Capacity Researchers

Dr. Victoria (Vicky) Bungay,

PhD, RN – Director, Capacity Research Unit

Dr. Bungay is a Professor at the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia and holds a Canada Research Chair in Gender, Equity and Community Engagement. As the Director of the Capacity Research Unit, her work focuses on addressing inequities that negatively affect people’s health and well-being including the devastating effects of stigma, discrimination and violence. She is interested in how research partnerships can positively impact communities that are regularly excluded in health and social policy and programming that affect their lives and how community-based interventions support real world evidence. Her research integrates health and social science perspectives in the substantive field of redressing the negative health effects of socio-economic and political inequities (i.e., marginalization) on some of the most stigmatized groups in society. Her work specifically focuses on three intersecting topic areas: 1) policies and programs to improve health and health care for adult men, women and transgender persons involved in sex work; 2) strategies to support health and health care for women affected by violence; and 3) community capacity building to enhance active participation in research, policy and programming.

UBC Profile

Chris Atchison

Chris, Research Associate, has been researching the sex industry and working in a supportive capacity with sex work(er) researchers and outreach organizations in Canada since 1995. During this time he has conducted two of the largest studies of clients ever completed and acted as co-investigator on three major studies of health and safety in the off-street sex industry. Additionally, he has provided research counsel or assistance on projects focusing on: the impact of work environment and communications networks on the health and safety of off-street sex workers; violence in off-street sex industry work places; sex industry labour conditions; community attitudes toward prostitution; online sex industry advertising; sex work exiting and re-entry; and, mobile outreach service provision for street-based and survival sex workers. Chris is also involved extensively with committees and working groups formed to study and develop evidence-based social, health and legal policy and procedure to improve the health, safety and conditions of people involved in Canada’s sex industry.

Chris is Co-Principal Investigator of the Street-To-Screen Study.

Research Gate

Dr. Scott Comber,PhD, MBA, MA

Scott, Assistant Professor, gained over 30 years of experience in the financial, IT and health care and consulting fields, and established and incorporated two of his own companies before assuming his academic role. He refers to himself as a “pracademic”; half practitioner and half academic. His primary research areas are values and ethics, physician leadership development, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. His specialty in conflict resolution, team building, and value based culture change offers a unique perspective to projects aimed at positive social change. He is a member of Dalhousie’s Research Ethics Board and when not working Scott’s main life focus is raising his twins, Mac and Ella.

Scott is Co-Investigator on The Ethics Project

Dalhousie University Profile

Dr. Adrian Guta,PhD, MSW

Adrian Guta is Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Windsor and has interdisciplinary training in social work, public health, and bioethics. His research interests are in the areas of healthcare and social service provision for communities disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Adrian has been co-leading a program of research for the past 5-years examining the experiences of people living with HIV who use substances (drink hazardously and/or use illicit drugs) during hospital stays, which has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. Adrian has been actively involved in community-based research initiatives for over a decade using qualitative, mixed-methods, and arts-based approaches to engage communities in research.

Adrian is Co-Investigator on The Ethics Project


Dr. Colleen Varcoe,PhD, RN

Colleen’s nursing career involves experience in critical care and emergency health care. She is committed to creating more just and ethical health care. Her academic work examines how the inequities of ethnicity, class, place, and ability are central to violence against women, specifically Indigenous women. Recently, she has conducted research in community, rural, and primary care settings regarding the health, economic, and social costs of violence, substance use, and primary health care delivery. Currently she is leading intervention studies to promote safety and health for women experiencing violence and to enhance equity-oriented care at organizational levels. Her various research projects converge to enhance practice and policy in the context of violence and inequity.

Colleen is Co-Investigator on The Ethics Project

UBC Profile

Dr. Lauren Casey,PhD

Lauren has worked with several regional, national and international organizations committed to the reduction of health inequalities in society and, more particularly, among sex work populations. 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 persons involved in the sex industry. She is Co-Principal Investigator of a CIHR-funded project entitled Supervising Sex Work: Challenges to Workplace Safety and Health (2011-2017) examining managers’ experiences in the sex industry with the goal of learning about their perspectives on health, safety and well-being in their workplaces. In 2011 Lauren traveled to Kenya, Africa to provide interview training at the University of Nairobi, followed by three days in Kibera conducting interviews with female survival sex workers. This fieldwork was part of A Kenya Free of AIDS: Harnessing Interdisciplinary Science for HIV Prevention (KEFA), a United States National Institutes of Health-funded research project that interlinked the University of Nairobi, the University of Washington and the University of Victoria. While in Africa she travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she was invited to disseminate a harm reduction program created by, and for, sex workers.

Lauren is Co-Investigator on The Ethics Project

Dr. Eli Manning,PhD, RSW

Eli worked as an advocate in frontline HIV and street-youth services before embarking on graduate studies. While she continues to focus on HIV/AIDS, her hope is to disrupt harmful practices and policies directed at marginalized communities.

Eli is Co-Investigator on The Ethics Project

Dr. Emily Jenkins,PhD, MPH, RN

Emily’s program of research focuses on optimizing mental health outcomes and reducing substance use harms for Canadians throughout the life course through collaborative, mental health promotion strategies; health services and policy redesign; and knowledge translation approaches. She has worked with youth and adult populations in both rural and urban settings. Informed by principles of mental health promotion and knowledge translation, her current research includes studies exploring novel approaches to enhancing care for patients experiencing mental health and substance use challenges, strategies to facilitate citizen engagement in mental health and substance use policy and intervention design, and community-based mental health promotion for children and families experiencing significant social disadvantage and marginalization.

UBC Profile