S. Michelle Driedger received her BA (Honours) in 1995 (University of Winnipeg), her MA in 1997 (Carleton University) and her PhD in 2001 (McMaster University). She was an Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Ottawa from 2002-2005 until she was recruited for a Tier II Canada Research Chair in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba in 2006.
Dr. Driedger is currently a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences and a proud member of the Manitoba Metis nation. A health geographer by training, her broad areas of research interests include public and health risk communication, risk perception, and knowledge translation under conditions of uncertainty. Drawing primarily on qualitative methods, her research focus involves the study of how new and emerging risk and public health controversies develop in science, policy and public forums. She is particularly interested in how public health risk communicators can meaningfully engage public audiences to enable informed decisions about risk recommendations including protective behaviours that can be adopted for themselves and their family. Her research examines these issues in areas of vaccine and other health communication with an emphasis of the important role between health providers and the people they serve in clinical encounters. Her research and teaching interests intersect throughout: decolonizing methodologies in community based research with Manitoba Metis, engaging different affected audiences through participatory methods, and partnership development with relevant knowledge users to ensure research results are meaningful. Her research uses a variety of data sources: interviews, focus groups, documents (e.g. policy, reports), traditional news media and more recently, social media.
Dr. Driedger serves in a variety of professional roles with the Social Sciences and Humanities Network of the Canadian Immunization Research Network, is a member of CanCOVID (a network of Canadian researchers doing COVID related work), and has served on several ad hoc national advisory groups providing input into Canada's response to COVID-19. She is also a member of the Society for Risk Analysis and the Risk Communication Specialty Group.