Dr. Elizabeth McGibbon

Dr. Elizabeth McGibbon

Camden Hall
(902) 867-5889

Dr. Elizabeth McGibbon is a nationally recognized critical health scholar. Her teaching and research focus on embodied oppression, access to health care, health equity and public policy, and the political economy of health. She leads a national research project, Mapping Health Equity in Canadian Public Policy (SSHRC), and is co-researcher in a study aiming to diversify our dialogue and understanding of heart health of Manitoban First Nations People (CIHR, Lead: Annette Schultz). She is a founding member of the International Association for Qualitative Research and was one of three leads in the establishment of the National Collaborating Center, Determinants of Health (NCCDH).  She published the first Canadian books to address anti-racism specifically in health care practice (McGibbon & Etowa, 2009) and oppression as a social determinant of health (Edited Volume, 2012). She is an invited author in five multiple edition Canadian books about critical social science applications, particularly in the health fields; and the first book to address complexity science applications in the criminal justice system (Pycroft & Bartollas, Eds., United Kingdom, 2014). Along with social justice colleagues, her awards include recognition from The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (anti-racism community action), and the Canadian Armed Forces (refugee humanitarian work).
We live and work in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral
and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People



I have taught over 80 undergraduate and graduate classes, including: Leadership, Health promotion and learning, Community mental health, Social justice and health, Qualitative and quantitative research methods, Critical research literacy in education, Therapeutic communication in clinical practice, Mental health nursing, Issues and trends in health care, Advanced Major selfdirected study, Honors and Master’s thesis supervision, and Doctoral dissertation supervision. I have also designed, implemented and evaluated (with Dr. C. McPherson) a Violence and Health Immersion Workshop that has been completed by over 400 students.

Sample course descriptions:
Social Justice and Health (Women’s and Gender Studies 364/ Nursing 364): The goals of this course are to foster the development of a critical understanding of: 1) the concept of social justice and how it relates to human, ecosystem and planetary health; 2) the political economy of health inequities within nations and globally, and how inequities are articulated to ecosystem, human and planetary health and the public policies that support injustice; 3) the challenge of designing strategic practice and policy action for implementing social justice principles; and 4) Strategies for enacting social change to tackle health and social inequities. Learning strategies include group collaboration, case studies, debates, and in-class opportunities to explore selected social justice concerns. Many of the topics could be a whole course in themselves. My intent is to introduce the core ideas to support enacting social justice in our everyday lives and in our communities. As such, the topics are presented in a logical and interconnected way, based on feedback from previous students and my own experience in teaching the course and working for justice.

Research Methods (Nursing 310): The focus of this course is an introduction to the applied health research process and how this process applies to the design, implementation and evaluation of research studies. Selected qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches are explored, with an emphasis on generating research problems and questions from the everyday world in health fields as well as the social sciences and humanities. Focus areas include: the language and culture of research; the social, economic and political contexts within which research is designed and conducted; research design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation; and evidence-informed practice.

Mental Health Nursing (Nursing 345). This course focuses on the social, political, cultural and economic contexts of mental health practice. The course begins with foundational discussions about mental health stigma and discrimination from individual, societal and public policy perspectives. Core course concepts explored, including oppression, colonialism and intersections of the social determinants of health. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) is introduced and critiqued. Selected mental health struggles are explored in detail, including etiologies, current Canadian and global prevalence, and clinical practice assessment, intervention and evaluation: anxiety, depression; bipolar illness; psychosis; traumatic stress; dementia; and substance, gambling and internet dependency. (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) Best Practice Guidelines are integrated in key content areas. Students are introduced to mindfulness practice in mental health. Clinical experiences include advanced dementia assessment and a comprehensive introduction to the complex field of substance dependency

Critical Research Literacy in Education (Master of Education in Health Sciences, E508). The focus of this course is the exploration of research issues and critical interpretation of key genres of research, including descriptive research, qualitative research, case studies and empirical research. A critical perspective guides the teaching-learning process in this course, with an emphasis on the development of critical social scientific analyses of local and global social justice and health concerns.

Recent publications

Selected Publications (2006-2017)
Books Published
1.    McGibbon, E. (Ed. 2012). Oppression: A social determinant of health. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

2.    McGibbon, E. & Etowa, J. (2009). Anti-racist health care practice. Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press. (Reviewed by International Health Equity Panel)
Book Chapters Published

1.    McGibbon, E., Bailey, A. & Lukeman, S. (2018). Violence and health: Contexts of power and social inequities. In. J. Etowa & Van Daalen-Smith, C. (Eds.). Community Health Nursing: Contemporary Health and Social Imperatives. New York: Pearson. (In Press: Fall 2018)

2.    McGibbon, E. & Mbugua, J.  (2018). Culture, race and health In. J. Etowa & Van Daalen-Smith, C. (Eds.). Community Health Nursing: Contemporary Health and Social Imperatives. New York: Pearson. (In Press: Fall 2018)

3.    McGibbon, E. & Mbugua, J. (2017). Race and racialization in health, health care, and nursing education. In M. McIntyre & C. McDonald (Eds.). Realities of Canadian Nursing. 5th Ed. New York: Wolters Kluwer Health.

4.    McGibbon, E. (2017). Embodied oppression: The social determinants of health. In Antony W. & Antony, J. (Eds.). Power and Resistance: Critical Thinking about Canadian Social Issues. 6th Ed. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

5.    McGibbon, E. (2016). Oppressions and access to health care: Deepening the conversation. In D. Raphael (Ed.). The Social determinants of health. Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press.

6.    McPherson, C. & McGibbon, E. (2014). Intersecting contexts of oppression within complex public systems. In A Pycroft & E. Bartollas (Eds.). Applying complexity theory: A whole systems approaches to criminal justice and social work, (159-180).

7.    McGibbon, E. (2012) Introduction to oppression as a social determinant of health. In E. McGibbon (Ed.). Oppression: A social determinant of health. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, (16-27).

8.    McGibbon, E. (2012). People under threat: Health outcomes and oppression. In E. McGibbon (Ed.). Oppression: A social determinant of health. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, (32-44).

9.    McGibbon, E. & Shebib, M. (2012). Health as human right: Challenges and supports for accountability. In E. McGibbon (Ed.). Oppression: A social determinant of health. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing. (186-204).

10.    Etowa, J. & McGibbon. E. (2012). Racism as a determinant of health. In E. McGibbon (Ed.). Oppression: A social determinant of health. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing. (73-87).

11.    McGibbon, E. (2012). Oppression and mental health: Pathologizing the outcomes of injustice. In E. McGibbon (Ed.). Oppression: A social determinant of health. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing. (123-137).

12.    McGibbon, E. & Hallstrom, L. (2012). Oppression and the political economy of health inequities In E. McGibbon (Ed.). Oppression: A social determinant of health. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing. (167-185).

13.    McGibbon, E. (2009). Health and health care: A human rights perspective. In D. Raphael (Ed.) The social determinants of health. 2nd Ed. Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press, (319-339).

14.     McGibbon, E. (2000). Social class, gender, and race: The situated knowledge of helpers. In Identities of Difference, Carl James, (Ed.). Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, (156-187)


1. Schultz, A. Dahl, L. & McGibbon, E. et al. (2018). Health outcome and follow-up care differences between First Nation and non-First Nation coronary angiogram patients: A retrospective cohort study. Canadian Journal of Cardiology (Accepted, in Press)

2. McGibbon, E. (2018). Truth and reconciliation: Organizational leadership in health care. Healthcare Management Forum (Accepted, In Press).

3. McGibbon, E. (2018). Decolonizing health care: Reconciliation roles and responsibilities for white settlers. Women’s Health and Urban Life, 13(2).

4. McGibbon, E. (2018). Decolonizing health care: Reconciliation roles and responsibilities for white settlers. Women’s Health and Urban Life (In Press).

5. Schultz, A. Dahl, L. & McGibbon, E. et al. (2018). Index coronary angiography utilization in Manitoba, Canada: A population-level descriptive analysis of First Nation and Non-First Nation recipients. British Medical Journal Open. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmjopen 2017-020856?ijkey=lhQgDQZ9Xbnl9Q7&keytype=ref

6. McGibbon, E. (2016). Access to emergency care; Spotlight on a social determinants of health intersectionality lens. British Medical Journal Open, Published online, February 3, 2016. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/1/e010274.responses#access-to-emergency...

7. Jackson, J, McGibbon, E. & Waldren, I. (2013). Racism and cardiovascular disease: Implications for nursing science. Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 23(4), 12-18.

8. McGibbon, E. & McPherson, C. (2013). Stress, oppression, and women’s mental health: A discussion of the health consequences of injustice. Women’s Health and Urban Life: An International Journal.  

9. McGibbon, E., Waldren, I. & Jackson, J.  (2013). Social determinants of cardiovascular health: Time for a focus on racism. Invited Guest Editorial. Diversity and Equality in Health and Care: An International Journal,10(139-42),

10.  McGibbon, E., Malaudzi, M., Didham, P., Barton, A., & Sochan, A. (2013). Towards decolonizing nursing: The colonization of nursing and strategies to increase the counter-narrative. Nursing Inquiry, 21(3), 179-191.

11.  Cohen, B., Schultz, A., McGibbon, E., VanderPlaat, M., GermAnn, C., Beanlands, et al. (2013).  Conceptual framework of organizational capacity for Public Health equity action. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 104(3), e262-e266.

12. Bassett, R. & McGibbon, E. (2012). A critical participatory and collaborative method for scoping the Literature: Participatory approaches to scoping reviews. Quality and Quantity: An International Journal. April, 26, 2012,  

13.  McGibbon, E. & McPherson, C. (2011). Applying intersectionality theory and complexity theory to address the social determinants of women’s health. Women’s Health and Urban Life: An International Journal, (10)1, 59-86. University of Toronto Press.

14. McGibbon, E. (2011). Political economy of maternal and newborn mortality. British Medical Journal Open, Page 343. DOI: d4044doi: 10.1136.

15. McGibbon, E. & Peter, E. (2010). A reformulation of the nature of stress in nursing: An institutional ethnography. Qualitative Health Research, 20(10), 1353-1378.

16. McPherson, C., & McGibbon, E. (2010). Addressing the determinants of child mental health: Intersectionality as a guide to primary health care renewal. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 42(3), 50-64.

17. McPherson, C. & McGibbon, E. (2010).  Rural interprofessional primary health care team development and sustainability: Establishing a research agenda. Primary Health Care Research & Development, 11(4), 301-314.  

18. McGibbon, E, Etowa, J. & McPherson, C. (2008). Health care access as a social determinant of health. Canadian Nurse Journal, 104(7), 22-29.  

19. McGibbon, E. & Peter, E. (2008). Everyday caring for the living, the dying, and the dead: Towards a biomedical technography. International Journal of Qualitative Inquiry (14)7, 1134-1156.

20. McGibbon, E. (2008). Health care top-up fees, privatization, and market driven health care. British Medical Journal, 335(7653), 1105-1106.

21. McGibbon, E., McPherson, C., & Etowa, J. (2007).  The social determinants of health: Bringing advocacy to a health and public policy level. Nursing in Focus, 8(2), 17-19.

22. McGibbon, E. & McPherson, C. (2006). Interpretive pedagogy in action:  Design and delivery of a violence and health workshop for baccalaureate nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education, 45(2), 81-85.  



Research Overview

1.    My research grants have focused on the structural determinants of health: social injustice, oppression, and the political economy of health. I speak as a 20-year insider in the health fields, undertaking Masters, PhD, and postdoctoral studies in critical applications of key health areas such as medicalization, psychiatrization, and the ways that societal injustice becomes embodied across the lifecourse. I am now looking at how health equity language has changed in Canadian public policy-related texts—mapping the political, social, cultural, and economic contexts of these changes over time using Dorothy Smith’s institutional ethnography. The goal is to support public analysis and debate about the urgency of retaining critical social science origins of health equity in public policy aiming to address inequities in the social determinants of health. (SSHRC, 2017; Co-Investigator, Dr. Katherine Fierlbeck, Dalhousie University Political Science).

2.    I am also closely involved as a co-researcher in a study aiming to diversify our dialogue and understanding of heart health of Manitoban First Nations People (CIHR, 2014-2018; Lead: Dr. Annette Schultz). Studies have reported disparities in ischemic heart disease (IHD) morbidity and mortality between First Nation (FN) and non-FN people, which may be attributed to differences in cardiovascular care. This longitudinal, retrospective, mixed methods study addresses racial disparities in IHD outcomes through an analysis of the population-based utilization of coronary angiography.

3.    My research also involves analyses of power, privilege, and colonialism from a white, settler perspective. Several of my main publications involve analytic frameworks to uncover and address the ways that white privilege is embedded in everyday health care practices and policy-making. Most recently, I have integrated these writings to analyze reconciliation roles and responsibilities for white settlers to engage in decolonizing health care.  

4.    In Progress: Applying a human and ecosystem health lens to research and theoretical innovations about structural violence and social murder (e.g. Engles, 1845; Farmer, 1996; Galtung, 1990, 2011; Chernomas & Hudson, 2009) and the ecosystem and environmental justice concept of slow violence.

Research Funding
1.    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC, PI, $49,800; 2017-2019). Mapping the social organization of health equity discourses in Canadian public policy: An institutional ethnography. Insight Development Grant.

2.    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institutional Grant (SSHRC/STFX, PI; $3,000, 2017). Mapping the politics of health care: The social organization of social contract related service provision in Canada. Awarded Nov 16, 2016.

3.    Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR, Co-I. $270,000; May 2015-May 2019). Diversifying our ways of understanding heart health among First Nations people in Manitoba: A mixed-methods study governed by a two-eyed seeing approach (PI Dr. Annette Schultz).

4.    Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF, Co-PI, $10,000; July 2012-September, 2013). Environmental justice: Toxic industry location and Indigenous and Black Nova Scotian communities. Development Innovative Competition. Co-PI: Dr. Ingrid Waldren.

5.    Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR, Co-I, $13,000; 2011-2012). Developing a conceptual framework of public health organizational capacity for action to promote health equity. Operating Grant Competition, Health Inequities, LOI. (PI Dr. Benita Cohen).

6.    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institutional Grant (SSHRC/STFX, PI, $4,760, 2012). Rights-based social inequality report card: Supporting accountability and action for policy intervention in the Atlantic Region.

7.    Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR, Co-I, $74,997; 2010-2011). Advancing the evidence to build a research program for developing Public Health capacity to promote health equity. CIHR Health Equities Catalyst Grant Competition. (PI Dr. Benita Cohen).

8.    Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR, PI, $24,310; January, 2009-September, 2011). Planning for research to decolonize population health interventions. Meetings, Planning, Dissemination Competition.

9.    Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF, PI, $74,000; May, 2006-September, 2008). Health inequity, the social determinants of health, and health-geographic information science. Post-doctoral Research Competition.

10.    Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR, PI, $70,000; May, 2007-June, 2008). Inequities in access to health services for rural Aboriginal and African Canadians: A scoping review.  Knowledge Synthesis Competition, Health Inequities.

11.    Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF, PI, $10,000; 2006). Geospatial mapping of African Nova Scotia health inequities. Development Innovative Team Competition.


1.    Canadian Nurses Association (CNA, CoPI, $25,000, September 2014). Social determinants of health and health equity toolkit. Module design (content and pedagogy) for internationally accessible toolkit. Co-I C. Dr. C. McPherson.

2.    Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC, Co-PI, 4.3 million, April, 2006- September, 2011) Building a new agenda for public health: Participatory strategies for social justice and health (National Collaborating Center for the Determinants of Health). Co-I: Dr. Lars Hallstrom, Dr. Doris Gillis.

3.    Guysborough Antigonish Strait Area District Health Authority (PI, $4,000, 2011). Emancipatory access to dementia support: Canada’s first Alzheimer Café.  Guysborough Antigonish Strait District health Authority.

4.    Guysborough Antigonish Strait Area District Health Authority (CoPI, $4,000, 2011). Social justice capacity building in district health authorities. Guysborough Antigonish Strait District Health Authority. Co-I: Dr. C. McPherson.




Contact information

Dr. Elizabeth McGibbon
Camden Hall C271
(902) 867 5889 (office)
(902) 867 5555 (fax)
(902) 867 3673 (Administration Office)

Mailing Address:

St. Francis Xavier University
Faculty of Science, School of Nursing
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS
B2G 2W5

Courier Address:

St. Francis Xavier University
Faculty of Science, School of Nursing
2340 Notre Dame Avenue
Antigonish, NS
B2G 2W5

Office Hours:

Office hours: Monday 11-12:30; Wednesday 12-1:30; Thursday 1-2
Or by appointment or drop in anytime