Rob Watson

MES 2013




During Rob’s time as an undergraduate student at the University of Western Ontario, he became increasingly concerned with the health of marginalized populations, particularly that of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. With a specific area of interest identified, he completed an undergraduate thesis related to food security among First Nations peoples in and around London, Ontario. It is through this experience that Rob was inspired to pursue a Masters degree related to Aboriginal health which is how he ended up at Dalhousie University to conduct a Master of Environmental Studies with Dr. Castleden and the Tui’kn Partnership of Unama’ki (Cape Breton).

Current Position:

Since completing his MES, Rob is continuing his studies through a juris doctor (J.D.) law degree at the University of Calgary.


Engaging Mi’kmaq Communities in Asthma Research: A Community-Driven Assessment of the Needs, Challenges, and Opportunities Surrounding Asthma Support in Mi’kmaq Communities in Unama’ki (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia.


Asthma is the second most common chronic condition affecting Aboriginal youth. Employing a community-based participatory research design, this thesis seeks to: 1) identify the support needs and intervention preferences of asthmatic Mi’kmaq youth and their caregivers; 2) design and pilot test a culturally appropriate support-education intervention that meets these preferences, in collaboration with Mi’kmaq participants; and 3) identify the implications of the findings for asthma programs, policies, and practices specific to Mi’kmaq peoples and determine appropriate audiences and vehicles for dissemination. Asthma support initiatives within local schools, across the community health centres, and through culturally appropriate asthma camps are feasible and effective community-driven ways of improving asthma support in Mi’kmaq communities.


2011-2013 Atlantic Aboriginal Health Research Program (AAHRP) Masters Scholarship


Journal Articles 

Watson, R., Castleden, H., Tui’kn Partnership, Masuda, J., King, M., & Stewart, M. (2012). Identifying Gaps in Asthma Education, Health Promotion, and Social Support for Mi’kmaq Families in Unama’ki (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia, Canada. Preventing Chronic Disease, 9(E139). DOI:

Under External Review 

Watson, R., Castleden, H., Tui’kn Partnership, Bennett, E., Masuda, J., King, M., & Stewart, M. (under review). Identifying opportunities and challenges for implementing asthma prevention and management initiatives in Mi’kmaq communities in Unama’ki (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia, Canada. Health & Social Care in the Community.

Book Reviews

Watson, R. (2012). Shawn Wilson: Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods. The Canadian Geographer, 56(2), 293-294.

Conference Presentations:

Watson, R. (2012, June). Becoming Asthma Aware in Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq Communities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Graduate Student Gathering, Montreal.

Watson, R. (2012, February). Becoming Asthma Aware in Atlantic Canada’s Indigenous Communities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New York.