Sharon Batt

Adjunct Professor, Independent Researcher and Writer

Sharon Batt

Contact information

Email: sharon.batt
Mailing address:
Department of Bioethics
C-315 CRC Building, Faculty of Medicine
PO Box 15000, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2

Research topics

  • Ethics and the role of patients’ advocacy organizations
  • The pharmaceutical industry and conflicts of interest in medicine
  • Ethnographic methods in bioethics
  • Lay expertise and health technologies
  • Civil society, neoliberalism and health policy
  • Breast cancer and the politics of women’s health

Related information


  • BA (Hon): Carleton University, Ottawa
  • MA: University of British Columbia
  • PhD: Dalhousie University
  • PDF: Pharmaceutical Policy Research Collaboration (PPRC), 2012-13

Research interests

My work combines scholarly research with public education and social change activism. Recent publications and activities extend my book about industry funding of patient groups (Health Advocacy Inc. UBC Press, 2017) into academic, policy and public discussion. Publications include a look at diversity among patient advocates shaping rare disease policy in Canada, a white paper with PharmedOut colleagues at Georgetown University on what needs to change at the FDA, a social history analysis of health advocacy in the United States with members of PharmedOut, and investigative journalism for The Breach on how patient groups funded by the pharmaceutical industry contribute to high drug prices. Academic exchanges include visits to the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, Concordia University in Montreal, and the University of Windsor. My public and community engagement includes briefs and consultations to support controls on the price of patented medicines in Canada, membership on Health Canada’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Products for Women, membership on the board of the Nova Scotia Health Coalition, and in the advocacy collaboration, Independent Voices for Safe and Effective Drugs (IVSED).

Selected publications

  • Batt S. (2017). Health Advocacy Inc. UBC Press: Vancouver, BC.
  • Batt, S. Competing values, competing claims: Diversity among patient advocates who intervene to shape policies on drugs for rare diseases. Healthcare Papers. 2023, 21(1):52-58. doi: 10.12927/hcpap.2023.27995.
  • Batt, S. How Big Pharma hijacked patient groups to keep drug prices high. The Breach, November 26, 2022. Translated to Spanish and Portuguese in Boletim Fármacos, February and March 2023.
  • Batt, S, Fugh-Berman A. What Needs to Change at the FDA? White Paper. Washington, D.C.: PharmedOut, Georgetown University, September 2022.
  • Lexchin J, Batt S, Goldberg D, Shnier A. A cross-sectional study of national patient groups in Canada to examine their disclosure of relationships with the pharmaceutical industry. BMJ Open 2022,12: e055287 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-055287
  • Batt S., Butler, J., Shannon, O. et al. "Pharmaceutical Ethics and Grassroots Activism in the United States: A Social History Perspective. Bioethical Inquiry 2020, 17:49-60. https://doi-org/10.1007/s11673-019-09956-8 (will open in another window)

Media appearances

  • Appearances on CBC’s Information Morning, TVO-The Agenda, CBC Commentary, and others. Op-eds in the Hill Times, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and others.

Selected awards and honours

  • Lilian Robinson Visiting Scholar, Concordia University, Winter 2017
  • Pharmaceutical Policy Research Collaboration (PPRC) Fellowship, 2012-13
  • Dalhousie University, Faculty of Graduate Studies Doctoral Thesis Award: Outstanding doctoral thesis in the humanities and social sciences, 2011-2012, for The breast cancer movement in Canada: from grass roots to pharma partnerships
  • Essay competition winner, Thirteenth Berlin Roundtable on Transnationality: Health Politics in an Interconnected World, Irmgard Coninx Foundation, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and the Humboldt-University Berlin. Berlin (December, 2010)
  • Laura Jamieson Award (1995), best feminist book published in English Canada, for Patient No More: the politics of breast cancer


  • Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
  • The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC)
  • Nova Scotia Health Coalition (NSHC)

Employment (selected)

  • Elizabeth May Chair in Women’s Health and the Environment, Dalhousie University (2001-2003)
  • Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University (1999-2001)
  • Co-founder and Director of Breast Cancer Action Montreal (BCAM) (1991-1999)
  • Consultant to Health Canada, Planning and follow-up to the National Forum on Breast Cancer (1993-1994)
  • Editor, Protect Yourself Magazine, Quebec Consumer Protection Office, Montreal (1985-91)


  • Professional Competencies II, Co-tutor, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014
  • Women’s Health and the Environment, Graduate Seminar, Faculty of Health Professions, Dalhousie University, 2002-2003
  • Women’s Health and the Environment, Introductory Course, Faculty of Health Professions, Dalhousie University, 2001-2002
  • The Politics of Women's Health, Senior Seminar, Department of Women’s Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1999-2001
  • A Feminist Approach to Women's Health Policy, Senior Seminar, Department of Women’s Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1999-2001

Service & activity