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UHRI Directors
Thomas Kerr, PhD, is Co-director of UHRI at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (Division of AIDS). Dr. Kerr has extensive research experience in the areas of health psychology, behavioural science, community-based research, and public health, especially in evaluating programs and treatments designed to address addiction, injection drug use, and HIV/AIDS. More…
Evan Wood, MD, PhD, ABIM, FRCPC, is Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and an attending physician on the Clinical Teaching Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital, where he is also the co-Director of the Urban Health Research Initiative. Dr. Wood is a general internal medicine specialist and diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine whose clinical, research and educational focus has been on improving systems of care for patients with alcohol and drug addiction. More…

Dr. Kerr has a long history of involvement in healthcare issues in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Several years ago, he collaborated with other scientists and community members in an effort to alert policy makers to the health and social emergencies in the neighbourhood. This work involved demonstrating the scientific basis for several public health interventions, including the expansion of Vancouver’s needle exchange program and the initiation of a scientific pilot study of North America’s first medically supervised safer injecting facility. Dr. Kerr has consistently emphasized the need for community involvement in research and has worked closely with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), a peer-based organization of current and former illicit drug users, and the Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group.

Dr. Kerr has also conducted work aimed at improving the health and human rights conditions of marginalized populations at national and international levels. Dr. Kerr is the former Director of Health Research & Policy at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, where he worked on HIV prevention and care projects for injection drug users and prisoners in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Thailand. He is currently the Past President of the Legal Network.

Dr. Kerr applies both quantitative and qualitative methods in his research, and has undertaken extensive research on HIV prevention strategies for injection drug users. He has published more than 450 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals and has received numerous local and national awards for his contributions to public health, human rights, and the fight against HIV/AIDS. In 2007, Dr. Kerr received the National Knowledge Translation Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for his efforts to promote scientific discussion on the topic of illicit drug policy. In 2010, Dr. Kerr was the co-recipient of the inaugural Population and Public Health Research Milestones Initiative award for his outstanding contribution to developing Canada’s research base for harm reduction and health equity approaches to HIV prevention and control. In 2011, Dr. Kerr was co-recipient of the Alfred R. Lindesmith award for achievement in the field of scholarship. Most recently, Dr. Kerr was recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada. Dr. Kerr is also a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Drug Policy, the HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review, and Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.

Dr. Wood is the Medical Director for Addiction Services at Vancouver Coastal Health and was the Founding Director of the St. Paul’s Hospital Goldcorp Fellowship in Addiction Medicine, Western Canada’s only American Board of Addiction Medicine accredited training program for addiction medicine physicians. He is also the Principal Investigator and Director of the Canada Addiction Medicine Research Fellowship, a US National Institute on Drug Abuse funded research training program for physicians with a background in addiction medicine based out of UBC and St. Paul’s.

Early in his career, Prof. Wood focused on the development of HIV treatment strategies for patients with addiction and made several important discoveries that contributed to the revision of international guidelines for the initiation of antiretroviral therapy among this population. He has taken a special interest in HIV treatment and prevention strategies for injection drug users, and was the lead author of the first study to show that HIV treatment could prevent the transmission of HIV infection among those who inject drugs. Prof. Wood was the founding principal investigator of Insite, North America’s first and only medically supervised safer injecting facility, and has been widely involved in evaluating illicit drug policies, with special emphasis on injection drug use and street-involved youth. He is the founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, has co-authored more than 350 scientific papers, and chaired the writing committee of the Vienna Declaration, the official declaration of the 2010 International AIDS Conference. Prof. Wood’s research has been consistently funded through the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dr. Wood has received a number of national and international recognitions for his work. He was selected for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Peter Lougheed Award as the nation’s top New Investigator applicant in 2003. In 2006, he received the Ron Ghitter Award in Human Rights. Dr. Wood was the recipient of a leadership award from the Canadian Medical Association in 2007, and in 2010 received a Physician of the Year award from the British Medical Journal for his ground-breaking research in the area of drug addiction. Dr. Wood’s current clinical practice and research are dedicated to inner city medicine issues, with a particular focus on improving early intervention in alcohol and drug addiction. In 2011, Dr. Wood received funding from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse through a Distinguished International Scientist award to learn from the experiences of US addiction medicine centres. He has recently been recruited to spearhead St. Paul’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia’s response to untreated alcohol and drug addiction through a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Inner City Medicine.

Prof. Wood has provided expert advice to the BC Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. He is on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Addiction Research BC and is an Advisor to the Global Commission on Drug Policy. He has consulted for UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, and regularly serves on the US National Institutes of Health peer review committees. He is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Drug Policy and serves on the editorial boards of a host of addiction and infectious disease journals. Prof. Wood has been widely quoted in Canadian and international media and has contributed columns to leading news sources in Canada and abroad, including the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Vancouver Sun, the LA Times and CNN.com.