Susan Stevens, BSW, MEd, RSW, CHE, EXTRA Fellow

Adjunct Professor


Phone: 902-579-7796


Stevens_S_CV_April 2024



I completed my Bachelor of Social Work at Dalhousie University and began my career doing social assistance work. In 1992 I lived for six months in a small village in Ghana, West Africa. As a volunteer with Canada World Youth I taught literacy, numeracy, and health education. Returning to Canada, I worked first with the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association and then with the Halifax Association for Community Living supporting families with children of all ages with cognitive disabilities. I then completed a Master of Education with a concentration in adult learning at Dalhousie University.

In 1996 I became a care coordinator in the provincial government home care program. I worked as a senior policy analyst from 2001-2004 in the Department of Health and from 2004-2015 was the director of policy and planning in continuing care with responsibilities for home care, long term care, protection for persons in care, and adult protection.

I joined the Nova Scotia Health Authority in April 2015 in the role of senior director of continuing care. I was responsible for an annual budget of $75M and over 500 staff  serving over 43,000 Nova Scotians each year. Continuing care is my passion and has been the focus of my career for over 28 years. I retired from Nova Scotia Health Authority in September 2023. I am now in my second career focusing on teaching at MSVU, developing and delivering microcredentials and workplace education programs.

I am a licensed social worker in Nova Scotia, a certified health executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders, an Extra Fellow with Healthcare Excellence Canada, a motorcycle enthusiast, and an amateur photographer. I am also mad about dogs and cats.

I have taught part-time at MSVU since 1999 first in the Graduate Adult Education Program (1999-2002) and since 2004 in the Department of Family Studies and Gerontology. I have taught care policies, professional ethics, introduction to gerontology, interpersonal communication, case management and strategies for planned change. I have also been a member of two master’s students’ thesis committees involving a comparative study of Nova Scotia’s Caregiver Benefit and an examination of design standards for adult day programs for people with dementia.


Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award 2023

Teaching Excellence Award Part-time Faculty MSVU 2022

Canadian College of Health Leaders Bluenose Chapter Award for Leadership & Innovation 2019

Research Interests

I have participated as a subject matter expert and policy decision maker on a number of continuing care research projects over the years. My research interests include:

  • Home care and long-term care policy
  • Family/friend caregiving
  • Person centred care
  • First Nations continuing care
  • Leadership
  • Quality of work life

Research Projects

Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) (April 2023 – March 2027). An underrepresented, undervalued workforce: Understanding and supporting quality of work life in long-term care. (CIHR: $2,103,752; Health PEI: $10,000, Nova Scotia Health Authority: $10,000; Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research: $100,000). Nominated Principal Applicant: Keefe, J.; Principal Applicants: Audas, R., Estabrooks, C., Tomblin Murphy, G.; Co-Applicants: MacKenzie, A., McArthur, C., Norman, K., Weeks, L., Wilson, R.; Collaborators: Andrew, M., Boudreau, D., Duff, R., MacDougall, A., Norton, P., O’Keefe, J., Stevens, S., Waddleton, D., Weir, J.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2018-2024). How approaches to care shape the pathways of older adult home care clients. (CIHR request: $1,135,000). Keefe, J. (Principal Applicant). Stevens, S. (Principal Applicant). Co-Is: Donaldson, J., Funk, L., Graves, K., Lobchuk, M., MacDonald, Marilyn, MacDonald, Martha, MacDonald, MJ., Mitchell, L., Warner, G.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2018-2023). Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC) – Phase 3. (CIHR request: $5,795,000). Keefe, J.; Estabrooks, C.A. (NPI), Schalm, C. (Co-PI), Anderson, C., Anderson, R., Berta, W., Bostrom, A.-M., Boudreau, D., Chamberlain, S., Clement, F., Cook, H., Cranley, C., Cummings, G., Dacombe Dewar, L., Davidson, H., Dearing, J., Doupe, M., Easterbrook, A., Forbes, H., Ginsburg, L., Goodarzi, Z., Gruneir, A., Hoben, M., Holroyd-Leduc, J., Keefe, J., Kelly, R., Knopp-Sihota, J., Lanham, H., Lo, T., McBain, K., Meng, J., Nesari, M., Norton, P.G., Poss, J., Reid, C., Sheppard, I., Squires, J., Stevens, S., Sutherland, J., Taylor, D., Teare, G., Trinidad, G., Wagg, A., Weeks, L., Wheler, B., Mann, J., Visockas, A.-M.

Nova Scotia Health Research Fund (April 2021 – June 2022). The unsung heroes: Long term care staff’s quality of work life. ($97,421).  PI: Keefe, J. Co-A’s: Estabrooks, C., Stevens, S. 

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2015-2021). Caring near and far: A multi-province investigation of remote monitoring technologies connecting community-based older adults and their care team. PI: Donelle, L. Co PI: Regan, S. Team Members: Battisini, B., Bauer, Blanchard, P., Borycki, E., Burnett, B., Coleman, S.,  Figueiredo, L., Forbes, D., Ganong, L., Gaudet, A., Hock, J., Isaranuwatchai, W., Kerr, M., Koso, C., Likpatrick, T., Loyola, M., McCluskey, K., McGowan, J., Milak, G., Mueller, C., Peters, P., Ruptash, T., Sangster Gromely, Stevens, S., Sullivan, A., Thornton, A., Warner, G., Whitehead, J., Zecevic, A., Zwarenstein, M. Client Advisory Group: Bork, S., Langdon, N., MacDonald, A., Murray, N., Vanderheyden, R.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2019-2021). Optimizing hospital-to-home transitional care to promote functioning in older persons with dementia in rural communities. PI: Fox, M. Co-Is: Brooks, D.,  Burpee, C., Durocher, E., Elias, B., Fox, M. Hunter, K., Kelly, N. Macdonald, M., MacDonald, M., MacLeod, A., MacLeod, J., McNeil, D., Murray, C. A., Rydall, M., Sidani, S., Skinner, M., Stevens, S., Sutton, W., Wagg, A., Weeks, L.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (May 2016- April 2020). Late Life Issues. Seniors- adding life to years (SALTY). (CIHR Request: $1,397,931; AIHS Partner Funds: $200,000, Alzheimer Society of Canada Partner Funds: $37,500, MSFHR Partner Funds: $200,000, NSHRF Partner Funds: $200,000). PI: Keefe, J.; Co-PI: Estabrooks, C.; Co-Is: Andrew, M., Armstrong, H., Armstrong, P., Aubrecht, K., Berta, W., Bourgeault, I., Braedley, S., Burge, F., Cloutier-Fisher, D., Daly, T., Gruneir, A., Hoben, M., Marshall, E., McGregor, M., Norton, P., Poss, J., Stajduhar, K.; PKU: Cook, H.; KUs: English, P., Grabusic, C., Hillmer, M., Schalm, C., Silvius, J., Stevens, S., Taylor, D., Teare, G.; Clinical Lead: MacDonald, L.; Lead Patient/Family Representative: Fifield, H.; Collabs: Findlay, E., Forbes, F., Janz, T., Kjorven, M., lePair, Y., Lynam, C., Mann, J., Nicol, J., Norman, K., Waugh., J.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2017-2019). Institute of Health Services and Policy Research. Health System Impact Fellowship. What does a person and family centred approach to challenging behaviours in dementia look like in practice at the service delivery level? A partnership to support research informed continuing care policy in Nova Scotia. Supervisors: Keefe, J.; Stevens, S. Fellow: Aubrecht, K.

Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) (November 2018 – November 2019). Informing the development of transitional care in Nova Scotia with multiple health conditions and their caregivers. PI: Weeks, L. Mentor: Macdonald, M. Co-Is: Martin-Misener, R.; Warner, G., Kelly, N. Gibson, R., MacDonald, M. Stevens, S.

Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) (August 2017-August 2018). Development and Innovative Grant: The experiences and perceptions of unpaid caregivers providing care for community-dwelling adults with dementia: A qualitative systematic review. ($15,000). Co-A: Macdonald, M., Keefe, J., Stevens, S.

Dalhousie University Operating Grant (June 2017-May 2018). The experiences and perceptions of unpaid caregivers providing care for community-dwelling adults with a dementia: A systematic review. ($5,000). PA: Macdonald, M.; Co-A’s: Keefe, J., Martin-Misener, R., Weeks, L. Helwig, M.; Collab.: Stevens, S.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2015-2016). Late life issues LOI. Seniors – adding life to years (SALTY) ($45, 465). PI: Keefe, J., Co-PI: Estabrooks, C.; Clinical Lead-McGregor, M.; Patient/family Representative- Fifield, H; Co-Is: Stadjudar, K., Armstrong, P., Armstrong, H., Bourgeault, I., Aubrecht, K., Hoben, M., Sawatzky, R., Berta, W., Moorhouse, P.,  Mallery, L.,  Sims-Gould, J.,  Daly, T., Norton, P.,  Ginsburg, L., Cummings, G.; Knowledge Users- Taylor, D., Cook, H., Stevens, S., Janz, T., Nicol, J., Kjorven, M.

Scholarly Publications

Macdonald, M., Weeks, L.,  Langman, E., Roach, S., MacNeil, M., Caruso, J., Tricco, A., Pham, B., Straus, S., Mishra, S., Isaranuwatchai, W., Cormack, G., Grossman, M., Yakubovich,A., Mojbafan, A., Ignaczak, M., Leid, C. Watt, J., Stevens, S., Khan, T., Curran, J., Moody, E., & Rodrigues, R. (2024). Recent innovations in long-term care coverage and financing: A rapid scoping review. BMJ Open, 14, e077309. Doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2023-077309.

Barber, B., Weeks, L., Steeves-Dorey, L., McVeigh, W., Stevens, S., Moody, E., & Warner, G. (2021). Hospital to home: Supporting the transition from hospital to home for older adults. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 0(0), 1-14. DOI: 10.1177/08445621211044333

Mah, J. C., Stevens, S., J., Keefe, J. M. & Rockwood, K. (2021). Social factors influencing utilization of home care in community-dwelling older adults: a scoping review. BMC Geriatrics, 21, 145.

Keefe, J.M., Funk, L., Knight, L., Lobchuk, M., Macdonald, M., Mitchell, L., Rempel, J., Warner, G., Stevens, S. (2020). Home care clients: a research protocol for studying their pathways. BMC Health Services Research, 20, 535.

Yu, Z., Gallant, A., Cassidy, C. Boulos, L., Macdonald, M. & Stevens, S. (2020). Case management models and continuing Care: A literature review across nations, settings, approaches and assessments. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 1-12. DOI:10.1177/1084822320954394


Stevens, S. (2024). A look at home care clients over time: Insights for case management. Presentation at the Northwood Research Symposium.

Stevens, S. & Keefe, J. (2019). How approaches to care shape the pathways of older home care clients. Presentation at the Canadian Association for Health Services Policy and Research Annual Conference.

Macdonald, M., Weeks, L., Keenan, G., Iduye, S. Luciano, S. & Stevens, S. (2019). The development of continuing care client and caregiver satisfaction surveys [poster presentation]. Presentation at the Canadian Association for Health Services Policy and Research Annual Conference.

Macdonald, M. Yu, Z., Cassidy, C. & Stevens, S. (2019). Case management models and continuing care: A literature review. Presentation at the Canadian Association for Health Services Policy and Research Annual Conference.

Stevens, S., Hamilton, G., Bonner, K. & Baker, P. (2018). There’s no place like home – Meeting the needs of Nova Scotia’s aging population. Presentation at the CAGP-CCSMH Annual Scientific Meeting.

Stevens, S. (2016). Reversing the tide: How the NSHA is using evidence to reduce waitlists for long term care. Presentation at the 45th Scientific and Educational Meetings of the Canadian Association on Gerontology.

Stevens, S. (2016). Reversing the tide: Reducing long term care waitlists in Nova Scotia. Presentation at the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging Our Future is Aging Conference.

Stevens, S. (2012). Personal alert assistance program – Does it prolong stay at home? Presentation at the Canadian Home Care Association Annual Conference.

Stevens, S. & Etter, L. (2010). Working together works – Nova Scotia`s home care on Reserves project. Presentation at the Canadian Home Care Association Annual Conference.

Stevens, S. (2004). Quality improvement in Continuing Care. Presentation at the Canadian Home Care Association Annual Conference.

Stevens, S. (2002). Knowledge management: A critical view. Presentation at the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education Atlantic Region Annual Conference on Organizational Learning.

Stevens, S. (1999). Social work and new technology. Presentation at the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers’ Annual Conference.

Department of Family Studies and Gerontology

Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3M 2J6

Department telephone (902) 457-6321
Department fax (902) 457-6134
Main office: Evaristus Hall, room 331