Jacqueline Gahagan

Jacqueline (Jacquie) Gahagan, PhD (Medical Sociology) is a Full Professor of Health Promotion in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. Jacquie holds research associate positions with the European Union Centre of Excellence, the Health Law Institute, the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, and the Healthy Populations Institute. Jacquie’s program of health promotion research focuses on understanding and addressing health inequities faced among marginalized populations at high risk for poor health outcomes through the development of effective policy and programming interventions. Prior to joining Dalhousie University, Jacquie worked in public health at the municipal, provincial and national levels in relation to harm reduction, HIV/HCV prevention, and tobacco use cessation.

Jacquie has been involved in issues of health equity, advocacy and activism for over three decades with a variety of rights-based and social justice-oriented community-based organizations such as the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Interagency Coalition for AIDS and Development, Stepping Stone, prideHealth, the Youth Project, among others. Jacquie and has been involved in a wide array of service to Dalhousie University, including as a member of the DFA Equity committee, the University Employment Equity Committee, the University Senate, the FGS Faculty Council, numerous faculty search committees, as an academic integrity officer, a member of the health sciences research ethics board, and is a founding member of the Queer Faculty Caucus.

In her own words

Why does policy matter?

Policy is a major tool used by public health and health promotion disciplines to ensure health equity is reflected in our evidence-based decision-making. Health policy offers an opportunity to better understand how well issues such as access to health care are manifest in our policy directions. There are a wide array of examples of health policies that were, for example, sex and gender blind which is why I am passionate about advancing health equity focused policies through the use of, for example, the Government of Canada SGBA+ framework.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time as a founding fellow?

I am looking forward to moving the policy landscape forward in relation to health equity in, for example, access to primary health, and healthy ageing policies for older LGBTQ adults and innovative housing and health models, programs and policies. I believe that partnering with the MacEachen in these endeavours is crucial to advancing health equity among marginalized populations in Canada.