Stephanie Nixon BHS(PT) MSc PhD
Early Career Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentorship
Affiliation(s): Department of Department of Physical Therapy, with cross-appointments in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Division of Medicine
Context(s) for Award: Excellence in early-career graduate teaching and mentorship.
Dr. Nixon is a physiotherapist and global health researcher who has been an HIV activist, scholar and clinician for nearly two decades. She received outstanding training in physiotherapy at McMaster University (1996), which led to early clinical work with people living with HIV at the Wellesley Hospital in Toronto. Here, she received life-changing, real-world schooling on HIV activism. A growing interest in critical perspectives on power, HIV and disability led her back into the academy. She enjoyed an eye-opening education in research at the University of Toronto through an MSc in the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science (2000) and PhD in Public Health and Bioethics (2006). With the support of a wonderful partner, their family relocated to South Africa, where Dr. Nixon completed postdoctoral training at the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Through all of these experiences, she says she was privileged to work under great educators and change-agents who helped to shape her approach to teaching. She now enjoys a creative, challenging and superbly rewarding career as an educator/learner, exploring how not only the content but also the process of teaching can be a transformative feat of activism.
“Social justice is a matter of life and death…inequities in health, avoidable health inequalities, arise because of the circumstances in which people grow, live, work, and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness.”
– World Health Organization, Final Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 2008, p.3