Faculty and Staff


Ruth Wolfe, PhD, MPH, BA

Associate Dean (Professional Programs)

Public Health, School of

About Me

I have a background in a range of health and social service practice settings, with more than 45 years of experience in program planning, evaluation, policy development, teaching and research.

My current substantive areas of interest are the social determinants of health inequities, immigration as a determinant of health, critical theory and the racialization of human services. My doctoral work was a critical examination of the race/culture divide in human services from the vantage points of grassroots immigrant community health workers who address inequities that minoritized immigrants' and refugees' experience with human services in Alberta.

I have a strong background, education and experience in qualitative research methods, especially those that examine power relations including critical ethnography, the extended case method and critical discourse analysis.

I am currently engaged in a an initiative to promote recognition of the community health worker workforce through the Canadian Community Health Worker Network.


PhD, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, 2010
MPH, School of Public Health, Columbia University, 1977
BA, Faculty of Arts, University of Saskatchewan, 1972


Graduate Student Research Award, Prairie Metropolis Centre, 2008
Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship, Government of Alberta, 2004-2009
Canadian Institutes of Health Research Strategic Training Fellowship (EQUIPP), International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, 2004


critical theory
gender studies
immigrand and refugee health
qualitative methods
racialized inequities
social determinants of health


Since 2014, a large proportion of my time has been dedicated to MPH curriculum review and redesign, through a stakeholder engagement process involving faculty, instructors, students and external public health practitioners. In 2018, we launched a new MPH core curriculum, taught by teaching teams. I currently co-lead and teach the following new courses:

SPH 536 Engagement for Public Health Action
SPH 541 Leadership & Professional Skills I
SPH 546 Leadership & Professional Skills II
SPH 547 Leadership & Professional Skills III / Capping Project

I also serve as Practice Coordinator for a small sub-group of MPH students in SPH 598 Field Practicum.