Elise Matthews, RN, PhD

Profile image for Elise Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor

Contact Info

Office: 306-664-7393
Saskatoon, Innovation Place, Concourse Building, Room CO 111


PhD in Culture, Health, and Human Development, Saskatchewan, 2016
BScN, Saskatchewan, 2004

Elise’s program of research is focused primarily on family experiences of childhood developmental disabilities and mental health disorders in various cultural contexts. Elise explores individual family and community conceptions of childhood and disability, and the creative strategies of resistance and adaptation they employ in everyday life. The ultimate goal of her research is to improve children’s and families’ quality of life and access to services and supports, through culturally safe services pathways in health care, education, and social service systems. Elise is conducts research with Indigenous, refugee, rural, and urban populations in Saskatchewan. She also has an interest in culturally immersive experiences in nursing education, experiences of family violence, and the impact of childhood exposure to mental health and substance use disorders on reproductive decision-making in adulthood. Elise conducts community-based, participatory, qualitative and mixed methods research from a critical interpretivist perspective, informed by scholarship in the fields of nursing, anthropology psychology.


Areas of Expertise:

Program of research focus:

  • Family experiences of childhood disabilities, including adaptation and service access.
  • Impacts of childhood trauma and parental mental health/substance use disorders.
  • Critical approaches to conceptualizing “culture” in nursing education.
  • Interpretivism (phenomenology, hermeneutics) and critical inquiry.

Teaching focus:

  • Mental health, counselling, family health, childhood and lifespan development
  • Health literacy, health education, health promotion, community nursing
  • Research methods (graduate and undergraduate)



J. Matthews(Nominated PI). PIs: Elder Eunice Bear, K. Collins, C. Fourstar, J. Gelech, K. Neufeld, Co-Is: S. Bird, C. Crowe, J. Forrester-Tytlandsvik, A. Hatala, M. Kaiswatum, B. McLeod-Waditika, H. Montgomery, W. Ogle, I. Poorman, W. Seesequasis, C. Singleton, H. Yuzicapi. Recognizing Resilience and Understanding Needs (RRUN): Promoting the Health of Children and Youth with Disabilities in First Nations Communities in Saskatchewan. Canadian Institutes of Health Research Project Grant. Awarded February 2023.  $2,306,475.


Matthews, E. (PI). Cooper, E. (Co-PI). Andersen, C. (Collaborator).Evaluation and Adaptation of Supported and Shared Health Decision-Making Plain Language Tools for Self-Advocates and Health Care Professionals. Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Align Grant. Awarded July 2022.  $10,000.

NPI: E. Cooper. PIs: E. Matthews, S. Andrews, H. Smith. R. Tenana, D. Robins Co-I: E. Grafton. Knowledge Users: R. Tenana, J. Altenberg, V.  Deschambeault, C. Eashappie, G. Eashappie, T. R. Ferris, A. Perry, S. Sanderson. Community Healing: Exploring Indigenous Resurgence and Cultural Arts-Based Approaches. CIHR Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Planning and Dissemination Grant - Institute Community Support. Awarded June, 2022. $20,000.

Matthews, E. (Principal Investigator). Fourstar, C., Thomas, E. (Knowledge Users), Gelech, J., Beatty, B., Desjardins, M., Montgomery, H., Thomas, E. (Co-Is). Sharing First Nations Childhood Disability Teachings and Stories. Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Truth and Action Research Connections Grant. Awarded January 2022. $10,000.

Matthews, E. J. (University of Regina), Andersen, C., Harrison, A., Wells, M. (Inclusion Saskatchewan). Choice and Care: Health planning documents for people with intellectual disabilities. George Reed Centre for Accessible Visible Communication. Awarded March 2021. $20,000.

Matthews, E. J.  (Principal Investigator). Co-Investigators: Gelech, J., Desjardins, M., Montgomery, H. M., Beatty, B. Saskatchewan Indigenous Childhood Disability Resource Guide.  Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Research Connections Grant.Awarded May 2021. $7,500

Matthews, E. J. (Principle Investigator). Co-Investigators: Beatty, B., Desjardins, M., Gelech, J., Montgomery, H. M. Partner: L. Isnana, QBOW Child and Family Services. RRUN - Recognizing resilience and understanding needs: Family experiences of childhood disability in First Nations communities. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Development Grant, 2020-2022, $200,000.

Matthews, E. J. (Principle Investigator) and Somaya Al-Ja’afreh (Co-Investigator). Perceptions of domestic violence among women Syrian refugees. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Seed Grant from University of Regina President’s Office, 2019-2021, $5000.

Matthews, E. J. (Principle Investigator). Working with parents to develop a screening tool and service pathway protocol for mental health service needs in children with a suspected neurodevelopmental disorder. Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research Patient Engagement Application Development Award, 2017, $1,991.

Matthews, E. J. (Principle Investigator). Experiences of reproductive decision-making after childhood maltreatment. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Scholarship, $105,000.


Selected Publications:

Matthews, E. J., Clune, L., Luhanga, F., & Loewen, R. (2021). The impact of cultural immersion international learning experiences on cultural competence of nursing students: A critical integrative review. Journal of Professional Nursing.

Matthews, E. J., Puplampu, V., & Gelech, J. (2021). Tactics and strategies of family adaptation among parents caring for children and youth with developmental disabilities. Global Qualitative Nursing Research:

Matthews, E. J., Gelech, J., Graumans, R., Desjardins, M., & Gelinas, I. (2020). Mediating a fragmented system: Partnership experiences of parents of children with neurodevelopmental and neuromuscular disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.

Gelech, J., Desjardins, M., Matthews, E. J., Graumans, R. (2017). Why don’t working relationships change? The need for a new approach to disability partnership research and reform. Disability and Society, 32(2), 176-192.

Matthews, E. J. (2019). Seeking an ethics of care: Adult relational process after childhood maltreatment and parental mental health disorders. In M. de Chesnay & B. A. Anderson, Caring for the vulnerable: Perspectives in nursing theory, practice and research (5th edition) (pp. 187-196). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett. ISBN: 978-1284146813.

Puplampu, V., & Matthews, E. J., Puplampu, G., Gross, M., Pathak, S., & Peters, S. (2019). The impact of seniors’ cohousing on older adults’ quality of life. The Canadian Journal on Aging, 39(3).

Matthews, E. J., & Desjardins, M. (2019). The meaning of risk in reproductive decisions after childhood abuse and neglect. The Journal of Family Violence, 35, 793-802.

Matthews, E. J., & Desjardins, M. (2017). Remaking our identities: Couples’ experiences of Voluntary childlessness. The Family Journal. 25(1), 31-39.


Reports and Presentations:

Matthews, E. J., Al-Ja’afreh, S., & Gelech, J. (2020). Language, translation and representation: Critical interpretation of Arabic speaking refugee women’s experiences presented in English. Paper presented at the Council on Nursing and Anthropology sessions at Society for Applied Anthropology virtual conference March 18. Journal of Global Qualitative Nursing Research: 

Al-Ja’afreh, S., Matthews, E. J., & Gelech, J. (2020). Family, health and community experiences of Syrian women refugees in Saskatchewan. Paper presented at the Council on Nursing and Anthropology sessions at Society for Applied Anthropology virtual conference March 18. Journal of Global Qualitative Nursing Research: 

Gelech, J., Mazurik, K., Matthews, E., & Desjardins, M. (2020, March 18). Developing a communicative body: A processual account of coping with irritable bowel diseases. Paper presented at the Council on Nursing and Anthropology sessions at Society for Applied Anthropology virtual conference March 18. Journal of Global Qualitative Nursing Research: 

Matthews, E. J. (2020, May). CONAA connects virtually during the 2020 pandemic. Society for Applied Anthropology Newsletter.

Matthews, E. J., & Puplampu, V. (2019). Strategies of adaptation among parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders in Saskatchewan. Society for Applied Anthropology and Council on Nursing and Anthropology Annual Meeting, March 2019, Portland, Oregon, USA. Journal of Global Qualitative Nursing Research: 

Matthews. E. J. (2016). Risk, relationality, and reconciliation: Experiences of reproductive decision-making after childhood maltreatment (Doctoral dissertation). ORCID 0000-0002-3695-2746. Link: