Research Work

Wherein a quantitative methodology the mantra is, “if you cannot prove it, it does not exist”, we like to say, “If you cannot prove it, you need an alternate way to understand it.”
— Allan Rae


I'm fortunate enough to have been able to fuse my writing and medical training in a freelance role as a qualitative public health researcher. I work primarily on topics related to gay men's health, HIV, and community based research initiatives. Currently I am involved as a consultant on the advisory board of a co-sponsored study by The Center For Addiction and Mental Health, and The Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN), looking at the preparedness of HIV primary care providers in recognizing, assessing, and managing HAND (HIV Associated Neuro-cognitive Disease) in their HIV positive clients. I have experience in, and am available to consult on projects related to qualitative study methodology, peer research associate involvement and training, and ethical considerations in HIV study design.

Research interests

My main area of public health research interest, both now and in the past, has been the development of arts focused, client centered public health education models, utilizing creative writing and a personal narrative model of inquiry. Of particular interest for me is the intersections of HIV, PTSD, and stigma.

Okay, so you may wonder, what the hell does all that mean, exactly? Don't worry, I've been asked that question more than once. It means I study what people and various communities write about their lived experience in either managing their own HIV, or dealing with the emotional fallout and isolation that often results after experiencing high numbers of multiple, successive losses over time.


Research Themes

  1. utilizing creative writing and personal narrative as tools of public health education and disease prevention

  2. examining through personal and community narrative, the chronic effects of stigma, isolation, multiple losses, and unresolved grief patterns on those infected, and affected by HIV

  3. examining the potential role of personal narrative and creative writing in the treatment of PTSD

  4. ethics in health and HIV education, prevention and research

  5. anti-racist, pro-feminist, sex positive centered pedagogy


Key Terms

creative writing, personal narrative, literary non fiction, cross genre, documentary, multi media, PTSD, HIV education, HIV prevention, public health, HIV stigma, personal loss, unresolved grief, research ethics, trauma, critical theory, feminist theory, pro feminism, critical race theory, anti racist activism, intersectionality, transformative learning, experiential learning, arts based pedagogy, community education, radical activsim.


Published Work

Late in 2016, the first two of several knowledge translation documents from the HEADS UP! Study were released to the HIV primary care community. The HEADS UP! Study was a qualitative study on the lived experience of people with HIV who have been diagnosed as having a neurocognitive disorder. The METHODS and RESULTS posters below, both of which I am a co-author for, document our process working with the data, and the initial results found. To view in detail, click on the image to open it in a full screen window.