Scott Leatherdale

Professor; University Research Chair
Scott Leatherdale.

Contact infor​mation

Office: TJB 2317

Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 47812


Website: Compass System


Research interests

My research focuses on advancing a systems approach to primary prevention activities, evaluating population-level health interventions across multiple risk factor domains, and creating research infrastructure to facilitate large population studies in chronic disease prevention. My research is designed to engage numerous stakeholders at multiple levels (regional, provincial and national) to positively impact the health and well-being of Canadian youth.

The core foundation for my current program of research is the COMPASS System; a prospective cohort study following 75,000+ Canadian youth to evaluate how ongoing and real-world changes to programs, policies or built environment resources surrounding youth impact multiple health behaviours and outcomes over time.

To learn more, watch our video: The COMPASS Study: Investing in youth health.

Graduate supervision and student opportunities

I am not currently accepting MSc or PhD candidate applications from graduate students.

Graduate studies application details 

Awards and recognitions

  • Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision, University of Waterloo, 2020

  • Fellow, American Academy of Health Behavior, 2019

  • University Research Chair, University of Waterloo, 2019 – 2026

  • Outstanding Performance Award, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, 2017

  • CIHR-IPPH Trailblazer Award in Population Health Solutions, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), 2016

  • Chair, Applied Public Health Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada, 2015 - 2019


BPHE Health Promotion, Laurentian University

MA Human Development, Laurentian University

PhD Health Behaviour, University of Waterloo

Selected publications

See Google Scholar for a full list of publications. 

Leatherdale, S.T., Lee. J. Artificial intelligence (AI) and cancer prevention: the potential application of AI in cancer control programming needs to be explored in population laboratories such as COMPASS. Cancer Causes & Control. 2019, 30, 671-675.

Leatherdale, S.T. Natural experiment methodology for research: a review of how different methods can support real-world research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 2018. 

Selected professional activities and networks

  • Advisory Member, Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) – Canada, World Health Organization

  • Adjunct Scientist, Public Health Ontario (PHO)

  • Advisor, Cancer Care Ontario’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) Chronic Diseases Prevention Blueprint. Cancer Care Ontario (CCO)

  • Prevention System Quality Index (PSQI) Advisory Committee, Cancer Care Ontario (CCO)

  • Advisory Board Member and Scientific Lead, Healthy Schools Accreditation Program (Ontario), OPHEA (Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities) and the Province of Ontario