International honour for research in health geography

Research Excellence

International honour for research in health geography

Queen’s Vice-Principal (Research), Nancy Ross, receives career research award from the American Association of Geographers.

By Catarina Chagas

December 11, 2023


Nancy Ross is Queen's Vice-Principal (Research) and a professor of population health.

Nancy Ross is Queen's Vice-Principal (Research) and a professor of population health.

Nancy Ross, Queen’s Vice-Principal (Research), has been awarded the 2023 Melinda S. Meade Distinguished Scholarship Award in Health and Medical Geography from the American Association of Geographers. The annual international accolade recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancements of health and/or medical geography research.

“Prize recognition like this is immensely personally rewarding, and for the University prizes like this signal to the outside world that behind the award there is a rich training environment and talent pipeline," says Dr. Ross. “I am proud to share this prize with interdisciplinary collaborators and the brilliant postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate researchers, who have worked together over the years to produce greater research impact than any one of us could do alone.”  

Shaping human health

Before joining Queen’s as Vice-Principal (Research) in 2021, Dr. Ross had a 20-year career as a researcher at McGill University, where she was also an Associate Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation (2016-2021).  Additionally, she was named a Professeur Stratégique by the Fonds de recherche du Québec, awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator career award, and held the Canada Research Chair in Geo-Social Determinants of Health (Tier one) at McGill from 2015 to 2022.

Human health is profoundly shaped by the social conditions and environments in which we live and work. Dr. Ross’ research program is built on this premise: If we can understand and modify the geographic, social, and economic factors that influence health outcomes, including income distribution and social and built environments, we can improve the health of whole populations and reduce burdens on health care systems. Throughout her career, an interdisciplinary approach has been prioritized in her work, and she has collaborated with experts in medicine, public health, epidemiology, urban planning, and policymaking. Dr. Ross’ research has appeared in high-impact international journals such as the British Medical Journal, the American Journal of Public Health, Preventive Medicine and Social Science and Medicine, as well as informed policy through ongoing knowledge translation activities with federal agencies, including Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.  

Career leadership

A Queen’s alumna (BA ’90, MA’ 92), Dr. Ross obtained her PhD in Geography from McMaster University and worked as a Senior Research Scientist with Statistics Canada, including as a postdoctoral fellow with the Population Health Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Beyond her own research program, Dr. Ross has contributed to advancing health geography scholarship by serving as a reviewer for national and international funding agencies and as Scientific Editor-in-Chief for Health Reports, Canada’s flagship population health journal. 

For more information on the award, visit the health and medical page on the American Association of Geographers’ website.

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