Public health researcher shows outstanding promise

    “Community impact is as important to me as scholarly impact,” says researcher Candace Nykiforuk.

    By Donna Richardson on September 24, 2015

    A professor in the School of Public Health has been awarded this year’s Martha Cook Piper Research Prize by the University of Alberta.

    Candace Nykiforuk is an emerging leader in public health and health promotion research. She is very deserving of a Martha Cook Piper Research Prize,” says Kue Young, dean of the School.

    The award is given annually by the University of Alberta to two faculty members in the early stages of their career who enjoy a reputation for original research and show outstanding promise as researchers.

    As a scholar, Nykiforuk has developed a strong research program where she explores how the environment in which we live influences our health. She approaches her research with the aim of creating links between new knowledge and public health policy and practice. Much of her work is “applied,” which means that it is highly relevant to the communities with whom she engages.


    “Community impact is as important to me as scholarly impact,” explains Nykiforuk. “My community partners help to define project research questions, and in turn, the research helps to address issues that they are working with in daily practice.”

    In addition to receiving the Martha Cook Piper Research Prize, Nykiforuk has been recognized for her contributions with other notable awards, including the University of Alberta’s Community Scholar Award. In 2014, she was awarded a five-year Applied Public Health Chair by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions. This funding enables her to study the complex interplay between designing healthy public policies and creating supportive environments. The same year, she and colleague Kim Raine were awarded $2.4 million in funding from the Coalitions Linking Action & Science for Prevention (CLASP) program of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to assess the success of current policies and develop new policies.

    “I have no doubt of her future success and the continued impact of her research in academic spheres, in shaping healthy public policy and in having a positive impact on our understanding of the environments in which we live,” says Young.