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Community involvement

Dr. Elaine Gallagher with seniors

Dr. Elaine Gallagher (Nursing) is internationally recognized for her research on aging.

Addressing priorities for a healthy society

We bring learning to life through community research partnerships that make a difference. We learn together about the challenges that people confront in today’s world and the successes they achieve as they apply their own local knowledge and ingenuity to those challenges.

Research informs our educational programs. Students benefit from our community-based research projects through practicum and co-op work experiences and through academic programs that provide students with opportunities to contribute to the health of society. Our students and faculty work with people across the lifespan, through government programs, health authorities, and community social services.

Students in our distance programs are learning while continuing to play an important role in their own communities across BC, Canada and around the world.

Research and

Our community research is informed by the relationships developed with a community and the impacts that are experienced over the long term. The participatory research process may lead to publications, advocacy, policy and even legislative changes.

Researchers in HSD are leading the way on new and emerging health research, community-based research and in their work with Indigenous communities. They’re building new programs that contribute to the strength of communities by addressing priorities in the areas of public health, community development and health information technology.

Some of the community research themes we are currently exploring: 

  • new and emerging health research
  • Indigenous communities and collaborations
  • how governments and non-profits work
  • social justice and dispute resolution
  • health Informatics and new technology
  • the social health and welfare of children, families and communities
  • interpretations of practice and social policy
  • marginalized populations
  • international collaborations and education

Dean’s advisory

Members who participate on the dean's advisory council represent strategic connections to the faculty. They have been asked to participate on the basis of their interest and ability to represent the school, community or professional field relevant to the faculty.

The dean’s advisory council in the Faculty of Human and Social Development:

  • provides advice to the dean on HSD initiatives in terms of their relevance to the external community
  • provides advice to the dean on current and emerging issues in the areas of strategic priority to the faculty as they relate to the members’ field, area of expertise or the community they represent 
  • assists the dean in raising the profile of the work and mission of the faculty within the community at large 
  • assists with recommendations to the dean on ways to enhance engagement between the faculty and the community


Photo: Ann Rose KerkoviusMaster’s student Ann Rose Kerkovius (Social Work) was born in an igloo in Kugluktuk, Nunavut. She lived a nomadic life as a child travelling with her family by dogsled.

Her Master’s thesis entitled "Snow Drifters: Homeless Men in Rankin Inlet" provided research themes defining homelessness, sleeping locations, stigmatization, addictions and mental health, sadness/isolation/loss of identity, and positive attitudes leading to action. Because of overcrowded living conditions in the Arctic, homelessness is often hidden and disguised.

Ann Rose's aim was to acknowledge that homelessness exists in the Arctic, get the community involved in finding solutions and work towards building a homeless shelter for men.

She explains, "The voices of the people most directly affected by homelessness must be taken into consideration because as Inuit we are taught to care for those in need – 'Ilaginniq' (kinship)."

Read more stories:

Indigenous community

Indigenous programming and research within Human and Social Development is recognized for its relevance to Indigenous communities. All research and Indigenous community partnerships are informed by a deep respect for Indigenous knowledge and traditions.

Some examples of Indigenous community projects our faculty and students are involved with: 

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