Susan Elliott

Research Associate

Department of Geography and Environmental Management, cross-appointed to the School of Public Health Sciences, University of Waterloo
United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health 

Susan Elliott completed her PhD in medical geography in 1992 and accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Victoria. In 1994, she moved to McMaster University as an Assistant Professor in Geography linked to the McMaster Institute of Environment and Health. She left McMaster in 2010 to move to the University of Waterloo as Dean of Applied Health Sciences.  In her time at McMaster, she took on a variety of administrative and research leadership roles including Director of the Institute of Environment and Health, Senior Research Fellow in the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health as well as Dean of Social Sciences.

Her primary research focus is on relationships between environment and (public) health, both of which are broadly defined.  As such, she explores the role of the built environment, the role of the socially constructed environment, and the role of the physical environment. She recently accepted a lead role in the AllerGen NCE, as a program lead for the theme related to policy, public health and society related to gene-environment interactions around food allergy. As such, she is the Principal Investigator for the development of a National Food Allergy Strategy for Canada. The majority of her research is characterized by science-policy bridging; that is, how can science affect policy and hence human health. She is the Principal Investigator for GLOWING – the Global Index of Wellbeing initiative.

Elliott is an active researcher, both in Canada and in the developing world. She is also Senior Editor (Medical Geography) for Social Science and Medicine, the most frequently cited social sciences journal in the world. She currently supervises an amazing team of research students and staff; see:

Selected publications 

Elliott, S.J. (In press). Environment and health. In R. Kearns & A. Kobayashi (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Geography. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Harrington, D. W., & Elliott, S. J. (2015). Understanding emerging environmental health risks: A framework for responding to the unknownThe Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien59 (3), 283-296.

Bisung, E., & Elliott, S. J. (2014). Toward a social capital based framework for understanding the water-health nexusSocial Science & Medicine108, 194-200.

Elliott, S. J. (2011). The transdisciplinary knowledge journey: A suggested framework for research at the water-health nexusCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability(6), 527-530.

Dean, J. A., & Elliott, S. J. (2012). Prioritizing obesity in the cityJournal of Urban Health89 (1), 196-213.