"An exemplary graduate from Simon Fraser University fully embodying the spirit of Canada’s engaged university and the strength of the Faculty of Health Science’s commitment to interdisciplinarity.”  

Ruth Lavergne

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Dr. Amanda Butler receives Dean’s Convocation Medal

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

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By Sarah Close-Humayun
June 01, 2022

Dr. Butler’s doctoral thesis, “Mental health needs, substance use patterns, and risk of reincarceration among adults admitted to provincial prisons in British Columbia, Canada” examines the intersection between health and justice systems for marginalized populations. Dr. Butler’s research not only provides a historical context for many studies in the field, but also offers detailed coverage of the prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders among people who experience incarceration and the profiles of people most likely to be reincarcerated over time. Her dissertation provides much needed data about how people move through, and are often failed by, the health and criminal legal systems.

Dr. Butler’s contribution extends well beyond her written thesis. Along with many academic achievements and published works, Dr. Butler has been recognized with many awards including a CIHR Doctoral Fellowship, an Endeavor Research Fellowship and the inaugural Dr Elliot Goldner Graduate Fellowship in Mental Health Policy.

When commenting on Dr. Butler’s work, Dr. Ruth Lavergne from the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University describes Dr. Butler as “an exemplary graduate from Simon Fraser University (SFU) fully embodying the spirit of Canada’s engaged university and the strength of the Faculty of Health Science’s commitment to interdisciplinarity.”  

Dr. Lavergne goes on to say “What unites her work is Dr. Butler’s driving focus to improve the health and lives of people experiencing intersecting violence and marginalization, and to focus attention on systems that create and perpetuate harms.”

Of the award and her time at SFU, Dr. Butler says “I am honoured to be the recipient of the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. My research is truly interdisciplinary, spanning public health, epidemiology, criminology, and sociology. The Faculty of Health Sciences’ commitment to interdisciplinarity is demonstrated in the PhD program design, the research seminar series, and the many supports they provide to graduate students. I was fortunate to receive world-class training and to have a team of four supervisors who challenged and supported me. In addition to being brilliant, caring, and dedicated mentors, my team’s enthusiasm about the value of my research kept me energized when the work was tough. My co-supervisors Dr Ruth Lavergne and Dr Tonia Nicholls were extraordinarily generous with their time and energy. I am deeply appreciative of their investment in me and my development as a scholar. I am so proud to represent the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU.”

Dr. Butler works as an independent research consultant and as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University.