Natalie Doan

PhD student, Public Health and Health Systems

Natalie Doan


PhD Public Health and Health Systems


Martin Cooke and Dana Lee Olstad (University of Calgary)

My thesis

Intersectionality is a concept acknowledging that people simultaneously embody multiple social identities and positions that confer both advantages and disadvantages. The term was first used in the scholarly literature by Crenshaw to describe the experiences of Black women in the legal system (Crenshaw, 1989). Since then, intersectionality has travelled across multiple disciplines and is valued for directing attention towards experiences of disadvantages shaped by “crosscurrents” of oppression. For health researchers, intersectionality can be applied to better understand the interconnected nature of oppression and privilege, rather than its independent influence on health and health inequities

My research uses an intersectional approach to advance our understanding of the systemic and structural barriers preventing adults in Canada from eating well. Using an intersectional framework to guide my research means that I adopt a focus on oppression, relationality, complexity, context, comparison, and deconstruction to examine dietary and health inequities to identify social processes that intersect to fundamentally shape dietary and health inequities in Canada.

My time at the School of Public Health Sciences

I have had the privilege to wear several ‘hats’ during my time in the School of Public Health Sciences at University of Waterloo. Among my various academic and research experiences, my time as a practicum student at Public Health Ontario (PHO) was particularly influential to the direction I chose for my doctoral research. It was through working on a project to model the dietary intake of individuals that motivated me to pursue a research focus on public health nutrition. The findings have been translated into a peer-reviewed publication and technical report (linked below). Outside of academia, I’ve had the privilege to work with amazing community organizations, including the National Eating Disorders Information Centre (NEDIC) and Waterloo-Wellington Eating Disorders Coalition (WWEDC).

Links to external resources

What’s on the plate? (technical report)

Creating “Plates” to Evaluate Canadian’s Dietary Intake in Relation to the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide (peer-reviewed publication)