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Researchers

Cecilia M. Benoit (Principal Investigator)

PhD (Toronto, 1989)
Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria
Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of BC

Cecilia Benoit was born and raised in Newfoundland, with Mi’kmaw and French ancestry. She is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria and Scientist at the Centre for Addictions Research of BC. Her research examines the multiple dimensions of health inequities embedded in laws, policies, programs and research agendas and searches for evidence-based solutions. In addition to research focused on the historically-suppressed occupation of midwifery and the organization of maternity care in Canada and internationally, she has been involved in a variety of projects that employ mixed methodologies to investigate the social determinants of health inequities of marginalized groups, including Aboriginal women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, young people confronting health stigmas linked to obesity and asthma, street-involved youth in transition to adulthood, pregnant women and their families dealing with poverty, substance use, and other challenges, and people involved in the sex industry. Dr. Benoit is currently leading two CIHR-funded projects that adopt an intersectionality lens: “Team Grant on contexts of vulnerabilities, resiliencies and care among people in the sex industry” (2011-2017) and “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act: A structural intervention impacting health equity for sex workers” (2016-2018). 

Chris Atchison

Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University

Chris Atchison completed his Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) and Master of Arts in the Department of Criminology at Simon Fraser University and is currently writing his doctoral dissertation in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His dissertation research critically questions the nature of the gendered power relations that exist between the buyers and sellers of sex within the domain of heterosexual prostitution. He has published and taught extensively in the area of mixed methods research within the social sciences and is a leader in the development of computer-assisted research design and analysis techniques. During the past 10 years, Chris has focused his attention on developing innovative methods of employing computer technology to a wide variety of social justice projects in an effort to help provide a space for the voices of stigmatized, marginalized and disenfranchised groups to be heard within wider social, political and academic circles.

Lauren Casey

Doctoral Student, Social Dimensions of Health, University of Victoria
Research Associate, Centre for Addictions Research of BC

During the past several years, Lauren Casey has worked professionally for several regional, national and international organizations committed to the reduction of health inequalities in Canadian society and, more particularly, among sex work populations. In 2003 she held the appointment of Executive Director, PEERS (Prostitutes Empowerment Education and Resource Society), and she also held the position of Executive Officer, Canadian National Coalition of Experiential Women, a national Canadian consortium committed to the advancement of equality and human rights for sex workers.

She has created, developed and delivered successful government-funded harm reduction programs, and has been the recipient of several awards for her contribution to the betterment of health and well-being of vulnerable populations in Canadian society. She is currently working with a team of researchers on a CIHR Health Ethics Catalyst Grant entitled Sex Industry Health, Safety and Human Rights (2010), which will serve as a catalyst to provide a venue for sex workers to engage with policy makers and researchers and voice their experiences and contribute to new forms of knowledge.

Mikael Jansson

PhD (Western Ontario)
Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of BC
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria

Mikael studied sociology at the University of Alberta and demography at the University of Western Ontario. His current research uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches to understand marginalized populations and low-prestige occupations. His current research focus is on intimate partnerships. He has completed a longitudinal study of street-involved youth to see how their lives, and in particular their health status, change as a result of their street involvement. Mikael is also a co-investigator on three other research projects that follow people over time. One is a panel study of a random sample of young people in Victoria. The other two studies are of three personal service worker occupations (food and beverage servers, hair stylists and sex workers) – one study in Victoria and the other in California. A recent focus of his studies is familial support and he has applied this to an understanding of the transition from youth to adulthood and the support for couples. He welcomes expression of interest from students interested in working with him at CARBC on the data from these data sets. Students can be fully funded from external sources or partially funded by these research programs.

Bill McCarthy

PhD (University of Toronto)
Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, University of California at Davis

Bill's current research involves four topics: examining the context of adolescent sex and its consequences for education, mental health and problem behaviour across the life course; examining homicide patterns in two Canadian and two American cities throughout the 20th century; analyzing the backgrounds and health of service workers from two comparable cities, one in the US and one in Canada; and the study of juvenile crime.

Rachel Phillips

PhD (University of Victoria, 2010)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Addictions Research of BC
Sessional Instructor, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria

Rachel Phillips is a health sociologist with a special interest in stigmatized populations. Her broad research interests include social determinants of physical and mental health, gender, stigma, work, parenting and substance use. She is especially committed to community-based research models that bring a critical sociological lens to revealing the complex relationships between socioeconomic contexts, identities and health. Her doctoral research focused on how stigmas are transmitted to workers who provide health and social services to stigmatized clientele (stigma by association) and she is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow on a project (HerWay Home) to develop a one-stop service model for pregnant women affected by poverty, inadequate housing and substance use. Rachel believes that her research perspective is greatly enriched by her service in the non-profit sector and she currently volunteers as a member of the board of directors with two non-profit agencies in Victoria (PEERS Victoria Resources Society and the Greater Victoria Child and Family Counselling Association).

Dan Reist

MTh (Northwest Baptist, 1979)
Assistant Director (Knowledge Exchange), Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria

Dan leads a team based in Vancouver that focuses on communicating current evidence in a way that supports the evolution of effective policy and practice. With a background in continental philosophy and hermeneutics, Dan is quick to acknowledge that evidence is far more than statistics about patterns of use and harm, and includes attention to the ways we experience and talk about drugs and drug use in our cultures and communities.

Dan has for the past several years contributed to policy dialogues in British Columbia related to substance use and addictive behaviours and has represented BC in many national and international discussions. He is convinced that the substance use field needs to be much broader than traditionally defined and has helped develop BC's multi-systems approach to substance use. He champions the careful use of language to describe substance use and the related risks and problems, and seeks to bridge the ideological divides and professional barriers that have too often undermined effective responses.

Frances M. Shaver

PhD (Universite de Montreal, 1987)
Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University

Since 1990, Frances has participated in three Canadian government-funded research projects focusing on people working in the sex industry (PWSI), two as the principal investigator and one as a co-investigator. The first explored gender differences in the work patterns of street-based sex workers in Montreal and San Francisco, while the second compared the working experiences of sex workers and hospital workers in Montreal and Toronto. In the third and most recent of these studies, Shaver, along with Jacqueline Lewis (Principal Investigator) and Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale (University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada) partnered with several community organizations in Toronto and Montreal (Exotic Dancers’ Association of Canada, Maggie’s, Stella, and Peel Public Health) to conduct a five-year Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada study to examine the impact of public policy on the health and well-being of PWSI in two major Canadian cities. This Sex Trade Advocacy and Research project (STAR) produced two reports for policy makers and a series of information pamphlets for workers in the sex industry. Dr. Shaver acts as a knowledge mobilizer to the general public, as well as a scholar.