Rural Health Equity Conference 2021

***In the effort to mitigate COVID-19 and to prioritize the health of our communities, this event is CANCELLED and postponed to 2021.***

This conference explores issues of equity and health in rural settings, sparking dialogue and connections between people who share a passion to respond to the unique needs of rural and remote communities. Presentations will explore strategies for genuine engagement and create dialogue about the implications of research findings for both rural communities and service organizations. Our goal is to spark partnerships for transformative research and knowledge translation. Two main themes guide our program:



Rural communities are characteristically resilient and connected, often working together out of necessity to overcome inequities. This theme will feature examples of community action for health equity, inviting critical reflection on concepts like ‘collaboration’ and ‘equity’. Recognizing that inequities are systemic manifestations of unfair distribution of power and privilege, this theme will also explore issues of decolonization and reconciliation.






Integrated knowledge translation centres on relationships, transforming traditional ideas of separation between researchers, research participants, and research users. This theme invites deliberation on notions of evidence and knowledge, methodology and rigour, engagement, accountability, and inclusivity. We hope to ignite dialogue about the ways in which research is a public good, part of the systems and resources that shape society.


Featured Speakers


Dr. Sarah De Leeuw is an award winning researcher and creative writer whose work focuses broadly on marginalized peoples and geographies. She has spent most of her life in Northern British Columbia, including Haida Gwaii and Terrace.

She is the Research Director of the Health Arts Research Centre and teaches in the areas of Indigenous peoples well-being and health humanities. Her research sits at the crossroads of social-cultural geography, health-humanities, social determinants of health, and anti-colonial methodologies. She is interested in why some peoples and communities have better lives than others, why other peoples and communities live with burdens of poverty, isolation, violence, discrimination, racism, sexism, or poor health.




Marion Erickson is the Manager at the Health Arts Research Centre. Marion Erickson is a Dakelh woman from the community of Nak’azdli and is a member of the Lhts’umusyoo (Beaver) Clan. Marion has her Bachelors of Public Administration and Community Development from UNBC. Marion has worked as a Researcher for a variety of projects including the Aboriginal Business Development Center, the National Center for Excellence in Indigenous Education, the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance, Nakazdli Band and the Castlemain Group.

Throughout Marion’s research experiences, Marion has recognized that the health and well-being of Indigenous people are connected to the health and well-being of the land. Marion also recognizes art as a way of storytelling and that this storytelling is a way to build relationships within our northern communities. This relationship building is necessary to work collectively towards actively addressing health inequalities in the north.


Laura McNab-Coombs is a Metis woman from the Kootenay Region currently living in Prince George working towards the completion of her Bachelor of Health Sciences in Biomedical Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). Laura is a Research Manager at the Health Arts Research Centre (HARC), helping to plan and facilitate health-arts based programs and research within various Northern Communities. She understands the sacredness and power of arts in healing and overall well-being.

Laura is the proud mother of a 7-year-old little girl, Ava Nicole, and is aspires to obtain a career in medicine, focusing on the health and wellness of northern Indigenous communities. She hopes to provide a practice that can gracefully merge Traditional and Western medicine, creating a respectful and safe space for Indigenous patients within the Canadian Healthcare System.




Would you like to get involved?












Thank you those those who have submitted an application during this time. Abstract results have been recently announced.


Please note: Given a rapidly shifting environment, we are currently assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this conference. Registration is temporarily suspended. We will provide an update by March 17th and provide conference participants with detailed information at that time. 

Updated: 3/13/2020

Click here to be redirected to the registration site.


Please check back in early April.


We are pleased to be hosting this conference at the Prestige Lakeside Resort. To book accommodations for this event, please refer to their website!







This conference is supported by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Convening and Collaborating Award and RHSRNbc.