Mary Clare Kennedy

(She, Her, Hers)

Social Work
Office: LM4-611

Research Summary

Social-structural dimensions of health among people who use drugs;
Harm reduction; Public policy and health service evaluation



PhD in Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia
MA in Social Dimensions of Health, University of Victoria
BA (Hons) in Sociology, University of Victoria

Research Interests & Projects

Dr. Mary Clare Kennedy is a Canada Research Chair in Substance Use Policy and Practice Research and an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at UBC Okanagan. She is also a Research Scientist with the BC Centre on Substance Use. Dr. Kennedy’s research draws on quantitative and qualitative methods to examine social-structural dimensions of health among people who use drugs, and to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of novel harm reduction interventions, including safe supply programs and innovations in supervised consumption service delivery. She is currently co-leading the scientific evaluation of the Safer Alternatives for Emergency Response (SAFER) initiative, a Health Canada-funded, low-barrier safe supply pilot program in Vancouver that seeks to: (1) reduce overdose risk through the prescription of pharmaceutical alternatives to the unregulated drug supply; and (2) serve as a low-barrier point of access to the continuum of care for people who use drugs. Dr. Kennedy is also currently co-leading a CIHR-funded study investigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on supervised consumption service delivery, access and outcomes in Vancouver and Surrey.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Google Scholar

Selected Journal Articles

Kennedy MC, Milloy MJ, Hayashi K, Compton M, Kerr T. Health impacts of a scale-up of supervised injection services in a Canadian setting: An interrupted time series analysis. (2021). Addiction. 117(4), 986-997.

Kennedy MC, Milloy MJ, Hayashi K, Holliday E, Wood E, Kerr T. (2020). Assisted injection within supervised injection services: Uptake and client characteristics among people who require help injecting in a Canadian setting. International Journal of Drug Policy. 86, 102967.

Kennedy MC, Hayashi K, Milloy MJ, Boyd J, Wood E, Kerr T. (2020). Supervised injection facility use and exposure to violence among a cohort of people who inject drugs: A gender-based analysis. International Journal of Drug Policy. 78, 102692.

Kennedy MC, Hayashi K, Milloy MJ, Wood E, Kerr T. (2019). Supervised injection facility use and all-cause mortality among people who inject drugs in Vancouver, Canada: A cohort study. PLOS Medicine. 16(11):e1002964-.

Collins AB, Boyd J, Mayer S, Fowler A, Kennedy MC, Bluthenthal RN, Kerr T, McNeil R. (2019). Policing space in the overdose crisis: A rapid ethnographic study of the impact of law enforcement practices on the effectiveness of overdose prevention sites. International Journal of Drug Policy. 73, 199-207.

Kennedy MC, Klassen D, Dong H, Milloy MJ, Hayashi K, Kerr T. (2019). Supervised injection facility utilization patterns: A prospective cohort study in Vancouver, Canada. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 57(3), 330-337.

Kennedy MC, Boyd J, Mayer S, Collins AB, Kerr T, McNeil R. (2019). Peer worker involvement in low-threshold supervised consumption sites in the context of an overdose epidemic in Vancouver, Canada. Social Science and Medicine. 225, 60-68.

Kennedy MC, Kerr T, Wood E, Shoveller J, Montaner J, Milloy MJ. (2018). Social and structural factors associated with greater time with a plasma HIV-1 RNA viral load above log10(1500) copies/ml among illicit drug users. AIDS. 32, 1059-1067.

Kennedy MC, Scheim A, Rachlis B, Mitra S, Bardwell G, Rourke S, Kerr T. (2018). Willingness to use drug checking within future supervised injection services among people who inject drugs in a mid-sized Canadian city. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 185, 248-252.

Kennedy MC, Karamouzian M, Kerr T. (2017). Public health and public order outcomes associated with supervised drug consumption facilities: A systematic review. Current HIV/AIDS Reports. 14(5), 161-183.

Kennedy MC, Jansson M, Benoit C, Magnuson D, Scramstad J, Halgrimsdottir H. (2017). Social relationships and social support among street-involved youth. Journal of Youth Studies, 20(10), 1328-1345.

Kerr T, Mitra S, Kennedy MC, McNeil, R. (2017). Supervised injection facilities in Canada: Past, present, and future. Harm Reduction Journal. 14(1), 28.

Kennedy MC, McNeil R, Milloy MJ, Dong H, Kerr T, Hayashi K. (2017). Residential eviction and exposure to violence among people who inject drugs in Vancouver, Canada. International Journal of Drug Policy. 41, 59-64.

Kennedy MC, Kerr T. (2017). Overdose prevention in the United States: A call for supervised injection sites. American Journal of Public Health. 107(1), 42-43.

Lake S, Kennedy MC. (2016). Health outcomes associated with illicit prescription opioid injection: A systematic review. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 35(2), 73-91.

Selected Grants & Awards

2022 Canada Research Chair in Substance Use Policy and Practice Research.

2021 CIHR Operating Grant: “Investigating access to and outcomes from supervised drug consumption services in British Columbia before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.” (PIs: Kennedy, Kerr).

2018 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fellowship.


Meet Your Professor: Mary Clare Kennedy (

Allen M. The community benefits of overdose prevention sites. CBC Daybreak North, CBC Radio. 2021 Dec 10.

Sara S. A new study reveals ‘Overdose prevention sites are low-barrier settings that not only prevent overdose deaths, but also have the added benefit of bring people into a supportive environment where they can get the help they need.’  Mornings with Simi Sara, CKNW. 2021 Dec 3.

Macarenko G. New study on overdose prevention sites. On the Coast, CBC Radio. 2021 Dec 2.

Wyton M. Overdose prevention sites bring broad health benefits, study finds. The Tyee. 2021 Dec 2.

Silva E. Overdose prevention sites in BC provide a wide range of health benefits, new study suggests. CTV News Vancouver. 2021 Dec 2.

Bains C. Open more overdose prevention sites in urban and rural settings across Canada: study. The Canadian Press. 2021 Dec 2.

The New York Times Editorial Board. Let cities open safe injection sites. The New York Times. 2018 Feb 24.


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