Susan Elliott

Professor, Geography and Environmental Management
Headshot of Susan Elliott

Susan Elliott is a health geographer who

se 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. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.11.011

2. health and the socially constructed environment

  • e.g., Harrington, D., Elliott, S.J. (2015). How can we govern what we don’t understand? A framework for understanding emerging environmental health risks. The Canadian Geographer, 59 (3): 283-296. doi: 10.1111/cag.12198

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:

  • Abu, T.Z., Bisung, E. & Elliott, S.J. (2019). What if your husband doesn’t feel the pressure?: An exploration of women’s involvement in WaSH decision making in Nyanchwa, Kenya. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (10).
  • Cardwell, F. & Elliott, S.J. (2019). Understanding an environmental health risk: Investigating asthma risk perception in Ontario youth sport. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (11).
  • Dixon, J. & Elliott, S.J. (2019). Changing the culture is a marathon not a sprint. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.
  • Bisung, E. & Elliott, S.J. (2019). Community water supply improvement and wellbeing: A pre-post photovoice intervention study in Kenya. Habitat International.
  • Kangmennaang, J. & Elliott, S.J. (2019). ‘Wellbeing is shown in our appearance, the food we eat, what we wear, and what we buy’: Embodying wellbeing in Ghana. Health and Place. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.12.008
  • Atiim, G., Elliott, S.J., Clarke, A. & Janes, C. (2018). “What the mind does not know, the eyes do not see” Placing food allergy risk in sub-Saharan Africa. Health and Place. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.02.005.
  • Kangmennaang, J. & Elliott, S.J. (2018). Towards an integrated framework for understanding the links between inequalities and wellbeing of places in low- and middle-income countries. Social Science & Medicine.
  • 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. doi:10.1177/1524839917732037
  • Barber, H., Dickson-Anderson, S., Schuster-Wallace C.J., Elliott, S.J., & Tema, S. (2017). Designing a Mixed-Methods Approach for Collaborative Local Water Security: Findings from a Kenyan Case Study. Expo Health. doi: 10.1007/s12403-017-0251-0
  • Elliott, S.J., Dixon, J. & Bisung, E. (2018). Taking it global: Toward an index of wellbeing for low- to middle- income countries. In: Kalipeni, E., Iwelunmor, J., Grigsby-Toussaint, D.S. & Moise, I.K. (eds) 1st Edition of Public Health, Disease and Development in Africa. London: Routledge.
  • Harrington D.W., McLafferty S.L. and Elliott S.J. (2016). (eds.), Population Health Intervention Research: Geographical Perspectives. Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group: New York.
  • Bisung, E., Karanja, D. M., Abudho, B., Oguna, Y. Mwaura, N. Ego, P., Shuster-Wallace, C.J., & Elliott, S.J. (2016). 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, 35(1): 70-82
  • Rishworth, A., Elliott, S.J. , Dixon, J. , Clarke, A. E. (2016). What do the People who use the Research Results Think? Attempting Integrated Knowledge Translation in the ‘Knowledge Creation’ Phase. Universal Journal of Public Health, 4(3): 144-150 DOI: 10.13189/ujph.2016.040304
  • Dixon, J. & Elliott S.J. (2016). 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, 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. & Laird, B. (2016). Food, health and complexity: towards a conceptual understanding to guide collaborative public health action. BMC Public Health, 16:487. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3142-
  • Atiim, G.A. & Elliott, S.J. (2016). The Global Epidemiologic Transition: Noncommunicable Diseases and Emerging Health Risk of Allergic Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa. Health and Education Behaviour, 41(IS) 37S-55S. DOI: 0.1177/1090198115606918
  • Bisung, E. & Elliott, S.J. (2016). ‘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, 6(2): 205-214. DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2016.122
  • Olarnyk, A.S. and Elliott, S.J. (2016). “You’re Totally on Your Own”: Experiences of Food Allergy on a Canadian University Campus. Universal Journal of Public Health. 4(1): 31-37. doi:10.13189/ujph.2016.040105
  • Torabi, B., Cardwell, F.S., Elliott, S.J., & Chan, E. (2016). The impact of bullying in Canadian children with confirmed food allergy and its influence on wearing identification. Paediatric Child Health, 21(5): E39-E42.
  • Brown, K.M., Elliott, S.J., Leatherdale, S.T., & Robertson-Wilson, J. (2015). Searching for rigour in mixed methods population health research: A methodological review. Health Education Research, 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. & Elliott, S.J. (2014). Geographies of Health, Third Edition. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Schuster-Wallace, C., Elliott, S.J. & Bisung, E. (2015). Implications for development of the water–health nexus. In I. Luginaah (ed) Geographies of health and development. Ashgate Geography of Health Series. Ashgate Publishing.
  • 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., & 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.