Team Members

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Dr. Sylvia Abonyi PhD Researcher Community Health and Epidemiology (University of Saskatchewan)

Dr. Abonyi is an anthropologist working primarily in the area of Aboriginal health. She explores the role of culture in health with a number of research projects located in northern and remote Saskatchewan and across the Prairie provinces. She is an associate professor with the University of Saskatchewan’s Community Health and Epidemiology Department. From 2005-2014, she held a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Health.


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Dr. Jim Daschuk PhD Researcher Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies (University of Regina)

Dr. Daschuk joined the SPHERU team in 2008 and brings experience as an historian with a background in anthropology. He has been researching and teaching in the field of Aboriginal health for nearly 20 years, and recently published Clearing the Plains (University of Regina Press). He is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina.


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Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer PhD Researcher Community Health and Epidemiology (University of Saskatchewan)

Dr. Engler-Stringer is an assistant professor in Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests include food systems and food security; nutritional health inequities; health promotion; and participatory research. Currently, she is Principal Investigator of the multi-year Smart Cities, Healthy Kids: Food Environment study and the Good Food, Healthy Families Good Food Junction Grocery Store study.


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Diana -Fedosoff Research Officer (University of Saskatchewan)

Diana Fedosoff has been a member of SPHERU since 2002. She is Research Officer for Dr. Sylvia Abonyi and manages Dr. Abonyi's research program by coordinating administrative, financial and research activities on various projects. Diana has also come on board to assist with SPHERU admin and communication duties.


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Dr. Daniel Fuller PhD Researcher School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University

Dr. Daniel Fuller spent his teenage years riding his bicycle through Saskatoon’s inner city neighbourhoods to the Victoria Boathouse, where he spent his summers kayaking on the South Saskatchewan River. The time spent paddling and observing the city from his bicycle got him thinking. Thinking about how urban environments can promote or limit physical activity. Thinking about how environments can be structured to reduce social inequalities in health.


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Dr. Paul Hackett PhD Researcher Geography and Planning (University of Saskatchewan)

Dr. Hackett's interests focus on the impact of cultural change on community health. Research projects include examining the factors that helped set the stage for the current epidemic of Type 2 diabetes among First Nations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and investigating the history of tuberculosis among the western First Nations. He is also currently working on the SPHERU project, History of Public Health and Health Care in Saskatchewan: The origins and import of health inequities in Saskatchewan 1905-1985. Dr. Hackett is an assistant professor with the University of Saskatchewan's Department of Geography and Planning.


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Colleen Hamilton Administrative / Project Coordinator (University of Regina)

Colleen has been with SPHERU since 2002, located at the SPHERU Prince Albert site. She has worked as Project Coordinator on a number of research projects, primarily in the Northern and Aboriginal Health theme. Along with involvement in research projects, she also serves as the Administrative Coordinator, overseeing SPHERU’s financial and administrative activities.


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Dr. Bonnie Jeffery PhD Researcher Social Work (University of Regina)

Dr. Jeffery began working with SPHERU in 2000 as a research faculty member, and was appointed director in 2006. A professor in the Faculty of Social Work, she has maintained a long-standing commitment to access to post-secondary education for rural and northern residents. In her research, this commitment extends more broadly to influence policies that impact access to a variety of services for rural and northern residents, particularly for seniors. During her tenure with the Faculty of Social Work, she has served as Assistant Dean, Director of the Social Policy Research Unit, and Director of both the Saskatoon and Prince Albert Community Education Centres. She currently serves on a number of research related boards and committees, including Vice-Chair of the Canadian Rural Health Research Society. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and an interdisciplinary PhD in Health Services Research and Social Work from the University of British Columbia.


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Dr. Shanthi Johnson PhD Researcher Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies (University of Regina)

Dr. Johnson is a professor and Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. Her research program is two-fold: epidemiological research related to the surveillance and monitoring of falls and fall-related injuries among seniors; and intervention research focusing on the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of factors associated with falls among seniors in community and long-term care settings. Specifically, the role of exercise and nutrition to improve an individual's capacity to carry out activities of daily living and to decrease the frequency of debilitating falls are examined. Her research also extends to the cross-cultural study of aging, rural-urban differences, and health beliefs and practices related to chronic diseases such as osteoporosis.


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Dr. Tom McIntosh PhD Researcher & Associate Director Political Science (University of Regina)

Dr. McIntosh joined SPHERU in 2002 and brings expertise on public policy making and knowledge transfer and exchange to numerous SPHERU projects. He is presently working on the political and economic components of SPHERU's historical analysis of population health in Saskatchewan. He was also the co-editor of Redistributing Health: New Directions in Population Health Research in Canada (CPRC: 2010). Dr. McIntosh is currently a professor and head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Regina.


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Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine PhD Director Community Health and Epidemiology

Dr. Muhajarine is a social epidemiologist and SPHERU Director, and leads SPHERU's Healthy Children research program. His work includes researching questions related to community and family contextual influences in child development and health, risk in the prenatal period, and developing community-university research partnerships to improve knowledge creation, transfer and application. His current research includes evaluations of population-level early childhood intervention programs. He particularly cherishes the mentoring role and works closely with junior colleagues and graduate students. He is the recipient of several awards of distinction, including his province's 2009 Health Research Achievement Award and the CIHR Knowledge Translation Award. He is a professor and grad chair in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan.


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Dr. Cordell Neudorf PhD Research Associate Community Health and Epidemiology (University of Saskatchewan)

Dr. Neudorf is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan and joined SPHERU in 2013. Much of his work focuses on improving the social determinants of health. He is Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Saskatoon Health Region and collaborated with SPHERU to produce the Healthy Families, Healthy Communities report, released in late 2012.


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Dr. Nuelle Novik PhD Researcher Social Work (University of Regina)

Dr. Novik is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Regina. She has worked in health, mental health and community development in Saskatchewan and also spent six years as Coordinator of the Social Work Program at Aurora College in the Northwest Territories. Prior to joining in 2013, Dr. Novik worked with SPHERU as co-investigator on the Role of Social Systems in the Health of Seniors Living in Rural Saskatchewan pilot project and is actively involved with the Healthy Aging in Place study, which grew out of the pilot project.


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Dr. Gabriela Novotna PhD Researcher Faculty of Social Work (University of Regina)

Dr. Gabriela Novotna is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Regina. She joined SPHERU in 2015. Her research focuses on informing clinical, organizational, and policy interventions for the issues related to alcohol, cannabis, opioids, stimulant use, gambling, and concurrent disorders. Her research interests include studies on the uptake of research findings into health and social services, including policy and community-university knowledge development and exchange. She is interested in advancing scholarship, and critical analysis of what constitutes “evidence”, in evidence-informed decision making.


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Dr. Sarah Oosman PhD Researcher School of Physical Therapy (University of Saskatchewan)

Dr. Sarah Oosman is an assistant professor and physiotherapist working in the area of health promotion with a specific interest in community-based health intervention research in partnership with Aboriginal communities. She is interested in working with communities to develop and implement culture-based health promotion programs in order to positively influence health across the lifespan. She is currently collaborating on the Healthy Aging in Place project with northern Métis and First Nations communities.


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Dr. Michelle Stewart PhD Researcher Justice Studies, Faculty of Arts (University of Regina)

Dr. Michelle Stewart holds PhD and Masters degrees in Anthropology from University of California, Davis, and is the Director of the Community Research Unit at the University of Regina. Her research is focused on understanding and addressing the question of equal access to justice, supports and services for those living with stigmatized medical conditions, including FASD and mental illness.