Stephanie Nixon, BA, BHSc, MSc, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Physical Therapy
160-500 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1V7

Fax: 416-946-8562
Lab: International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation (ICDR) Lab


Stephanie is a physiotherapist who has been an HIV activist, researcher and clinician for 20 years.  She completed her HonBA in Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario in 1992 and her BHSc in Physiotherapy at McMaster University in 1996.  She completed her MSc in the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science in 2000 and her PhD in Public Health and Bioethics in 2006, both at the University of Toronto.  Stephanie conducted her post-doc with Prof. Alan Whiteside at the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa from 2006-2008.

Stephanie is co-founder and Director of the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation. Stephanie is cross-appointed at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Stephanie Nixon on privilege and oppression, February 2017

Stephanie Nixon on the history of HIV and rehabilitation social science research, May 2016


Flicker S, Nixon SA. The DEPICT model for participatory qualitative health promotion research analysis analysis piloted in Canada, Zambia and South Africa. Health Promotion International. 2015;30(3):616-624, DOI:10.1093/heapro/dat093. (co-author)

O’Brien KK, Tynan AM, Nixon SA, Glazier R. Effectiveness of aerobic exercise for adults living with HIV : systematic review and meta-analysis using the Cochrane Collaboration protocol. BMC Infectious Diseases, forthcoming.

Mesaroli G, Bourgeois AM, Condron A, McCurry E, Petrapanagos, Fraser M, Nixon SA. 2015. Enhanced patient-centred care: perspectives regarding the impact of international clinical internships on practice. Physiotherapy Canada. 67(4).

Gasparelli K, Crowley H, Fricke M, McKenzie B, Oosman S, Nixon SA. Guest Editorial: Mobilizing Reconciliation: Implications of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report for Physiotherapy in Canada. Physiotherapy Canada, forthcoming.

Beavis ASW, Hojjati A, Kassam A, Choudhury D, Fraser M, Masching R, Nixon SA. 2015. What all students in healthcare training programs should learn to increase health equity: perspectives on postcolonialism and the health of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. BMC Medical Education 2015, 15:155.

Nixon SA, Cockburn L, Acheinegeh R, Bradley K, Cameron D, Mue PN, Nyingcho S, Gibson BE. 2015. Using postcolonial perspectives to consider rehabilitation with children with disabilities: the Bamenda-Toronto dialogue. Disability and the Global South. 2(2):570-589.

Nixon SA, Hunt M. 2015. Guest Editorial: Global health: where do physiotherapy and rehabilitation research fit? Physiotherapy Canada 67(3):217-218.

Hanass-Hancock J, Myezwa H, Nixon SA, Gibbs A. 2015. “When I was no longer able to see and walk, that is when I affected most”: Experiences of disability in people living with HIV in South Africa. Disability and Rehabilitation 2015 Jul 25:1-11

Gibson JL, Forman L, Nixon SA. 2015. Guest Editorial: Bioethics and the right to health: advancing a complementary agenda. Health and Human Rights Journal 17(1):1-5.

Njelesani J, Gibson BE, Cameron D, Nixon SA, Polatajko H. 2015. Sport-for-development: a level playing field? Forum: Qualitative Social Research 16(2), Art.12

Parsons J, Nixon SA, Bond VA. 2015. “Are we not human?” Stories of stigma, disability and HIV from Lusaka, Zambia and their implications for access to health services. PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journalpone.0127392.

Njelesani J, Nixon SA, Cameron D, Parsons J, Menon JA. 2015 Experiences of work among people with disabilities who are HIV-positive in Lusaka, Zambia. African Journal of AIDS Research. 14(1):51-56.

Worthington C, O’Brien KK, Myers T, Nixon SA, Cockerill R. 2014. HIV and rehabilitation training needs of health professionals in Canada: results of a national survey. Journal of Research in Interprofessional Practice and Education. 4(1):1-17.

Peng K, Bourret D, Khan U, Truong H, Shaw J, McKay S, Nixon SA. 2014. Self-management goal setting: identifying the practice patterns of community based physical therapists. Physiotherapy Canada. 66(2):160-168.

Ahluwalia P, Nixon SA, Cameron D, Cockburn L, Ellwood L, Mori B. (2014). Analyzing international clinical education practices for Canadian rehabilitation students. BMC Medical Education. 14(187).


Haro A, Knight R, Ahluwalia P, Hicks E, Cameron D, Nixon SA. 2014. Becoming an occupational therapist: impact of international fieldwork placements on clinical practice. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 81(3):173-182.

Yoshida K, Hanass-Hancock J, Nixon SA, Bond V. Using intersectionality to explore experiences of disability and HIV among women and men in Zambia. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2014;36(25):2161-2168.

O’Brien KK, Solomon P, Worthington C, Ibanex-Carrasco F, Baxter L, Nixon SA, Baltzer-Turje R, Robinson G, Zack E, and the HIV, Health and Rehabilitation Survey Catalyst Team. Considerations for conducting web-based survey research with people living with human immunodeficiency virus using a community-based approach. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2014;16(3):1-12.

Nixon SA, Cameron C, Hanass-Hancock J, Simwaba P, Solomon P, Bond V, Menon JA, Richardson E, Stevens M, Zack E. Perceptions of HIV-related health services in Zambia for people with disabilities who are HIV-positive. Journal of the International AIDS Society. 2014;17:18806.

Kelland K, Hoe E, McGuire M, Yu J, Andreoli A, Nixon SA. Excelling in the Advocate role: exploring the perspectives of leading Canadian physiotherapy advocates regarding the attributes required for successful advocacy. Physiotherapy Canada;2014:66(1):74-80.

Cassady C, Mehru R, Chan C, Engelhardt J, Fraser M, Nixon SA. Thinking beyond our borders: investigating ideal competencies for Canadian physiotherapists working in resource-poor countries. Physiotherapy Canada. 2014;66(1):15-23.

Nixon SA, Maimbolwa M. Living with HIV and Dying with AIDS: Diversity, Inequality and Human Rights in the Global Pandemic, Book Review. Developing World Bioethics. 2014;14(10):56-57.

Cleaver S, Nixon SA. A scoping study of ten years of published literature on community-based rehabilitation. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2014, 36(17):1385-1394.

Stevens M, Kirsh B, Nixon SA. Rehabilitation interventions for children living with HIV: a scoping review. Disability and Rehabilitation 2014, 36(10):865-874.

Hopcroft L, Bester L, Clement D, Quigley A, Sachdeva M, Rourke S, Nixon SA. “My body’s a 50 year-old but my brain is definitely an 85 year-old”: Exploring the Experiences of Men Aging with HIV-associated Neurocognitive Challenges. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2013;16:18506.

Wickenden A, Nixon SA, Yoshida K. Exploring the impact of the intersection of HIV, disability and gender on the sexualities of women in Zambia. African Journal of Disability 2013;2(1),Art.#50,8 pages.

Nixon SA, Casale M, Flicker S, Rogan M. Applying the Principles of Knowledge Translation and Exchange to Inform Dissemination of HIV Survey Results to Adolescent Participants in South Africa. Health Promotion International 2013;28(2):233-243.

Cobbing S, Chetty V, Hanass-Hancock J, Jelsma J, Myezwa H, Nixon SA. The essential role of physiotherapists in providing rehabilitation services to people living with HIV in South Africa. South African Journal of Physiotherapy 2013;69(1):22-25.

Gallagher S, Biro S, Creamer E, Della Rossa E, Collins E, Rourke S, Nixon SA. “It’s a Hidden Issue”: Exploring the Experiences of Women with HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Challenges Using a Disability Framework. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2013;35(1):36-46.

Forman L, Nixon SA. Chapter 4: Human Rights Discourse within Global Health Ethics. In: Upshur RE & Pinto A. An Introduction to Global Health Ethics. Routledge. 2013.

Cameron D, Cockburn L, Nixon SA, Garcia L, Leotaud J, MacPherson K, Mashaka P, Mlay R, Parnes P, Wango J, Williams T. Global Partnerships for International Fieldwork in Occupational Therapy: Reflection and Innovation. Occupational Therapy International. 2013;20(2):88-96

Njelesani J, Stevens M, Cleaver S, Mwambwa L, Nixon SA.  International research partnerships in occupational therapy: A Canadian-Zambian Case Study. Occupational Therapy International 2013;20(2): 78-87.

Njelesani J, Gibson BE, Nixon S, Cameron D, Polatajko, H. Towards a critical occupational approach to research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 2013;12:207-220.

Hanass-Hancock J, Regondi I, van Egeraat L, Nixon S. HIV-related disability in HIV hyper-endemic countries: a scoping review. World Journal of AIDS. 2013; 3:257-279. (co-author)

Marshall Z, Nixon SA, Nepveux D, Vo T, Wilson C, Flicker S, McClelland A, Proudfoot D. Navigating risks and professional roles: Research with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer young people with intellectual disabilities. 2012;7(4):20-33.

Guta A, Nixon SA, Wilson M. Resisting the seduction of "ethics creep": Using Foucault to surface complexity and contradiction in research ethics review. Social Science and Medicine. 2012 Sep 25 [Epub ahead of print] doi 10.1016.

Guta A, Nixon S, Gahagan J, Fielden S. “Walking Along Beside the Researcher”: How Canadian REBs/IRBs are Responding to the Needs of Community-Based Participatory Research. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 2012;7(1):15-25.

Nixon SA, Hanass-Hancock J, Whiteside A, Barnett AS. The Increasing Chronicity of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa: Re-thinking “HIV as a Long-Wave Event” in the Era of Widespread Access to ART. Globalization and Health 2011; 7(41).

Nixon SA, Benatar SR. A critical public health ethics analysis of Canada’s international response to HIV.  Global Public Health 2011; 6(7):777-793.

Casale M, Flicker S, Nixon S. Fieldwork Challenges: Lessons Learned from a North-South Public Health Research Partnership. Health Promotion Practice 2011;12(50):734-743.

Nixon SA. Canada’s International Response to HIV During Times of Global Transition: A Qualitative Inquiry. Current HIV Research 2011 9(3):194-201.

Nixon SA, Forman L, Hanass-Hancock J, Mac-Seing M, Munyanukato N, Myezwa H, Retis C. Rehabilitation: A Crucial Component in the Future of HIV Care and Support. South African Journal of HIV Medicine 2011 12(2):12-17.

Nixon SA, O’Brien KK, Rubin G. Non-Surgical Management of Severe Osteonecrosis of the Knee in an HIV-Positive Patient: A Case Report. Case Reports in Infectious Diseases 2011 935041:1-5.

Nixon SA, Rubincam C, Casale M, Flicker S. Is 80% a Passing Grade?: Meanings Attached to Condom Use in an Abstinence-Plus HIV Prevention Programme in South Africa. AIDS Care 2011 23(2):213-220.

Stoebenau K, Nixon SA, Rubincam CC, Willan S, Zembe YZN, Tsikoane T, Tanga PT, Bello HM, Caceres CF, Townsend L, Rakotoarison PG, Razafintsalama V. More Than Just Talk:  Implications of Transactional Sex Discourses for Women’s Vulnerability to HIV in Lesotho, Madagascar and South Africa. Globalization and Health 2011; 7(34).

O’Brien KK, Nixon SA, Tynan AM, Glazier R. Aerobic exercise interventions for adults living with HIV/AIDS. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD001796. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001796.pub3.

Gibson BE, Nixon SA, Nicholls DA. Critical reflections on the physiotherapy profession in Canada. Physiotherapy Canada 2010 62(2):98-103.

Casale M, Nixon S, Flicker S, Rubincam C, Jenney A. Dilemmas and tensions facing a faith-based organization promoting HIV prevention among young people in South Africa. African Journal of AIDS Research 2010 9(2),135-145.

Nixon SA, Cleaver S, Stevens M, Hard J, Landry MD. The role of physical therapists in natural disasters: what can we learn from the earthquake in Haiti? Physiotherapy Canada 2010 62(3), 167-168.

Birn AE, Nixon SA. Canada’s health care system: A relevant approach for South Africa? South African Medical Association Journal 2010 Jul 26;100(8):516-20.

Hanass-Hancock J, Nixon S. The Fields of HIV and Disability: Past, Present and Future. Journal of the International AIDS Society. 2009 12(2)8.

Nixon S, Forman L. Exploring synergies between human rights and public health ethics: a whole greater than the sum of its parts. BMC International Health and Human Rights. 2008 8:2.

Nixon S. Critical public health ethics and Canada’s role in global health. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2006 97(1):32-34.

Rusch M, Nixon S, Schilder A, Braitstein P, Chan K, Hogg RS. Impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions: Prevalence and associations among persons living with HIV/AIDS in British Columbia. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2004 Sept 06; 2(1):46.

Rusch M, Nixon S, Schilder A, Braitstein P, Chan K, Hogg RS. Prevalence of activity limitation among persons living with HIV/AIDS in British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2004 95(6):437-440.

Nixon S, Cott C. Shifting perspectives: reconceptualizing HIV disease in a rehabilitation framework. Physiotherapy Canada. 2000 August 52(3):189-207.

Stephanie's research programme explores linkages between HIV and disability in Canada and in Southern Africa, with a focus on Zambia.  She is interested in understanding and addressing disablement experienced by people living with HIV, as well as HIV prevention and care for people with disabilities.  Her work also uses a critical social science lens to examine and interrogate the role of privileged researchers working in resource-poor settings.

Stephanie’s collaborations in Canada include researchers and activists at McMaster University, York University, St. Michael’s Hospital, the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation, and the Universities Without Walls HIV training programme.  Stephanie’s international partners include researchers and activists at HEARD (South Africa), Disability and HIV/AIDS Trust (Zimbabwe), the University of Zambia, the Zambian HIV and TB Project (ZAMBART), and the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa).

Stephanie’s research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives (CUHI), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the University of Toronto’s Dean’s Fund and Connaught Award.

Stephanie teaches REH3120H, “International Issues in Disability and Rehabilitation”.

She also teaches throughout in the MScPT curriculum on physical therapy issues related to HIV, global health, qualitative research, and advocacy.

Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto
Director, International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation (ICDR), University of Toronto
Associate Professor, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Associate, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto