Associate Professor
Research Interests:

HIV/AIDS, addiction, injection drug use, harm reduction, drug policy

Research Sumary:

Dr. Thomas Kerr is Co-Director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE), an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (Division of AIDS), as well as a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar.

In his role at the BC-CfE, Dr. Kerr is a principal investigator of several large cohort studies involving people who inject drugs and individuals living with HIV/AIDS, including the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study (VIDUS). Dr. Kerr’s leadership in this study has enabled the BC-CfE to track HIV incidence and prevalence among injection drug users over time, and to inform evidence-based policies and programs targeting injection drug users either already infected or at-risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Kerr’s primary research interests are HIV/AIDS, injection drug use, health policy and service evaluation. A key focus of Dr. Kerr’s work has been the scientific evaluation of Insite, North America’s first safer injecting facility, and his research in this area has contributed significantly to academic, public, and government discussion, both nationally and internationally. Dr. Kerr has demonstrated that the use of Insite has been associated with reductions in public disorder related to injection drug use, reductions in HIV risk behaviour (such as syringe sharing), successful management of overdoses, and increased uptake of detoxification services and other addiction treatments.

Dr. Kerr has over 290 published or in-press scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals and has received local and national awards for his contribution to public health, including the National Knowledge Translation Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for his efforts to promote scientific discussion on the links between drug policy and HIV/AIDS. Recently, Dr. Kerr was the co-recipient of the inaugural Population and Public Health Research Milestones Initiative Award for his outstanding contribution to developing Canada’s research base for harm reduction and health equity approaches to HIV prevention and control.

PhD – University of Victoria, Health Psychology- April 2003
Recent Publications:

Selected from 297 peer reviewed publications

  • 1. Kerr T, Palepu A. Safe injection facilities in Canada: Is it time? Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2001; 165(4), 436-437. PMCID: PMC81369.
  • 2. Kerr T, Palepu, A. Safer injection facilities for injection drug users: The debate continues. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2002; 166(4): 424. PMCID: PMC99346.
  • 3. Kerr T, Wood E, Small D, Palepu A, Tyndall M. Potential use of safer injecting facilities among injection drug users in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2003; 169(8): 759-763. PMCID: PMC203277.
  • 4. Kerr T, Kaplan K, Suwannawong P, Jürgens R, Wood E. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Funding for unpopular public-health programmes. Lancet, 2004; 364(9428): 11-12.
  • 5. Kerr T, Wodak A, Elliott R, Montaner JS, Wood E. Opioid substitution and HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. Lancet, 2004; 364: 1918-1919.
  • 6. Kerr T, Tyndall M, Li K, Montaner JS, Wood E. Safer injection facility use and syringe sharing in injection drug users. Lancet, 2005, 366: 316-318.
  • 7. Kerr T, Stoltz J, Strathdee S, Li K, Hogg R, Montaner JS, Wood E. The impact of sex partners’ HIV status on HIV seroconversion in a prospective cohort of injection drug users. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 2006; 41(1): 119-123.
  • 8. Kerr T, Small W, Peeace W, Douglas D, Pierre A, Wood E. Harm reduction by a “user-run” organization: A case study of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). International Journal of Drug Policy, 2006; 17(2): 61-69.
  • 9. Kerr T, Stoltz J, Tyndall M, Li K, Zhang R, Montaner JS, Wood E. Impact of a medically supervised safer injection facility on community drug use patterns: A before and after study. British Medical Journal, 2006; 332: 220-222. PMCID: PMC1352057.
  • 10. Kerr T, Tyndall M, Zhang R, Montaner JS, Wood E. Circumstances of first injection among illicit drug users using a medically supervised safer injection facility. American Journal of Public Health, 2007; 97(7): 1228-30. PMCID: PMC1913080.
  • 11. Kerr T, Montaner JS, Wood E. Misrepresentation of science undermines HIV prevention. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2008; 178(7): 964. PMCID: PMC2267848.
  • 12. Kerr T, Montaner J, Wood E. Supervised injecting facilities: time for scale up? Lancet, 2008; 372(9636): 354-355.
  • 13. Kerr T, Marshall B, Miller C, Shannon Kate, Zhang R, Montaner JS, Wood E. Injection drug use among street-involved youth in a Canadian setting. BMC Public Health, 2009; 9(1): 171. PMCID: PMC2697990.
  • 14. Kerr T, Small W, Buchner C, Zhang R, Li K, Montaner JS, Wood E. Reductions in syringe sharing and HIV incidence among injection drug users coinciding with increased access to sterile syringes. American Journal of Public Health, 2010; 100(8): 1449-1453.
  • 15. Kerr T, Montaner JS, Wood E. The science and politics of heroin prescription. Lancet, 2010; 375(9729): 1849-1850.
Awards & Recognition:
  • National Health Research & Development Doctoral Fellowship, Health Canada, 2000 – 2001
  • Graduate Student Scholarship, International Harm Reduction Association, 2001 President’s Research Award, University of Victoria, 2001
  • Graduate Scholarship, Dallas Society, 2001
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), 2001 – 2002
  • New Investigator Award – Social Science Track, Canadian Association for HIV/AIDS Research , 2002
  • AccolAIDS Award (Science, Research & Technology), British Columbia Persons With AIDS Society, 2006
  • James M. Robinson Award for significant contributions to public health, University of British Columbia, 2006
  • International Journal of Drug Policy Award – Top 10 Cited Papers (2), 2006-2008
  • Scholar Award, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, 2006 – 2011
  • New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), 2006 – 2011
  • President’s Award for Public Education Through Media, University of British Columbia, 2007
  • National Award for Knowledge Translation, Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), 2007
  • Research Mission Award (Investigator), Providence Health Care, 2008
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Population and Public Health, Canadian Public Health Association – Population and Public Health Research Milestones Award, 2010
  • Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship, Drug Policy Alliance, November 2011