Dr. Sangita Sharma
Sangita Sharma, PhD
Alberta Health Services Chair in Indigenous Health
Professor in Indigenous and Global Health
Division of Endocrinology
Department of Medicine
Dr. Sangita Sharma is a Centennial Professor and Endowed Chair of Indigenous Health in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta and has over 27 years of experience working with multiethnic populations (e.g. Inuit, Inuvialuit and First Nations in Alberta, Northwest Territories (NT) and Nunavut (NU) and Alaska Natives, Apache, Navajo, Pima, and Zuni in the USA) focusing on chronic disease, diabetes and cancer prevention research.
Dr. Sharma obtained her PhD from the University of Manchester Medical School in 1996 and since then she has worked with numerous populations in over 20 countries. Since moving to Canada in 2010, she has been leading the multi-disciplinary Indigenous and Global Health Research Group (IGHRG) examining the risk factors for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity among Indigenous populations in Canada and around the world. As a Principal Investigator, Dr Sharma has been awarded research funding for over 50 projects and was awarded the Silver Medal by the British Nutrition Society in 2010 for her health intervention program “Healthy Foods North” which was implemented in six communities in the NT and NU, in partnership with Inuit and Inuvialuit communities. Dr. Sharma has over 152 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including one recently in The Lancet Oncology (IF 25.12) for her work studying cancer incidence in Indigenous populations through her Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions funded project “Cancer ACCESS”, that worked with communities in NT to improve access to cancer screening services for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. Currently, she is also running the Caring and Responding Edmonton (CARE) project, funded by the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, working with community organizations in Edmonton to identify barriers to accessing health care services for vulnerable populations, as well as opportunities for improving utilization and health care service experiences. Other projects include the “WHY ACT NOW” program in Edmonton to improve nutrition and physical activity in Indigenous and new Canadian youth, and the CIHR-funded Maternal and Infant Health project studying factors affecting pre- and post-natal maternal health, along with the health of infants and experiences with maternal health services, in northern Canada.
The work of Dr. Sharma and the IGHRG to improve health and wellness of vulnerable populations in Alberta and Canada has recently been highlighted through the conferral of two regional awards. In December 2016, Dr. Sharma was very honoured and humbled to be named a Global Edmonton Woman of Vision with eleven other accomplished women in the city during 2016-2017. In September 2017, Dr. Sharma also received the Medal of Honor from the Alberta Medical Association. This award is given to a “non-physician who has made an outstanding personal contribution to the people in Alberta and also has contributed to the advancement of medical research, medical education, health care organization, health education and/or health promotion to the public and raised the standards of health care in Alberta.” Dr. Sharma is very grateful for this recognition of the work of the IGHRG team. To listen to Dr. Sharma’s acceptance speech during the Alberta Medical Association award ceremony on September 15, 2017, please see the video here. More recently, in September 2019 Dr. Sharma was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in recognition of her internationally recognized leadership, academic performance, scientific creativity, and willingness to serve.