Mary Ann Murphy

Associate Professor

Social Work, Sociology
Office: ART 153
Phone: 250.807.8705

Graduate student supervisor

Courses & Teaching

Constitutional/Charter Litigation & Social Policy
Policy and Practice Issues Affecting an Older Population
Social Policy and Comparative Family Policy
Social Welfare Law and Human Rights: International Human Rights & Aging
Aging/Gerontological Social Work
Intergenerational Relationships
Visual Sociology


Mary Ann Murphy, Ph.D. (Health and Social Policy) holds a Cross-appointment on Aging between the School of Social Work and the Department of Sociology within the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

She successfully chaired the School of Social Work on its first full accreditation; assisted in developing aspects of the then Child Welfare Specialization; and created the first undergraduate social work Aging Specialization in Canada. Over time, she has also created novel curriculum for the School of Social Work in the areas of social welfare law; comparative social/family policy; introduction to social work; and in aging practice and policy. In Sociology, she has created innovative curriculum in the areas of family studies, global aging, and intergenerational relationships – the latter based on an intergenerational classroom she has taught since 2008.

Her practice background includes experience as a juvenile probation officer; social planning and research consultant for a variety of firms including Price Waterhouse; and, as a strategic planner for both the Ontario government and a 500 bed chronic care hospital. She also has senior level policy experience, having worked as a project manager for an Assistant Deputy Minister and as one of two staff to a 13 member committee of Ontario deputy ministers developing an anti-poverty agenda for that province.

Dr. Murphy is highly engaged with her local community on numerous aspects of policy and practice, both as a researcher and as a volunteer. Her teaching is strongly based on connecting the praxis of excellence in education with community needs and realities. To achieve this, she actively involves community in curriculum development and classroom delivery in ‘knowledge exchange’ based on principles of mutual respect, co-learning, and sustainability.


1) Ph.D. (Health and Social Policy) - Brandeis University (Boston, MA)
Dissertation: "Canadian Constitutional Litigation and Social Policy"
2) M.S.W. (Social Administration) - U of Calgary
Thesis: "Pre-Retirement Planning in the Oil and Gas Industry"
3) B.S.W. (Clinical & Community Development) - U of Calgary
4) B.A. - University of Alberta

Research Interests & Projects


Kurtz, D. (PI), Bryant, l., Jones, C., Hutchinson, P., Jung, M., Little, J., King (Medical Internist), King (SFU), Murphy, M.A., & McGovak. (2018-2022). “Building Indigenous Pathways for Diabetes and Obesity Prevention and Management with Urban and Rural Communities in BC.” Funded by C.I.H.R (Canadan Institutes of Health Research) $849,152.

Murphy, M.A. (2013–2018). “An Evaluation of St-age-ing Matters: The Process and Outcomes of Developing Elder Actors to Address Social Inclusion.”

Murphy, M.A. (2010–2018). “The Intergenerational Classroom as a Vehicle to Reduce Social Distance and Promote Social Innovation: Integrating Research, Teaching & Undergraduate Learning.

Murphy, M.A. (2016–2018). “Intergenerational Responses to the “Age of Love”: A Narrative Analysis.”

Andersen, E., Jones, G., Murphy, M.A. (2015-16). “Investigating the Case for a Dementia-Friendly District of Sicamous.”


Selected Publications & Presentations


Murphy, M.A., Helfand, F., Cash, P. & Scott, D. (2018). A visual essay to aid emergency responders and ESS workers in understanding victims’ perspectives on the Meaning of Home. HAZNET, 10 (1), (available online & in print). Online:

Jutras, M., Lambert, J., Hwang, J., Wang, L., Simon, S., Del Medico, T., Mick, P., Miller H., Kurtz, D., Murphy, M. A. & Jones, C. A. (2018). Targeting the psychosocial and functional fitness challenges of older adults with hearing loss: a participatory approach to adaptation of the walk and talk for your life program. International Journal of Audiology, 1-10.

Lambert, J., Ghadry-Tavi, R., Knuff, K., Jutras, M., Siever, J., Mick, P., Roque, C., Jones, G., Little, J., Miller, H.,    Van Bergen, C., Kurtz, D., Murphy, M.A., & Jones, C.A. (2017). Targeting functional fitness, hearing and health-related quality of life in older adults with hearing loss: Walk, Talk’n’Listen, study protocol for a pilot randomized controlled trials. Trials, 18(1), 47.

Rush, K., Murphy, M.A., & Kozak, J. (2012). A photovoice study of older adults’ conceptualizations of risk. Journal of Aging Studies, 26(4), 448-458.

Sookraj, D., Hutchinson, P., Evans, M., & Murphy, M.A. (2010).  Aboriginal organizational response to the need for culturally appropriate services in three Canadian cities. Journal of Social Work, 1-22.

Murphy, M.A., & Rota, C. (2008, June). Literature review on transitions in caregiving. Published paper sponsored by the G3: Gender, Geography and Gerontology: Building Research Capacity to Improve Health. Co-Sponsored by Women’s Health Research Network (WHRN), BC Network of Aging Research (BCNAR), BC Rural and Remote Health Research Network, UBCO and IHA.

Murphy, M.A., Teixeira, C., Sookraj, D., & Stanbury, J. (2007-08). Report of the Public Survey: District of Peachland Seniors’ Housing Needs and Marketplace Analysis.

Gripton, J., Nutter, R., Irving, A, & Murphy, M.A. (1996). A state-of-the-art review of social work research in Canada. Major professional sectoral study sponsored by SSHRC. Ottawa: Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Francis  J, & Murphy, M.A., (Research Director). (1995).  Writing on the wall: Mayor’s Task Force on youth issues, Report initiated by Jim Stuart, then Mayor of the City of Kelowna, reporting to City Council .

Selected Grants & Awards

1. UBC Alumni Affairs Faculty Community Service Award (100th Anniversary Celebration) (2017)

2. Thank-A-Prof Award, UBC Okanagan (2016-17)

3.  UBC Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence & Innovation (2015-2016)

4. Thank-A-Prof Award, UBC Okanagan (2014-15)

5. “I am ACCESSIBLE” Award – Disability Resource Center, UBC Okanagan (2012)

6. UBC Provost’s Grant for the Integration of Teaching and Research in Undergraduate Education (2010)

7. UBC President’s Award for Public Education Through the Media (2009)

8. John Hartford Foundation Scholar – Gerontological Social Work Education (2004)

9. Health and Welfare Canada Scholar (3 years – $150,000)

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

1. Member, Gerontological Society of America and Association for Gerontology in Higher Education

2. Member, Canadian Association of Gerontology

3. Former Member, National Board of Directors, Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work


  1. Society for Learning in Retirement. UBC Liaison. (2005–)
  2. Murphy, M.A. (March, 2018). Facilitator of “Poverty Reduction Strategy” consultation hosted by Westside Health Network  for the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. Dr. Murphy compiled the final report for this consultation session for the Ministry and the Social Planning Council of BC.
  3. Canadian Association of Retired Persons – Okanagan Chapter. Co-founder & Policy/Advocacy Committee Chair. (2009-2015)
  4.  Alzheimer’s Society. First Link Program Facilitator. (2009-2012)
  5. Dr. Murphy volunteers her time for a variety of speaking engagements/key-note presentations and lends her expertise to numerous organizations (e.g. Volunteer Canada, B.C. Old Age Pensioners’ Organization; B.C. Gerontological Nurses Assocation; BCGEU; Central Okanagan Association for Cardiac Health; Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre; Kelowna Community Resources;  Kelowna Seniors Outreach Services & Resource Society; Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society; Legion #26; Peachland Wellness Society; Peachland Seniors’ Housing Committee; Schubert Centre (Vernon); Shatford Centre (Penticton); Westside Health Network).


Meet Your Professor: Mary Ann Murphy (

Joyce, S. (23 January, 2020). “Models of seniors’ friendship clubs to reduce social isolation and address a search for close personal relationships.” CBC Daybreak Kamloops. [5 minute on air interview]

Lee, F. (19, December, 2017). UBC Stars Honoured. The Province.

Kent, D. (3 May, 2017). “Release of Stats Can Data on Age, Sex and Housing from the 2016 Census”. Global BC TV, Vancouver. [Video interview “live on-air” 10 mins.]

Ryan, D. (11 February, 2017). State of the union: Getting married in B.C. today more about choice than Numbers. Vancouver Sun.

Wellborn, P. (13 May, 2016). UBC celebrates ‘exemplary role models’ who make a difference.

Davis, K. (13 May, 2016). UBC Okanagan honours exceptional educators on campus.

Davis, K. (3 March, 2016). “Music helping people with dementia use reduce of medication.”

Watt, L. (6 February, 2016). “UBCO group brings together young and old in Kelowna.”

Kelowna Capital News. (2016, March 25). Music and memories: A unique music and memory project at Baptist

Housing brought new forms of learning to life for a number of UBC Okanagan students. Kelowna Capital News – Just for Seniors p.4.

Kelowna Now. (2016, March 6). Seniors speed dating focus of UBC events.

Vernon Morningstar Star.  (2016, March 4). Seniors speed dating documentary comes to Vernon.  Vernon Morningstar.

Boyd, D. (2016, March 3). No age limit for love. Penticton Western News.

Matthews, Lisa. (December 2015). Phone Interview: Seniors, wisdom, and the digital divide. CBC Cross-Country Check-Up.

Seymour, R. (2015, November 9). Province supports new Peachland seniors complex. Kelowna Daily Courier. (MSN News). (2015, November 8). UBC Okanagan prof invites seniors to audit her global aging course. MSN.

CBC News – BC. (2015, November 8). UBC Okanagan prof invites seniors to audit her global aging course. CBC News.

Zandbergen, Rebecca. (2015, November 4). The ‘intergenerational classroom’ at UBC’s Okanagan campus. CBC Radio West.

Seymour, R. (2015, September 29). New stats show seniors are No.1. Kelowna Daily Courier.


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