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Dr. Heather MacDougall

University of Waterloo
Associate Professor

Heather teaches at the University of Waterloo, specializing in Canadian history and the  history of medicine, public health and health policy. Since publishing Activists & Advocates: Toronto's Health Department, 1883-1983 (Toronto, 1990), she has continued to research the history of Canadian efforts to control the 1918 flu pandemic and to compare that event with SARS and avian flu. As the author of the award-winning history section of Making Medicare: The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 for the Canadian Museum of History (www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/hist/medicare/medic00e.sthml), her work has reached students, teachers and health care professionals in Canada and abroad. Her current CIHR-funded project examines public and professional reactions to the development of measles vaccines and the implementation of immunization campaigns in BC, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia from the 1960s to the emergence of vaccine hesitancy in the 21st century. This comparative historical study demonstrates both the international nature of scientific research and the importance of local specificity to understand how declining trust in experts, popular understanding of risk, and the re-emergence of anti-vaccination rhetoric has impacted vaccine uptake and public support for immunization.