Dr. Alice Aiken

Vice-president, research & innovation


A proud Dal alumna (BSc'94 in Physiotherapy), Professor Alice Aiken, PhD, MSc, BScPT, BSc is past President of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and spent 10 years as a faculty member in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queens University. A veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces (serving first as a ship's navigator in the Royal Canadian Navy, then as a physiotherapist), her research in health services and health policy has a unique focus on veterans and their families.

Dr. Aiken is co-founder and former Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, a consortium of over 40 Canadian and seven international universities, and her awards and honours include the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal and induction into the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

As Dean of Dalhousie's Faculty of Health, Dr. Aiken led the development of a visionary strategic plan set to position the Faculty as a national leader in health research and education. She is an exceptional team-builder, passionate about university research and has a strong understanding of Canada's broader research landscape. Her ability to engage across disciplines and build strategic partnerships will serve her well in helping Dalhousie expand its reach and impact as one of Canada's leading research institutions.

Read Dr. Aiken's full profile

Alice Aiken, an Ottawa native, first came to Halifax as a naval officer in the Canadian Forces and later earned a degree in Physical Therapy at Dalhousie. She returned to the city, and her alma mater, in 2016 as dean of the Faculty of Health.

When the chance to lead university research came up she couldn't resist the opportunity.

"I’m thrilled to take on the role of Vice President Research. Dalhousie is an exciting place to be and this is a fantastic opportunity. I firmly believe that Dalhousie will continue to shine in Canada and internationally as a research leader."

Dr. Aiken herself has made an impact in a variety of fields throughout her career. In addition to her military service, she has served as a professor and associate director of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and head of the Physiotherapy program in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University.

Dr. Aiken is also a co-founder and, until assuming her role at Dalhousie, the scientific director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. She also served patients as a physiotherapist in private practice for 12 years.

“My life has been about service,” says Dr. Aiken of the theme that unites her professional endeavours. The concept of service, she says, also drives her approach to leadership.

“I was an officer in the military and received a lot of formal education in leadership,” says Dr. Aiken. “But I believe in the power of the team. It’s about the team and the mission, it’s not about the individual. And I really believe that a leader is there to serve.”

To that end, Dr. Aiken says that supporting the satisfaction and success of faculty members and students is one of her key objectives.

"I am looking forward to working with President Florizone and the leadership team, faculty, researchers and staff, as we continue to expand our opportunities for pioneering research."

Quick facts

  • Received her PhD and master's degrees from Queen's University
  • Is an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel for Canadian Forces Health Services
  • Rides a motorcycle