Susan Elliott

Susan Elliott standing agaist a white wall. Susan Elliott is a health geographer whose primary area of research focuses on relationships between environment and health, broadly defined.

She is a professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo. Her current research activities can be organized around three broad themes:

1. health and the built environment

  • e.g., Pouliou, T., Elliott, S.J. (2010). Individual and socio-environmental determinants of obesity in urban Canada. Health and Place, 16(2): 389-398.

2. health and the socially constructed environment

  • e.g., Harrington, D., Elliott, S.J. How can we govern what we don’t understand? A framework for understanding emerging environmental health risks. The Canadian Geographer (in press).

3. health and the physical environment

  • e.g., Bisung, E., Elliott, S.J. (2014). Toward a social capital based framework for understanding the water-health nexus. Social Science and Medicine.  doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.01.042.

Susan’s research is also characterized by a strong commitment to science-policy bridging.  For example, see:

  • Elliott, S.J. (2011). The transdisciplinary knowledge journey: A suggested framework for research at the water-health nexus. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 3(6): 527-530.

As a result, she is currently leading two large-scale funded projects related to sharing research outcomes and building capacity:

  • Canadian Food Allergy Strategy (CanFAST): The development of a Canadian Food Allergy Strategy. This is linked to her leadership role in AllerGen, the National Centre of Excellence focused on gene-environment interactions as they affect allergic disease.
  • Global Index of Wellbeing (GLOWING): The development of a Global Index of Wellbeing linked to the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

Other recent publications:

  • Lu, S. K., Elliott, S. J., Majowicz, S. E., & Perlman, C. M. (2017). An Evaluation Toolkit for Small NGOs in Water-based Development. Journal of International Development. 2017. doi: 10.1002/jid.3328

  • Brown, K. M., Elliott, S. J., Robertson-Wilson, J., Vine, M. M., & Leatherdale, S. T. (2017). “Now what?” perceived factors influencing knowledge exchange in school health research. Health Promotion Practice. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1524839917732037

  • Barber, H., Dickson-Anderson, S., Schuster-Wallace C.J., Elliott, S.J., & Tema, S. Designing a Mixed-Methods Approach for Collaborative Local Water Security: Findings from a Kenyan Case Study. Expo Health. 2017. DOI: 10.1007/s12403-017-0251-0

  • Elliott SJ., Dixon J., Bisung E. and Kangmennaang J. (in press)  Taking it global: toward an index of wellbeing for low to middle income countries.  International Journal of Wellbeing.

  • Harrington D.W., McLafferty S.L. and Elliott S.J. (eds.), Population Health Intervention Research: Geographical Perspectives. Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group: New York. 2016. 

  • Bisung, E., Karanja, D. M., Abudho, B., Oguna, Y. Mwaura, N. Ego, P., Shuster-Wallace, C.J., and Elliott, S.J. One community’s journey to lobby for water in an environment of privatized water: Is Usoma too poor for the pro-poor program?  African Geographical Review. 2016, 35(1): 70-82
  • Rishworth, A., Elliott, S.J. , *Dixon, J. , Clarke, A. E. What do the People who use the Research Results Think? Attempting Integrated Knowledge Translation in the ‘Knowledge Creation’ Phase. Universal Journal of Public Health. 2016, 4(3): 144-150 DOI: 10.13189/ujph.2016.040304

  • Dixon, J. & Elliott S.J. Exploring End-user Experiences in the Co-production of Knowledge Through Integrated Knowledge Translation: A Biomedical Investigation of the Causes and Consequences of Food Allergy. Research Involvement and Engagement. 2016, 2:27. DOI: 10.1186/s40900-016-0043-x

  • Majowicz, S.E., Meyer, S.B, Kirkpatrick, S.I., Graham, J.L., Shaikh, A., Elliott, S.J.,  Minaker, L.M., Scott, S. and Laird, B. Food, health and complexity: towards a conceptual understanding to guide collaborative public health action. BMC Public Health. 2016. 16:487. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3142-6

  • Atiim, G.A. & Elliott, S.J. The Global Epidemiologic Transition: Noncommunicable Diseases and Emerging Health Risk of Allergic Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa. Health and Education Behaviour. 2016. 41(IS) 37S-55S. DOI: 0.1177/1090198115606918

  • Bisung, E. & Elliott, S.J. ‘Everyone is exhausted and frustrated’: exploring psychosocial impacts of the lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation in Usoma, Kenya. Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development. 2016. 6(2): 205-214. DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2016.122

  • Olarnyk, A.S. and Elliott, S.J. “You’re Totally on Your Own”: Experiences of Food Allergy on a Canadian University Campus. Universal Journal of Public Health. 2016. 4(1): 31-37. doi:


  • Torabi, B., Cardwell, F.S., Elliott, S.J., & Chan, E. The impact of bullying in Canadian children with confirmed food allergy and its influence on wearing identification. Paediatric Child Health. 2016. 21(5): E39-E42.

  • Brown, K.M., Elliott, S.J., Leatherdale, S.T., & Robertson-Wilson, J. Searching for rigour in mixed methods population health research: A methodological review.  Health Education Research. 2015. 30(6): 811-839. doi: 10.1093/her/cyv046.
  • Mulligan, K., Dixon, J., Sinn, C.J., & Elliott, S.J. (2015). Is dengue a disease of poverty? A systematic review. Pathogens and global health, 109(1), 10-18.
  • Gatrell, A.C. and Elliott, S.J. (2014). Geographies of Health, Third Edition. London: Wiley-Blackwell.     
  • Schuster-Wallace, C., Elliott, S.J., Bisung, E. Implications for development of the water–health nexus. In I. Luginaah (ed) Geographies of health and development. Ashgate Geography of Health Series. Ashgate Publishing (in press).
  • Cardwell, F.S., Elliott, S.J., Crighton, E.J. (2014). Protecting Our Children: An Environmental Health Scan of Canadian and International Best Practices. Children, Youth & Environments, 24[3], 102-152.
  • Minaker, L., Elliott, S.J., Clarke, A.E. (2014). Low income, high risk: Overlapping stigmas of food allergy and poverty. Critical Public Health.  doi: 10.1080/09581596.2014.926309
  • Bisung, E., Elliott S.J., Schuster-Wallace, C., Karanja D., and Abudho B. (2014). Social capital, collective action and access to water in Rural Kenya. Social Science and Medicine, 119: 147-154.
  • Soller, L., Ben-Shoshan, M., Harrington, D., Knoll, M., Fragapane, J., Joseph, L., St. Pierre, Y., La Vieelle, S., Wilson K., Elliott S.J., and Clarke A.E. (2014). Prevalence and predictors of food allergy in Canada: a focus on vulnerable populations.  Journal of Asthma and Clinical Immunology.  doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2014.06.009
  • Lu, S., Elliott, S.J. (2014). “They thought I was just joking”: Experiences and perceptions of food allergy in new Canadians from Asia. Journal of Allergy. doi:10.1155/2014/964504
  • Vine, M.M., Elliott, S.J., Raine, K.D. (2014). Exploring implementation of the Ontario School Food and Beverage Policy at the secondary school level: A qualitative study. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 75(3):1–7. doi:10.3148/cjdpr-2014-003.
  • Dickin, S. K., Schuster-Wallace, C. J., Elliott, S. J. (2014). Mosquitoes & vulnerable spaces: Mapping local knowledge of sites for dengue control in Seremban and Putrajaya Malaysia. Applied Geography, 46:71-79.
  • Minaker, L., Elliott, S.J., Clarke, A.E (2014). “Saving money while saving my life”: Exploring income-related barriers to food allergy management and treatment. Journal of Allergy, Article ID 160363:1-7.
  • Pouliou, T., Elliott, S.J., Paez, A., Newbold, K.B. (2014). Building obesity in Canada: understanding the individual- and neighbourhood-level determinants using a multi-level approach. GeoSpatial Health, 9(1): 45-55.
University of Waterloo
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