University of Calgary Qatar

Tam Truong Donnelly, R.N., BscN., MscN. Ph.D.

University of Calgary

Academic qualifications  

Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies      University of British Columbia, Canada, 2004
Master Degree in Nursing University of British Columbia, Canada, 1998
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Dalhousie University. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1985
Medical Student (completed 4th year) Hanoi Medical University Vietnam, 1979

Scholarly expertise

Multicultural and immigrant health care
Women’s health care
Infectious diseases
Mental health care
Community health, health promotion and disease prevention
Cardiovascular Surgery Critical Nursing Care.

Ph.D. dissertation topic

2004 - Vietnamese women living in Canada: Contextual factors affecting Vietnamese women’s breast cancer and cervical cancer screening practices.


By 2001, the estimated number of Vietnamese living in Canada was 151,410, approximately half of them women. Data from the U.S. and Australia show that breast cancer and cervical cancer are major contributors to cancer morbidity and mortality among Vietnamese women, especially with cervical cancer due to higher incidence rates.  Studies also suggest that Vietnamese women are at risk due to their low participation rate in these cancer preventative screening programs. 

The aims of this qualitative research were to explore

  1. how Vietnamese women participate in breast cancer and cervical screening, what leads Vietnamese women to seek health care and from whom they seek help, and the social support networks that they draw upon to foster their health care practices,
  2. whether Vietnamese women find the current preventative cancer services suitable and accessible to them, and
  3. how Vietnamese women’s breast cancer and cervical cancer screening practices are influenced by social, cultural, political, historical, and economic factors which are shaped by the conceptualisation of race, gender, and class.

In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 Vietnamese Canadian women and 6 health care providers. The study reveals the following major factors determining how Vietnamese women participate in breast cancer and cervical cancer screening programs: cultural conceptualisations of health and illness, social values and beliefs about the woman’s body and social relationships; gendered roles and expectations; diminished social support networks; low socioeconomic status; and inaccessibility of health care services. Suggestions are made which might help with the promotion of breast cancer and cervical cancer screening among Vietnamese immigrant women.

At the practical level, I propose

  1. that collaborative working relationships with physicians and improved physician-patients relationships are essential for successful promotional strategies for Vietnamese women, and
  2. that a health education strategy must incorporate Vietnamese women's different ways of knowing.

At the institutional level, increasing accessibility to these cancer preventive programs demands that health care policy makers increase institutional funding to support programs that provide services to immigrant women.

At the theoretical level, I propose that health care professionals should

  1. recognise that women of different ethno-cultural background are active participants of health care,
  2. put less emphasis on rationality and more on recognising that women's health care decision making is a dynamic process that varies under specific circumstances, and
  3. recognise that individual's health care behaviour is influenced not only by their cultural knowledge and values, but also by their socially constructed position, race, gender and class.

PhD. dissertation committee

  • Dr. Joan Anderson – Co-Supervisor. School of Nursing. University of British Columbia.
  • Dr. William McKellin – Co-Supervisor. Department of Anthropology. University of British Columbia.
  • Dr. Gregory Hislop – Cancer Control, British Columbia Cancer Agency.
  • Dr. Bonnie Long – Department of Counselling Psychology. University of British Columbia.
  • Dr. Nancy Waxler-Morrison – Department of Sociology and Anthropology. University of British Columbia.  

Master's major paper committee and topic

1998  -  Master’s Major Paper:   Perspectives on the Health of Asian Immigrants: Minimizing Inequality and Improving Access to Health Care Services in British Columbia. (Unpublished)

  • Dr. Joan Anderson - Professor, Faculty Supervisor.  University of British Columbia
  • Judy Lynam, MSN  -  Associate Professor.  University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Sonia Acorn – Professor.  University of British Columbia.

Post graduate study

2005 CHSRF/CIHR Research 
Internship Program
Multiple Interventions for Community Health Nursing. University of Ottawa. Director: Dr. Nancy Edwards. 
1993 Front – Line Leadership Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1992 Leadership Development    Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1988 Critical Care in Nursing Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia.


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