- 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
- 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)
- Director, Policy & Communications, Alliance for Healthier Communities (2017-present)
- Faculty Affiliate, School of Cities, University of Toronto (2018-present)
- Mentor, Public Health Policy, University of Toronto (2013-present)
- Journalism Fellow, Certificate in Health Impact (2019-2020)
- Board Member, Toronto Board of Health (2019-present)
- Board Member, Association of Local Public Health Agencies (2019-present)
- Board Member, 8-80 Cities (2020-present)
Primary Teaching Responsibilities
- Instructor, CHL5809H Ecological Public Health
- Mentor, Collaborative Program in Public Health Policy
- Faculty Instructor, “Government Relations, Advocacy and Communications” DrPH (September 2021)
- Preceptor, MPH Practicum Placements
- Preceptor, NFS 1210 Foundations of Practice III Field Experience, Management of Community Food Systems
- Research and practicum supervision
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
- Canadian College of Health Leaders – Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion (Alliance for Healthier Communities organizational award)
- SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship
- Civic Action Diversecity Fellowship
- Agent of Change: Climate Solutions, Centre for Social Innovation and Ontario Ministry of Environment & Climate Change
- Dr. Harry Lyman Hooker Senior Fellowship
- Action Canada Fellowship
- IDRC Doctoral Research Award
- THINK Canada – American Association for the Advancement of Science
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
- Does Ontario need a ‘Health Equity Metric’ during the COVID-19 pandemic? Health equity advocate Kate Mulligan calls for Ontario to adopt California’s ‘Health Equity Metric’ to reduce COVID-19 transmission in marginalized communities. Global News October 16, 2020.
- Why Canada needs a Health Equity Metric for COVID-19. CTV Your Morning, October 20, 2020
- Advocates voice concerns about unequal access to COVID-19 testing. CityTV October 8, 2020
- Advocates calling for a hotspot-targeted response to COVID-19 spread. CityNews October 7, 2020
- Coronavirus: Families in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park face challenges with returning to school. Global News August 25, 2020
- Talking with young people about COVID-19. BBC World News with Mike Embley. August 1, 2020
- Why collecting race-based data is a matter of life and death. Global News, June 2, 2020
Radio and Podcasts
- Structural kindness: How much does sociability matter? CBC Metro Morning, October 21, 2020
- Why the idea of social bubbles might need to be re-evaluated. CBC radio (syndication) August 10, 2020
- Why is COVID-19 spreading among young people? One expert says it’s because of poor messaging. CBC Metro Morning July 23, 2020
- COVID-19: Race Outcomes. Solving Healthcare with Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, June 5, 2020.
- The Rx Community Initiative. Getting Connected to Community. Tenfold Podcast, May 22, 2020
- Social Prescribing and COVID-19. CBC Metro Morning, March 2020.
- Mandatory mask laws are spreading in Canada. CBC News June 17, 2020
- Toronto board of health unanimously votes to recognize anti-Black racism as public health crisis. Global News June 8, 2020
- The case for community-led COVID-19 testing in Toronto: Public health workers are pushing for community-led testing to combat high positivity rates in vulnerable neighbourhoods. NOW Magazine October 6, 2020
- Will COVID-19 kill public drinking fountains? Advocates say they are necessary public infrastructure and must stay accessible. CBC Windsor August 27, 2020
- COVID response must adjust to social inequalities, say health experts. Ipolitics October 15, 2020
- Why Ontario should follow California’s lead by using a ‘health equity metric’ to guide pandemic reopening plans. Toronto Star October 13, 2020
- Public health won’t tell us which employers have COVID-19 outbreaks. But we obtained WSIB data to help paint a picture. Toronto Star October 11, 2020
- Public-health officials look to change their messaging after surge in COVID-19 cases in Edmonton. The Globe and Mail, October 9, 2020
- Mandatory mask laws are spreading in Canada. CBC News, June 17, 2020
- Toronto Board of Health unanimously votes to recognize anti-Black racism as a public health crisis. Global News, June 8, 2020
- Is it safe to see friends if we stay outside?, Global News, May 24, 2020
- 11 million Canadians could experience ‘high levels of stress’ due to COVID-19: Health Canada, Global News, May 21, 2020
- For people living alone, quarantines and physical distancing present unique challenges, The Globe and Mail, April 21, 2020
- Social prescribing in the age of COVID-19, Upstream, April 15, 2020
- If we’re six feet apart, can we still hang out during the coronavirus outbreak? Global News, April 12, 2020
- Self-isolation is depriving us of touch. Healthing, April 9, 2020
- Ways to ease loneliness during social isolation. CBC Metro Morning, March 30, 2020
- The importance of remaining socially connected while physically distant. CBC The World This Weekend, March 15, 2020
- Got questions about social distancing? Here’s what you need to know. CBC, March 18, 2020
- I was appalled. Talking to people who ignore coronavirus advisories. Global News, March 16, 2020.
- Ikura, S. Mulligan K. & Ahmed S. COVID-19 testing failing marginalized communities. Healthy Debate October 2020.
- Mulligan, K & Mehta, K. Social prescribing: The next step for equitable healthcare. Healthy Debate August 2020.
- Mulligan, K. Anti-Black racism has created a public health crisis. Toronto.com June 2020. (SRA, responsible for writing and editing)
- Mulligan, K., Nnorom, O., & Rayner, J. Race-based health data urgently needed during the coronavirus pandemic. The Conversation Canada, April 20, 2020.
- COVID-19 and health inequities in Canada: Understanding Community-Based Needs and Opportunities for Action. Presented by Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Public Health Association, October 2020.
- Being Kind: How Much Does Sociability Matter? Pandemonium Series Panel, Simon Fraser University School of Planning October 2020.
- How does a public health crisis impact the education sector? Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto October 2020.
- National Health Service Leadership Academy: Engaging Patient and Citizen Leaders. September 2020.
- Social Prescribing Trials in Canada and Australia. Consumer Health Forum of Australia. September 2020.
- Collecting race-based data to address HIV, hepatitis C and other health inequities (moderator). September 2020.
- Meeting Social Needs in an Integrated Health System: Social Prescribing During COVID-19 and Beyond. NHS England, National Academy for Social Prescribing, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Alliance for Healthier Communities, National Ballet School of Canada, May 27, 2020
- National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health. COVID-19 Conversation #1: Health equity, determinants of health and COVID-19.
- COVID-19 and Health Equity for Marginalized Populations. Dalla Lana School of Public Health
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:
- Social Prescribing (creating clinical pathways to non-medical community supports and services) and Advancing Access to Team-Based Care (connecting complex clients of non-team physicians with interprofessional health care teams),
- Public Health Training for Equitable Systems Change (a living library of equity training resources led by DLSPH), and
- Our national conference on Community Health Connections with the Canadian Association of Community Health Centres.
I’m interested in healthy cities and have collaborated or advised with the School of Cities, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada, Sidewalk Toronto‘s Community Services Advisory Group, The Nature Conservancy, Altogether 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.
Mulligan, K., Bhatti, S., Rayner, J., & Hsiung, S. (2019). Social Prescribing: Creating Pathways Towards Better Health and Wellness. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16249
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. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16254
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
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.
Gebremikael, L. & Mulligan, K. Black Health groups need to be part of Ontario’s health care discussion, Toronto.com, 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)
- Healthy, Resilient & Engaged Communities. Solving Healthcare with Social Prescribing, with Dr. Kate Mulligan. Solving Healthcare with Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, March 2020
- It changed my life’: New pilot project tests health benefits of social prescribing, CBC, December 24, 2019 (French)
- The cost of loneliness: Canadians are facing a solitary future — and it’s affecting their health, Ottawa Citizen, December 19, 2019
- A doctor’s prescription for social activities can have great personal and public health benefits (audio link), CBC Metro Morning, November 19, 2019
- Eating alone often? It could be detrimental to your health. Lynda Steele Show, November 4, 2019
- Eating alone may not be good for your health: Experts. Global News, November 4, 2019.
- Social prescriptions: Sense of belonging could be best medicine (video link), Global News, June 19, 2019
- Analysis: How to find friends in the age of loneliness, YorkRegion.com, April 9, 2019
- New Social Prescribing Pilot Comes to Ontario, Health Quality Ontario Quorum, April 1, 2019
- Better Health Care through Innovation, TVO – The Agenda, March 4, 2019
- Social prescriptions: When a trip to the museum is just what the doctor ordered (audio link), CBC All in a Day (Ottawa), January 4, 2019
- A prescription for happiness, Belleville Intelligencer, January 3, 2019
- Doctors pen ‘social prescriptions’ aimed at easing depression, loneliness in patients, CTV News, January 1, 2019
- Ontario health-care providers explore social prescriptions to help patients heal without drugs, The Globe and Mail, December 17, 2018
- Doctor’s orders: ‘Social prescriptions’ have been shown to improve health, CBC, December 9, 2018
- Doctors can now issue prescriptions for free visits to the ROM, blogTO, December 6, 2018
- Doctors can now prescribe a visit to the ROM through a new initiative to combat anxiety and loneliness, Toronto Star, December 6, 2018
- Primary care providers exploring value of “social prescriptions” for patients, Canadian Medical Association Journal News, November 22, 2018
- How social prescribing is changing healthcare in Ontario, Establish Media, November 1, 2018
- Why doctors are prescribing bingo, not pills, to keep patients healthy, CBC, September 30, 2018
- Social prescribing (audio link), CBC Ottawa Morning, September 26, 2018