Current Chair

Dr. OmiSoore Dryden, PhD, a Black queer femme, is an associate professor and the fourth James R. Johnston Endowed Chair in Black Canadian Studies and the first queer person to hold the Chair, now located in Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine (for the first time).

In July 2019, Dr. Dryden became co-lead of the Black Health Education Collaborative, along with Dr. Onye Nnorom (University of Toronto) and in April 2022, Dr. Dryden became the Interim Director of the Black Studies (in STEMM) Research Institute.

The Black Health Education Collaborative is a community of scholars and practitioners committed to improving Black health through education and research. Our mission is to address anti-Black racism and the interlocking systems that impact the health and wellbeing of Black communities across Canada. We understand Black health and Black life as intricately connected to the places and spaces in which we live, work, love, play, worship and resist. We draw on long histories of community and academic scholarship and resistance from Black, critical race theory, queer, feminist, anti/decolonial traditions.

The newly created Black Studies Research Institute will encourage researchers to work across academic fields, including science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine, which often fall outside of the traditional scope of Black studies.

Dr. Dryden engages in interdisciplinary scholarship and research that focuses on Black LGBTQI communities, blood donation systems in Canada, anti-Black racism in health care, medical education, and Black health curricular content development. Dr. Dryden is the Principal Investigator of #GotBlood2Give / #DuSangÀDonner a research project that seeks to identify the barriers Black gay, bisexual, and trans men encounter with donating blood and also analyzes how anti-Black homophobia/transphobia shapes blood system protocols in Canada; the Principal Investigator on the project Don’t Count Us Out! – a community-informed, culturally sensitive approach to health promotion for African Nova Scotian communities with an initial focus on COVID-19 pandemic; and the Nominating Principal Investigator (with co-principal investigators Dr. Barbara Hamilton-Hinch and Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed) Breast Cancer and Communities of African Descent in the Atlantic (BC-CAD-A). this project, focuses on identifying prevalence of breast cancer among Black women and Black populations in the Atlantic using an intersectional lens; the social and structural determinants of health that impact Breast cancer screening and treatment in the Atlantic, and testing the efficacy of the “Afrocentric screening protocols” for Black women and populations in the Atlantic.

Dr. Dryden is a content expert and Associate Scientist with the Maritime Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) SUPPORT Unit (MSSU). In that capacity, Dr. Dryden provides guidance on Canadian Black Health metrics needed to inform the development of health policies and improve the health care system, this specifically focuses on survey data and demographic information, determinants of trust, sexual health and qualitative data collection and analysis. She is a Researcher-In-Residence and has affiliation with the African, Caribbean, and Black Program Science Scholars Lab, at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, which is under the direction of Dr. LaRon Nelson, Associate Dean for Global Affairs & Planetary Health Independence Foundation Professor and Associate Professor of Nursing at Yale University. To this study, Dr. Dryden provides content expertise in HIV susceptibility and health disparities among Black persons and other marginalized groups in Canada. Dr. Dryden also provides insight into the vulnerability experienced among Black LGBTQ2S people and considerations for Black cultural contexts in health seeking behaviors.

Dryden is a member of the CIHR Anti-Racism External Advisory Committee, a member of the Black Feminist Health Science Studies International Collective, a board member of the Health Association of African Canadians; and the past co-president of the Black Canadian Studies Association (2019-2021, ).

OmiSoore Dryden has published in peer-reviewed journals and book collections and has an edited collection (with Dr. Suzanne Lenon): Disrupting Queer Inclusion: Canadian Homonationalisms and the Politics of Belonging (UBC Press, 2015); and the co-authored Commentary (with Dr. Onye Nnorom), Time to Dismantle Systemic anti-Black Racism in Medicine in Canada” (2021) in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), and the article titled, Who Gets To Do Medicine: Black Canadian Studies and Medical Education in the “Special Forum on Black Studies in Canada” in the academic journal, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies (2022).

Selected Publications

Foreword, Dare we hope for the erotic? HIV/AIDS, Sexuality and Ageing. HIV, Sex and Sexuality in Later Life. Mark Henrickson, Casey Charles, Shiv. Ganesh, Sulaimon Giwa, Kan Diana Kwok and Tetyana Semigina (Eds). (Bristol University Press)
Foreword, Pedagogies of Dissent: Meditations on Decolonial Disruptions. Decolonizing Equity. Billie Allan and Rhonda Hackett, Eds. (Fernwood Publishing)
Blackness and the Limits of Institutional Good Will. In A. Ibrahim, T. Kitossa, M. Smith, H. Wright (Eds)., Nuances of Blackness in the Canadian Academy: Teaching, Learning and Researching While Black. (University of Toronto Press)
Blood is a Politic of Place-making: Blackness, Queerness and the Construction of the Donor. In R. Cummins and N. Caple, (Eds.), Harriet’s Legacies: Race Historical memory and Futures In Canada. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 304-321.
Who Gets To Do Medicine: Black Canadian Studies and Medical Education. Special Issue Black Studies in Canada. TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 2022 44:, 159-174.

Time to dismantle systemic anti-Black racism in medicine in Canada. O.H. Dryden and O. Nnorom. Commentary, Canadian Medical Association Journal. (January 11, 2021). CMAJ January 11, 2021. 193 (2) E55-E57; Vol. 193 no. 2 E55-E57.

It’s in us to give: Black Life and the Racial Profiling of Blood Donation. In R. Diverlus & S. M. Ware for Black Lives Matter-Toronto (Eds.), Black Lives Matter Canada: A Blueprint for Black Liberation. 211-224.

Má-ka Juk Yuh: A Genealogy of Black Queer Liveability in Toronto. in Queering Urban Justice: Queer of Colour Formations in Toronto. Eds. Jin Haritaworn, Ghaida Moussa, Syrus Marcus Ware, with Rio Rodriguez. University of Toronto Press 62-83.