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

Phelan, S., BSc, MSc, PhD


Agu, R., BPharm, MPharm (Univ Nigeria), MPharm, PhD (Katholieke Universiteit, Belgium). Drug delivery, Toxicity screening, Transporters, Respiratory-Nasal
Beagan, B., 
BA, MA (Dalhousie), PhD (UBC). Equity, Justice, Diversity Inclusion, Health Professional Education, Professional Practice, Social Inequities and Occupation, Race Ethnicity and Racism, Sexual and Gender Identity, Social Class, Disability/disabling
Blanchard, C., BA Honours (UPEI), MSc, PhD (Alberta). 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
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
Cleave, P., BA/BSW, MClSc, PhD (Kansas). Language and literacy skills of children with language impairment and Down Syndrome
Curran, J., BScN, MEd (Memorial), PhD (Dalhousie), RN. Knowledge translation research, Pediatric emergency care, Mixed methods, Health professional behaviour change, Knowledge synthesis
Goralski, K., BSc, PhD (Manitoba). Pharmacokinetics, Breast Cancer, Chermerin and Chemokin-Like Receptor 1 (CMKRL 1), Adipose (Fat) Tissue and Adipokines, Pharmacology, Obesity, Jadomycins
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
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
Johnston, G., BSc (McGill), MHSA (Alberta), PhD (Western). End of life and palliative care, Epidemiology, Assessing the quality of data in population registries, Administrative databases, Record linkage, Inter-professional learning, Cancer control
Karabanow, J., BA (Hons), MA (McGill), PhD (Wilfrid Laurier). International social work, Organization theory, Globalization, Housing, Political economics, Homelessness and poverty
Keats, M., BA (Calgary), MA (Alberta), PhD (Calgary). Physical activity, Exercise and cancer, Health promotion, Young adult cancer
Kiefte, M., BA (Memorial), MSc, PhD (Alberta). Speech processing and production, Psychoacoustics, Signal processing in speech research, Hearing aid and cochlear implant processing strategies, Auditory physiology, Stuttering, Auditory feedback in speech production
Kirk, S., BSc Honours (Leeds Metropolitan Univ), PhD (Univ of Leeds). Health intervention, Physical activity, Health promotion, Obesity
Latimer, M., BA (MAU), BScN, MN (Dalhousie), PhD (McGill), RN. Children's pain relief, Indigenous children's health and wellness, Children in challenging contexts-intensive care, Knowledge translation, Evidence-based inter-professional health care, Cultural safety in healthcare for Indigenous peoples
MacDonald, J., BSW (STU), MSW (Carleton), PhD (Memorial). Anti-oppressive practice, Disability
MacKay-Lyons, M., BSc (PT) (Toronto), MScPT (USC), PhD (Dalhousie) Neurotherapeutics 
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
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
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
Steenbeek, A, BScN, MScN, PhD (UBC), RN. Aboriginal health, Sexually transmitted infections, Community-based research, Health services among marginalized populations
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
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
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
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

Aiken, S., BA, MSc, PhD (Toronto). Human auditory electrophysiology, Auditory steady-state responses, Speech-evoked responses, Cortical event-related potentials, Hearing aid processing, Binaural processing, Auditory temporal processing
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
Brown, M., BA, BSW, MSW (Dalhousie), PhD (MUN). Health equity and social justice, Youth engagement, Professional identity development within interprofessional collaborative practice contexts, Transnational social work education and practice, Sexualized Violence, Social work in primary health care
Goldberg, L., BA (CBU), MA (Dalhousie), PhD (Alberta), RN. Perinatal nursing, feminist phenomenology, queer women’s health, and nursing philosophy 
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
Hamilton-Hinch, B., BSc (Dalhousie), MA (Dalhousie), BEd (MSVU), PhD (Dalhousie). HIV testing, Institutional racism, Racism and health, Prostate cancer, Diversity
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
Kiepek, N., BSc, MSc (Toronto), PhD (Western)
Kimmerly, D., BSc (Hons) (Waterloo), MSc, PhD (UWO). Cardiovascular disease and exercise, Cardiac function, Exercise physiology, Nervous system and exercise
Kozey, J., BSc, MSc (Waterloo), PhD (TUNS). Clinical and occupational biomechanics, Ergonomics, Biomechanics and psychophysics, Accessibility, Workstation design, Anthropometry
MacKenzie, D., BSc (Saskatchewan), BSc (OT) (Alberta), MA (Ed) (MSVU), PhD (Dalhousie). Observation and eye movement, Neurological rehabilitation, and interprofessional education
Mah, C., MD (Calgary), FRCPC (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada), PhD (Toronto)
Merritt, B., BS, MS (OT), PhD (Colorado State). Curriculum Evaluation, Health Professional Education, HIV, Objective Measurement, Chronic conditions, Rehabilitation, Activities of daily living
Neyedli, H., BSc (Dalhousie), MASc, PhD (Toronto), Post Doc (University of Oxford)
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
Phelan, S., BSc (Guelph), MSc, PhD (Western). Child/youth culture, Critical disability theory, Inclusion, Belonging, Inclusive Education, Child and Family Experiences of Disability, Reflexivity, Ethics, Qualitative research methodologies and methods
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
Truong, S., BSc (Dalhousie), MA, PhD (Alberta). Children's play, wellbeing, and environments, Community wellbeing, Therapeutic recreation, Outdoor learning, Experiential education, Place-based pedagogies, Community and international service-learning

Assistant Professors

Bryant, J., BA, BSc Honours (Carleton), MSc (Alberta), PhD (Purdue Univ). Bones and nutrition, Obesity remediation, Bone imaging, Health benefits of sports, Bones and exercise
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). Psychosocial aspects of sports, Group dynamics, Teammate efficacy, Team performance, Group behaviour
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.
Ghanouni, P., BSc (SBUMS) MSc (SBUMS), PhD (UBC). Social and Participation & Inclusion of Marginalized Populations, Assistive Technologies, Virtual Reality & Gaming Programs in Rehabilitation, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Pediatrics, Aging Population, Knowledge Translation, Mental Health and Cognitive Function, Transition, Resilience and Occupational Imbalance
Gonzalez Barrero, A.M., BSc (Universidad del Rosario), MEd, PhD (McGill), Postdoc (Concordia). Language and literacy development, Language and reading disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Language Disorder, Cultural and linguistic diversity, Bilingualism and multilingualism
Kehler, S., BPE, BKin, MSc, PhD (UofM). Clinical and epidemiological aspects of frailty and aging, with a special interest in patients living with cardiovascular disease, Impact of physical activity and sedentary behaviours for the prevention and treatment of frailty
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
McArthur, C., BScKIN (Waterloo), MScPT (UofT), PhD (Waterloo). Improving effectiveness of and access to rehabilitation for people living with chronic health conditions across the continuum of care, Fall and fracture prevention, Improving functional mobility for clinically complex older adults
Mbakogu, I., MSW, PhD (Ibadan), PhD (McGill). Child labour and human trafficking, Forced migration and displacement, New conflicts, new wars, Reintegration/resettlement, Women, children, social policy and development, Violence, trauma, communication and art-based research, International social work, African diaspora studies, Race, racism, rage and health in the academy, Mass media, social work and development, Marketing communication
Moore, S., BRLS, MSc (Brock), PhD (UBC). Movement and play behaviours, Adapted physical activity and therapeutic recreation, Risky play and dignity of risk, Pediatric rehabilitation, Skeletal health and injury prevention, Childhood growth and maturation, Health across the lifespan, Knowledge translation
Moyer, R., BScH (Queen's), BPHE(Queen's), MPT, PhD (Western). Clinical biomechanics and Rehabilitation
Rutherford, D., BSc (UWO), BSc PT (Toronto), MSc, PhD (Dalhousie). Knee osteoarthritis, Lower extremity injury and disease, Quantifying mechanics and muscle activation, Neuromusculoskeletal therapeutics
Theou, O., BSc (Greece), MSc (USA), PhD (UWO). Epidemiological and clinical aspects of frailty and aging, Epidemiological and clinical aspects of physical activity, sedentary behaviors, exercise, and mobility
Yakubovich, A., BA Honours (Manitoba), MSc, PhD (Oxford). Intimate partner violence, Gender-based violence, Social epidemiology, Mixed methods, Intervention and policy evaluation, Implementation science


Candidates must satisfy the general requirements for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (see Section 3 of the FGS Regulations). In addition to 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 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, supervisor research funding or a combination of both.
  • For international applicants, an English language competency score of TOEFL >100 (Internet) or IELTS 7.5.

Application deadline: December 31

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.