McMaster University

McMaster University

Stacey Ritz,

PhD, MEd

Associate Professor
Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Secondary Appointment: Education Services

Assistant Dean, BHSc Program

3511 Michael G DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery
Hamilton, Ontario
905-525-9140 ext 22815

Dr Ritz

Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

  • PhD, Molecular Immunology, Virology & Inflammation Program, McMaster University, 2003
  • MEd, Curriculum Studies, University of Western Ontario, 2015


Research Focus

My current scholarship is focussed in 2 principal areas:

  • Complexities of addressing sex/gender in biomedical research.  In the last 40 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of the term ‘gender’ in the biomedical literature, though a closer analysis shows that ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are typically used as synonyms in this domain.  In contrast, ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are used quite differently by scholars in feminist philosophy.  At the same time, those with expertise in theoretical aspects of sex/gender often do not have first-hand experience with biomedical science and laboratory research, and thus may not apprehend the conceptual and practical issues that arise when trying to address sex/gender issues in these disciplines.  My work on this problem is in conceptualizing sex and gender in ways that draw on the nuanced and sophisticated theorizing of feminist scholars in sex/gender, while remaining legible in the discourses of biomedical science and accounting for the material practices in laboratory research.  Particularly with regard to in vitro work with cells and in vivo work in experimental animal models, translating the complexity of constructs of sex/gender into experimental work is challenging and fraught with complication.  I attempt to examine the impacts of literally ‘inserting’ sex/gender into experimental work, and develop tools and frameworks to assist experimental researchers in thinking carefully about sex/gender, designing experiments that account for sex/gender without falling into conceptual traps like essentialism and determinism, and critical interpretation of data derived from experiments that account for sex/gender.
  • Critical literacy and reflexivity in medical and health education.  Practices of ‘reflection’ have become prominent in many fields of health education, particularly in the health professions.   In addition, many medical schools have adopted the mantle of ‘social accountability’ in which they commit to addressing the priority concerns of the communities they serve.  For the last number of years, I have pursued research in scholarship in these areas, developing critical perspectives on medical education and the social accountability movement, and studying curricular approaches that can enhance student capacity for critical literacy, critical thinking, reflection, and reflexivity.  In these realms, my work is informed by principles of critical pedagogy and critical discourse analysis.

Academic Interests

As Assistant Dean of the BHSc (Hons) Program, I am responsible for the educational and administrative aspects of the Program.  In addition, I teach HTHSCI 2T03 – Sex, Gender, & Health, participate in teaching in the Praxis Pathways Curriculum, and collaborate with the Gender Studies & Feminist Research MA Program.

Selected Publications

Ritz SA. (2017)  Complexities of addressing sex in in vitro cell culture research.  Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42(2):307-327.

Ritz SA, Beatty K, Ellaway RH.  (2014)  Accounting for social accountability: Developing critiques of social accountability within medical education.  Education for Health 27(2):152-157.

Ritz SA, Antle D, Côté J, Deroy K, Fraleigh N, Messing K, Parent L, St-Pierre J, Vaillancourt C, Mergler D.  (2014)  First steps for integrating sex and gender considerations into basic experimental biomedical research.  The FASEB Journal 28(1):4-13.

Cavanagh A, Vanstone M, Ritz SA. (2019)  Problems of problem-based learning:  Towards transformative critical pedagogy in medical education.  Perspectives on Medical Education 8(1):38-42.

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