Josephine B. Etowa, PhD MN BScN RM RN FWACN FAAN is a Professor and Loyer-DaSilva Research Chair in Public Health Nursing (LDRC) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. In keeping with the vision of Madame Marie Loyer, the creator of the Chair, to ‘sow seeds to help others’, mentoring and capacity building are central to the work of the Loyer DaSilva Research Chair in Public Health Nursing. In collaboration with Canadian and International partners, the Chair uses Community based participatory research (CBPR) approach to advance nursing knowledge and to meaningfully engage and build research capacity for public health among community researchers, practitioners, and trainees with a particular focus on historically marginalized populations.
Dr Etowa is also a senior Investigator with the Nursing Best Practice Research Centre (NBPRC) at the University of Ottawa, and a founding member, and past president of the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC). As a nurse, a midwife, an international Board Certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), a researcher and an educator, Dr Etowa has worked in various capacities within the Canadian health care system and abroad including Nigeria over the past three decades. She received her BScN and MN degrees from Dalhousie University and her PhD in Nursing from the University of Calgary, Canada. She completed a Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa.
Her program of research which is grounded in over twenty-five years of clinical practice in the areas of maternal-newborn and child health (MNCH), and in public health nursing. Studies include SSHRC funded examination of the childbirth experiences of African Canadian women, and CIHR funded study on the perinatal food choices of immigrant women in Canada. She has also investigated the work life of Canadian nurses from various social locations including Black nurses, Indigenous nurses, visible minority nurses and White nurses in the context of diversity in health care. She has also conducted research to strengthen health systems and build nurses and midwives’ capacity for research and policy development in the African Diaspora including countries in Sub-Saharan African (Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa) and the Caribbean (Jamaica and Barbados) African Canadian. Furthermore, Dr Etowa is currently leading a multi-country Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) funded study examining the infant feeding practices of Black women living with HIV/AIDS in Canada, Nigeria and United States. Community based participatory approach is central theme in Dr Etowa’s work in recognition of the need to create an empowering environment and to meaningfully engage community members. She is involved in a number of initiatives to build health care providers’ capacity not only for the provision of evidence informed care, but also for participation in research production and policy development. Mentoring junior colleagues, research staff and students is a responsibility Dr Etowa takes very seriously.
Over the past two decades, Dr Etowa has generously volunteered her time to serve on various platforms where she continue to be an instrumental voice for health equity issues. She has served on the Advisory Boards of numerous organizations at the local, provincial, national and international levels. These include the Board of Directors of National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health, the Board of Directors of African Caribbean Council of HIV in Ontario, Board of Directors of the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), and Board of Directors of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research. She is currently chairing the Research and Policy of the Community Health Nurses of Canada and serving on the Board of Directors of Stephen Lewis Foundation for HIV/AIDS in Africa; the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) work group on the position statement on Cultural competence, and on Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) College of Reviewers.