May 27, 1948

(Stratford, Ontario)


MD, University of Ottawa (1975)

Awards & Honours:

2023: Hattie Alexander Lecture, Columbia University, NYC

2023: Appointed Professor Emerita Dalhousie University

See All Awards
Noni McDonald

Forged inspiring new paths in preventing and treating paediatric infectious disease

Noni MacDonald sketck portrait

A trailblazer in paediatric infectious disease and pain mitigation

A renowned researcher, paediatrician, infectious disease specialist and vaccinologist, Noni MacDonald has had a distinguished career of “firsts.” Notably, Dr. MacDonald became Canada’s first female Dean of Medicine when she attained the position at Dalhousie Medical School. She was also the country’s first paediatrician to be certified in paediatric infectious diseases and the founding editor of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health. As a strong supporter of global health, Dr. MacDonald made significant advances working with cystic fibrosis patients and on the frontlines of infectious diseases like HIV. She has been a consultant and advisor to the World Health Organization for more than 20 years, most recently with the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE). Her research focus on vaccines involves vaccine safety, hesitancy and acceptance, pain mitigation and policy issues. Relatedly, she continues to be a key member of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV), which she co-founded in 2004. Her research focus on vaccines saw her consulted extensively during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to her scientific contributions, Dr. MacDonald has inspired countless other health care workers and researchers to address maternal and child health problems.

Key Facts

Recognized for her incredible devotion to improving health care for children in Canada and internationally for more than 40 years

A fervent activist for vaccine safety, hesitancy, and pain mitigation, Dr. MacDonald has authored more than 500 scholarly publications aimed at furthering disease prevention, immunization, and public health

By 2023 more than 140 research projects launched and more than 1,400 trainees mentored through MicroResearch, an organization co-founded by Dr. MacDonald in 2008

Dr. MacDonald’s research has been cited more than 12,000 times

Recognized for her incredible devotion to improving health care for children in Canada and internationally for more than 40 years

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

It may seem surprising that it took until 1999 for a woman to be appointed Dean of a Faculty of Medicine in Canada; it is less surprising to see why that woman was Dr. Noni MacDonald. Dr. MacDonald continues to address complex community and child health issues such as vaccine hesitancy with novel research approaches. Her tireless dedication to developing sustainable, innovative health systems has led to better clinical practices that benefit patients and communities in Canada and around the world.

A pic of Dr. MacDonald circa 2020


  • Dr. MacDonald included in the world leading data analytics company Clarivate’s annual list of Highly Cited Researchers.

    Only 218 Canadian scientists were included on this list.

  • Appointed to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) advisory panel on Vaccine Safety

    Dr. MacDonald is helping to develop PAHO’s Vaccine Agenda 2030

  • Profiled in The Lancet (396:525) as an inspirational leader in Canadian and global health

  • A pic of Dr. MacDonald receiving the Order of Nova Scotia

    Received the Orders of Nova Scotia and of Canada, as well as an award for leadership in global health from the faculty of medicine at the University of Dalhousie.

  • MicroResearch NS logo

    Noni MacDonald launched MicroResearch Nova Scotia using skills learned from the earlier program developed in Africa

    Patient Care, Infectious Disease, Allergy & Immunity, Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy

    The program developed and implemented sensitive, research-based health measures particularly for vulnerable and underserved Nova Scotian communities, and has since expanded to Newfoundland and Ontario.

  • MicroResearch Logo

    Noni MacDonald co-founded MicroResearch (MR), an organization that democratizes and decolonizes health research by placing the drivers of change in the hands of locals

    Global Health

    Through MR, local health care workers and community experts identify local health care problems, are trained to develop a research proposal, conduct this research, and translate their findings into action.

  • picture of the ccfv icon

    Co-founded the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology (CCfV)

    Infectious Disease, Allergy & Immunity

  • A picture of Dr. MacDonald finishing her term as Dean

    The first woman in Canada to become Dean of a Faculty of Medicine

    Women in Medicine

    After an 18-year career with the University of Ottawa, Dr. MacDonald moved to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia to serve as the school’s—and the country’s—first female Dean of Medicine.

  • pic of Journal Cover

    Founded Paediatrics & Child Health - a journal of the Canadian Paediatric Society

    Dr. MacDonald served as this pioneering journal’s Editor-in-Chief for 20 years.

  • Dr. MacDonald became the country’s first paediatrician to be certified in paediatric infectious diseases by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

    Infectious Disease, Allergy & Immunity

  • Graduated medical school, University of Ottawa

    Dr. MacDonald received the University Medal for achieving the highest standing among graduating medical students.


She has contributed enormously to our knowledge and understanding of infection, immunization, and global health for children.