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Debbie Martin

Associate Professor, Health Promotion


Related information:

School of Health and Human Performance

Email: dhmartin@dal.ca
Phone: (902) 494-7717
Fax: (902) 494-5120
Mailing Address: 
School of Health and Human Performance
Dalhousie University
Stairs House, P.O. Box 15000
6230 South Street
Halifax, N.S. B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Social determinants of health
  • Food justice
  • Oral health promotion
  • Community based participatory research
  • Chronic disease prevention and food sovereignty
  • Aboriginal-Indigenous health

Cross appointment
Faculty of Dentristry

Currently accepting new graduate students. Please contact me at the above address.

Research interests

My program of research is aimed at preventing chronic diseases, which are disproportionately higher among Aboriginal peoples relative to their non-Aboriginal counterparts within Canada. Working directly with communities, I identify and address key community and societal level determinants, that are often linked to lifestyle factors, that ultimately cause chronic diseases. For instance, cost and availability of nutritious and culturally appropriate foods, which limits food choices, puts people at risk for debilitating, costly, and preventable, chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers.

A key feature of my work focuses on the importance of community engagement and using Indigenous ‘ways of knowing’ (methodologies) to inform the research process – from design to dissemination.


Interdisciplinary PhD, Dalhousie University
Master of Arts (MA) Health Promotion, Dalhousie University
Bachelor of Recreation (BRec), Honours (Co-operative), Memorial University of Newfoundland



Current funded research

  • 2014-2015:  Indigenous and western knowledge: Integrating both for effective water management in Canada. Castleden, H., Cunsolo-Willox, A., Harper, S. & Martin, D. (Co-Principal Investigators). Farahbaksh, Jamieson, Bailey, Trumble Waddell, Lam, Tikhonov, Julien, Russell (Co-As). Canadian Water Network. Amount: $200,000 for one year.

    Oral traditions, oral health: Sharing what we know about the ‘kungatsiajuk’ (healthy    smiles) of Inuit youth. Martin, D. (Nominated Principal Investigator), McNally, M., Castleden, H., Harrison, R., Schroth, B. CIHR-IAPH Dissemination Grant. Amount: $25,000 for one year.
  • 2013-2016: Building a social policy framework for the health and well-being of Mi’kmaq communities: A two-eyed seeing approach. Wien, F. (Prinicipal Investigator). Co-Principal Investigators: Bartlett, C., Castleden, H., Denis, J., Martin, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), McMillan, J., Young, T. Co-Investigator: Benoit, A. Canadian Institutes for Health Research Open Operating Grant. Amount: $446,395 for three years. [Ranked #1 in competition]

  • 2012-2015: A two-eyed seeing approach to researching environmental health concerns with Pictou Landing First Nation. CIHR-IAPH Open Operating Grant Competition (September 2011). Castleden, H. (Nominated Principal Investigator) & Martin, D. (Co-Principal Investigator). Amount: $460,000 for three years. [Ranked #1 in competition]

  • 2013-2014: Wien, F., Mushquash, C., Mushquash, A., Martin, D. (Co-Investigator) & Moore, C. Exploring the Relationship Between Prescription and Illicit Drug Use and Economic Development in Atlantic Aboriginal Communities Amount: $94,861 for one year.

  • 2013-2016: Castleden, H., (Principal Investigator) Denis, J., Martin, D. (Co-Investigator). “You go to the emergency, you’re treated like dirt”: Reducing Aboriginal peoples' experiences with racism through a medical school intervention. Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation Establishment Grant. Amount: $149,883 for three years.

  • 2012-2013: Engaging Aboriginal voices to address oral health disparities. McNally, M (Principal Investigator), Schroth, B., Harrison, R., Walker, D., Martin, D.(Co-Investigator), Castleden, H. Network for Canadian Oral Health Research. Amount: $25,000 for one year.

  • 2012-2017: Aboriginal HIV & AIDS Community-Based Research Collaborative Centre. Collaborative Centres of HIV/AIDS Community-Based Research – Aboriginal Stream. CIHR-IPPH. Reading, C (Principal Investigator) with Martin, D. (Co-Investigator). Amount: $1.5 million for five years.

  • 2011-2014: Kungatsiajuk: Improving the healthy smiles of NunatuKavut children. CIHR-IAPH Open Operating Grant. Martin, D. (Nominated Principal Investigator), McNally, M. & Castleden, H. (Co-principal Investigators). Amount: $387,575 for three years.

Past Research:

  • 2011-2012: Aboriginal health research and the academy: Ethical tensions and institutional barriers for new scholars seeking to do community based research 'in a good way' — Implications for improving health outcomes in Aboriginal communities. Castleden, H. (Principal Investigator), Martin, D. (Co-principal Investigator) & McNally, M. (Co-applicant). CIHR-IAPH Catalyst Grant. Amount: $99,740.

  • 2010-2012: Atlantic Aboriginal Health Research Program. Funded through CIHR-IAPH on a directed grant to the Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research Centres [$9.3 million]. Wien, F. (Nominated Principal Investigator). Martin, D. (Co-principal Investigator of AAHRP)

Selected publications

  • Richmond, C., Martin, D., Dean, L., Castleden, H., Marsden, N. (2013). Transformative networks: How ACADRE/NEAHR support for graduate students has impacted Aboriginal health research in Canada. Victoria, BC: Aboriginal Health Research Networks Secretariat.

  • Martin, D. (2012). Two-Eyed Seeing: A framework for understanding Indigenous and non-Indigenous approaches to Indigenous health research. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 44(2), 20-42.

  • Noble, B., Castleden, H., Martin, D., Paul, K. (2012). Joining the conversation: An inventory and report of Indigenous peoples research engagement at Dalhousie University. Halifax, NS: Submitted to the Office of the Vice-President (Research), Dalhousie University.

  • Martin, D., Valcour, J., Bull, J., Graham, J., Paul, M., & Wall, D. (2012). NunatuKavut Community Health Needs Assessment: A Community-Based Research Project. Downloaded from: http://www.nunatukavut.ca/home/files/pg/ncha_web.pdf

  • Martin, D. "Now we got lots to eat and they’re telling us not to eat it": Understanding changes to south-east Labrador Inuit relationships to food. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 70(4), 384-395.

  • Martin, D., Valcour, J., Bull, J., Graham, J., Paul, M., & Wall, D. NunatuKavut Community Health Needs Assessment: A Community-Based Research Project. (In prep).

  • Martin, D. The Nutrition Transition and the Public Health Crisis: Aboriginal Peoples on Food and Eating. In, M. Koc, T. Winson & J. Sumner (Eds.), Critical Perspectives on Food Studies. London: Oxford University Press. (In press)

  • Hood, R., Martin, D., McLaren, B. & Jackson, L. (2011). Youth views on environmental changes, the future of the environment and stewardship: The case of a Canadian coastal community. Society and Natural Resources, 24(6), 616-625.

  • Martin, D. (2010). Viewing food through the lens of culture: Using VoiceThread as a dissemination tool. Community-based research publication. Millbrook First Nation, NS: Atlantic Aboriginal Health Research Program.