Samantha Meyer

Associate Professor; Associate Director, Research Graduate Studies

Adjunct Professor, Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing, Torrens University, Australia

Research Associate, Canadian Index of Wellbeing, University of Waterloo

Sam Meyer

Contact information 

Office: LHN 1722

Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 49187


Research interests

Associate Professor Meyer is an applied social scientist with expertise in social theories of trust and risk, and a variety of methodological approaches used to inform research investigating critical and timely public health problems. Meyer’s research focus is understanding the complex social and structural factors that shape population health, and the health of vulnerable populations specifically. The notion of trust in government and health policy as it relates to health behaviour is central to her work, as are the concepts mis- and disinformation. Theoretically, she has identified and operationalised semantic distinctions between trust and the related concepts of dependence and obligation that are critical for research investigating and measuring trust. Her empirical research demonstrates the role of trust in the acceptance of health promotion efforts (e.g., risk messaging around alcohol, vaccine uptake, participation in cancer screening programs). Most recently, she has led the development of measures of trust in government and healthcare that will be used in forthcoming intervention research that aims to (re)build trust in the interest of population health. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the TRuST scholarly network at the University of Waterloo.

Meyer completed her graduate and early career research in Australia before returning to Canada as an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health Sciences, University of Waterloo.

Graduate supervision and student opportunities

I am currently accepting applications from graduate students with research interests related to:

  • (Dis)trust, mis- and dis-information as it relates to health behaviour and acceptance of health communication and health policy
  • Health and risk communication
  • Social and structural barriers to preventative service uptake, and specifically among marginalised populations
  • Community-based approaches to improving health service use

Graduate studies application details 

Teaching interests

  • Research design and methods
  • Health communication
  • Public and population health
  • Sociology of health and illness


BA Honours Anthropology, McMaster University

PhD Public Health, Flinders University, Australia

Selected publications

Selected books and book chapters relevant to teaching and practice in health promotion:

Neiterman, E., Meyer, S.B., Filice, E. Health Promotion in Canada: Theory and Practice in Context. Don Mills, Canada: Oxford University Press. 2022.

Meyer, S.B. and Ward, P.R. ‘How to’ use social theory within and throughout qualitative research in healthcare contexts. In: Tópicos Avançados em Pesquisa Qualitativa em Saúde: Fundamentos Teórico-Metodológicos [Advanced Topics in Qualitative Health Research: Theoretical-methodological foundations]. M.L.M. Bosi & D. Gastaldo (eds.) Petropolis, Brasil: Vozes Editores. 2021. ISBN: 978-65-5713-146-6

Meyer, S.B., Gibson, B., and Ward, P.R. Niklas Luhmann: Social Systems Theory and Translating Public Health Research. In: Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine. Collyer F (ed.) Sydney: Palgrave. 2015.

Selected peer-reviewed research papers (See Google Scholar for full list of publications):

Koshy, L., Burns, K.E., Nascimento, M., Ike, N., Herati, H., Filice, E., Rotolo, B., Betini, G., Ward, P.R., Dube, E., Meyer, S.B. Newcomer Perceptions of COVID-19 Countermeasures in Canada. Health Promotion International, 2023, 38, 3

Aboueid, S.E., Herati, H., Nascimento, M.H.G., Ward, P.R., Brown, P., Calnan, M., Perlman, C., Meyer, S.B. How do you measure trust in social institutions and health professionals? A systematic review of the literature (2012-2021). Sociology Compass, 2023. DOI:10.1111/soc4.13101

Meyer, S.B., Rotolo, B., Majowicz, S., Amoako, J., Crouch, M., Hopwood, P., Jahangir, Y.T., MacEachen, E. Perceptions of COVID-19 related risks by platform-based couriers: An analysis of user comment threads on Reddit. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 2023, DOI: 10.3233/WOR-220244.

Bhalla, M., Boutros, H., Meyer, S.B. Aunties, WhatsApp, and “Haldi da Doodh”: South Asian Communities’ Perspectives on Improving COVID-19 Public Health Communication in Ontario, Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2022, doi: 10.17269/s41997-022-00712-x.

Meyer, S.B., Lunnay, B., Warin, M., Foley, K., Olver, I.N., Miller, E.R., Wilson, C., Macdonald, S., Ward, P.R. Examining social class as it relates to the perceived trustworthiness of information regarding the link between alcohol and breast cancer risk. PLOS ONE, E 17, 9, e0270936.

Rotolo, B., Dubé, E., Vivion, M., MacDonald, S.E., Meyer, S.B. Hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccines on social media in Canada. Vaccine, 2022, 40, 19, 2790-2796.

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

Meyer, S.B., Foley, K., Olver, I., Ward, P.R., McNaughton, D., Mwanri, L., Miller, E. Alcohol and breast cancer risk: Middle-aged women's logic and recommendations for reducing consumption in Australia, PLoS ONE, 2019,

Meyer, S.B., Edge, S.S., Beatty, J., Leatherdale, S., Perlman, C., Dean, J., Ward, P.R. and Kirkpatrick, S. Challenges to evidence-based health promotion: A case study in Ontario, Canada. Health Promotion International, 2018, 33, 5, 760–769.

Brown, P. and Meyer, S.B. Dependency, trust and choice? Examining agency and ‘forced options’ within secondary-healthcare contexts. 2015, 63, 5, 729-745

Meyer, S.B. Investigations of Trust in Public and Private Healthcare in Australia: A Qualitative Study of Patients with Heart Disease. Journal of Sociology, 2015, 51, 2, 221-235.

Meyer, S.B. and Ward, P.R. ‘How to’ use social theory within and throughout qualitative research in healthcare contexts. Sociology Compass, 2014, 8, 5, 525-539.

Selected professional activities and networks