Affiliated Research Projects

Community-based research

Research in community-based organizations is becoming increasingly popular. One of the reasons for this is that there has been a shift in academia towards recognizing the important and unique contributions that community organizations can bring to the research process. Community-based research has emerged as an alternative way of doing research, integrating education and social action in order to improve health and reduce health inequalities.

Research evidence complements - but does not replace - the many other forms of data and knowledge which go into making decisions in community-based settings. Research evidence helps organizations like Options for Sexual Health in the planning and evaluation of programming and services and in ensuring that we are making the best decisions possible to improve the health of our clients.

Research applicants

Guidelines for researchers interested in conducting research with Opt

Current research projects

Public Health Chair in Improving Youth Sexual Health

Past research projects

Perspectives on Contraception Among Youth: Exploring the Impact of Socio-Cultural and Structural Forces in Fort St. James, BC

Chlamydia Screening in Whistler

Canadian Sexual Health Indicators Survey

Public Health Chair in Improving Youth Sexual Health

How do social and structural forces affect the sexual health of youth? ‘Social factors’ mean things like social position (e.g., age, income level, ethnic or cultural identity, sexual orientation, gender) and ‘structural forces’ refer to things such as where someone lives, and the services available in their community. When such factors combine, they can have a profound effect on sexual behaviour and sexual health. For example, a young person’s gender, sexual identity and the place they live can influence how they negotiate power imbalances within sexual relationships, or access to timely and youth-centred sexual health services.

Project information

The Applied Public Chair in Improving Youth Sexual Health is a five-year research program funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. The Chair’s connections with public health providers (including Opt) and policy makers in BC and other parts of the world help facilitate the development and study of new public health interventions. The aim of the Chair is to:

  • carry out and promote research that examines how social factors affect young people’s sexual health
  • develop recommendations on how to improve policies and programs to address sexual health inequities
  • provide training and mentoring opportunities for public health researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and youth through qualitative, quantitative and participatory research approaches

Principle Investigator: Dr. Jean Shoveller of UBC’s School of Population and Public Health leads the Chair’s research and training program.

Access research publications.

Visit the Chair's website or contact Research Manager Cathy Chabot.

Perspectives on Contraception Among Youth

Exploring the impact of socio-cultural and structural forces in Fort St. James, BC

Gender, place and culture help shape social interactions and structural conditions that put the sexual health of many youth at risk. Experiences with contraception are critical to young people's sexual health and warrant further investigation, especially as it appears that many northern youth may be facing barriers to accessing and using contraception effectively.

This study:

  1. Described youth's perspectives and experiences with accessing and using contraception, as well as perspectives of service providers;
  2. Investigated the ways in which socio-cultural factors (e.g., social norms, gender roles, culture ) and structural forces (e.g. health service delivery mechanisms, privacy, geographic location) affect local contraception services; and
  3. Developed recommendations to tailor and target contraception interventions intended for youth in northern British Columbia. This study was conducted in Fort St. James.

Principle investigator: Dr Judith Soon, UBC

Project publications

Community report for service providers (pdf)

Canadian Sexual Health Indicators Survey

The Canadian Sexual Health Indicators Survey meant to get at key measures that tell us about the sexual health of Canadians. According to the World Health Organization, sexual health is more than the absence of STIs or sexual problems. This survey included many other measures of sexual health, such as how people feel about the sexual part of their lives, sexual experiences, experiences of pleasure and satisfaction with sexual relationships, access to sexual health services and education, and more.

The Canadian Sexual Health Indicators Survey, a pilot study, was conducted in four provinces by the Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with researchers and community organizations in BC, Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia. The study collected information from approximately 1200 young people aged 16 to 24 in Spring 2010 at various sites.

Data collection for the survey is finished. A techical assessment of the survey tool has been completed, and a written report will available soon.

Download the project backgrounder