Susan Baxter

Critic, curmudgeon, writer, researcher and teacher, Susan Baxter, PhD, has spent years attempting to communicate just how complex, multifaceted and fascinating health science can be. But we live in an era where oversimplification is rife, from pop culture to pop-ups. With some things this isn’t important; after all, one needn’t understand precisely what coding goes into self-driving cars to form an opinion on them. Health is different. It is not enough to be told our glucose levels should conform to some magical "ideal" number—one must also factor in age, health and at least some rudimentary understanding of the cellular uptake of insulin within the body.

As a medical journalist in the 1990s, Susan wrote about everything from heart transplants to the healing power of art. She met with patients, doctors, nurses, social workers and policy wonks, and attended hundreds of medical meetings and conferences. She drew on those experiences in her doctoral research, Medicine, Metaphors and Metaphysics, a blend of pharmacology, sociology/anthropology, clinical medicine, health economics and history in an analysis of pharmaceutical policy. She has also written on immunology (Immune Power) and endocrinology (The Estrogen Errors) among other topics. Currently she is writing a book on fatigue.

Susan also teaches part time at SFU’s Faculty of Health Science. Some of her crankier reflections on everything from AI-assisted surgery to the reductionism of clinical guidelines can be found on her blog at

Previously taught:

  • Mysteries in Medicine: Understanding the Science   LIB189
  • How to be an Effective Health Advocate for Yourself and Others (55+)   SCFC571
  • Medical Advancements in the Modern Age: The Anatomy of Disease, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics (55+)   SCFC500
  • Medical Myths (55+)   SCFC657
  • Medical Myths: If Health Is the Answer, What Was the Question?
  • Science Could Be Hazardous to Your Health (55+)  PLUS372

Area(s) of instruction: