MA, Health, Policy & Equity, York University (2014)
BSc Hon, Biology, Dalhousie University (2012)


Taq Bhandal is a PhD Student at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. She is a feminist and anti-racist scholar with a specific interest in women’s health. Her research uses postcolonial feminist and feminist political economy theories to study racialized immigrant women’s health in the context of a neoliberal Canada.


During my undergraduate studies at Dalhousie University, my main focus was on developmental and evolutionary biology. However, during the process of completing my Masters it became clear that there is a significant gap in the health research academy that would benefit from qualitative research and that, at times, there is an under-appreciation of qualitative research in the field of health. The main reason that I have chosen to pursue a PhD at the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice is to challenge the dominant understandings of health research and evidence; to produce and translate new health knowledge from the standpoint of the social sciences; and ultimately, to help advance universal and culturally safe healthcare in Canada. I am interested in using postcolonial feminist and feminist political economy theories to study racialized immigrant women’s health in the context of neoliberal reforms in Canada.


Given international attention and literature on health inequity (based on race, ethnicity, sex, gender, class, ability, citizenship, nation, etc.) on a global and local scale; The important positions of nurses and physicians within health systems, and their role in overcoming the health human resources crisis; The continued prevalence of discrimination and undervaluation in health care (both as patients and providers) for racialized people, specifically women, in the world; The position of Canada as a settler-colonial, democratic, multicultural nation as described by scholars of intersectionality; The detrimental effects of neoliberal, commodified, andro-centric, techno-centric approaches to public services such as health care and education in western countries; and, on critical pedagogy as an important tool for teaching the next generation (including our health professionals) to think differently, to be more democratic, and to live in an equitable society:

 Why is there a continued resistance to critical intersectional pedagogy in medical and nursing education in western countries as an identified tool for achieving health equity on a global scale?

Giroux writes, “critical pedagogy […] takes seriously the educational imperative to encourage students to act on the knowledge, values, and social relations they acquire by being responsive to the deepest and most important problems of our times.” Taking this approach to education in conjunction with the major health crisis facing our society in Canada and internationally, my main argument is that all medical and nursing schools can strongly benefit from incorporating critical intersectional pedagogical perspectives in curriculum and administration.  Intersectionality, a theory first described by Crenshaw and Hill Collins, has gained wide recognition within the disciplines of ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, and sociology among others as a canonical framework to study intersecting social processes such as racialization, patriarchy, globalization, colonialism, and capitalism.  However, a number of scholars have shown that this multi-dimensional, matrixed way of thinking has not succeeded in influencing the majority of health research. Another foundational point to preface this central problem is the racialized, sexed, and gendered division of labour and bodies in medicine that I have described in a recent paper.  A similar history could be written about nursing schools taking into account the sex/gendered differences between the medical and nursing professions, and the global movement of health human resources. I strongly thinking that a transformation in the current paradigm of medical education and health systems in general, would result in a corresponding improvement in health outcomes and overall wellness of our society.

Selected Publications

(In Review), Nursing Inquiry, 2015
Bhandal, T., Armstrong, P., Choiniere, J., Daly, T. Structural violence and the recolonization of nurses: A feminist interpretation of racism in the Ontario nursing profession.

(In Review), Gender, Work, & Organization, 2015
Bhandal, T. & F. Ahmad. Mothers, immigrants, and workers: understanding pregnancy and employment as experienced by recent South Asian immigrant women in Toronto.

Health Tomorrow (2):1-24, 2015
Bhandal, T. Finding gendered inequities in poor women’s experiences of neoliberal health care and labour: perspectives from India

Published Poster Abstract, International Conference on Advances in Women Studies, 2015
Title: Mother, immigrants, and workers: understanding the subjectivities of pregnant and employed South Asian immigrant women in Toronto.

Published Poster Abstract, Canadian Conference on Medical Education, 2013
Title: Training a new generation of health professionals: The Advocates in Global Health Program at Dalhousie University

Poster Presentation, Canadian Conference on Global Health, 2013
Title: Gendered inequity and effects of a neoliberal ideology on women’s experiences of health care and labour: perspectives from India

Poster Presentation, Dalhousie University Cameron Conference, 2012
Title: Investigation of interaction between Arabidopsis thaliana KEG RING E3 ligase and stress-inducible ERD1 and PRXR1

Lillian Wright Maternal-Child Health Graduate Scholarship, York University