Marika Morris

Adjunct Research Professor

School of Canadian Studies, Carleton University

Educational Background:
Ph.D. in Canadian Studies (Carleton University), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Centre for Prevention Science and Faculty of Education, Western University)

Professional Background and Affiliations:
I was Research Coordinator for the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) for five years. During that time, I was the first author in two national community-university research collaborations, one on women and home care (women are the majority of paid and unpaid caregivers, as well as the majority of home care recipients) and integrating the voices of women living on low incomes into social policy, involving focus groups with First Nations women, women with disabilities and immigrant and refugee women. I also travelled throughout Canada leading workshops for community organizations on how to do participatory action research to meet their own needs. An important part of my job was to translate academic knowledge into forms the public to use for social change on issues such as violence against women and girls, poverty, and racism.

I’m an Adjunct Research Professor in the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University where I taught “Social Change in Canada” and “Communities in Canada”.

In my early career, I worked for two Members of Parliament as a Researcher/Legislative Assistant. I also worked in government as an employee or consultant in the following departments and agencies: Status of Women Canada, Public Safety Canada, Health Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Employment and Social Development Canada.

I was a research and communications consultant and may go back to this work after my postdoc. As a consultant, I worked on many interesting projects for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and health research agencies, including MATCH International, Mines Action Canada and the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.

I am a proud member of the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA), the American Public Health Association (APHA) and Canada’s Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. I am also a member of Statistics Canada’s Advisory Committee on Social Conditions.

Contact Information/Personal Website:
Website: ; Email:

What are your main research interests?
Equity and healthy communities/healthy societies. All of my research (poverty, gender and health, co-op housing, disaster resilience, women’s leadership, intersectionality, etc.) comes down to building healthy, equitable societies.

What projects are you currently working on?
After many years of doing public policy research and community-based research, I went back to school to earn a Ph.D.. I am now doing postdoctoral research funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in partnership with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada on Inuit youth and young adults’ experience of violence. Pauktuutit intends to use the research to create a social media outreach strategy to Inuit youth on issues of violence. I am also working as a research consultant to produce Canada’s contribution to the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative Women in Public Service Project.

What interesting research findings have emerged from your work? How have these been applied?
Our research team’s work on home care in Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador was picked up by the media in Newfoundland and meetings with public officials were arranged. We don’t know how much of our documentation of the low wages and working conditions of home care workers contributed to the subsequent raise given to home care workers in that province.

More recently, I was invited to give presentations in Ottawa and Tokyo about gender, diversity, equity and disaster resilience. When I was in government, I managed a project for my department to create a national Survey of Emergency Preparedness and Resilience. Pre-existing conditions of individuals, neighbourhoods and communities (income, education, health, social networks, political engagement, willingness to help others who are different) have a profound impact on ability to prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from disasters such as major earthquakes, hurricanes, industrial accidents (nuclear, oil spill, etc.). Japan discovered that the triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown) of 2011 exacerbated existing social inequalities, leading to disproportionate deaths and injury of some groups. My research was used to inform submissions for the renewal of the United Nations Hyogo Framework for Action on disaster risk reduction.

As I have done a great deal of participatory action research (and written a guide for community organizations on this issue), I have seen action taken on the research I have performed and facilitated. The whole goal of participatory action research is to gather information in a collaborative and inclusive fashion in order to use the information for change in policy and practice.

Any other aspects of your work or interests that you would like to share?
I am deeply committed to sharing knowledge, so people have the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions. I do not have a sociology degree, but have studied sociological theory and methods as a part of related disciplines. All of my work is applied sociology.

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