Louanne Keenan, '75 Dip(DentHyg), '81 BA, '95 MEd, '02 PhD

Director, Community Engaged Research Associate professor, Family Medicine

20 September 2018

Louanne Keenan is the 2018 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award winner for her commitment to social accountability in community-engaged health-care research.

Keenan's path to her current role as the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's director of community-engaged research took many turns, from a diploma in dental hygiene to a bachelor's degree in economics and eventually a PhD in human ecology and population health. Along the way-through work in such far-flung areas as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Nepal, the Philippines, China, Central and South America-she has been guided by the central principle that community-engaged research is the key to supporting the effective delivery of health care.

A sensitivity to and respect for the lived experience of a community ensures that it is their needs, not the researcher's idea of what those needs might be, that are addressed when searching for solutions. "It is always about the patients," Keenan stressed. "When I go to developing countries, mostly I'm watching and thinking, 'please let me do something good and not do any harm'."

Keenan was grateful that it was students who nominated her for the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award. "My philosophy is that we're here to serve the students and the community. So if that's who nominated me, then I feel truly honoured."