Stephanie Knaak

Stephanie Knaak

Pronouns: she/her


Adjunct Clinical Associate

Faculty of Nursing, Adjuncts

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry

Associate Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Associate Member

Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education

Contact information



Project Management Professional, Project Management Institute, 2015

Educational Background

PhD Sociology, University of Alberta, 2008


Stephanie Knaak holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Alberta and is the principal and founder of INSIGHT Research & Consulting.  Her research specialties include healthcare education and training, workplace mental health, mental health and substance use stigma, Canada's opioid and overdose crisis, parenting culture, maternal mental health, infant feeding discourse, and program implementation and evaluation. She has led numerous provincial and national level research and evaluation studies.

Dr. Knaak is considered an international expert in the field of mental illness and substance use related stigma. In early 2020, she was one of two Canadian experts invited to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime in Vienna to consult on the development of international guidelines for the reduction of stigma in the context of substance use.


Areas of Research


My research interests centre on workplace mental health, mental illness and substance use-related stigma, the framing of public health messages, illnesses and experiences, and program implementation and evaluation. Major recent projects include: 

  • outcomes-based evaluation-based research and meta-analytic research to help identify effective approaches and interventions for reducing mental illness and substance-use related stigma in various work environments and population groups (youth, workplaces, healthcare environments, first responders, postsecondary students); 
  • Development of program implementation models for healthcare and first response environments; 
  • a validation study of key ingredients for effective anti-stigma programming in healthcare environments; 
  • scale development and validation research for the OMS-HC and OM-PATOS stigma scales; 
  • development of a theoretical framework for understanding and addressing stigmatization related to the overdose crisis, particularly as it relates to direct service delivery; 
  • qualitative research on perceptions and experiences of structural stigma in healthcare environments among people with lived and living experience of mental health and substance use problems; and  
  • development of a ‘framework for action’ for combatting mental illness and substance use-related structural stigma in healthcare environments. 


EMBER - Exploring Mental health Barriers in Emergency Rooms