Dr. Sarah de Leeuw

Associate Professor
Sarah de Leeuw grew up in northern British Columbia, a landscape which early on inspired her interests in cultural geographies, colonialism, and relationships between non-Indigenous and Aboriginal peoples. At its most fundamental, her research is focused on relationships between people in place – this often includes how people care for or account for each other, mobilize power in relation to each other, or even how they relate to each other creatively and/or strategically.

PhD, Queens, Cultural Historical Geography
MA, UNBC, Interdisciplinary Studies (Geography & English)
BFA, University of Victoria, Creative Writing
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Research Focus:
Sarah's research concerns small, intimate, geographies and expressions of power in and through place. Specifically, she focuses on colonialism in British Columbia, child welfare and residential schools, and creative and artistic expressions as means of disrupting power imbalances. Unquestionable links exist between 1) historical and contemporary colonial activities and 2) the significant health disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, both in Canada and around the world. Her research with the Northern Medical Program and the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health aims to expand understandings about colonialism (past and present), particularly as it was undertaken geographically, as a determinant of Aboriginal peoples’ health. More about her research on creative expressions and health can be found at the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) funded website: http://healtharts.ca/

Current Research Includes:
- Colonialism in British Columbia
- Social determinants of Indigenous health
- Impact of medical programs in northern and rural geographies in partnerships with health care providers who think about doctor-patient relationships with Aboriginal peoples.

Research Opportunities:
Dr. de Leeuw is keen to explore the many opportunities for new research and research partnerships that are available in northern British Columbia. She is enthusiastic about the possibilities of taking on graduate students who are interested in geographies of colonialism and broad questions concerning Indigenous and non-Indigenous people’s relationships, including how those relationships impact health.  She is also interested in different pedagogical strategies that encourage student’s critical holistic thought, particularly in reference to how students learn in medical programs.

Contact Information:
University of Northern BC
Office: 9--383 Dr Donald Rix Northern Health Sciences Centre
Phone: (250) 960-5993
Email: deleeuws@unbc.ca
Website: The Health Arts Research Centre website (healtharts.ca)