Assistant Professor

ART 135
phone: 2508079972


My research interests relate to issues of diversity, cross-cultural considerations and equity as they pertain to mental health promotion and chronic illness management in rural areas or mid-size cities. In particular, I am interested in community mental health and cross-cultural belonging; rural Indigenous health; intersecting identities (race, gender, sexuality, Indigeneity) influencing campus wellbeing; and culturally safe approaches for First Nations in palliative care.



PhD (fast-track), University of Western Ontario – 2013
Gold Mining In Guatemala: Community Health And Resistance Amidst Violence
BScN, Queen’s University – 2007


Our team is pleased to share our Campus Diversity Report, a reflection of 2 years of research with Indigenous, racialized (i.e. non-White) and LGBTQ+ students.

I use community-based and participatory action research approaches to produce knowledge relevant for Indigenous,  rural, and/or diverse (e.g. immigrants, LGBTQ) populations.  In partnership with community organizations and health services, I strive to develop equitable and culturally-safe solutions for diverse populations. Specific projects include:

  • Community Mental Health
    • Cross-cultural experiences of belonging and participation in rural Canada, including
      • immigrant diasporas
      • temporary migrant agricultural workers
    • Student diversity (ethno-cultural, Indigenous, LGBTQQIA), belonging and wellbeing;
    • The influence of large-scale mining on Indigenous communities
  • Culturally Safe Approaches in Rural First Nations’ Contexts
    • Developing community-based priorities for a culturally-safe approach to palliative care

Research Lab: Cross-Cultural Approaches for Health and Wellness



I enjoy working with students to develop evidence-informed practices and critical thinking skills that can guide their practice and research. I enjoy talking about theories that get students thinking about global ethics, and cross-cultural considerations that can enhance their role as clinicians and health care leaders. My teaching interests include:

  • Nursing Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Global Health
  • Relational Nursing

Indigenous communities
Immigrant diasporas
Migrant seasonal workers
Community-based, participatory
Qualitative approaches
Situational Analysis
Cross-cultural health promotion
Chronic illness prevention & management
Mental health & wellbeing
Global health

  • The Public Life of Temporary Migrant Agricultural Workers: The Role of Social Support Systems, Policies and Practices. 2016 – 2018. SSHRC Insight Development Grant. ($46, 100). Lead applicant: Caxaj, C. S. Co-applicant: Amy Cohen (Okanagan College). Collaborators: Bonar Buffam (UBC O), Luis Diaz (Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture), Eva Gavaris (Okanagan Regional Library) Patricia Tomic (UBC O)
  • A community based intervention to support belonging among the S. S. Indian -Canadian diaspora. 2015 – 2016. Vancouver Foundation. ($9, 985). Lead Researcher: Caxaj, C. S.  Organization co-applicants: South Okanagan Immigrant Community Services Society, Lower Similkameen Community Services Society. Co-applicants: Chau, S., Gill, N. & Dhaliwal, A.  (Women’s Organizing Committee)
  • Engaging Community Partners and Service Leaders Towards a Palliative Approach for Rural First Nations Communities. 2015 – 2016. CIHR Planning and Dissemination. ($11, 986). Caxaj, C. S. (P.I.), Co-Is: Pesut, B., Lou-Kelly, M., Prince, H. & Bourassa, C.
  • Queer(y)ing Campus Space: Experiences of Queer, Indigenous, and/or Students or Colour at UBCO. 2013 – 2016. Hampton Endowment Fund. ($23, 740). Caxaj, C. S. (P.I.), Co-Is: Lee, R., Parkins, I. & Chau, S.
  • Experiences of social cohesion, cross-cultural understanding as indicators of community-wide mental health promotion. 2013 – 2014. Rural Health Services Research Network Team Building Award. ($5000.00). Caxaj, C. S. (PI), Co-Is: Chau, S., McDonald, M., Pauly, B., Clark, N., Jakubec, S., O’Mahony, J., Damoon, R. & Leipert, B.
  • Learning from Indigenous Communities Facing Large-Scale Projects. Towards Global Understandings of Development and Self-Determination. 2013 – 2014. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Institutional Grant. ($5000.00). Caxaj, C. S. (PI)


Dr. Caxaj is available to supervise graduate students including MSN, IGS MA, IGS MSc, and PhD students. Examples of current student projects include:

Extracting Survivor Safety: Socio-economic shifts in extractive industry communities, institutional processes, health and social care professionals’ practices, and the safety of survivors of intimate partner violence. (Michelle Haywood-Farmer, RSW, current MSW in social work student). In Progress.

Evaluation of the health outcomes of Okanagan sockeye salmon reintroduction initiatives (Sockeye CONSERVE). Cultural dimensions of wellbeing. (Suzanne Johnson, RD, current IGS MSc student). In Progress.



Peer Reviewed:

  • Plamondon, K. M. & Caxaj, C. S. (in press). Toward Relational Practices for Enabling Knowledge-to-Action in Health Systems: The example of deliberative dialogue. Advances in Nursing Science.
  • Caxaj, C. S., & Gill, N. K. (2016). Belonging and Mental Wellbeing Among a Rural Indian-Canadian Diaspora Navigating Tensions in “Finding a Space of Our Own”. Qualitative Health Research, 1049732316648129.
  • Caxaj, C. S. (2016). A review of mental health approaches for rural communities: Complexities and opportunities in the Canadian context.Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 34, 29-45.
  • Caxaj, C. S. (2015). Indigenous Storytelling and Participatory Action Research: Allies Toward Decolonization? Reflections From the Peoples’ International Health Tribunal. Global Qualitative Health Research, 2, 1 – 12.
  • Caxaj, C. S., Berman, H., Ray, S. L., Restoule, J. P. & Varcoe, C. (2014). Strengths Amidst Vulnerabilities: the Paradox of Resistance in a Mining-affected Community in Guatemala. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 35(11), 824-34.
  • Caxaj, C. S., Berman, H, Varcoe, C., Ray, S. L. & Restoule, J. P. (2014). Gold mining on Mayan-Mam territory: social unraveling and community health challenges in the Western highlands of Guatemala. Social Science and Medicine. Open access article available here.
  • Caxaj, C. S., Berman, H., Ray, S. L., Restoule, J. P. & Varcoe, C. (2014). Strengths Amidst Vulnerabilities: the Paradox of Resistance in a Mining-affected Community in Guatemala. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 35, (11).
  • Caxaj, C.S., Berman, H., Restoule, J.P., Varcoe, C., Ray, S.L. (2013). Promises of Peace and Development: Mining and Violence in Guatemala.  Advances in Nursing Science, 36 (3).
  • Caxaj, C.S., Berman, H., Varcoe, C., Ray, S.L. & Restoule, J. P. (2012). Tensions in Anti-Colonial Research: Lessons from Collaborating with a Mining-Affected Indigenous Community. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 44 (4), 76-95.
  • Caxaj, C.S. & Berman, H, (2010). Belonging Among Newcomer Youths: Intersecting Experiences of Inclusion and Exclusion. Advances in Nursing Science, 33 (4), 17-30.

Book Chapters:

  • Caxaj, C. S. & Berman, H. (2014). Anti-Colonial Pedagogy and Praxis: unraveling dilemmas and dichotomies. Philosophies and practices of emancipatory nursing: social justice as praxis. In Anderson, Kagan, Smith and Chinn. Philosophies and practices of emancipatory nursing: social justice as praxis.