(L-R): Dr. Akram Mahani, JSGS Assistant Professor, and Merelda Fiddler-Potter, JSGS Lecturer
(L-R): Dr. Akram Mahani, JSGS Assistant Professor, and Merelda Fiddler-Potter, JSGS Lecturer (photos submitted)

Policy school welcomes new faculty members

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School is pleased to announce the appointments of Dr. Akram Mahani and Merelda Fiddler-Potter, effective July 1, 2022.

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) is pleased to announce the appointments of Dr. Akram Mahani (MHA tenure-track assistant professor, U of R campus) and Merelda Fiddler-Potter (JSGS lecturer, USask campus), effective July 1, 2022. 

“We are very pleased to welcome both Akram and Merelda to the school in these new capacities and have them bring their wealth of academic expertise and diverse experiences to our classrooms,” said Dr. Loleen Berdahl (PhD), JSGS executive director. “I'm positive that they will greatly enhance our academic environment and contribute to the ongoing development of our students and school community."

Dr. Akram Mahani spent the past two years with the Saskatchewan Population Health & Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) as an evaluation coordinator. Mahani (she/her/hers) will contribute greatly to JSGS's online Master of Health Administration program and to the school’s research, supervisory, and program development capacity. Among her many health-related research interests, she is particularly focused on healthy sustainable cities and communities, and primary health care transformation. 

Prior to her time at SPHERU, Mahani worked as a research associate for the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and as a researcher at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa. She was also an assistant professor of health policy, economics and management at the Kerman University of Medical Sciences (Iran), a teaching assistant at the University of Manchester Business School, and a lecturer with the Department of Public Health at the Ahvaz Jondishapour University of Medical Sciences (Iran). Mahani has also held a number of leadership positions at Kerman University of Medical Sciences, such as the director of PhD programs in health policy, deputy director for education and the director of the health policy division at the Institute for Future Studies in Health. She was also the director of the undergraduate program in health management at the Ahvaz Jondishapour University of Medical Sciences. 

Mahani has a PhD in Health Policy and Management from the University of Manchester, where she conducted research on health care priority setting and implementation in Iran’s centralized healthcare system. She also holds an MSc in Health Management from the Iran University of Medical Sciences and a BSc in Hospital Management from Kerman University of Medical Sciences (Iran).  

Throughout her career, she has published a book chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Global Health Politics, and in a number of peer-reviewed journals such as BMC Family Practice, BMC Health Research Policy and System, Health Policy and Planning, Health Promotion International, Critical Public Health, BMC Geriatrics, and Public Health Ethics. She also founded the International Journal of Health Policy and Management in 2013 and was its editor-in-chief from inception until August 2021.

Merelda Fiddler-Potter (she/her/hers), a member of Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, is currently finishing her PhD through the JSGS University of Regina campus.

Awarded the 2020 Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship in Parliamentary Studies and a 2019 SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, her research explores the media’s role in helping Canadians learn the truth of our colonial policies, the impact it has on Indigenous people, and how the media can keep Indigenous issues high on the public agenda.

In addition to her doctoral studies, Fiddler-Potter is a JSGS executive-in-residence. In this capacity, she actively integrates EDI and Indigenous concepts, ideas and strategies into existing and new policy workshops, and co-delivers workshops to public servants and executives. She has also served as a sessional lecturer for both JSGS and the First Nations University of Canada. Prior to joining academia, Fiddler-Potter spent 16 years as a journalist and documentary filmmaker with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation working on both regional and national programs. During this time, a significant portion of her work was with Indigenous and other diverse communities, as well as reporting on government policies and elections.

Fiddler-Potter holds a Master’s of Arts in Canadian Plains Studies and a Bachelor of Journalism and Communications, both from the University of Regina, where she was also the Dallas W. Smythe Chair at the U of R School of Journalism (2017-2018).

As a JSGS lecturer, Fiddler-Potter will focus primarily on teaching courses in Canadian public administration, public policy, and governance while continuing to deliver professional development workshops with Executive Education.