Jessica Dutton, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta
Yellowknife, NT

Home Organization

University of Alberta, Indigenous and Global Health Research Group 

Research Statement

Jessica completed her Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in 2018. She is currently completing a post-doc with the Indigenous and Global Health Research Group (IGHRG) at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Gita Sharma. Originally from southern Ontario, Jessica has been living in the Northwest Territories since 2013 and has been working in community-based health research since her arrival.

Jessica studies health issues impacting Northerners with a specific focus on how and why Northerners make decisions about health behaviours. As a social scientist, Jessica is interested in how social determinants of health impact health behaviours and outcomes. Areas of expertise include diabetes, food production and preference, food security, local economies, health information/misinformation, and, most recently, COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy. Jessica specializes in community-based participatory research, research ethics, program evaluation, and qualitative methods.

Description of Research Program

Jessica’s previous research in the NWT has focused on food production, accessibility of local and traditional foods, food security, diabetes treatment experiences, and other community-generated research questions. Currently, Jessica is leading a community-engaged study on COVID-19 impacts in the NWT and Nunavut under the supervision of Dr. Sharma. She is facilitating the expansion of IGHRG’s COVID-19 research in the NWT with the goal of supporting GNWT-DHSS in collecting valuable data, contributing to national and international knowledge about the pandemic’s impacts, and showcasing the unique successes of the territory’s COVID-19 response. The expanded program includes exploration of topics such as vaccine uptake, impacts on mental health, impacts on healthcare access and use.

Jessica is coordinating the Northern logistics of the CARE NT Study, which was adapted from the previous Caring and Responding in Edmonton (CARE) study – this research examines the experiences of people in the NWT with accessing healthcare. Jessica has 8+ years of experience partnering with southern researchers to provide guidance on how to appropriately conduct research in the NWT and she  enjoys being able to connect colleagues in the south with partners, Elders, communities, and advisors in the NWT to improve the relevance and respectfulness of research to Northerners.

Significant Contributions

Dutton J. 2019. Modeling change to traditional food systems on the Northwest Territories: Findings from the "State of Country Food Systems in the NWT: Planning for Long-term Sustainability" study. ArcticNet Conference. Halifax, NS.

Dutton J. 2019. An urban and a northern REB perspective on applying Chapter 9 of the TCPS2. Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards Conference. Winnipeg, MB

Dutton J. 2018. Lessons from stories of diabetes self-management: Enunciating culture in health decision-making in the third space. PhD Thesis, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Dutton J. 2017. Urban and northern perspectives on indigenous community engagement in human research ethics. Recorded oral presentation at the Canadian Association of Research Administrators West Conference, Victoria, BC.

Dutton J. 2017.Telling the story of diabetes: Understanding how cultural identity impacts diabetes management. Community oral presentation of research findings. Fort Smith, NT.

Dutton J, and Sellwood C. 2017. Home grown harvest: Guide to mapping the local food market in NWT communities. Available from the Aurora Research Institute, Inuvik, NT. 

Dutton J. 2010. First come, first served: Post-colonial barriers to traditional food consumption in Aboriginal communities. MA Thesis, Department of Political Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON.