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Faculty Member

Kate Mulligan

Email Address(es)
Office Address
500-970 Lawrence Ave W Toronto, ON M6A 3B6
LinkedIn, Twitter, Alliance for Healthier Communities, School of Cities
Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division
Assistant Professor
SGS Status
Associate Member
Appointment Status
Status Only

Research Interests

  • Global 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, social 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

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

Professional Summary & Appointments

  • 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

COVID-19 Work

At the Alliance for Healthier Communities I lead a team of high performing staff to advance health equity through comprehensive primary health care. We are currently leading policy and practice for an equitable approach to COVID-19 by:

  • Contributing to municipal, provincial and federal health equity metrics and comprehensive strategies for equity in COVID-19, including the Toronto COVID-19 Response Equity Action Plan and the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada’s annual report, From Risk to Resilience: an Equity Approach to COVID-19
  • Advancing the scale and spread of community-led outreach, communications, testing and support for COVID-19 in marginalized communities – work that has been led by Community Health Centre leaders across the province of Ontario.
  • Collecting and using race-based and sociodemographic data to understand differences in COVID-19 risks and to target interventions;
  • Moving the needle on provincial strategies for marginalized people in group living environments such as shelters, jails and group homes for people with developmental and physical disabilities, migrant agricultural worker dormitories and assisted living for frail seniors;
  • Ensuring personal protective equipment and supports for Ontario’s Consumption and Treatment Services during the combined opioid and COVID-19 crises;
  • Ensuring Indigenous and Black community health experts are at the Ontario Bioethics Table and other relevant decision-making tables


Radio and Podcasts




Other work

With the Alliance, I have been at the forefront of Ontario’s health systems transformation, particularly through Ministry of Health and Long Term Care-funded innovations on:

I’m interested in healthy cities and have collaborated or advised with the School of CitiesMédecins 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

Mulligan, K., Bhatti, S., Rayner, J., & Hsiung, S. (2019). Social Prescribing: Creating Pathways Towards Better Health and Wellness. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Mulligan, K., Bhatti, S., Rayner, J., & Hsiung, S. (2019). Reply to: Looking Before We Leap: Building the Evidence for Social Prescribing for Lonely Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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

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. 

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.

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.

Recent Op-Eds

Gebremikael, L. & Mulligan, K. Black Health groups need to be part of Ontario’s health care discussion,, March 5, 2020

Mulligan, K. and Mehta, K. Prescriptions are for more than just drugs. Ontario Health Teams should use ‘social prescribing’ to improve our health and wellbeing, Healthy Debate, February 6, 2020

In the Media (pre-COVID)