Rita Isabel Henderson, MA, PHD

I earned undergraduate and master's degrees in anthropology from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and my doctorate in the same discipline from the Université de Montréal, Quebec.

Rita Henderson

Areas of Research

Models of Care
All of my research activities in some way or another seek to innovate how primary health care services and systems may be organized to better serve specific populations. I am particularly interested in innovating mental health and addictions models of care for medically underserved populations, as well as re-centering health services on the patient and communities. This leads me to explore how best to forge inclusive spaces for Indigenous knowledge and healing practices within or in alignment with Western healthcare; how to strengthen inter-professional, team-based, and peer-mentorship approaches to managing chronic disease and mental health; and what leadership competencies promote health systems transformation.
Indigenous Health Equity
My work for Indigenous health equity applies a systems approach to address population health inequities, anti-racism and structural competency education, and health professional practice. Located in Family Medicine, I take a generalist approach, focusing on a range of health, wellness, and disease modalities, including: arts and sports as health promotion, diabetes care, obesity care, dementia, and approaches to the opioids/overdose crisis. I am co-lead of the medical school's Truth and Reconciliation Commission response, titled the Indigenous Health Dialogue, where my focus on population health inequities connects with research into systems change and critical health professional education.

Supervising degrees

Community Health Sciences - Masters: Accepting Inquiries
Community Health Sciences - Doctoral: Accepting Inquiries
Community Health Sciences - Diploma: Accepting Inquiries

Working with this supervisor

I supervise and contribute to supervisory committees of undergraduate students whose research has focused on or currently focuses on: 

  • anti-racism education in medical residency training
  • Indigenous data governance for health decision-making
  • forum theatre for youth mental health promotion
  • safe infant sleep practices to reduce sudden infant death among Indigenous populations
  • enhancing HPV vaccination for First Nations boys and girls
  • Indigenous student experiences of medical schooling
  • wildlife health amidst climate change in the Canadian arctic, in veterinary medicine

Contact this supervisor

Complete the following form if you are interested in working with this supervisor for your Graduate Program. All fields are required, unless indicated otherwise.