Anna Dion

Scholars
2016
Study program:
Public Health
Current affiliation:
McGill University
Localisation:

Anna Dion (family medicine, McGill University) is seeking to improve the quality and access to maternity care for marginalized women in Canada, especially immigrant and refugee women, and at-risk adolescents.

Doctoral research

Closing the Care Gap By Engaging Patient, Provider, and Policy Perspectives in Evidence-Based Solutions: Perinatal Care of Marginalized Women in Canada

Anna’s research examines how vulnerability and marginalization intersect with the provision and receipt of perinatal care in Canada.

Valuing the perspectives of marginalized groups is critical to making services more responsive to their needs. Moving beyond a singular view of evidence and expertise, Anna’s research uses a participatory approach to cognitive mapping to foster solution-oriented dialogue between service providers, program and policy advisors, and marginalized women, specifically among at-risk adolescents in Ottawa and immigrant and refugee women in Montreal. Bayesian analysis will integrate different stakeholder perspectives together with published evidence as a credible and transparent way to incorporate the perspectives of marginalized women and other stakeholder in the design and delivery of perinatal care.

By co-creating recommendations to improve perinatal care with marginalized women in Canada, this research presents a rigorous approach to democratizing both the research process and the design and delivery of public services.

After earning an engineering degree, Anna had the privilege of working with a pediatrician in Argentina, examining the effects of pesticides and heavy metals on children’s health. In learning to navigate the power and politics of moving evidence to action, she was motivated to pursue additional training in public health focused on improving services for disadvantaged groups.  

Before becoming a Trudeau scholar, Anna worked for over six years leading and supporting community-based research in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). She has expertise in supporting research in infectious disease management, in climate change adaptation, and more recently in strengthening health equity, health governance, citizen engagement, and maternal and child health.

Prior to working at IDRC, Anna played a significant role in the growth and development of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada, as the founding president of the first maritime EWB chapter at Dalhousie University, and as one of EWB’s first elected Board members.

Anna’s doctoral research is motivated by her role as a birth companion providing emotional, physical, and information-related support to vulnerable women throughout their pregnancy and postpartum period in the Ottawa area. Inspired by this experience, Anna developed a pilot program for full-spectrum support for women’s reproductive health decisions in Ottawa. She received a fellowship from Ashoka as a Young Champion of Maternal Health, through which she led the development of a peer-to-peer support program for marginalized pregnant to complement primary care services in rural Argentina.

Anna’s doctoral research examines how to improve the quality and access to care for women living in chronic poverty and social isolation in Canada. She will work with women and their maternity care providers to collaboratively identify and develop interventions to improve maternal health outcomes through more responsive perinatal care.

Anna holds a degree in materials science and engineering with a minor in peace studies from McMaster University, a MSc in biomedical engineering from Dalhousie University, and a master’s of public health from Johns Hopkins. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree at McGill University.