Profile: Susan Elliott

Dr. Susan Elliott, Dean, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo (Canada), and Professor, Departments of Geography and Environmental Management and Health Studies and Gerontology. She is also Adjunct Professor, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, and the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University. Dr. Elliott is a medical geographer whose research and teaching interests revolve around the environment, and health, the global environment, urban social geography, and philosophy and method in the social sciences.

Susan Elliott holds an undergraduate degree in Urban and Environmental Studies combined with Sociology from Brock University (1985), and MA (1987) and a PhD (1992) degrees in health geography from McMaster. Her first tenure-track position was at the University of Victoria where she worked in the Geography Department until 1994, when she returned to McMaster’s School of Geography and Earth Sciences. In 2010, Susan began her current role at the University of Waterloo

Susan’s current research program revolves around a number of environment and health projects, involving several graduate students at both the MA and PhD levels. A CIHR New Emerging Team grant looks at obesity and environment in Canada ( ). The purpose of the project is to develop a national research program to study the impact of individual- and community-level factors on the relationships between obesity, other chronic disease risk factors, and mortality. Susan is a program co-leader for Programme C: Public Health, Ethics, Politics and Society, a research management committee member, and a funded researcher at AllerGen NCE, the Allergy, Genes and Environment network

( ) AllerGen provides opportunities to explore the prevalence of peanut allergies in Canadian children, as well as the lifescape impacts of being diagnosed peanut allergic.

Susan has recently concluded a role as Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations University, where she engaged in the development of a research program related to water, environment and health at the global level. Several recent projects have been funded (CIHR, SSHRC) to explore the relationship between the environment and health in the context of sanitation and global environmental change.

She has published extensively around these issues, including, with Tony Gatrell, a second edition of Geographies of Health (Wiley, 2009).Susan applies a transdisciplinary approach to her research on human impacts on environment-health relationships. Working with researchers from several social and health sciences allows a more comprehensive approach to problems involving complex questions that capture the interests of health geographers. Working in large interdisciplinary teams, long a McMaster hallmark, provides a stimulating intellectual and learning environment for both faculty and graduate students.

Susan may be reached at

Updated: February 2011