Member Profile

Sharon Batt

Photo: Jenine Panagiotakos, Blue Vine 2014

Sharon Batt is a writer and women's health activist currently living in Halifax. In the 1970s, she was one of the editors of the feminist magazine Branching Out and was a vice-president for three years of the Canadian Periodical Publishers' Association (now Magazines Canada).

Following a diagnosis of breast cancer in 1988, she achieved prominence for her work focusing on breast cancer. Her CBC radio radio documentary for Ideas, titled The Cancer Personality, won the 1991 Major Armstrong Award for excellence in broadcasting. In 1991 she co-founded the advocacy group Breast Cancer Action Montreal to provide a policy voice for women with breast cancer and to promote research efforts on cancer prevention. Her book Patient No More: the Politics of Breast Cancer (gynergy press), published in 1994, won the 1995 Laura Jamieson Award for the best feminist book published in Canada and was a 1995 QSPELL finalist. A feminist and social justice critique, the book highlights the (then) invisibility of women with breast cancer in society and documents the early breast cancer movement in Canada and internationally. Her work in breast cancer politics led her to broader activism in the women's health movement, preventive health, and pharmaceutical policy. 

Since 1998, she has been on the steering committee of Women and Health Protection, a coalition of community groups, journalists, and activists concerned about the safety of pharmaceutical drugs. She contributed three chapters (one co-authored with Abby Lippman) to the book The Push to Prescribe: Women and Canadian Drug Policy published in 2010 (Women's Press) and is currently on the advisory board of Breast Cancer Action Montreal..  

In 1999 Sharon was awarded a two-year appointment to the Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax and from 2001 to 2003 she held the Elizabeth May Chair in Women's Health and the Environment at Dalhousie University. She subsequently became a fellow in the CIHR training program in ethics and health policy at Dalhousie University, conducting research on the policy implications of patient advocacy groups and funding from the pharmaceutical industry. UBC Press published her latest book, Health Advocacy Inc.: How Pharmaceutical Funding Changed the Breast Cancer Movement, in June 2017.

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Health Advocacy Inc.: How Pharmaceutical Funding Changed the Breast Cancer Movement. UBC Press, 2017
The Push to Prescribe: Women and Canadian Drug Policy, Anne Rochon Ford and Diane Saibil (eds). Women's Press, 2010
Patient No More: The Politics of Breast Cancer. Charlottetown, PEI: Gynergy Books, 1994 / UK: Scarlett Press, 1994 / AUS-NZ: Spinifex, 1996.
Á bout de patience: les enjeux de la lutte au cancer du sein. French translation. Montreal: Rémue-menage, 1998.


Laura Jamieson Award - Best Feminist Book Published in Canada in 1994 for Patient No More, 1995.
Finalist, QSPELL - Best Non-Fiction Book in English by a Quebec Writer for Patient No More, 1995.
Major Armstrong Award for excellence in Broadcasting for "The Cancer Personality", 1991.
National Media Awards Competition fo Excellence in Health Reporting for "The Cancer Personality", 1991.
2012 Faculty of Graduate Studies Doctoral Thesis Award, Dalhousie University for From Grass Roots to Pharma Partnerships: Breast Cancer Advocacy in Canada, 2012
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