I earned a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Alberta (2014), specialising in narrative inquiry and ethnographic research. For most of my career, I have been advocating for community-based approaches that are practical, relevant, and geared towards social justice.
In 2002, I completed a MSc in public health, after a period of intensive fieldwork in Edmonton's inner city, focusing on how socio-cultural factors affect adherence to tuberculosis treatment among homeless people [See THESIS]. During this period, I worked for Our Voice, a street newspaper written and sold by people experiencing poverty and marginalisation, providing them with opportunities for both income and self-expression.
In 2006, I completed a major project for Panos Canada (now defunct) comparing and contrasting the community response to HIV/AIDS in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Vancouver, Canada. AIDS in Two Cities pioneered an innovative bifocal approach of: A) Using “cities” as the analytical lens for looking at programmatic and policy responses to HIV/AIDS; and B) Using a commonalities approach to challenge the paternalistic assumptions that have formed the basis for the north-south development model [See A2C].
I am the past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Boyle McCauley Health Centre, which serves vulnerable people in Edmonton’s inner city as well as a former member of the Mayor's Task Force to Eliminate Poverty in Edmonton.