Faculty Member

Kate Mulligan

Email Address(es)
Office Address
500-970 Lawrence Ave W Toronto, ON M6A 3B6
Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division
Assistant Professor
SGS Status
Associate Member
Appointment Status
Status Only

Research Interests

  • Political ecologies of community health and wellbeing
  • Healthy cities
  • Applied public policy, health in all policies / healthy public policy, community governance and partnership, government relations, place-based policymaking
  • Health equity, Indigenous, Francophone, LGBTQ2S+, Black health
  • Comprehensive primary health care , prescribing, health promotion, community development
  • Discourses of health, environment, development and wellbeing
  • infrastructure, climate and health; urban and community agriculture

Education & Training History

  • PhD, Geography, McMaster University (2013)
  • M.A., Adult Education and Community Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the University of Toronto (2003)
  • B Arts Sc., Arts & Science Programme, McMaster University (2001)
  • SPOR Support Unit Masterclass on the conduct and use of Patient-Oriented Research (2017)
  • Tamarack Institute, Asset-Based Community Development for Healthy Neighbourhoods (2018)
  • CIHR Strategic Training Program in Public Health Policy, University of Toronto (2013-2014)
  • CIHR Summer Institute on Space, Place & Health. Canadian Institutes for Health Research Institute for Population and Public Health (2009)

Other Affiliations

Director, Policy & Communications, Alliance for Healthier Communities (formerly Association of Ontario Health Centres) (2017-present)

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • Instructor, CHL5809H Ecological Public Health
  • Mentor, Collaborative Program in Public Health Policy
  • Preceptor, MPH Practicum Placements
  • Preceptor, NFS 1210 Foundations of Practice III Field Experience, Management of Community Food Systems
  • Current and recent students: Sarah Elton, PhD SBHS; Anneke Hobson, MPH Nutrition and Dietitics; Kavalpreet Grewal, MPH Lakehead University; Livinus Numfor, MPH University of Guelph; Evita Basilio, PMDip (Dietetics), Ryerson University; Chi-Ling Joanna Sinn, Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo

Professional Summary & Appointments

  • Director, Policy & Communications, Alliance for Healthier Communities (formerly Association of Ontario Health Centres) (2017-present)
  • Mentor & Public Health Policy Associate, CIHR Strategic Training Program in Public Health Policy, University of Toronto (2013-present)
  • Health Research Specialist, Healthy Public Policy, Toronto Public Health (2012-2017)
  • Scientific Reviewer, Toronto Public Health Ethics Review Board (2016-2017)
  • Research Consultant, United Nations University Institute on Water, Environment & Health (2008-2012)
  • Field Researcher/Program Evaluator, Water for People, Bolivia, Honduras & El Salvador (2008,2009)
  • Researcher, Health & Social Policy, Ontario New Democratic Party (2004-2008)
  • Legislative Intern, Ontario Legislative Internship Programme (2003-2004)

Honours & Awards

(full list available upon request)

Current Research Projects

As an executive for the Alliance for Healthier Communities, I lead a team of high performing research, policy, communications and member relations staff to advance health equity in Ontario through comprehensive primary health care. I also spearhead our annual conference on Health Equity: Action and Transformation, featuring community leaders on harm reduction, Indigenous, Francophone, immigrant, women, trans and Black health, youth, and white privilege. See publications below for a recent paper on our comprehensive Model of Health and Wellbeing.

My current grant-powered work includes implementation research on Social Prescribing in 11 Community Health Centres across Ontario, working with UK experts to strengthening links between primary care clinicians and community; and multi-stakeholder collaboration on a DLSPH-led project leading Public Health Training for Equitable Systems Change.  These projects are funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Health and Wellbeing Grant Programme. I am also funded by Health Canada to lead a chapter on health equity and intersectional vulnerabilities as part of the Government of Canada’s report on the Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate.

I’m interested in healthy cities and have recently collaborated or advised with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada, Sidewalk Toronto‘s Community Services Advisory Group, The Nature ConservancyAltogether Better and the Social Prescribing Network.

Prior to working with the Alliance, my research focused primarily on the political ecology of climate change and human health in Toronto. With Toronto Public Health, I led adaptation and mitigation research and action in two main areas: 1) food system safety,  security and sustainability and 2) preventing vector-borne diseases. I worked with researchers, policy makers, residents, students and practitioners to understand and communicate the determinants of health in Toronto. We used this knowledge to help identify and implement policy changes to improve public health in our city.

My work has been funded and/or supported by Toronto Public Health through the Healthy Public Policy Directorate and the Toronto Food Strategy, Health Canada’s Climate Change and Innovation Bureau, the Institute for Global Health Equity and Innovation, the Ontario Ministry of Environment & Climate Change and the Centre for Social Innovation. For an overview of my approach to the political ecology of urban health and building healthy public policy, check out my Public Health Policy Rounds on Designer Healthscapes.

Representative Publications

Local Health

Mulligan K, Archbold J, Baker LE, Elton S, Cole DC 2018. Toronto municipal staff and policy makers’ views on urban agriculture and health: a qualitative study. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 2018-1336 https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2018.08B.001

Rayner, J; Muldoon, L; Bayoumi, I; McMurchy, D; Mulligan, K; Tharao, W 2018. Delivering Primary Health Care as Envisioned – A Model of Health and Wellbeing Guiding Community-Governed Primary Care Organizations. Journal of Integrated Care. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-02-2018-0014 

Camden, A.; Levy, J.; Vanderlinden, L.; White Barnett, O.; Minaker, L.; Mulligan, K.; Campbell, M. 2018. A Census of Mid- to Large-Sized Supermarkets in Toronto: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Consumer Nutrition Environment. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2017.12.002

Global Health

Mulligan K, Elliott SJ; and Schuster-Wallace CJ. “Global public health policy transfer and dengue fever in Putrajaya, Malaysia: a critical discourse analysis.” Critical Public Health 22.4 (2012): 407-418. Critical Public Health Editor’s Choice, featured in Data Sharing in Public Health Emergencies

Mulligan K., S. J. Elliott, and C. Schuster-Wallace. “The place of health and the health of place: Dengue fever and urban governance in Putrajaya, Malaysia.” Health & Place 18.3 (2012): 613-620. Featured in Most Downloaded Health & Place Articles

Mulligan K, Dixon J, Sinn CL & ElliottSJ  (2015). Is dengue a disease of poverty? A systematic review. Pathogens and global health, 109(1), 10-18.  Featured in #ReadMyResearch Medicine and Health Science

Mulligan, K., Vine, M.M., Schuster-Wallace, C. and Elliott, S.J. 2010. Sanitation as a Key to Global Health: Voices from the Field. Policy Brief. Hamilton, Ontario, UNU-INWEH.