Dr. Kate Shannon (she/her)

Executive Director

Dr. Kate Shannon, PhD, MPH (Global Health) is a Professor of Social Medicine, Associate Faculty in the School of Population and Public Health, and a Canada Research Chair in Gender Equity, Sexual Health & Global Policy at the University of British Columbia. She is the current Executive Director of the Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. She helps lead the university’s efforts on gender and sexual health equity. She also holds a CIHR Sex and Gender Science Chair in Gender-Transformative Sexual Health aimed at advancing more equitable and inclusive sexual health research, policy, and practice in Canada.

Dr. Shannon brings over a decade of experience in community-based research, social epidemiology, population health intervention research, and policy evaluation focused on gender equity, sexual health and reproductive justice among communities marginalized based on social, economic and legal inequities. She is strongly committed to research that affects change in policy and practice and meaningful engagement with communities.

Dr. Shannon is currently joint Principal Investigator (with Dr. Charlotte Loppie at the University of Victoria) of the CIHR-funded Equitable Youth Sexual Health Project focused on building more equitable and inclusive sexual and reproductive health care models with youth in BC traditionally on the margins of sexual and reproductive, including LGBTQ/2S, Indigenous and other racialized youth. She is a PI of the UBC Access to Responsive Justice Project together with Dr. Brittany Bingham, funded by the Federal Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, to understand and map how socio-structural factors promote and mitigate access to safe and responsive justice among women and gender diverse survivors, including Indigenous, racialized migrant/refugee communities, parents in poverty, LGBTQ/2S survivors. She is former/founding PI of the long-standing NIH-funded AESHA Project evaluating the impact of structural interventions, laws and policies on sex workers’ safety, health, and human rights. She previously worked for over a decade with TASO (The largest East African Indigenous-Led AIDS Support Organization) on Youth Sexual Health Project with conflict-affected migrant and refugee youth and young women in Gulu District of Northern Uganda; and has previously collaborated with the Physicians for Human Rights on gender inequities, laws, and sexual health in Swaziland and Botswana.

Dr. Shannon has published more than 300 peer review publications and her work has been widely quoted in Canadian and international media, with over 500 media stories, including features in The Washington Post, BBC, The National Post, Vancouver Sun, and The Globe and Mail. She has also authored a number of high-impact editorials in the The Lancet, JAMA, CMAJ, BMJ and AJPH on applying an evidence-based policy and gender equity lens to sexual and reproductive health and rights. In 2014, she led a Lancet paper in collaboration with 10 academic and community co-authors in the “Sex Work and HIV” series, which modelled the potential impact of decriminalization of sex work over 10 years. The paper was widely cited in both media and global evidence-based policies in support of decriminalization of sex work, including Amnesty International and The New York Times. In 2018, she led a follow-up in The Lancet, a call-to-action report on the “Global Response and Unmet Actions on HIV and Sex Work.”

Dr. Shannon has provided expert evidence to Justice, Senate, and House of Commons committees, Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, and legal interventions in the Ontario Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada. She regularly consults on local, national and international guidelines related to gender equity and sexual health including World Health Organization, UNHCR, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNDP, Global Commission on HIV and the Law, International Association for Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC) and all levels of government. She has served on the International AIDS Society Advisory Board for Key Affected Populations (2014-2016), the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health Advisory Board (2013-2016), and CIHR HIV/AIDS Research Advisory Committee (2012-2017).

In 2017, Dr. Shannon was awarded the UBC Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Achievement Award in Applied Research for outstanding contributions to applied research to policy/practice. In the same year, she was awarded the inaugural Excellence in HIV Research Award at the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research/Canada AIDS Research Conference for her leadership in advancing change in HIV movement in Canada and internationally. In 2021, she was humbled to receive one of the UBC Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Achievement Award, put forward by her colleagues, for collective efforts to advance equity, diversity and inclusion at UBC and beyond. She previously held a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar/Career Investigator Award and the Peter Lougheed Award for the top new investigator in Canada in 2010. She is honoured to be the 2014 recipient of a BC AccolAIDS Award in Community/Political/Social Action selected by Positive Living BC for her advocacy work on translation of research to evidence-based policy and human rights frameworks for criminalized communities. She is @DrKateShannon on Twitter.