Dr. Donna Halperin

Associate Professor
Camden Hall
(902) 867-7890

Dr. Donna Halperin received her undergraduate degree at St. Francis Xavier University (BScN, 1993), her masters degree at Syracuse University (MSc, 1998), her doctorate at the University of Calgary (PhD, 2005) and post-doctoral fellowship at Dalhousie University (Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Vaccinology).  She is a Professor, St. Francis Xavier University, Rankin School of Nursing and the Associate Director of the Health Policy and Translation Group at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology, Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Dr. Halperin’s nursing career has spanned close to 25 years with clinical expertise primarily in the area of community health. She teaches courses to nursing students in Health and Health Systems and Research Methods.  

Dr. Halperin’s applied research program focuses on vaccine program implementation and evaluation and health policy research. She has methodological expertise in mixed methods, survey research and grounded theory. Currently she is a co- investigator with the PHAC/CIHR Canadian Immunization Research Network that was established to provide Canada with a national capacity to undertake coordinated, evaluative research to inform public health policy relating to vaccine and vaccination. She is currently a Principal Investigator on a CIHR collaborative study in Nunavut and a Co-Investigator on a Public Health Agency of Canada funded program evaluation in Prince Edward Island.



Teaching 2017-2018

Nursing 208 (2 sections, new program)

Students gain a broad understanding of health and wellness and how they are created in society, with emphasis on the determinants of health and social justice. A focus is on the Canadian health care system and concepts of person-centered care, primary health care, cultural competence, critical thinking, and population health promotion including person-centered teaching and learning. The role of theory and evidence, including best practice guidelines to support the care of healthy individuals, populations, and communities.

Nursing 310 (old program, 6 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the research process and to quantitative and qualitative research methods used in appraising nursing and health-related literature. Topics include: the language and culture of research; the context within which nursing research is conducted; research design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation; and evidence based practice.

Nursing 231 (new program)

Students learn the fundamentals of research and the application of evidence in nursing and health care. The research process and research methodologies are examined, with an emphasis on critically reading and interpreting research evidence, selecting best practice guidelines, and making evidence-informed decisions. Collaborative approaches to research and knowledge translation strategies are introduced. Students also learn the role of the nurse within collaborative teams and are introduced to the concepts of leadership, management, models of care, health team member roles, and care coordination.


Selected Publications (2010-2017)



  1. MacDougall, D.M., Langley, J.M., Li, L., Ye, L., MacKinnon-Cameron, D., Top, K., … Halperin, S.A. (2017). Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of university students, faculty, and staff during a meningococcal serogroup B outbreak vaccination program. Vaccine, 35(18), 2520–2530. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.02.011
  2. McPherson, M.Y., García-García, A., Cuesta-Valero, F.J., Beltrami, H., Hansen-Ketchum, P., MacDougall, D., & Ogden, N. (2017). Expansion of the Lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis in Canada inferred from CMIP5 climate projections.  Environmental Health Perspectives, 125(5), 1-9. doi: 10.1289/EHP
  3.  Isenor, J., Edwards, N., Alia, T., Slayter, K.L., MacDougall, D.M., McNeil, S., & Bowles, S. (2016). Impact of pharmacists as immunizers on vaccination rates: A systematic review and meta analysis. Vaccine, 34(47), 5708–5723. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.08.085
  4. MacDougall, D.M., Halperin, B.A., Isenor, J., MacKinnon-Cameron, D., Li, L., McNeil, S.A., Halperin, S.A. (2016). Routine immunization of adults by pharmacists: attitudes and beliefs of the Canadian public and health care providers. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 12(3), 623-31 doi: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1093714
  5. Langley JM, MacDougall, D.M., Halperin BA, Swain A, Halperin SA, Top KA, McNeil SA, MacKinnon-Cameron D, Marty K, De Serres G, Dubé E, Bettinger JA. (2016). Rapid surveillance for health events following a mass meningococcal B vaccine program in a university setting: A Canadian Immunization Research Network study. Vaccine, 34(34):4046-4049. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.06.025. PubMed PMID: 27302338.
  6. MacDougall, D.M., Halperin, B.A, Langley, J.M., McNeil, S.M., MacKinnon-Cameron, D.M., Li Li & Halperin, S.A. (2016) Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of pregnant women approached to participate in a Tdap maternal immunization randomized, controlled trial , Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 12(4), 879-885, doi: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1130193
  7. MacDougall, D.M., Halperin, B.A., Langley, J.M., MacKinnon-Cameron, D., Li, L., & Halperin, S.A.; Maritime Universal Rotavirus Vaccination Program (MURVP). (2016). Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of parents and healthcare providers before and after implementation of a universal rotavirus vaccination program. Vaccine, 34(5), 687–695. doi:10.1186/s40545-016-0084-410.1016/j.vaccine.2015.09.089
  8. MacDougall, D.M., & Halperin, S.A. Immunization in Canada: Update for 2015 [invited editorial, 2016]. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 60(1),6-12.
  9. Isenor, J., Killen, J., Billard, B., McNeil, S., MacDougall, D.M., Halperin, B., Slayter, K., & Bowles, S. (2016). Impact of pharmacists as immunizers influenza vaccination coverage in the community-setting in Nova Scotia. Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice, 9(32), 1-6. doi: DOI 10.1186/s40545-016-0084-4
  10. Isenor, J., Alia, T., Killen, J., Billard, B., Halperin, B., Slaytor, K., McNeil, S., MacDougall, D., & Bowles, S. (2016 May 3) Human Vaccines and Immunotherpeutics, 12(5),1225-8. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1127490.
  11. Fielding, G., McPherson, M., Hansen-Ketchum, P., MacDougall, D.M., Beltrami, H., & Dunn, J. (2016). Climate change projections and public health systems: Building evidence informed connections. OneHealth, 2 (12), 152-154. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.onehlt.2016.07.005
  12. MacDougall, D.M., Halperin, B.A., MacKinnon-Cameron, D., Li, L., McNeil, S.A., Langley, J.M., & Halperin, S.A. (2015, Sept.). The challenge of vaccinating adults: attitudes and beliefs of the Canadian public and healthcare providers. BMJ Open, 5(9), e009062. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009062
  13. MacDougall, D.M., & Halperin, S.A. Improving rates of maternal immunization: Challenges and opportunities [invited review]. (2015, Sept). Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1101524
  14. MacDougall, D., Halperin, B.A., MacKinnon-Cameron, D., Li, L., McNeil, S., Langley, J.M., & Halperin, S.A. (2015). Universal tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination of adults: What Canadian health care providers know and need to know. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 11(9), 2167–2179. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2015.104666
  15. Halperin, B.A., MacDougall, D., MacKinnon-Cameron, D., Li, L., McNeil, S.A., Langley, J.M., & Halperin, S.A. (2015). Universal tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination of adults: What the Canadian public knows and wants to know. Vaccine, 33(48), 6840–6848. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.09.012
  16. Chambers, L.W., Crowe L., Lam P.-P., MacDougall, D., McNeil, S., Roth, V., McCarthy, A.E. (2015). A new approach to improving healthcare personnel influenza immunization programs: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE, 10(3), e0118368. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118368
  17. Sanford, C., Langley, J.M., Halperin, S.A., Zelman M, & Maritime Universal Rotavirus Vaccination Program (MURVP) (MacDougall, D., member). (2015). A universal infant rotavirus program in two delivery models: Effectiveness and adverse events following immunization. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 11(4), 870–874. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1012028
  18. Zelman, M., Sanford, C., Neatby, A., Halperin, B.A., MacDougall, D., Rowswell, C., … Maritime Universal Rotavirus Vaccination Program (MURVP). (2014). Implementation of a universal rotavirus vaccination program: comparison of two delivery programs. BMC Public Health, 14, 908. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-908
  19. MacDougall, D., Crowe, L., Pereira, J.A., Kwong, J.C,. Quach, S., Wormsbecker, A.E., … Public Health Agency of Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research Influenza Research Network (PCIRN) Program Delivery and Evaluation Group. (2014). Parental perceptions of school-based influenza immunisation programs in Ontario, Canada: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 4(6), e005189. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005189
  20. Halperin, B.A., Morris, A., MacKinnon-Cameron, D., Mutch, J., Langley, J.M., McNeil, S., MacDougall, D., & Halperin, S.A. (2011). Kinetics of the antibody response to tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine in women of childbearing age and postpartum women. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 53(9), 885–892. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir538
  21. Pelly, L.P., Pierrynowski MacDougall, D., Halperin, B.A., Strang, R.A., Bowles, S.K, Baxendale, D.M., & McNeil, S.A. (2010).The VaxEd project: An assessment of immunization education in Canadian health professional programs. BMC Medical Education, 10, 86. doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-86
  22. Lam, P.-P., Chambers, L.W., Pierrynowski MacDougall, D.M., & McCarthy, A.E. (2010). Seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns for health care personnel: systematic review. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182(12), E542–E548. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.091304


  1. Felix, R., Gallant, D., & Murray, M.A. (2012). Workplace health promotion. In Robinson Vollman, A., Anderson, E.T., & McFarlane, J. (Eds.), Canadian community as partner: Theory & multidisciplinary practice (3rd ed.) (pp.433–452). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.



Research Overview

My research program centers on understanding vaccine-related preventative health care behavior in order to identify the reasons why the public and healthcare providers accept or reject vaccinations for themselves as well as their children. In addition, it is equally important to understand why health care providers support and promote the use of vaccines in their workplace, as these individuals are often the most importance influence affecting decision making by members of the public. I have explored these issues in specific populations such as parents of young children, pregnant women, adults and healthcare providers. My research often has a disease/vaccine-specific focus but also encompasses a broader view involving multiple vaccines delivered in various vaccination platforms (adult immunization, maternal immunization, clinical trial participants). Within the area of vaccine delivery, I have focused my work on vaccine administration by new and alternative health care providers such a pharmacists and chiropractors and on expanded education in nursing and other health professional curricula. A large portion of my work also deals with the interface between health policy and decision makers. My research characterizes health and health care delivery in the context of enacted health policies to inform future health policy decision making.

Research Funding (2010-2016)


  1. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) (CI1302). Co-Investigator, 2014–2017, $6,583,497.
  2. CIHR/CIRN.* Determination of burden of invasive Haemophilus influenzae type a (Hia) disease in Indigenous communities and study of their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours about Hia disease, vaccine, and clinical trials via a community engagement. Co-Investigator, 2016-2017, $155,040.
  3. CIHR/CIRN.* Canadian National Vaccine Safety (CANVAS) Network surveillance of adverse events following immunization with meningococcal serogroup B vaccine: Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to the vaccine (CT11). Co-Principal Investigator, 2015–2016, $25,000.
  4. CIHR/CIRN.* Vaccinating pregnant women: Why are maternity care providers hesitant? Co-Investigator, 2015–2016, $35,000.
  5. CIHR/CIRN,* GlaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi Pasteur. Pharmacists as immunizers to improve coverage and provider/recipient satisfaction: A prospective, controlled, community-embedded study with vaccines with low coverage rates (the Improve ACCESS study). Co-Investigator, 2015–2018, $670,000 (comprising CIHR/CIRN grant $150,000; GlaxoSmithKline $260,000; and Sanofi Pasteur $260,000).
  6. IWK Health Centre Foundation and QEII Foundation. Evaluation of the Nova Scotia District Health Authorities/IWK Health Centre influenza control policy (IW1401). Principal Investigator, 2014–2016, $100,000.
  7. CIHR. PHAC/CIHR Influenza Research Network (PCIRN) (CI92). Co-Investigator, 2009–2012, $13,974,459; renewal 2012–2015, $4,452,000.
  8. CIHR/PCIRN.* Mixed methods examination of the 2013–2014 British Columbia influenza prevention policy, phase 2. Co-Principal Investigator, 2013–2014, $24,050.
  9. CIHR/PCIRN.* Mixed methods examination of the 2012–2013 British Columbia influenza prevention policy. Co-Investigator, Qualitative Lead, 2012–2013, $145,498.
  10. CIHR/PCIRN.* Parental perceptions of school-based influenza immunization in Ontario. Co-Investigator, Qualitative Lead, 2012–2013, $104,160.
  11. CIHR/PCIRN.* Developing leading practice healthcare personnel influenza immunization policies. Principal Investigator, 2012–2013, $15,000.
  12. CIHR/PCIRN.* Knowledge translation: influenza immunization policies and practices for health care personnel. Principal Investigator, 2011–2012, $13,000.
  13. CIHR. Meeting to review success to date and to establish the Canadian Influenza Knowledge Exchange Network. Co-Investigator, 2009, $15,000.
  14. CIHR. Optimizing health care worker interpandemic vaccine uptake in acute and long-term care. Co-Investigator, 2008–2011, $895,131.
  • Note: I am a Co-Investigator for two CIHR-funded networks, PCIRN and CIRN (1 & 7 above). Within this overall network funding, PCIRN and CIRN Co-Investigators had the opportunity to apply for funding for individual projects; these applications were subject to an internal peer-review process. The project funding awarded is listed individually with an asterisk.


  1. GlaxoSmithKline. Survey of conventional providers of immunization in the Maritimes. Co-Investigator, 2013–2015, $49,475.
  2. GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and Sanofi-Pasteur. Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) in adults: Translating recommendations into programs (GS97/SP1004/SP1204). Co-Principal Investigator, 2010–2014; $540,000
  3. GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. Evaluation of a universal rotavirus program (GS1001, investigator-initiated contract). Co-Principal Investigator, 2010–2014, $715,735.
  4. Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. Development and evaluation of a comprehensive, discipline-specific vaccinology education program for use in Canadian medical, nursing, and pharmacy schools: From needs assessment to implementation; the VaxEd Project (SP51). Co-Investigator, 2005–2011, $64,107.


  1. Pharmacy Endowment Fund, Dalhousie University. Survey of pharmacists on immunization services. Co-Investigator, 2013–2015, $14,754.75.
  2. Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia (DEANS), NS Department of Health and Wellness. Summer research student for Pharmacists as Immunizers Research team and Working Group. Co-Investigator, 2014, $7,302.75.

Contact Information

Dr. Donna M. MacDougall, PhD, RN         


Elizabeth & Thomas Rankin School of Nursing

St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Office (902) 867-3392; Fax (902) 867-2322