Faculty and Staff


Candace Nykiforuk, PhD, CE

Professor; Associate Dean (Research and Research Programs); Director, Centre for Healthy Communities; CIHR/PHAC/AI-HS Applied Public Health Chair in Public Policy & Community Environments

Public Health, School of

About Me

I am a professor in the School of Public Health, University of Alberta and an Applied Public Health Chair (supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with Public Health Agency of Canada and Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions) with a mandate to help advance the field of population health intervention and health equity.  I am a health geographer and health promotion researcher with a strong interest in the role of built and social environments on health and well-being. I also have expertise in the development and diffusion of healthy public policies. 

My research is grounded in social-ecological frameworks, critical social science, and community-based participatory research perspectives. Most of my studies employ mixed-methods, involving both quantitative (e.g., surveys, systematic community observation) and qualitative (e.g., interviews, focus groups, photovoice) techniques. I also use geographic information systems (GIS) for mapping and spatial analysis in some of my work.

I am an applied researcher, which means that community impact (or “making a real difference in the community”) is as important to me as scholarly impact. My research is typically conducted in partnership with practitioners and decision-makers in the communities (or other settings) that are working with me.  The community partners I collaborate with help to define project research questions and implement the project in meaningful ways. In turn, the research helps to address issues that the community partners are working with in their daily practice.

I am also the Lead Investigator of the Policy, Location and Access in Community Environments (PLACE) Research Lab.  For more information on the research that myself and my team, please visit www.placeresearchlab.com.



PhD, Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo (2004)

MA, Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo (1999)

BA, Human Geography, University of Alberta (1997)


Academic Distinctions and Awards

2014-2019 Applied Public Health Chair, Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with Public Health Agency of Canada and Alberta Innovates: Health Solutions

2016 - 2023 Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada

2016 Supervisor of the Year (1 of 2), School of Public Health Students Association, University of Alberta

2015 Martha Cook Piper Research Prize, University of Alberta 

2015 Community Connection Scholar Award, University of Alberta

2009 Faculty & Staff Award of Excellence, Presented on behalf of the Health Promotion Graduate Students’ Association for 2008-2009, University of Alberta

2009 CAFA Distinguished Academic Early Career Award, Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations



healthy communities

chronic disease prevention

healthy public policy

population health intervention

community based research

health geography

knowledge translation & exchange


municipal recreation

rural communities