Kora DeBeck

Associate Professor


Dr. Kora DeBeck is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and a Research Scientist with the BC Centre on Substance Use at Providence Health Care.  She holds a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/St. Paul's Hospital Foundation-PHCRI Career Scholar Award.

Kora is the Principal Investigator for the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS) which is a longitudinal cohort study of >1,000 street-involved youth who use drugs in Vancouver. The cohort began in 2005 and is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the US National Institutes for Health Research. ARYS aims to explore the individual, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence the health and well-being of street-involved children, youth, and young adults in Vancouver.

Kora specializes in longitudinal cohort methodologies, and innovative approaches to inform and evaluate health and policy interventions to reduce health and social harms among people who use drugs, with a particular focus on the prevention of high-risk substance use, infectious diseases, and other health-related harms. She has a strong track-record in knowledge translation and works to ensure that research from the ARYS cohort is relevant and accessible to community organizations, policy makers and other stakeholders with the goal of increasing the impact of research findings on policy and practice and improving the health of individuals and communities –both locally and globally.

Prior to joining the School of Public Policy in 2013, Kora was a CIHR funded post-doctoral fellow with the Division of AIDS in the Department of Medicine at UBC and the Centre for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from UBC (2010) and is an SFU MPP alumni (2006).  

Kora DeBeck is currently a Principal Investigator on two grants: a $6.7 million NIH grant which funds the ARYS and VIDUS longitudinal cohort studies which follow people who use drugs in Vancouver, and a CIHR Project grant that investigates the unique experiences and needs of youth and young adults who use drugs during the dual crises of overdose and COVID-19.

Research Interests

  • Health policy, Drug Use Amongst Vulnerable Populations, Youth Health and Addiction

Selected Publications


Current Grants as Principal Investigator

Completed Grants as Principal Investigator