"Alex’s level of academic productivity has far exceeded that expected of a social scientist at her career stage."

Dr. Kanna Hayashi

Dr. Alexandra Collins receives Dean’s Convocation Medal

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Alexandra Collins is being recognized with the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Collins on her outstanding achievements.

June 08, 2020

Dr. Alexandra Collins’ doctoral research examined how the complex intersection of gendered power relations, poverty, and the built environment impacted overdose risk among unstably housed women who use drugs in Vancouver.

Collins’ work used community-based and ethnographic approaches to challenge common understandings of harm among marginalized people who use drugs and highlights how a person’s social position affects their overdose risk. As part of her doctoral work, Collins also advanced social ecological approaches to substance use research by developing an intersectional risk environment approach, which provides a more holistic, social justice lens to examining health outcomes.

During her studies, Collins received numerous awards, including the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, and her research is featured in leading academic journals, national and international conferences, and media outlets. Collins is also committed to her community. She convened and co-led a Housing and Overdose Working Group with local, regional, and provincial representation to contribute to more ‘real time’ knowledge dissemination with stakeholders.

Dr. Kanna Hayashi believes Collins to be “among the strongest doctoral trainees that I have worked with. Alex’s level of academic productivity has far exceeded that expected of a social scientist at her career stage.”

Says Collins, “I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with leading substance use researchers and advocates during my time at SFU. I would like to give my deepest and sincerest thanks to the women who shared their time and experiences with me over the course of this research. I would also like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of Laural and Sandra who co-led this research, as well as my supervisors and colleagues along the way. This research would not have been possible without everyone’s support and encouragement.”

Dr. Alexandra Collins is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University where she is conducting community-engaged research on overdose-related interventions and access to care for people who use drugs.

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Written by Candice Chic