Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters
I am currently recruiting incoming PhD students with strong backgrounds in qualitative, community-based participatory action, and/or anthropological methods who are passionate about doing research broadly focused on youth, substance use and care. Students will carve out an independent project as part of one of the following studies:
(1) The Treatment Trajectories Study explores young people’s substance use treatment trajectories and outcomes in the context of Vancouver’s expanding efforts to address the current overdose and COVID-19 crises. Through longitudinal qualitative interviews, ethnographic fieldwork and an experimental video project, we are documenting the evolving experiences of these young people and their service providers over time, as they navigate a rapidly transforming landscape of care
(2) The Care Pathways Study focuses on the experiences of younger youth (ages 14-18) as they navigate multiple systems of care and supervision, including the substance use service, criminal justice, government care, paediatric care and mental health care systems. Through longitudinal qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, we are documenting the evolving experiences of these young people and their service providers over time. As with the Treatment Trajectories Study, our goal is to create new knowledge that can directly inform ongoing efforts to deliver innovative substance use services to youth across Greater Vancouver.
More information can be found at:
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- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
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- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
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- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
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G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
ADVICE AND INSIGHTS FROM UBC FACULTY ON REACHING OUT TO SUPERVISORS
These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.
Graduate Student Supervision
Master's Student Supervision
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
Background: The toxic drug crisis in British Columbia, Canada has accelerated efforts to expand residential substance use treatment beds for young people between the ages of 14 and 19 in Greater Vancouver. While various barriers to accessing residential substance use treatment among young people who use drugs have been well documented in the literature, little research has examined how young people, and in particular adolescents, navigate and experience these treatment programs.Methods: This qualitative study draws on a critical phenomenological approach to describe and contextualize experiences and understandings of residential substance use treatment among 35 young people ages 14 to 19 in Vancouver. I thematically analyze data from in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted with participants attending, just about to attend, or having previously attended “Cypress Place”, a local residential treatment center, between October 2019 and May 2021. Results: Findings underscore that young people are actively engaged in making, unmaking, and remaking their senses of self and social worlds prior to and throughout residential treatment. Many participants envisioned and experienced residential treatment as a time and space in which to actualize future selves. However, once they were in residential treatment, most young people encountered challenges in navigating past and ongoing traumas and complex social dynamics, which at times undermined their evolving self- and world-making projects.Conclusions: This study demonstrates how adolescents actively engage in re-making themselves and their social worlds in and across settings, allowing for a re-imagining of youth treatment and recovery programming and services that better align with the needs, priorities, and desires of young people themselves.
The full abstract for this thesis is available in the body of the thesis, and will be available when the embargo expires.
Background: Qualitative research demonstrates that, among youth who use substances in the context of entrenched poverty and homelessness, pregnancy is often viewed as an event that could change the trajectories of their lives. However, young people’s desires and decision-making regarding how to make changes do not always align with the perspectives of various professionals and systems regarding how best to intervene. Methods: This study draws on 14 months of longitudinal qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with 16 youth (under 29 years of age) to explore how pregnancy and early parenting shaped their trajectories. Eight of the 16 participants self-identified as Indigenous. Findings: The young people who participated in this study described pregnancy as a life event that could stabilize tumultuous romantic relationships and deepen a sense of romantic love in the midst of the everyday emergencies of substance use, homelessness, and poverty. As “moral assemblages,” romantic relationships shaped decision-making surrounding pregnancy and parenting on the streets, including the decision of whether or not to enter treatment. Consistent with previous research, pregnancy was envisioned by youth as a turning point that might allow them to realize different kinds of futures. However, intervention by child protection, healthcare, and criminal justice systems were often at odds with what youth envisioned for themselves, their families, and the future. In particular, interventions that separated young couples were often perceived by youth as destabilizing the very relationships that they felt would allow them to successfully navigate a pregnancy and create a family. Conclusions: This study highlights how a disjuncture between youth’s decision-making surrounding pregnancy and parenting and the systems that are intended to help them can further entrench young parents in cycles of loss, defeat, and harm that can be powerfully racialized. Two young people were not in romantic relationships during their pregnancies and were better able to navigate child protection and healthcare system demands and draw on other kinds of social support to ultimately maintain custody of their children. However, these fragile success stories further underscore the need for structural interventions that provide access to housing and income among vulnerable young parents.
- Interventions to Reduce Opioid Use in Youth At-Risk and in Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: A Scoping Review (2022)
The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry,
- Using photovoice to understand experiences of opioid use among sexual and gender minority youth in Vancouver, Canada (2022)
Culture, Health & Sexuality,
- Going Nowhere: Ambivalence about Drug Treatment during an Overdose Public Health Emergency in Vancouver (2021)
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 35 (2), 209--225
- "am i gonna get in trouble for acknowledging my will to be safe?": Identifying the experiences of young sexual minority men and substance use in the context of an opioid overdose crisis (2020)
Harm Reduction Journal, 17 (1)
- “Something that actually works”: Cannabis use among young people in the context of street entrenchment (2020)
PLoS ONE, 15 (7 Jul)
- Erratum to ‘Poppers, queer sex and a Canadian crackdown: Examining the experiences of alkyl nitrite use among young sexual minority men’ [International Journal of Drug Policy 77 (2020) 102670] (International Journal of Drug Policy (2020) 77, (S09553959203 (2020)
International Journal of Drug Policy, 84
- Opioid agonist therapy trajectories among street entrenched youth in the context of a public health crisis (2020)
SSM - Population Health, 11
- Poppers, queer sex and a Canadian crackdown: Examining the experiences of alkyl nitrite use among young sexual minority men (2020)
International Journal of Drug Policy, 77
- The knife's edge: Masculinities and precarity in East Africa (2020)
Social Science and Medicine, 258
- The sexualised use of cannabis among young sexual minority men: “I’m actually enjoying this for the first time” (2020)
Culture, Health and Sexuality,
- Interventions to address substance use and sexual risk among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who use methamphetamine: A systematic review (2019)
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 194, 410-429
- Prevalence and correlates of selling illicit cannabis among people who use drugs in Vancouver, Canada: A ten-year prospective cohort study (2019)
International Journal of Drug Policy, 69, 16-23
- The authors respond to comments on the use of secure care in youth (2019)
CMAJ, 191 (7), E199-E200
- “We Don’t Belong There”: New Geographies of Homelessness, Addiction, and Social Control in Vancouver’s Inner City (2018)
City and Society, 30 (2), 237-262
- Becoming and coming undone on the streets of Dar es Salaam (2018)
Africa Today, 64 (3), 2-26
- Criminalization of HIV non-disclosure: Narratives from young men living in vancouver, Canada (2018)
PLoS ONE, 13 (7)
- Secure care: More harm than good (2018)
CMAJ, 190 (41), E1219-E1220
- “Getting out of downtown”: a longitudinal study of how street-entrenched youth attempt to exit an inner city drug scene (2017)
BMC Public Health, 17 (1)
- Dream homes and dead ends in the city: a photo essay experiment (2017)
Sociology of Health and Illness, 39 (7), 1134-1148
- Perceptions of a drug prevention public service announcement campaign among street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada: A qualitative study (2017)
Harm Reduction Journal, 14 (1)
- Social-structural factors influencing periods of injection cessation among marginalized youth who inject drugs in Vancouver, Canada: An ethno-epidemiological study (2017)
Harm Reduction Journal, 14 (1)
- Still “at risk”: An examination of how street-involved young people understand, experience, and engage with “harm reduction” in Vancouver's inner city (2017)
International Journal of Drug Policy, 45, 33-39
- The material, moral, and affective worlds of dealing and crime among young men entrenched in an inner city drug scene (2017)
International Journal of Drug Policy, 44, 1-11
- Pathways to criminalization for street-involved youth who use illicit substances (2016)
Critical Public Health, 26 (5), 530-541
- The multiple truths about crystal meth among young people entrenched in an urban drug scene: A longitudinal ethnographic investigation (2014)
Social Science and Medicine, 110, 41-48
- Did Somebody Say Community? Young People's Critiques of Conventional Community Narratives in the Context of a Local Drug Scene (2013)
Human Organization, 72 (2), 98-110
- 'I guess my own fancy screwed me over': Transitions in drug use and the context of choice among young people entrenched in an open drug scene (2010)
BMC Public Health, 10
- Drug-related risks among street youth in two neighborhoods in a Canadian setting (2010)
Health and Place, 16 (5), 1061-1067
- Safety and danger in downtown Vancouver: Understandings of place among young people entrenched in an urban drug scene (2010)
Health and Place, 16 (1), 51-60
- Social and structural barriers to housing among street-involved youth who use illicit drugs (2010)
Health and Social Care in the Community, 18 (3), 282-288
- Coming 'down here': Young people's reflections on becoming entrenched in a local drug scene (2009)
Social Science and Medicine, 69 (8), 1204-1210
- Social influences upon injection initiation among street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada: A qualitative study (2009)
Substance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 4
- The perspectives of injection drug users regarding safer injecting education delivered through a supervised injecting facility (2008)
Harm Reduction Journal, 5