One of Dalhousie’s own has become a Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) Fellow, one of the highest honours for members of the country’s health sciences community.
Lois Jackson, a professor in Dal’s School of Health and Human Performance, is internationally recognized for her community-based, collaborative research with marginalized populations. Her highly productive program of research identifies how social inequalities impact access to health services, and her work draws attention to inequities across urban and rural places. She is a leader in population health research, providing a voice for communities living socially and economically on the margins of society.
An honour — and an opportunity
“It is a true honour to be elected into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) as a 2020 Fellow,” says Dr. Jackson. “The Academy is a unique organization providing assessments and advice on various critical issues that are important to the health of the Canadian population.
“I am absolutely thrilled that I will be able to contribute to the Academy’s work, and I very much look forward to engaging with the many Fellows whose expertise on key health issues crosses a diverse range of disciplines in the health sciences.”
The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences brings together Canada’s top-ranked health and biomedical scientists and scholars to make a positive impact on the urgent health concerns of Canadians. CAHS Fellows are chosen through a peer review process for their demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies, and commitment to advancing academic health sciences. They agree to serve the Academy and be active in promoting improved health, health care and health-related policies. Dr. Jackson joins a cohort of 77 new Fellows this year.
“Congratulations to Dr. Jackson on this well-deserved recognition from the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences,” says Alice Aiken, vice-president research and innovation at Dalhousie. “She embodies the true meaning of a research scholar, displaying great rigor, integrity and humility as she works to support those who are seeking equal access to health care and social support from coast to coast to coast in Canada.”
Improving access to needed health services
Born and raised in Toronto, Dr. Jackson completed her BA, MA and PhD (Sociology) at the University of Toronto, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship (Department of Preventative Medicine and Biostatistics) focused on HIV prevention research. Following her post-doctoral fellowship, she worked in the City of Toronto Department of Public Health as a research program consultant, after which she began a tenure-track position at Dalhousie.
“It was when I was a post-doctoral fellow that I became involved in community-based research working with a small non-governmental organization providing HIV prevention education for women involved in the sex industry,” says Dr. Jackson. “This research, and my work with the City of Toronto Department of Public Health, made me realize how important social conditions are to shaping a population’s health.”
She was able to bring her academic training to her community-based health research. That began a career of working with different community-based organizations and people with lived experience, to examine and highlight how various structural forces such as poverty and stigma negatively impact the health of diverse populations.
A widely recognized researcher
Throughout her career, Dr. Jackson has been the recipient of many awards and accolades. In 2000, she received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Investigator/Regional Partnership Award for her work on the social determinants of health and studies involving marginalized populations, which marked significant national recognition of the importance of her research. She also received the 2017 Public Health Champion Award from the Public Health Association of Nova Scotia, and more recently Health Promotion Canada’s 2018 Team Award (with Mainline Needle Exchange and Direction 180), in recognition of her community-based research in improving the health of those living on the margins.
In addition, Dr. Jackson was acknowledged by her colleagues in 2015 with the Patricia Cleave Outstanding Leadership Award for the Faculty of Health. This award was presented in recognition of her leadership in the transformation of the forward-thinking, rebranded,
re-conceptualized Healthy Populations Institute (HPI). And, in August 2020, she was named as Dalhousie’s newest University Research Professor.
To learn more about the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, visit the CAHS website.
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