Stephanie Nixon PhD

Stephanie Nixon

Sustained Excellence and Innovation in Life Sciences Education
Graduate Faculty Teaching Awards


Stephanie Nixon, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, cross-appointed at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, at the University of Toronto. In July 2022, Stephanie moves up the road to take on the role of Vice Dean (Health Sciences) and Director (School of Rehabilitation Therapy) at Queen’s University. She has been a scholar activist for over 25 years. She completed her PhD in Public Health and Bioethics in 2006 at the University of Toronto, and a post-doc at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in 2007. Stephanie was director of the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation from 2012-2021. Stephanie is a straight, white, middle class, able-bodied, cisgender, settler woman who tries to understand the pervasive effects of privilege. She explores how systems of oppression shape health care, research and education, and the role of people in positions of unearned advantage in disrupting these harmful patterns. Stephanie developed the Coin Model of Privilege and Critical Allyship as a way to translate core ideas about anti-oppression to people in positions of unearned advantage. She has conducted workshops on the Coin Model with more than 100 groups including universities, hospitals, community-based organizations, and professional associations across Canada and internationally.

Summary of Award Work

Professor Nixon has made “outstanding contributions to the MScPT program through her implementation of the SPEC (Social, Political, Ethics and Culture) curriculum, dedication to developing engaging and creative educational opportunities, and ongoing commitment to student mentorship.”

The education she provided throughout the MScPT program has deeply influenced her students “understanding of the social fabric that permeates our society and has cultivated a sense of purpose in promoting equity not only in health care, but in all aspects of life.”

From the Nomination

“Dr. Nixon has had a profound impact on me as a student and put me on a path to become a scholarly practitioner with hopes of pursuing a career in academic research. She is a skilled teacher, researcher, activist, and leader in the field of rehabilitation and global health.”

“In these challenging times, is Stephanie Nixon’s wisdom, guidance, and positive example that are the touchstone reminders as to why I do this work.I hold Professor Stephanie Nixon’s teaching and supervision in exceptionally high regard. Since coming to know her, I have strived to embody many of her characteristics.”