Heather MacDougall

Associate Professor

Bi​ography

Heather MacDougallHeather teaches at the University of Waterloo, specializing in Canadian history and the history of medicine, public health and health policy. Since publishing Activists & Advocates: Toronto's Health Department, 1883-1983 (Toronto, 1990), she has continued to research the history of Canadian efforts to control the 1918 flu pandemic and to compare that event with SARS and avian flu. The former director of the MA program in Public History, she has also served at the acting chair of the History Department (1996, 2013, 2016-17) and twice as Associate Dean of Arts for Graduate Studies and Research (1992-1994, 2000-2005). A longstanding member of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine, she served as its Vice-President (2001-2003), President (2003-2005), and Past President (2005-2007).

Education

  • B.A. University of Toronto
  • M.A. University of Toronto
  • PhD University of Toronto

Research and teaching interests

  • Canadian history
  • History of medicine in Canada
  • Health and disease

Courses taught

  • HIST 209 Smallpox to Medicare: Canadian Medical History
  • HIST 254 Canadian history: The national period
  • HIST 305 Historical memory and national identity
  • HIST 403A Canadian history seminar
  • HIST 403B Canadian history research seminar
  • HIST 450: History capstone
  • HIST 601 Canadian history I
  • HIST 602: Canadian history II
  • HIST 651 Historians and public policy
  • HIST 710 Canadian field seminar  

Recent publications​

  • S.B. Meyer, R. Violette, M. Simeoni, R. Aggarwal, H. MacDougall, N.Waite, Exploring how attitudes and beliefs about vaccination are created, exchanged and maintained in Web 2.0, Vaccine March 2019, 37 (13), p. 1769-1774.

  • Heather MacDougall and Laurence Monnais, Vaccinating in the Age of Apathy: measles vaccination in Canada, 1993-1998, Canadian Medical Association Journal 2018 Apr 3; 190 (13): E399-E401. doi:10.1503/cmaj;171238.

  • Co-authored with Laurence Monnais, “Not Without Risk: The complex history of vaccine resistance in central Canada, 1885-1960” in Paul Bramadat, Maryse Guay, Julie Bettinger and Real Roy, editors, Religious and Cultural Roots of Vaccine Hesitancy: Explanations and Implications for Canadian Healthcare, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017).
  • S.B. Meyer, S.K. Lu, L. Hoffman-Goetz, B. Smale, H. MacDougall, A.R. Pearce (2016),  “ A content analysis of newspaper coverage of the seasonal flu vaccine in Ontario Canada, October 2001 to March 2011, Journal of Health Communication, October 2016, Vol. 21 (10): 1088-97.

  • Co-authored with G. Ross Langley, MD, Medical Ethics: Past, Present and Future available in English and French. 
  • "SARS, Pandemic Influenza and the Role of History," in Magda Fahrni and Esyllt Jones, editors, Epidemic Encounters: Influenza, Society, and Culture in Canada, 1918-1920 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012)
  • "Toronto's Health Department in Action: Influenza in 1918 and SARS in 2003," reprinted in Magda Fahrni and Esyllt Jones, editors, Epidemic Encounters: Influenza, Society, and Culture in Canada, 1918-1920 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012):225-265.
  • "Into Thin Air: Making National Health Policy, 1939-45," reprinted in Gregory P. Marchildon, editor, Making Medicare: New Perspectives on the History of Medicare in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012):41-70.
  • "A New Prescription: Adding Historical Analysis to Health Policy," in Gregory P. Marchildon, editor, Making Medicare: New Perspectives on the History of Medicare in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012):295-305.
  • Co-authored with Dan Gallacher, "Medicare Online! Health Care History at the Canadian Museum of Civilization," Canadian Medical Association Journal, 183 (1); January 11, 2011:86-87.
  • Making Medicare: the history of health care in Canada, 1914-2007. Also available in French.
  • "Truly Alarming: Cholera in 1832," Canadian Journal of Public Health, September/October 2009, 100 (5):333-336.
  • "Into Thin Air: Making National Health Policy, 1939-45," Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, 26 (2), 2009: 283-313.
  • "Shifting Focus: Medicare, Canadian Historians and New Research Directions," Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, 26(2), 2009: 547-558.
  • "Fear, Flight, Frustration and Dedicated Service: A Brief History of International Disease Control Activities, 1918-2008," Forum on Public Policy, Summer 2008 edition (January 2009) 
  • "Reinventing Public Health: A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians and its International Impact," Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2007; 61:955-959.
  • "Be Wise - Immunize: Vaccination in Canada, 1798-1978," Canadian Pharmacists Journal, May/June 2007, 140 [Suppl 2] S5-7. This supplement was included in the June 2007 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
  • "Toronto's Health Department in Action: Influenza in 1918 and SARS in 2003," Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2007, 62: 56-89; prepublication online October 2006 at doi:10;1093/jhmas/jrl042.
  • "From Cholera to SARS: Communicable Disease Control Procedures in Toronto, 1832-2003," ( pages 79-104) in Jacalyn Duffin and Arthur Sweetman, editors, SARS in Context: Memory, History, Policy (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006).

Presentations

  • Heather MacDougall, Made in Canada? Measles vaccine and Nationalism, 1960-1970, Canadian Historical Association, June 5, 2019.

  • Heather MacDougall, Prevention or cure? The contested history of public health politics and medicare, 1960-2018, Medicare@50 Symposium, Winnipeg, September 30, 2018.

  • Heather MacDougall and Laurence Monnais, Measles, midwives and mothers in Canada: Changing attitudes to vaccination, 1960-1998, Society for the Social History of Medicine, Liverpool, July 11, 2018

  • Heather MacDougall and Laurence Monnais, “Measles, Midwives and Mothers in Canada: Changing Attitudes to Vaccination, 1960s-1990s,” Canadian Society for the History of Medicine, Toronto, May 28, 2017
  • Heather MacDougall, Monica Brown and Laurence Monnais, “Mapping Vaccine Hesitancy – Establishing a Positive Web Presence for the Canadian Context,” Canadian Immunization Conference 2016, Ottawa, December 8, 2016
  • Heather MacDougall, “Compulsion or Co-operation?: Ontario’s Immunization of School Pupils Act, 1977-2015,” Canadian Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, June 16, 2016
  • Heather MacDougall, “Fighting the Spanish Flu: War, Science and Society in Canada and the United States, 1918-1919,” Veterinary Virology Club Satellite Symposium, American Virology Society  34th Annual Meeting, London, ON July 11, 2015
  • Heather MacDougall and Laurence Monnais, Learning from the Past: History, MMR Immunization and the Emergence of Vaccine Hesitancy in Four Provinces, Social Sciences and Humanities Network meeting, Montreal, May 5, 2015
  • Heather MacDougall, “Mapping Vaccine Hesitancy: Torontonians’ Attitudes to H1N1 Immunization in 2009,” Canadian Immunization Research Network, Annual General Meeting, Montreal, May 7, 2015
  • Heather MacDougall and Laurence Monnais, “Mapping Vaccine Hesitancy: The Historical Background of MMR adoption, rejection and hesitation in Four Provinces, 1963-2013,” Canadian Immunization Research Network, Annual General Meeting, Montreal, May 7, 2015
  • Heather MacDougall, “Confusion, Rejection or Confidence? Torontonians’ Attitudes to H1N1 Immunization in 2009,” The Public’s Health: A Symposium on Public Health Histories, Toronto, March 6, 2015
  • Heather MacDougall, “No Shots, No School!” Creating Ontario’s Immunization of School Pupils Act, 1979-84, Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference, Oxford, England, July 11, 2014
  • 10th Annual McGill-Queen's Graduate Student History Conference, "Rethinking Healthcare's Past and Present: History and Current Debates," Kingston, March 1, 2013.
  • Heather MacDougall, “Publicizing Prevention: The Health League of Canada and Immunization, 1933-1980,” Canadian Society for the History of Medicine, Victoria, BC, June 2, 2013
  • Heather MacDougall, “Publicizing Prevention: The Health League of Canada and Immunization, 1933-1977,” American Association for the History of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, May 18, 2013
  • Heather MacDougall, “Politics, Pundits and the Public: Contesting Medicare, 1984-2011,” Transformation: State, Nation and Citizenship in a New Environment, York University, October 14, 2011
  • Heather MacDougall, “Lessons”, for “Influenza’s Usable Past? A Round Table on Pandemic History and Public Discourse,” Canadian Society for the History of Medicine, Montreal, May 29, 2011
  • Toronto Archives, Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion and Toronto Public Health, "Spanish Flu in Ontario: Lessons from the 1918 Pandemic," Toronto, May 7, 2009.
  • Toronto Public Health 125th Anniversary Celebration, " Champions of Change: Making Toronto a Healthy City, 1883-2008," May 28, 2008 available on the Toronto Public Health website.
  • Immunology Montreal Symposium, Vaccines, Bird Flu and the Media, "The 1918 Flu Epidemic: Science, Society and Disease Control in Montreal," McGill University, November 17, 2006.

Current projects

My current research project is focused on a multi-volume history of the origins and evolution of Canadian medicare. This has evolved from a study conducted for the Canadian Museum of Civilization which has resulted in a web-based project called "Making Canadian Medicare-Healthcare in Canada, 1914-2007." This site contains 300 web pages of historical information, photos, and vingettes explaining key people, events and financial and political terms. Available in both French and English, the site is designed for the public and for students and teachers. It received an honourable mention for the inaugural Public History Prize competition held by the Canadian Historical Association in 2011.

In addition, I am collaborating with Professor Laurence Monnais of the Université de Montréal on a longitudinal study of the contested adoption of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in Ontario and Quebec from its introduction in 1963 to the present. We are working with public health agencies in both our provinces to determine which historical factors have influenced public support, opposition and ambivalence to immunization campaigns and the extent to which such factors are still important in our wired world.

As we complete our historical monograph on the MMR vaccine in Canada, Professor Monnais and I will begin a new project–– an SSHRC-funded international team investigation of the global history of measles as a disease and object of national and international control and prevention policies since 1945.

Professional affiliations

  • Member, Forum on Public Policy editorial board, 2009-present
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo
Contact information: