Denise L. Spitzer

Canada Research Chair in Gender, Migration and Health
Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Women’s Studies
30 Stewart Street, Room 211
Phone: 613-562-5800 ext. 1222
Fax: 613-562-5994


B.Sc. Biology, 1978, (University of Alberta); B.A. Chinese Language and Literature, 1991 (University of Alberta); M.A. Department of Anthropology, 1993 (University of Alberta); Ph.D. Department of Anthropology, 1998 (University of Alberta).

Denise Spitzer holds the Canada Research Chair in Gender, Migration and Health at the University of Ottawa where she is affiliated with the Institutes of Women’s Studies and Population Health. Dr. Spitzer is the recipient of the Commonwealth Award for Excellence for Women’s Health (1997), the Heilongjiang-Alberta Exchange Program Scholarship (1991), the Province of Alberta Graduate Fellowship (1995), and the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship (1996 - 1998). In addition to her current work at the University of Ottawa, she has taught at the University of Alberta in the Department of Anthropology and in the Women’s Studies Program, at Athabasca University, as a Subject Matter Expert, and at the University of Lethbridge, in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She has also worked as a consultant on women’s health issues and gender-based analysis for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and numerous community-based organizations.

Trained as a medical anthropologist, Dr. Spitzer is interested in the impact of marginalization on health and wellbeing and in the myriad of ways in which people and communities resist marginalization. She works primarily with immigrant and refugee women on a range of issues including: the intersections of work (both paid and unpaid), gender, and health; the impact of marginalization on the body; the relationship between policy and health; the influence of structural racism on the health and wellbeing of minority populations; and the relationship between social support and social networks to health.

Research Interests
Health of immigrant and refugee women
Immigration, trans-nationalism and identity
Critical perspectives of the body, science and technology
Community-based research
Gender-based analysis

Selected Publications
In press: “Immigrant and Refugee Women: Re-Creating Identities.” By Spitzer, D. L. Anthropology in Action.

In press: “Policy (In) Action: Policy-Making, Health and Migrant Women.” By Spitzer, D. L. In Migrant Women’s Quest for Social Justice, V. Agnew, ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2007: “Hard Labour: Minority Women, Nurses and the Childbirth Experience.” By Spitzer, D. L. In Becoming a Mother: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Reproduction and Childbearing, P. Liamputtong, ed. New York: Nova Science Publisher.

2006: “The Impact of Policy on Somali Refugee Women in Canada.” By Spitzer, D. L. Refuge 23 (2): 42-49.

2005: “Engendering Health Disparities.” By Spitzer, D. L. Canadian Journal of Public Health 96(Suppl.2): S78-S96.

2005: “In Search of Identity: Intergenerational Experiences of African Youth in a Canadian Context.” By Okeke-Ihejirika, P. and Spitzer, D. L. In The African Diaspora in Canada: Analyses of Race, Identity, and Integration, Wisdom Tettey and Korbla Puplampu, eds. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. Pp. 205-224.

2004: “In Visible Bodies: Minority Women, Nurses, Time and the New Economy of Care.” By Spitzer, D. L.  Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(4): 490-508.

2003: “Panic and Panaceas: Hormone Replacement Therapy and the Menopausal Syndrome.” Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal 27(2): 6-13. By Spitzer, D. L.

2003 “Caregiving in Transnational Perspective: My Wings Have Been Cut: Where Can I Fly?” By Spitzer, D. L., Neufeld, A. Harrison, M. Hughes, K. and Stewart, M. Gender & Society 17(2): 267-286.

2000: “They Don’t Listen to Your Body: Minority Women, Nurses and Childbirth.” By Spitzer, D. L.  In Care and Consequences: Women and Health Reform, Diana Gustafson, ed. Pp. 85-106. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

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Last updated: 2008.01.31