The Public Health Association of BC congratulates Dr. Irving Rootman for receiving an Honorary Doctorate from St. Francis Xavier University for his outstanding leadership in health promotion.
Dr. Rootman is recognized internationally for his outstanding leadership in health promotion. Over his four decade career in public service and academia, he has been dedicated to effecting positive change in health policy and practice with a commitment to addressing health equity and social justice. PHABC is honoured to work alongside him towards building a fair and healthy British Columbia for all.
Dr. Rootman started his career at the University of Calgary, where he researched alcohol and drug use. Dr. Rootman holds a BA (honours) in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Philosophy and a PhD in Sociology from Yale University. He is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and holds an Honorary Degree from the University of Victoria.
Dr. Rootman served on many task forces and panels, and is recognized for his scholarly accomplishments. He has worked as a Researcher, Research Manager, and Educator in the federal government, the World Health Organization, the University of Toronto, and the University of Victoria.
He accepted a post-doctoral award in England, which resulted in 18 research papers on drug use, mental health and suicide. Returning to Canada, he was hired as Chief of Epidemiology and Social Research by the Directorate on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, then part of Health and Welfare Canada.
He went on to serve as Chief of Health Promotion Studies in the Health Promotion Directorate of Health and Welfare Canada; led the landmark Canadian Health Promotion Survey; and served as a Professor at the University of Toronto, where he helped establish the Centre for Health Promotion as its first Director.
He was later honoured by the Michael Smith Foundation as the Health Research Distinguished Scholar. At the University of Victoria he served as Executive Director, Health and Learning Knowledge Centre.
His leadership prompted webinars in collaboration with the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health at St. Francis University. Although retired, he remains active: he is a member of the Executive Committee of Health Promotion Canada, and Chair of their Academic Committee; a member of the Professional Development Working Group; and a member of the Capacity-Building Committee for the Public Health Association of BC.