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Samona Marsh

Samona volunteers on multiple boards of peer-based organizations in the DTES and has had plenty of experience with research in the DTES, both as a participant and more recently as a peer researcher conducting interviews and analyzing data. She is a co-author on three academic articles published in the International Journal of Qualitative Methods, Canadian Journal of Public Health, and International Journal of Drug Policy. Her over 30 years of lived experience as a drug user make her a sought-after research collaborator in her community. She continues to take leadership roles in the community, including at Tent Cities and with her work with VANDU, CAPUD, BC/Yukon Association for Drug War Survivors, and SUAVE.


Jim McLeod

believes the Downtown Eastside is brimming with talent the rest of the world overlooks. A self-described functional addict, chemically dependent since elementary school, people are often surprised to learn that Jim has a spotless criminal record. He is an active community member, working  with Hives for Humanity and has served on the boards of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and the Drug Users Resource Centre. He is excited about his work with Megaphone Magazine’s Speaker’s Bureau project, working with audiences and participants to help them see people who use drugs as just that -- people. Jim is also a cast and research member of the Illicit Theatre project.

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Scott Neufeld

Scott Neufeld grew up on the unceded territory of the Kwantlen people (Langley, BC) and is now a faculty member in Community Psychology at Brock University. He has an MA in Social Psychology from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and is currently completing a PhD in Social Psychology at SFU. His community-based and qualitative research seeks to broaden and deepen our understanding of substance-use related stigma and exclusion to address these issues more robustly. This has taken many forms but has included collaborative work in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to develop grassroots guidelines for conducting ethical and respectful research with people who use drugs (Helping to co-author the Manifesto and a comprehensive review of substance use-focused anti-stigma campaigns from across Canada ( Check out more of Scott's research interests and writing here.


Julie Chapman

Julie has been involved with research in the DTES for many years, both as a long-time research participant in drug use-related research and also as a peer research assistant at the BC Centre on Substance Use. Born and raised in Vancouver, she has lived in the DTES for 20 years. She identifies as a longtime drug user, but most importantly, she identifies as a survivor of childhood trauma. Jules volunteers on the board of Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV), works as a peer support outreach worker, is an avid writer and poet with many pieces published in Vancouver’s Megaphone Magazine and has a co-authored academic publications in AIDS and Behavior, Opioids A Survivors Guide, Research 101 Manifesto and Informed Consent Cards.. Jules is currently a student at Langara College, in The Fundamentals Of Reporting course.

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Nicolas Crier

Nicolas, a Cree freelance writer/co-author, became involved with his DTES community through active participation and faith in his many peer work endeavors. From developing plays about harm reduction to actually collecting used needles in the alleys and from helping Megaphone Magazine change the notions of "drug user" and "public speaker" to being hired as a research assistant at UBC, attending Langara college as a journalism student, and working front desk at the Vancouver Centre for Social and Economic Innovation, Nicolas has been embraced by a collaborative community of creative activism, manifesting major change, and is grateful for all of it.


Hives for Humanity

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Hives for Humanity is a nonprofit society, founded in 2012, that creates opportunities for connection to community, through nature, bees and the culture of the hive. We foster self-worth and community pride through skills sharing and experiential learning, working with socially and economically vulnerable populations facing barriers to stability. 

Through inclusive and supportive programming, H4H creates flexible opportunities for people to engage in the therapeutic culture that surrounds the hive. H4H supports at-risk populations of people and pollinators, with respect and joy.


H4H seeks to deepen a spectrum of inclusive and meaningful opportunity, from our low barrier experiential education workshops, through our mentorship and training, into work experience. Through a strengths based and trauma informed approach, we build self-worth and community pride; through our enterprise we work to alleviate poverty and empower leadership.


UBC Learning Exchange

The UBC Learning Exchange connects people from UBC and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to learn from each other in new ways. The shared space at 612 Main St. is a unique learning hub where members of the community and the university exchange experience, expertise, and explore new ideas and opportunities together. Activities include free educational activities for community members, real-life learning opportunities for UBC students, support for UBC faculty to extend and enrich coursework, community-based research collaborations and results-sharing, and partnerships with local community organizations to address critical issues.

SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement

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SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement supports creative engagement, knowledge democracy and access to arts and culture since December 2010. We recognize the arts as a catalyst in social change and transformative community engagement. Our programs are designed in collaboration with and for our community, creating dynamic content in the areas of: 1) arts, culture and community 2) social and environmental justice and 3) urban issues.

Our work is guided by the Carnegie Foundation’s definition of Community Engagement as "the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional… global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity."

We are currently exploring existing models for community research ethics reviews that exist elsewhere and also working on developing our own local process for community ethical review by piloting several research reviews this year. We are developing locally-adapted university (i.e. TCPS2) ethics training and ethics reviewer training to supplement our existing local expertise on ethical and respectful research to do this work.

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