursing, feminist phenomenology, queer women’s health, and nursing philosophy 
Goralski, K.,
BSc, PhD (Manitoba). Pharmacokinetics, Breast Cancer, Chermerin and Chemokin-Like Receptor 1 (CMKRL 1), Adipose (Fat) Tissue and Adipokines, Pharmacology, Obesity, Jadomycins
Harman, K., BScPT (Toronto), MSc (Ottawa), PhD (Carleton). Chronic pain, Sub-acute low back pain, Workplace injury
Hickey, E., BS, MA, PhD (Washington). Global health, Aphasia, Quality of life, Communication activities and participation, Treatment efficacy outcomes, Dementia, Traumatic brain injury
Hutchinson, S., BA (Victoria), MA (Dalhousie), PhD (Georgia). Leisure education; leisure and health promotion/risk prevention; leisure-based responses to stress; theory-driven program design and evaluation
Ingles, J., BA, PhD (Dalhousie). Language and cognition in adults with neurological disorders
Keats, M., BA (Calgary), MA (Alberta), PhD (Calgary). Physical activity, Exercise and cancer, Health promotion, Young adult cancer
Kirk, S., BSc Honours (Leeds Metropolitan Univ), PhD (Univ of Leeds). Health intervention, Physical activity, Health promotion, Obesity
Kozey, J., BSc, MSc (Waterloo), PhD (TUNS). Clinical and occupational biomechanics, Ergonomics, Biomechanics and psychophysics, Accessibility, Workstation design, Anthropometry
Latimer, M., BA (MAU), BScN, MN (Dalhousie), PhD (McGill), RN
MacDonald, J., BSW (STU), MSW (Carleton), PhD (Memorial). Anti-oppressive practice, Disability, Women's Health, Feminist counselling
Merritt, B., BS, MS (OT), PhD (Colorado State). Curriculum Evaluation, Health Professional Education, HIV, Objective Measurement, Chronic conditions, Rehabilitation, Activities of daily living
Persaud, D., MSc (Queen’s), MSA (Cntrl Mich), PhD (Toronto). Multi-disciplinary health care teams, Organizational learning adaptation and innovation, Performance management and measurement, Change management
Robinson, L., BSc Honours 1st. class (UVIC), MA, PhD (Simon Fraser). Cancer patients, Stress and social support, Stress and coping, Child and adolescent mental health, Information technology as a source of support information for health, Psychosocial aspects of cancer, Adolescent mental health, Relationships and health
Sabo, B., BA (Manitoba), MA, PhD (Dalhousie), RN. Knowledge to Action, Palliative care, Psychosocial oncology, Oncology
Steenbeek, A, BScN, MScN, PhD (UBC), RN. Aboriginal health, Sexually transmitted infections, Community-based research, Health services among marginalized populations
Versnel, J., BSc (OT) (Toronto), MSc (OT) (Western), PhD (Queen’s). Children Youth Young Adults and Families, Chronic disease, Evidence Based Practice, Participation, Interprofessional Practice, Transition to Adulthood, Self Management, Chronic conditions, Knowledge Translation
Warner, G., PhD (Epidemiology) (Case West Reserve Univ). Home Based Rehabilitation, Health Services Research, Aging, Participation, Mixed Methods, Implementation Science, Self Management, Family Centred Care
Weeks, L., BSc (UPEI), MSc (Maine), PhD (Virginia Tech). Rural issues, Care transitions, Senior housing, End of life care, Gender and aging, Aging, Elder abuse, Family caregivers

Assistant Professors

Boe, S., BPhEd (Brock), MPT, PhD (Western). Central and peripheral nervous system adaptations, Neurorehabilitation, Corticol contributions to balance control
Bombay, A., BSc (Ottawa), MSc, PhD (Carleton). Aboriginal health and well being, mental health, cultural identity, stress and trauma, intergenerational transmission, Indian Residential Schools, historical trauma, discrimination and intergroup relations, quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies
Campbell-Yeo, M., BN, MN (Dalhousie), PhD (McGill), RN. Clinical trials examining the impact of family and novel interventions on infant outcomes, pain stress, skin-to-skin contact, co-bedding. Clinical trials examining the impact of family and novel interventions on infant outcomes, pain stress, skin-to-skin contact, co-bedding
Curran, J., BScN, MEd (Memorial), PhD (Dalhousie), RN
Dechman, G., BScPT (Queen’s), PhD (McGill). Outcome measures to assess changes in activities for individuals with disabilities, Exercise to improve function for those with chronic diseases
Dieleman, C., BSc (OT) (Western), MSc, PhD (Queen's). Qualitative Research Methods, Diversity Inclusion, Professional Practice, Policy Implementation, Community Capacity Mapping Building, Mental Health, Forensic Correctional Services
Dithurbide, L., BA (St. Mary’s), MA (Brock), PhD (Michigan State)
Fenety, A., BSc (UNB), DPT (Manitoba), MSc (Alta), PhD (Dalhousie). Workplace modifications to prevent injury, Workplace injury
Gallant, K., BSc (Hons) (Mt. A), BJourn (King’s), MSc (Guelph), PhD (Waterloo). Volunteerism and organizational participation and their implications for communities; feelings of obligation within volunteering; civic engagement and community development; inclusion of marginalized populations in communities.
Grandy, S., BSc, MSc, PhD (Dalhousie). Cardiac function and aging, Cardiac cellular function, Cardiac disease prevention, Exercise and cardiac disease 
Hajizadeh, M., BA, MSc (Iran), PhD (Australia), Healthcare financing and utilization, equity in healthcare, health inequality and inequity, health policy, health economic evaluation
Kimmerly, D, BSc (Hons) (Waterloo), MSc, PhD (UWO). Cardiovascular disease and exercise, Cardiac function, Exercise physiology, Nervous system and exercise
Ladouceur, M., BSc, MSc (Sherbrooke), PhD (McGill). Spinal cord injury, Rehabilitation, Spasticity management, Physiology, Sport
Lauckner, H., BSc (OT), MSc, PhD (Queen’s). Diversity Inclusion, Community Engagement, Collaborative Community Practice, Collective Occupations, Community Development
MacKenzie, D., BSc (Saskatchewan), BSc (OT) (Alberta), MA (Ed) (MSVU), PhD (Dalhousie). Observation and eye movement, Neurological rehabilitation, and interprofessional education
Martin, D., BRec (Memorial), MA, PhD (Dalhousie). Food justice, Social determinants of health, Community based participatory research, Oral health promotion, Aboriginal-Indigenous health
Numer, M., BA (Robert Morris Univ), MEd (California Univ), PhD (Dalhousie). Gay men's health, LGBTQ Health, HIV/AIDS, technology in post-secondary education, poststructural theories, queer theory, critical qualitative methodologies, discourse analysis
Rutherford, D., BSc (UWO), BSc PT (Toronto), MSc, PhD (Dalhousie). Knee osteoarthritis, Lower extremity injury and disease, Quantifying mechanics and muscle activation, Neuromusculoskeletal therapeutics
Waldron, I., BA (McGill), MA (London), PhD (Toronto). Impact of inequality on the health and mental health of racially diverse communities
Weinberg, M., BA (Toronto), MSW (Smith College), PhD (Toronto). Gender, Difference and identity, Discourse analysis, Qualitative research, Ethics in the helping professions, Critical post-structural feminist theory
Welch, J., BA, BSc Honours (Carleton), MSc (Alberta), PhD (Purdue Univ). Bones and nutrition, Obesity remediation, Bone imaging, Health benefits of sports, Bones and exercise


Candidates must satisfy the general requirements for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. In addition to the these, the program has the following requirements:

Students will be accepted into the PhD program only after completion of a Master’s degree from an accredited program.  Applicants who have completed a research (thesis-based) Master’s will be eligible for the two-year residency PhD program and those who have completed a non-thesis Master’s program are eligible for the three-year residency PhD program.  Enrollment must be on a full-time basis and there is no distance learning option.

Additional admission requirements:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.7 based on both undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
  • Commitment of a supervisor or co-supervisors.
  • An approved plan of funding which covers a minimum of $12,000 plus tuition and fees per year for the duration of the student's program.  Normally, students who are accepted are supported financially by external or Dalhousie scholarships, supervisors research funding or a combination of both. 
  • For International applicants, an English Language Competency score of TOEFL >100 (Internet) or IELTS 7.5 and funding plan must also include International Differential Fees.

Application deadline: January 15, 2019

Degree Requirements

The PhD in Health is offered as a two-year residency program for students who have completed a thesis-based Masters and a three-year residency program for students with a non-thesis based Masters.  Students in the three-year program will complete research experience courses and a small-scale research/pilot project in their first year.  These must be completed before the student pursues the regular HLTH 6100 program requirement. Students must be registered in the program on a full time basis.

Please note that the terms two-year and three-year refer to the amount of time a full-time student is expected to take to complete required coursework and comprehensive exams.  It is generally expected that research and dissertation completion will take approximately two additional years.

Two-Year Program Requirements

  • HLTH 6000.03 - Graduate Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • HLTH 6100.03 - Fundamental, Applied, and Translational Aspects of Health Research (3 credit hours)
  • one advanced research elective (3 credit hours)
  • two additional graduate level electives (6 credit hours)
  • HLTH 8000 - Comprehensive Exam
  • HLTH 9530 - Doctoral Thesis

Three-Year Program Requirements

  • HLTH 5101.03 - Research Project I (3 credit hours)
  • HLTH 5102.03 - Research Project II (3 credit hours)
  • HLTH 6000 - Graduate Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • HLTH 6100 - Fundamental, Applied, and Translational Aspects of Health Research (3 credit hours)
  • two advanced research electives (6 credit hours)
  • two additional graduate level electives (6 credit hours)
  • HLTH 8000 - Comprehensive Exam
  • HLTH 9530 - Doctoral Thesis

Additional Requirements

  • present at a local or other scholarly conference at least once.
  • produce 2 peer-reviewed publications.
  • apply for at least one funding/scholarship award either prior to or during their program

Supervisory Committees

Each student will have a supervisory committee consisting of their thesis supervisor(s) plus at least two faculty members appointed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The supervising committee will meet at least twice a year or when called by any member of this committee or the student.