As many as 1.4 million Canadians face substance abuse disorders in any given year. Unfortunately, despite increasing funding investments, research shows that the majority of these individuals are unable or unwilling to access substance use services (such as harm reduction, treatment, counseling, social supports, etc.). This is especially true for people whose substance misuse is compounded by homelessness, poverty, and the stigma associated with using illicit drugs. My overall aims are to increase access and uptake into substance use services by 1) improving understanding of why unmet needs for services persist amongst people who are unstably housed, and 2) developing evidence-informed strategies to mitigate these unmet needs.
I have been conducting research in partnership with Street Works Edmonton, HIV Edmonton, Boyle McCauley Health Centre, Boyle Street Community Services, and the Edmonton Homelessness Commission. Working with these organizations has greatly enhanced my own learning, and helped ensure that my findings will directly influence efforts to improve health and social outcomes for people living with substance use disorders.
What it means to be a Killam Laureate
It is a true honor to be recognized as a Killam Scholar and I am proud to join a national community of respected scientists and researchers. I believe this prestigious designation will help open doors for me as I complete my studies and seek out new opportunities.
I am grateful for the generous support of awards like the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship and the Dorothy J. Killam Graduate Prize, because they have enable me to focus on my doctoral studies and dedicate the time required to develop mutually-beneficial research partnerships with a variety of local, provincial and national organizations.
University of Alberta
A past recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Frederick Banting and Charles Canada Graduate Scholarship, and the Alberta Innovates: Health Solutions Health Research Studentship I chose to attend the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta because I was attracted to its reputation for excellence and its focus on interdisciplinary, community-engaged research and scholarship. I also appreciated the opportunity to work with my supervisor Dr. Cameron Wild who has inspired me to develop a rigorous and engaged program of research. There has not been a significant amount of illicit substance use research conducted in Alberta or on the Prairies, and I am excited to contribute to the development of new policy and practice-relevant knowledge in this part of the country.