Bryson, Stephanie

Dr. Stephanie Bryson joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 2012. She received her MSW from Smith College School for Social Work and her PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from Brandeis University, where she was a National Institute Mental Health Predoctoral Fellow. Dr. Bryson came to UBC from the University of Kansas, where she conducted research on the rights and needs of children and families involved in multiple systems of care. She is recipient of NIMH, U.S. DHHS, and REACH Healthcare Foundation funding and has served as Principal Investigator or Co-PI of more than 20 studies of children with special health care needs, including: a multi-year study assessing the use of promotores to link underserved Latino middle school students to mental health services; a study evaluating a cognitive behavioral trauma intervention; a Presidential initiative aimed at reducing time in foster care for children with serious emotional difficulties; and several large studies examining psychiatric hospitalization, services for children with autism spectrum disorders, and patterns of psychotropic medication prescriptions among child Medicaid recipients. Dr. Bryson’s areas of interest include social theory and social policy; mental health and child welfare service delivery; intercultural social work practice; health and medical sociology; and the history of child welfare and mental health policy. She is currently PI of a trauma informed care evaluation at BC Children’s Hospital, Co-Investigator of a 3-year, 3-site study of mental health stigma among Asian men and boys, and Co-Applicant on a study of social workers’ roles in facilitating successful transitions from acute care settings to the community.

Email | Webpage Ph: (604) 822-6622



Charles, Grant

Grant Charles is Associate Professor. He was until recently also the Associate Principal (Research) of the College of Health Disciplines. Prior to coming to UBC, he worked in a variety of mental health, special education and child welfare settings. He has been the director of a number of specialized community and residential treatment programs working with such diverse client groups as adolescent sexual offenders, Aboriginal adolescent solvent abusers and other hard to serve young people and their families. His research interests fall into the two board categories of at-risk youth and interprofessional education. He is currently working on projects regarding interprofessional education, practice education, health transitions in adolescents with chronic/life-limiting diseases, interprofessional psychosocial oncology education, outcome measures in child and family services, community living services, family development response initiatives, self-mutilation, children of parents with mental illnesses, and young carers. He is also involved a project on the ethics of international service learning and field education.

Email | Webpage


Clark, Natalie

Natalie Clark’s work is informed and mobilized through her interconnected identities, including her English, Welsh and Indigenous ancestry, and as a solo parent of three Secwepemc children, an activist, counselor and academic. Natalie’s research focus is informed by Indigenous methodologies, intersectionality and critical participatory action research in the area of youth health, Indigenous health, and education.  She currently holds a SSHRC examining Indigenous field education.  She continues to practice and provides supervision and training on trauma-informed girls’ groups, including the model It’s A Girl Thang, which she co-developed and facilitated for more than 12 years. Her recent work involves developing Aboriginal rites of passage groups for youth in partnership with the Interior Indian Friendship Society and School District 73 Aboriginal Programs.

Email | Webpage



Johnson, Shelly  (Mukwa Musayett -Walking With Bears)

Shelly Johnson is of Saulteaux and Norwegian ancestry. Her direct social work practice in BC spans 24 years as the CEO of a delegated urban First Nations child and family agency, a provincial Aboriginal policy analyst, statutory social work supervisor and social worker. Currently, Shelly is PI on four national and international research awards including (1) a SSHRC Insight Grant (2014-17) to support Musqueam culture and language revitalization, (2) a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2013-16) investigating emerging international Indigenous therapeutic jurisprudence approaches in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and USA.  As a UBC Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS) Early Career Scholar, she holds two international research awards grounded in the principles of Indigenous legal sovereignty, cultural self-determination, and activism.  She is also co-PI on a multi-year, SSHRC Partnership Grant (2012-17) focused on national, community-based, urban Indigenous research.  Shelly serves on the national board of directors of the Canadian Association of Social Work Educators and chairs the national Indigenous Social Work Educators Network. She is a member of the American Indian and Alaska Native Social Work Educators Association, and the UBC Centre of Excellence on Indigenous Health. Shelly moves where her spirit takes her.

Email | Webpage | Ph: (604) 822-9647



Jones, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Jones, MSW, RSW, Senior Instructor, joined the faculty as a full time instructor in 2009, after more than 20 years teaching practice courses sessionally and part time at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  She has taught:  child welfare, leadership and management, adult education in social work, practice theory basic and advanced, communication skills basic and advanced, and integrative seminar, basic, advanced, and online. Currently, she is chair of the BSW Program.   She has also taught at Capilano University in North Vancouver, University of the Fraser Valley, and the Justice Institute of BC.  Elizabeth received 2 nominations for the Killam teaching award of excellence in 2000 and 2001, and received this award in 2014.

Elizabeth has worked in child welfare, medical, and non profit settings.  From 1991 to 2009, she managed her own human resource development company specializing in participatory action research projects as well as training, consultations and education in leadership.

Actively involved in professional activities, Elizabeth was provincial president of BCASW 1995 - 7.  She served on the Ethics committee for the BCASW and the Board of Social Workers of BC (now the BC College of Social Workers).  In 2000, she was named Social Worker of the Year by the BCASW and Canadian Association of Social Workers.  She is currently the elected chair of the Board of the BC College of Social Workers.

Email | Webpage


Kruk, Edward

Edward Kruk is involved in research in the field of child and family policy and practice, particularly in the areas of child custody, child care, and child protection. His research has focused on child custody determination, family mediation, fathers and divorce, women and addiction, the spiritual foundations of social justice, and harm reduction. He has over 30 years of experience as a social worker and social work educator. His professional experience includes practice with the Cathoic and Metro Children's Aid Societies in Toronto in child protection, the Metro Separate School Board in Toronto as a social worker in the school system, and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, Scotland as a senior social worker in neurology. He has also worked for Calgary Catholic Family Services, and had a faculty appointment at the University of Calgary prior to coming to UBC.

Email | Webpage



Marshall, Sheila

Sheila Marshall is developing two integrated lines of research: adolescent social identity development and adolescent-parent interactions. Mattering, a form of social identity, is the psychological tendency to view the self as significant to others. To fill a gap in the literature Sheila developed a theoretical framework that guides research with adolescent and adult samples.

Sheila's second line of research investigates adolescent-parent interactions and the transfer and uptake of rights and responsibilities during the transition to adulthood. Her particular interest is in the management of information between adolescents and parents and how it, in turn, influences actions such as resource sharing, support and help, and identity construction.

Email | Webpage


O'Connor, Deborah

Professor Dr. O'Connor joined the School in 1995 and is the Chair of the PhD Program. She has a BSW (Windsor), MSW (Toronto) and PhD. (Wilfrid Laurier). Before completing her doctoral degree in 1997, Dr. O'Connor worked for over fifteen years as a psycho-geriatric social worker and consultant. Her positions span a continuum of settings including institutionally-based, in-patient psychiatry, and community-based. Her areas of interest include critical social work practice in the field of aging with a particular interest in the areas of abuse and capacity, person-centred dementia care and family care. She is the Director of the Centre for Research on Personhood and Dementia (CRPD) - an interdisciplinary research unit located in the School of Social Work focused on conducting research aimed at developing person-centred dementia care practices. Two themes underpin most of Dr. O'Connor's work: First, is the importance of making the connections between research, theory and practice; Second is the necessity of embedding personal experiences within a broader interactional and socio-cultural context. In addition to her substantive focus in aging, Dr. O'Connor has a keen interest in qualitative methodologies, especially the use of narrative and discourse. Within the School of Social Work she teaches courses in qualitative research (graduate and doctoral) and aging practice (undergraduate, interdisciplinary and graduate).

Email | Webpage


O'Neill, Brian

Brian O’Neill is an associate professor and Chair of Field Education at the UBC School of Social work.  He received an MSW from Carleton University in 1971 and a PhD from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1994.  He joined the School in 1995, has been graduate advisor and chair of the MSW program, and currently is the chair of field education.  Between 1968 and 1988, he practiced in child welfare, primarily in management roles.  His teaching has focused on qualitative research methods, social service management, interprofessional practice and addressing heterosexism and homophobia in social work practice.  With respect to community service, he has been active in the Canadian Association for Social Work Education, has served on the boards of various social service organizations, and is a member of the steering committee of the UBC Critical Studies in Sexuality Arts Minor.  He also provides counselling at Health Initiatives for Men, a local health and social agency.  His research interests concentrate on the influence of heterosexism in health and social service delivery, most recently immigrant settlement services, and on education for interprofessional healthcare practice.  His most recent publication is “Enhancing social inclusion: Settlement services in relation to lesbian, gay and bisexual newcomers” in Engendering Migrant Health: Canadian Perspectives (2011, D. L. Spitzer, Ed.), co-authored with Kamala Sproule.  Currently he has a chapter in press entitled “Toward inclusion of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people: Social policy changes in relation to sexual orientation” in Canadian Social Policy (5th ed.), edited by Dr. Anne Westhues.

Email | Webpage


Riano-Alcala, Pilar

Pilar Riaño-Alcalá's research, teaching, community engagement and writing bordercross Latin America and North America. Her scholarly work is primarily concerned with three broad themes: the lived experience of violence and forced displacement, the politics of memory and witnessing, and the ethnography of suffering and social repair. Her other area of scholarly and educational interest is critical research methodologies that foster interactive, process-based forms of inquiry and South to South knowledge exchanges. Pilar’s work also explores how ideas of community are negotiated and contested in contemporary societies and how individuals construct their identities across geographical, social and cultural borders through social struggle and creative processes. She is also a faculty fellow in residence at the UBC Liu Institute for Global Issues.

Email | Webpage


Stainton, Tim


Tim's main area of practice and research is Disability and Social Policy with a main specialization in intellectual disability. He has taught at McGill, Swansea University where he was Director of Social Work and came to UBC in 2001. He has published widely on issues of disability related to practice, policy, theory, history and ethics. His current research includes a major review of adult community Living services in BC, as well as work on ethics and the new genetics and the history of intellectual disability and young carers. He is currently the Director of the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship and is the Director of The School of Social Work.

Email | Webpage


Sullivan, Richard

My social work career has spanned over thirty years in practice, research and teaching in child & family services with a primary focus on child welfare. Current interests include the jurisdiction transfer of aboriginal child welfare to First Nations authorities and the developmental progress of children affected by those transfers; international adoption; barriers to permanency planning and adoption; and the relationship between substance misuse and child welfare.

Email | Webpage


Tester, Frank

Frank Tester teaches international social development studies and social theory in the School of Social Work, and is an Associate with the Institute for Resources and Environmental Sustainability, University of British Columbia. He is Adjunct Professor of Native Studies, University of Manitoba. He teaches a course on Inuit social history for the Department of History, UBC.

Frank has worked as an advocate, researcher and consultant to government, non-governmental and international organizations on social and environmental issues in the South Pacific, China, Latin America, East Africa and the Canadian eastern Arctic. He is the co-author of Tammarniit (Mistakes): Inuit relocation in the eastern Arctic, 1939-1962 and Kiumajut (Talking Back): Game Management and Inuit rights in the eastern Arctic: 1900-1970, both published by UBC Press, and many papers and reports dealing with a mix of social, human rights and environmental issues in Canada and internationally.

Frank is a recipient of the Gustavus Myers Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America and the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize from the American Society for Ethnohistory, Cornell University. He is currently working on a community development project with Inuit youth in Arviat, Nunavut Territory. The Arviat history project involves youth and elders exploring their history and culture and filming the experience. The work of the project team can be viewed at http://nanisiniq.tumblr.com. Frank is also working with a team of researchers from Memorial University and UBC examining the impacts of mining and mineral exploration on Inuit of Nunavut. Frank has been involved in a number of films. He appears in Zacharius Kunuk’s documentary film Kiviak vs Canada and Joelie Sangya and Ole Gjerstad’s film Qimmit, dealing with the fate of Inuit sled dogs. He is the co-director (with Peter Irniq) and producer of Iglutaasaavut (Our New Homes), a film about the move Inuit made from the land to wood frame homes in the 1950s and 1960s.

Frank is a sailor and boat builder. His sloop, Pingungnuk, was named by his friend and Inuk mentor, Pierre Karlik, son of the famous Arctic physician, Leslie Livingstone. Frank has an interest in architecture, architectural history and photography. He has a small farm and home he designed and built on Denman Island, British Columbia.

Email | Webpage



Wright, Margaret 

Margaret Wright's areas of specialization are criminal justice and child welfare. She is particularly interested in how these two areas intersect. She has recently completed a series of research studies on sentencing in child sexual abuse cases that culminated in a book titled: Judicial Decision Making in Cases of Child Sexual Abuse, published by UBC Press. Her latest research project involves tracking substantiated claims of child sexual abuse from child welfare caseloads through the criminal justice process, examining the decision points at the level of police and crown decision making. She is also involved in evaluating child welfare programmes and providing expert testimony concerning social workers professional decision making.

Email | Webpage


Yan, Miu Chung

Miu Chung Yan has joined the School since 2004. Prior to joining UBC, he studied, practiced and taught social work in Hong Kong, London England, Toronto and San Francisco. His sojourner's experience has influenced his major research interests covering settlement and integration of immigrants and refugees, cross-cultural and critical antiracist practice, place-based community building and policy, globalization and social development, and North-South social work knowledge transfer. As an applied qualitative researcher, he adopts a collaborative community-based approach in his research works. Currently, he is leading a four-year SSHRC funded study on all neighbourhood houses in Metro Vancouver which is the first systematic investigation of this longstanding place-based community organization in Canada. Details of the project please refer to www.nhvproject.ca. While actively engaging in local immigrant research and community activities, he has been working collaboratively with social work practitioners and educators in China and Nigeria on different development and social work education projects. He has written extensively on social work and social work education development in China. Informed by the Habermasian critical theory, Miu has actively induced critical inter-subjectivity, reciprocal engagement, and reflexive reflectivity into his teaching and theoretical formulation.

Email | Webpage

Sessional Instructors

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Blom, Joe

Joe Blom holds a B.A. in Anthropology and German Literature, and an M.S.W. with a clinical focus from the University of British Columbia. He also has a M.Th.S. in Spiritual and Systematic Theology from Huron College, affiliated with the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Sociology from the University of Minnesota. He has taught at the Universities of Regina, Minnesota Wilfrid Laurier, and Windsor.

Joe was a full professor in the School of Social Work at King's College, the University of Western Ontario, where he taught courses in Human and Family Development, Practice with Individuals and Families, Psychosocial Pathology, Social Problems, and Research Methods, among others. Since returning to Vancouver in 2002, he has taught as a sessional at Thompson Rivers University, the Vancouver School of Theology and the School of Social Work and Family Studies,

Joe has extensive private practice experience in psychotherapy, and is a past president of OAMFT, and a clinical member of BCAMFT, both divisions of AAMFT. He has published in the fields of family therapy, mental health and spirituality (in progress), and has lectured widely in Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Africa and Brazil on related subjects. He has a special interest in spiritual autobiographies, Jungian depth Psychology, and Joseph Campbell's concept of the hero's journey.



Davis, Simon

Simon Davis is a manager in Mental Health & Addictions with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. His responsibilities include Consumer Involvement and Initiatives, the Grandview Woodlands MH Team, and agency liasion for university graduate student research projects. He is currently leading a project reviewing the models of care used in MH and addictions. He is also a member of CONKER - CONsumers for Knowledge Exchange and Research - a team of mental health service users and professionals who conduct participatory action research. Simon has an MSW from UBC and a doctorate from Simon FraserUniversity;  he is an instructor at the UBC School of Social Work and the Post-Degree Program in Psychosocial Rehabilitation at Douglas College. He has authored the text Community Mental Health in Canada, the second edition of which will be published by UBC Press in 2013.



Haden, Mark

Obtained a Masters of Social Work in 1984 – University of British Columbia. Began working for Alcohol and Drug Programs in 1984. Has worked in Detox, Methadone and Out Patient settings in counselling, and supervisory roles. Adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia UBC School of Public and Population Health.

Currently supervises the Addictions Services staff at the Pacific Spirit Community Health Centre for Vancouver Coastal Health. Has provided public education on drugs and drug policy for over 20 years. Participated in the United Nations UNODC 10 year NGO consultation process.



Marshall, Vaughan

Vaughan Marshall has a Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology, and has taught research courses in the School of Social Work since 2003. She has a passion for qualitative research, and particularly enjoys exploring arts-based approaches to research. Her own research is in the area of illness and disability. In addition to teaching in the School of Social Work, she also teaches clinical, theory, and research courses in UBC's programs in Counselling Psychology and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling.



Medjuck, Melissa

Melissa is a support worker and retreat coordinator at Positive Women’s Network (PWN) in Vancouver.  PWN http://pwn.bc.ca/about-usprovides education, support and resources for women living with HIV in British Columbia and for service providers in health and social services across the country.  Past work includes women’s health, violence against women, community development and HIV/AIDS.  As a social work graduate student, Melissa’s research focused on women, HIV and gender-based violence.  She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and English Literature, a B.S.W. and an M.S.W. from the University of British Columbia. 



Nickel, Wayne

Wayne Nickel, MSW, RSW graduated from Carleton University in 1974 and has spent 39 years in the field almost equally divided between direct Clinical Practice and Management. My work experience includes Child Welfare, Residential Treatment Programs, Addictions and EAP services. In addition to my sessional work at UBC, I teach Distance Education courses with the Open Learning Agency now part of Thompson Rivers University since 1989. I also have a Private Practice with a significant focus on trauma work.



Rusticus, Shayna

Shayna Rusticus has a Ph.D. in Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology from UBC. In addition to sessional teaching in the areas of quantitative statistics, research methods, and classroom assessment, she works as a statistical analyst in the Evaluation Studies Unit, which is part of UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. Her research interests are primarily in the areas of scale development and methods of assessing comparability, as applied to the areas of medical education and body image.


Emeritus Faculty

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Roopchand Seebaran: Community development

“Dick” R.B. Splane: Social welfare system in Canada and International welfare

Elaine Stolar: Gerontology

Betty Carter: Family therapy

Carole Christensen: Family Practice and Immigrant women

John R Deakins: Family therapy

Mary A. Hill: Gerontology

Dennis T. Guest: Social policy, social welfare and social security in Canada.

Ross P. McClelland: Social planning and community development

Mary Tadych: Social policy in the health field

Ann M. Furness: Social work with groups.

Don G. Finlay: Behavioral theory.


McNicoll, Paule

Paule McNicoll joined the faculty in 1990. Prior to her academic career, she had 15 years of experience as a professional social worker in medical, psychiatric, educational and community settings.  Paule collaborated with Frank Tester on several research projects on the social history of the eastern Arctic.  She was instrumental in founding the Multicultural Family Centre in East Vancouver at the beginning of the 1990's. She served on the editorial boards of three publications:  the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, Nouvelles Pratiques Sociales and Social Work with Groups. Over the years, she taught research methodology, group work practice, health and mental health courses and filled various administrative positions at the local community, scholarly community, university and School of Social Work levels. She retired on January 1st, 2014.

Email | Wepage


Riches, Graham

Graham Riches is emeritus professor and past director of the UBC School of Social Work (1998-2008). He previously taught at the University of Hong Kong, James Cook University (Australia), the University of Regina and the University of Northern British Columbia. He has practiced community development in London and Liverpool (UK), in SE Asia and East Africa.

His research lies primarily in the field of poverty studies, human rights and social policy with a focus on the politics of hunger, food charity, social welfare and the right to food within Canada and the rich ‘first world’. Previous publications include Food Banks and the Welfare Crisis (1986); Unemployment and Welfare: Social Policy and the Work of Social Work, co-edited with Gordon Ternowetsky(1990) and First World Hunger: Food Security and Welfare Politics (ed., 1997). In 2005 he was a consultant in the preparation of the UN FAO’s report Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food (2005). Most recently he has co-edited with Tiina Silvasti: First World Hunger Revisited: Food Charity or the Right to Food? (2014).

Email | Webpage


Russell, Mary

Mary Russell retired in December 2010.

Mary Russell's primary teaching focus has been the development and teaching of interdisciplinary web-based courses on violence in families. Her most recent research has been as conducted through a major interdisciplinary research consortium, CHILD, that developed and fostered inter-disciplinary, community-university collaborative research. Dr Russell was previously a Board Member of the BC Institute Against Family Violence and has been involved in practice and research collaborations with agencies such as Family Services of Greater Vancouver, and the Victoria Family Violence Prevention Society. At U.B.C., she has been active with the Faculty Association, including serving a term as President.

Email | Webpage


Vedan, Richard

Richard Vedan, (Secwepemc First Nation) First Nations Advisor, joined the UBC School of Social Work in 1995 and has just completed appointments (2001-2008) as the Director of the First Nation House of Learning and Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs. Before coming to UBC he was a member of Langara College faculty for 16 years.

Dr. Vedan has 40 years experience as a social worker and social educator. Clinical practice includes work with couples and families, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and policy and program development as Director of Health and Social Development for the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. Over the past 30 years he has served on the Boards of the Vancouver Friendship Centre, the Native Education Centre, the VPD Native Police Liaison Society, the Board of Governors of Frontier College, and the Board of Registration for Social Workers in British Columbia; and was appointed to the Children's Commission's Tribunal Panel.

Currently he is Co-Principal Investigator for: the Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research (NEAHRBC), the Resilient Indigenous Health Workforce Networks Project with colleagues at the Universities of Alberta, Manitoba and Otago, Christchurch N.Z.; and is Co-PI/Participant in several of community-based research projects. He serves as a member of the CASWE Board of Accreditation; and is on the advisory boards for Providence Health Critical Incident Management Team, and the Centre for Addictions Research Centre in British Columbia. He is a member of the Aboriginal Social Work Educators Network, a founding fellow of the UBC Institute for Mental Health, a member of the College of Health Disciplines; and a member of the Board of Governors for the Kaiser Foundation.

Research activities have addressed identity issues, authenticity, multi-generational traumatic stress disorder, violent behaviour in First Nations communities and the benefits of traditional healing practices. The focus of current community-based participant action research is on Indigenous Knowledge/Traditional Medicine and Knowledge Translation in health and social development for urban and rural Aboriginal individuals and communities. He retired on January 1st, 2014.

CV | Email | Webpage


Past Faculty

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Tang, Kwong-Leung

Kwong-leung Tang joined the School in the summer of 2009. Prior to this appointment, he taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Northern British Columbia and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has published numerous journal papers and research reports on the issues of social policy, Asian welfare and poverty. His academic and research interests include East Asian social policy, law and social policy, and social development. He is the recent co-editor of "Social Security, the Economy and Development" (Palgrave, 2008) which provides the first systematic analysis of the relationship between social security and economic development. He is the author of "Social Welfare Development in East Asia" (Macmillan & St Martin's Press, 2001), and a co-editor of the two volume set entitled "National Perspectives on Globalization" and "Regional Perspectives on Globalization" (Palgrave, 2007).

Webpage | Testimonial





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