• Portrait of Rae Spiwak.
  • Assistant professor
    and research scientist

    Max Rady College of Medicine
    GF431 820 Sherbrook Street
    University of Manitoba
    Winnipeg, MB, R3A 1R9


Teaching philosophy

Dr. Spiwak has had the privilege of working with a diverse group of mentors from both the government and academic sector, including those from the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia and the departments of community health sciences, psychiatry, and surgery at the University of Manitoba. These mentors and related experiences have shaped Dr. Spiwak’s teaching philosophy.

Dr. Spiwak has conducted research education sessions for students and trainees for undergraduate, graduate and medical students and surgical residents at the University of Manitoba, as well as clinicians in a wide variety of specialties at the Fraser Health Authority.

Dr. Spiwak’s student training philosophy is based on two areas: engagement and empowerment, and teamwork and inclusion.

Through providing research education to clinicians at Fraser Health, Dr. Spiwak learned about the importance of demystifying complex research topics, encouraging teamwork, and empowering clinicians to have the confidence to conduct clinically driven research.

Dr. Spiwak learned if she was able to provide education in an exciting way along with needed support, clinicians became engaged and invested in research.

Many of these individuals began as introductory students, and soon became research mentors, engaging other clinicians in their units to form research teams, ultimately receiving national research funding.

It is this same level of excitement and support that Dr. Spiwak brings to teaching and mentorship, with the goal of engaging students so they not only are working on a research project, but that they feel a sense of ownership and accomplishment.

In addition , teamwork and inclusion are the other integral components of Dr. Spiwak’s student training philosophy. Bringing together multidisciplinary teams of mentors and students through inclusion on publications and participation in diverse research labs, allows the opportunity for learning and exposure to clinical and research specialties.

Research achievements

Over the last decade, my research interests have been focused on understanding risk factors and mental and physical health consequences of trauma, injury, and disease.

I have dedicated my research program to developing innovative ways that administrative data can be used to help understand and provide evidence for effective health promotion and intervention.

I have used administrative data to help understand complex health areas including social determinants of health and development of poor health and injury, suicide, bereavement, traumatic physical injury, burn-related injury, violence, and sex and gender-based


  • Administrative data
  • Health outcomes of traumatic injury
  • Mental disorders
  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Sex and gender
  • Social determinants of health
  • Trauma

Research groups

Member, Traumatic Injury Research Group
Member, Manitoba Population Mental Health Research Group

Research affiliations

Collaborator, Department of Psychiatry


Dr. Rae Spiwak is an epidemiologist, assistant professor and research scientist in the department of surgery at the University of Manitoba.

Following graduation with a master of science from the University of Manitoba, Dr. Spiwak began her research career in epidemiology in 2005, where she was the epidemiologist in the Health Research Intelligence Unit for the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia.

In this role, Dr. Spiwak led research education and grant writing sessions for clinicians and designed research methodologies for grant applications and research studies across health disciplines in order to foster clinician involvement in research and uptake of evidence at the Health Authority level.

Dr. Spiwak returned to Manitoba in 2009, and worked in the department of psychiatry as a research associate while completing a PhD in the department of community health sciences.

Over the course of her PhD, Dr. Spiwak published 20 manuscripts in the area of psychiatric epidemiology using large national and population-level administrative databases.

Dr. Spiwak continues to be a collaborator in the department of psychiatry.

Throughout her doctoral training, Dr. Spiwak collaborated with the Burns and Trauma Research Group in the department of surgery and published numerous manuscripts in the area of surgery and burn injury.

Through her collaborations between psychiatry and surgery, Dr. Spiwak gained an understanding of the significant mental and physical health implications of traumatic injury. As such, Dr. Spiwak’s area of research aims to understand the mental and physical health consequences of traumatic injury, as well as the important role social determinants have on risk for these injuries.

Dr. Spiwak has 32 peer reviewed publications, 14 of which are first authored (citations=694, h-index=13).

Dr. Spiwak is recognized as a CIHR Sex and Gender Champion through her research and completion of the competitive CIHR Summer Institute in Gender and Health, and continues to provide this expertise on various research projects.

Dr. Spiwak has completed training with the Cochrane Collaboration on Systematic Reviews, Advanced Statistical Modelling Techniques with SPSS, and Survey and Questionnaire Design Training with Statistics Canada.

Dr. Spiwak is also a member of the Traumatic Injury Research Group, and the Manitoba Population Mental Health Research Group at the University of Manitoba.

Since joining the department of surgery in 2020, Dr. Spiwak has been the recipient of two CIHR Catalyst Grants to investigate alcohol-related traumatic injury (nominated principal applicant/principal applicant), $100,000 and $99,973), a CIHR Fall Project Grant (co-applicant, $130,000), a CIHR Operating Grant (co-applicant, $10,000,000), a Manitoba Medical Service Foundation Grant (co-applicant, $17,000) and a University of Manitoba Research Grants Program Award (co-applicant $10,000).

Dr. Spiwak is also the nominated principal applicant on a CIHR 2020 Fall Project grant to examine social determinants of pediatric trauma ($60,000).

Dr. Spiwak has supervised and mentored numerous students including undergraduates and residents, many of which have gone on to win awards for their work.

Dr. Spiwak co-created and teaches SURG 7012 Major Course in Surgical Problems: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods as part of the Master of Surgery program.


  • Doctor of philosophy (PhD) community health sciences, University of Manitoba (2017)
  • Master of science (MSc) department of family social sciences, University of Manitoba (2004)
  • Bachelor of arts (advanced) (BA (Adv)) psychology, University of Manitoba (2000)


  • Manitoba Medical Services Foundation Excellence in Research by a PhD Student (2017)
  • CIHR Honourable Mention at the Canada Student Research Forum (2017)
  • Manitoba Medical Services Foundation Award for Excellence at Manitoba Student Research Forum (2017)
  • Manitoba Health Research Council (Research Manitoba) Graduate Studentship Award (2014-16)
  • Travel Award from Graduate Studies (International Summit on Suicide Research Conference) (2015)
  • Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba Top-up Award (2010)
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Manitoba, Top Up Award (2010)
  • Selected to attend CIHR Summer Institute in Gender and Health Training Program (2010)
  • Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba Top-up Award (2009)
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Manitoba, Top Up Award (2009)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Doctoral Scholarship (2009-2012)
  • Western Regional Training Centre for Health Services Research Award Winner (2009-10)

Contact us

Max Rady College of Medicine
AE101-820 Sherbrook Street
University of Manitoba (Bannatyne campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3A 1R9 Canada