Picture of Dr. Anne Leis

Dr. Anne Leis MSc, PhD Professor Community Health and Epidemiology

HSC E-wing 3252

Research Area(s)

  • Population Health
  • Language, Culture and Health
  • Integrative oncology
  • Cancer patients and their families’ quality of life
  • Health services utilization and self-care
  • Health of francophones living in minority situation
  • Cancer survivorship and chronic disease management
  • Community engagement


Dr. Louis Schulman Cancer Research Chair, Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan (2001-2011)

CCS Research Scientist Award from the National Cancer Institute of Canada (1999-2005) awarded on June 24, 1999. Named the 1999 Dr. Harold E. Johns’ co-winner as the highest ranked candidate for the Canadian Cancer Society Research Scientist award in the behavioural category.

Post-doctoral fellow 1992-94. Louis Schulman Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Department of Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

PhD (Health Psychology), 1992 Department of Psychology, University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg I, France)

MSc (Clinical and Child Psychology), 1982, Department of Psychology, University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg I, France)

Trained as a speech language pathologist and health psychologist, Dr Leis is a full professor and current head in the department of Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests are related to cancer prevention, self-management of chronic diseases and the impact of minority status, culture and language on health more generally.

Dr. Leis co-led the research arm of Healthy Start-Départ Santé, a community-based, intersectoral, bilingual population health intervention designed to enhance physical activity and healthy eating among 3-5 years old children who attend Francophone or Anglophone childcare centres in Saskatchewan and New-Brunswick. Funding for this research came from the Public Health Agency of Canada (2012-2020) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (2015-2018). She is currently co-leading the research side of the Neural Health Project that aims to explore to what extent a more complete approach to the treatment of mental illness can make a difference in the lives of patients, their families and to the financially burdened healthcare system.

In May 2012, she received the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal at a reception given by Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield in Regina. The medal recognizes outstanding volunteer service or exceptional community involvement. She was also named one of the 10 most influential persons among Francophones in Canada for 2017 and 2018 by the Francophone Press. (Palmarès Francopresse des personnalités influentes de la francophonie canadienne).

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

  • Gagnon-Arpin I, Bouchard L, Leis A, Bélanger M. Accès et utilisation des services en langue minoritaire. (chap5 : 193-219).  Monographie sous la direction R. Landry (Ed) sur l'Enquête sur la vitalité des minorités linguistiques (EVMLO). La vie dans une langue officielle minoritaire au Canada. Presses de l’Université Laval, 2013
  • Leis A, Sagar S, Verhoef M, Balneaves L, Seely D, Oneschuk D (chapter 13 pp 239-258) Shifting the Paradigm: From Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to Integrative Oncology. Sutcliffe S and Elwood M (eds) in Cancer Control. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Selected Papers in Refereed Journals

(Note: * Indicates students who completed their work under the supervision of A. Leis)


  • Leis A, Ward S, Vatanparast H, Humbert L, Froehlich-Chow A, Muhajarine N, Engler-Stringer R, Bélanger M. Effectiveness of the Healthy Start-Départ Santé approach on physical activity, healthy eating and fundamental movement skills of preschoolers attending childcare centres: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health 2020: 20, 523. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08621-9
  • Cohen SR.Russell LB, Leis A, Javad Shahidi J, Porterfield P, Kuhl DR, Gadermann AM, Sawatzky R. More comprehensively measuring quality of life in life-threatening illness: the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire - Expanded S. BMC Palliat Care 2019: 18, 92. doi:10.1186/s12904-019-0473-y
  • Atieh Mehdizadeh, Mohsen Nematy, Majid  Khadem-Rezaiyan, Majid Ghayour-Mobarhan, Mohammad Ali Sardar, Anne Leis, Louise Humbert, Mathieu Bélanger, Hassan Vatanparast. A Customized Intervention Program Aiming at Improving Healthy Eating and Physical Activity among Preschool Children: Iran Healthy Start Study Protocol. JMIR Res Protoc 2018;7(12):e11329. doi:10.2196/11329
  • Roberge D, Brown PD, Whitton A, O'Callaghan C, Leis A, Greenspoon J, Li Smith G, Hu JJ, Nichol A, Winch C, Chan MD. The Future Is Now—Prospective Study of Radiosurgery for More Than 4 Brain Metastases to Start in 2018! Front. Oncol., 13 September 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2018.00380
  • Ward S, Froehlich Chow A, Humbert L, Belanger M, Muhajarine N, Vatanparast H, Leis A. Promoting physical activity, healthy eating and gross motor skills development among preschoolers attending childcare centers: Process evaluation of the Healthy Start-Départ Santé intervention using the RE-AIM framework. Evaluation and Program Planning 2018 (June); 68:90-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2018.02.005
  • Ward S, Belanger M, Donovan D, Vatanparast H, Engler-Stringer R, Leis A, Carrier N. Lunch is ready but not healthy: An analysis of lunches served in childcare centres in two Canadian provinces. Can J Public Health 2017;108 (4):e342–e347. doi: 10.17269/CJPH.108.5688
  • Ward S, Belanger M, Donovan D, Vatanparast H, Muhajarine N, Engler Stringer R, Leis A, Humbert L, Carrier N. Association between childcare educators’ practices and preschoolers’ physical activity and dietary intake: a cross-sectional analysis. BMJ Open 2017;7:e013657. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013657
  • Ward S, Bélanger M, Donovan D, Boudreau J, Vatanparast H, Muhajarine N, Leis A, Humbert L, Carrier N. “Monkey see, monkey do”: Peers' behaviors predict preschoolers' physical activity and dietary intake in childcare centers. Preventive Medicine 2017 Volume 97, April, Pages 33-39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.01.001
  • *Froehlich Chow A, Leis A, Humbert L, Muhajarine N, Engler-Stringer R. Healthy Start-Départ Santé: a pilot study of a multilevel intervention to increase physical activity, fundamental movement skills and healthy eating in rural childcare centres. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2016; 107 (3): e312-18.
  • *Ahmed S, Leis A, Kanthan S, Fields A, Zaidi A, Abbas T, Le D, Reeder B, Pahwa P. Regional lymph nodes status and ratio of metastatic to examined lymph nodes correlate with survival in stage IV colorectal cancer. Annals of Surgical Oncology 2016 Jul; 23(7):2287-94
  • *Ahmed S, Leis A, Kanthan S, Fields A, Reeder B, Iqbal N, Haider K, Le D, Pahwa P. Surgical management of the primary tumour in stage IV colorectal cancer: a confirmatory retrospective cohort study. Cancer 2016; 7(7): 837-845.
  • Bélanger  M, Humbert  L, Vatanparast H, Ward  S, Muhajarine  N, Froehlich Chow  A, Engler-Stringer  R, Donovan  D, Carrier  N, Leis  A. A multilevel intervention to increase physical activity and improve healthy eating and physical literacy among young children (ages 3-5) attending early childcare centres: the Healthy Start-Départ Santé, cluster randomised controlled trial study protocol. BMC Public Health.2016, 16:313. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-2973-5          URL: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/16/313
  • *Alimezelli A, Leis A, Denis W, Karunanayake C.. Lost in Policy Translation: Canadian Minority Francophone Older Adults and Health Disparities. Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politiques, 2015 (Nov):S44-S52. doi:10.3138/cpp.2014-073.
  • *Ahmed S, Fields A, Pahwa P, Chandra-Kanthan S, Zaidi A, Le D, Haider K, Reeder B, Leis A. Surgical Resection of Primary Tumor in Asymptomatic or Minimally Symptomatic Patients With Stage IV Colorectal Cancer: A Canadian Province Experience. Clinical Colorectal Cancer Vol. 14 (4): e41-e47, Dec 2015. Available online 6 June 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2015.05.008.
  • *Ahmed S, Pahwa P, Fields A, Chandra-Kanthan S, Iqbal N, Zaidi A, Reeder B, Plaza F, Zhu T, Leis A. Predictive Factors of the Use of Systemic Therapy in Stage IV Colorectal Cancer: Who Gets Chemotherapy? Oncology. 2015 Jan; 88:289–297.
  • Bouchard L, Leis A, Lorenzo P. Les programmes locaux et régionaux de santé : des artisans du changement. Editorial, Introduction  IUHPE – Global Health Promotion 2014; Vol. 21, Supp. 1:3-4; DOI: 10.1177/1757975913517854 http://ghp.sagepub.com
  • *Ahmed S, Leis A, Fields A, Chandra-Kanthan S, Haider K, Alvi R, Reeder B, Pahwa P. Survival impact of surgical resection of primary tumor in patients with stage IV colorectal cancer: results from a large population-based cohort study. Cancer. 2014 Mar 1;120(5):683-91. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28464. Epub 2013 Nov 12.
  • Leis A, Bouchard L. Editorial. La santé des populations de langue officielle en situation minoritaire-Supplément 1- Canadian Journal of Public Health 2013. Vol.104 (6): S3-S4. http://journal.cpha.ca/index.php/cjph/issue/view/303
  • * Puchala C, Leis A, Lim H, Tempier R. Official language minority communities in Canada: Is linguistic minority status a determinant of mental health? Vol. 104, No 6 (2013): Supplément 1: La santé des populations de langue officielle en situation minoritaire. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2013: S5-S11.
  • Lacaze-Masmonteil T, Leis A, Lauriol E, Normandeau J, Moreau D, Bouchard L, Vaillancourt C.. Impact du contexte linguistique et culturel minoritaire sur le vécu de la grossesse. Canadian Journal of Public Health -Vol. 104, No 6 - Supplément 1: La santé des populations de langue officielle en situation minoritaire. 2013: S65-S70
  • *Alimezelli Tote H, Leis A, Karunanayake Chandima, Denis Wilfrid. Determinants of Self-rated Health of Francophone Seniors in Minority Situation in Canada. Linguistic Minorities and Society-Minorités linguistiques et société 2013; n° 3 : 144-170. DOI: 10.7202/1023804arURI: http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/1023804ar

 Selected Papers in Non-Refereed Journals

  • Bernatchez MS, Collin J, Gagnon P, Hamel M, Hervouet S, Leis A, Savard J. La gestion des symptômes en soins palliatifs au-delà de la médication. Les Cahiers francophones de soins palliatifs, Maison Michel-Sarrazin, 2015 (Dec); 15(2): 33-51.
  • *Froehlich Chow A, Leis A, Humbert L, Engler-Stringer R, Muhajarine N. Supporting Healthy Eating Among Rural Early Years Children: A Pulse Crop Pilot Intervention Study. Agromedicine. 2015 Aug 3;20(3):386-389.