Laura Nimmon, PhD, MA, BA

Profile portrait of Laura Nimmon.

Associate Professor

phone: 604–822–8573


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and Scientist at the Centre for Health Education Scholarship, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia.

There is an illusion of independence in health professions education. However, patients and healthcare providers are each connected to a complex (sometimes overlapping) set of social networks of family, friends, colleagues, and systems that support and shape the delivery and experience of healthcare. My primary research interest is in making the influence of social connections visible within the educational and clinical practices of the health professions.

My research ultimately expands conceptualizations of technical expertise to encompass relational expertise. This recharacterization of expertise enables health practitioners to learn more effectively and respond more sensitively when interacting with patients and colleagues. My work also widens the implicit drive towards the goal of independent practitioners. Instead, the goal may be individuals deeply embedded in social structures who have the skills to take advantage of their interdependence.

My most meaningful professional achievement is being an award-winning mentor. I am a recipient of the UBC Faculty of Medicine Award for Excellence in Mentoring Early Career Faculty (2021). I am also the recipient of the CAME-ACEM Champion Award for advocacy, role modeling and mentorship of early career researchers (2020).

Outside of work, I treasure time with my family and enjoy art, yoga, literature, coffee with friends, and walking my dog Smiles in nature.


I bring an interdisciplinary perspective to the broad field of health professional education research that is shaped by my training in the fields of medicine, sociology, anthropology, and sociolinguistics. My approach emphasizes how social interactions, power relations, cognition, language, and identity are always co-produced and bound to context.

In my current program of research I use qualitative social network analysis and critical theory to explore three inter-related questions:

  1. How do formal (instructors, supervisors) and informal (peers, friends, family) social networks influence learning and well-being across the continuum of health professions education and practice?
  2. How does relational coordination shape teamwork in palliative and chronic disease care settings?
  3. How do practitioner and patient social networks interface to shape the meaning and experience of healthcare?

I supervise health professions educators and graduate students on research that illuminates the social aspects of learning. This body of research spans topics such as psychological safety; faculty development; empathy retention; disability and inclusion; resiliency; IMG selection; and remote simulation.


I have a teaching background in adult education and I have taught various linguistic and cultural groups around the world. I currently teach graduate level sessions on qualitative research as a method of inquiry in RHSC 500 and CHES/MHPE Unit 1 and 7.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Opportunities

I welcome new MSc and PhD students, please get in touch if you have similar research interests.


  • Associate Editor, Perspectives on Medical Education
  • Review Board Member, Teaching and Learning in Medicine
  • Consultant, Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research
  • Member, Canadian Association for Medical Education

Select Publications

*link to articles provided when possible*

Please see my publications via my Google Scholar page.