Faculty of Environmental Studies


Flicker, Sarah

Flicker, Sarah
Associate Professor
Community Arts Practice (CAP) Coordinator
BA Hons (Medical Anthropology) - Brown
MPH (Maternal & Child Health and Epidemiology) - Berkeley
PhD (Social Science and Health) - Toronto


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901 - 1978)

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Community based participatory research
  • Community Development

My background is in the area of community development, public health, HIV and adolescent development. I am engaged in an exciting and innovative program of research that focuses on teen HIV prevention and support. More broadly, I am very interested in community-based participatory methodologies and am active on a variety of research teams that focus on adolescent sexual health with youth in Canada and (most recently) South Africa. I work across methodologies (qualitative, quantitative and arts-based) and seek to partner with youth, students and allied practitioners on action research agendas.

Major research projects

Taking Action! Building Aboriginal Youth Leadership in HIV Prevention
This is a national project working with six Aboriginal communities across Canada. We want to figure out how Aboriginal youth understand HIV in relation to their communities, cultures and colonization using arts-based methods. We also want to learn whether using art is an effective tool for working with youth to talk about HIV/AIDS.

The Toronto Teen Survey
We sought to gather information from diverse youth on their experiences with receiving sexual health services in Toronto so that we can improve them!

Improving Access to Appropriate Ethical Review for Community Based Research
In phase I of the project we conducted a content analysis of ethics review forms and policies across Canada. In phase II we talked to key informants who sit on/work with REBs. In Stage III we are talking to academics and community leaders who have been funded to do CBR. Our goal is to improve the quality and accessibility of ethics review.

Youth Disability and HIV
In partnership with the Griffin Centre, we sought to explore the unique vulnerabilities of queer youth labeled with intellectual disabilities to HIV.

Men’s Body Mapping Research Project
The Men's Body Mapping project is a community-based research initiative that challenges us to think differently about living with HIV/AIDS. Each map was created by a man who is a long-term survivor of this disease; each tells a visual story about how HIV impacts our bodies, our health, our relationships, and our community. One of the goals of this project is to foster dialogue and awareness about the importance of HIV education, prevention, treatment and support. Take a moment to visit this website and read the maps.

The Positive Youth Project [http://www.livepositive.ca / http://www.viepositive.ca]
Investigates how to better support Canadian youth living with HIV.

Other positions/affiliations

  • Ontario HIV Treatment Network Scholar
  • Member, Community Campus Partnership for Health

Select prizes and awards

  • Scholar Award, Ontario HIV Treatment Network Award, 2006-2011
  • Synapse Mentorship Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2008
  • Community Based Research Award of Merit, Centre for Urban Health Initiatives, 2007

Select publications

Book chapters

Lahkani, A., Oliver, V., Yee, J., Jackson, R. & Flicker, S. (2010) “Keep the fire burning brightly:” Aboriginal youth using hip-hop for warmth in a chilly climate, in L.A. Sandberg and T. Sandberg, [Eds.] Climate Change—Who’s Carrying the Burden? The chilly climates of the global environmental dilemma. CCPA: Toronto pp 205-215.

Mitchell, C., Stuart, J., DeLange, N., Moletsane, R., Buthelezi, T., Larkin, J., Flicker, S. (2010) What Difference Does This Make? Studying Southern African Youth as knowledge Producers within a New Literacy of HIV and AIDS. In Higgins, C. & Norton, B. [Eds.] Language and HIV/AIDS. Multilingual Matters: Toronto pp. 214-232.

Ricci, C., Flicker, S., Jalon, O., Jackson, R., Smillie-Adjarkwa, C. (2009). HIV Prevention with Aboriginal Youth: A Global Scoping Review. In Handy, F. & Bunch, M. [Eds.] Sense and Sustainability: Interdisciplinary Research in Environmental Studies: York University Bookstore: Toronto pp. 245-257.

Flicker, S., Travers, R., Guta A., McDonald, S., & Meagher, A. (2008). Ethical Review of Community-Based Participatory Research: Considerations for Institutional Review Boards. In Minkler, M. & Wallerstein, N. [Eds.] Community-Based Participatory Research for Health: From Process to Outcomes, Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated. San Francisco pp. 435-440.

Norman, C., Guta, A., & Flicker, S. (2008). Engaging youth in health promotion using multimedia techonologies: Reflecting on 10 years of research ethics and practice. In Luppicini, R. & Adell, R. [Eds.] Handbook of Research on Technoethics. Idea Group Inc: London pp. 295-315.

Journal articles

Guta, A., Flicker S. & Roche, B. (2012). Governing through Community Allegiance: A Qualitative Examination of Peer Research in Community-Based Participatory Research. Critical Public Health. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09581596.2012.761675.

McClelland, A., Flicker, S., Nepveux, D., Nixon, S., Vo, T., Wilson, C., Marshall, Z., Travers, R., and Proudfoot, D (2012). Seeking Safer Sex Spaces: Queer and Trans Young People Labelled with Intellectual Disabilities and Paradoxical Risks of Restriction. Journal of Homosexuality, 59(6): 808-819.

Flicker, S. & Worthington, C (2012). Public Health Research Involving Aboriginal Peoples: Research Ethics Boards Stakeholders' Reflections on Ethics' Principles and Research Processes. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 103(1):19-22.

Nixon, S., Casale, M., Flicker, S., & Rogan, M. (2012). Applying the Principles of Knowledge Translation and Exchange to Inform Dissemination of HIV Survey Results to Adolescent Participants in South Africa. Health Promotion International doi:10.1093/heapro/dar094.

Srirangarathana, G., Jaworsky, D. Larkin, J., Flicker, S., Campbell, L., Flynn, S. & Jansenf, J. (2012). Peer Sexual Health Education: Interventions for Effective Programs Evaluation. Health Education Journal, 70(1):62-71.

Nixon, S., Flicker, S., Rubincam, Casale, M., (2011). Is 80% a Passing Grade?: Meanings Attached to Condom Use in an Abstinence-Plus HIV Prevention Programme in South Africa. AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, 23(2): 213

Casale, M., Flicker, S., & Nixon, S. (2011). Fieldwork challenges: Lessons learned from a North-South public health research partnership. Health Promotion Practice. Published online before print March 21, 2011, doi:10.1177/1524839910369201.

Restoule, JP, Cambell McGee, A, Flicker, S., Larkin, J., Smillie-Adjarkwa, C., (2010). Suit the situation: Comparing urban and on-reserve aboriginal youth perspectives for effective HIV Prevention messaging. Canadian Journal of Aboriginal Community-based HIV/AIDS Research 3:5-17

Rogan, M., Hynie, M., Casale, M., Flicker, S., Nixon, S., Jobson, G., and Dawad, S. (2010) The effects of gender and socioeconomic status on youth sexual-risk norms: evidence from a poor urban community in South Africa African Journal of AIDS Research. 9(4): 355–366

Khosbi, N. & Flicker, S. (2010). Reflections on adopting a CBPR approach for your dissertation: Opportunities and Challenges. Progress in Community Health Partnerships. 4(4): 347-356

Casale, M., Nixon, S., Flicker, S., Rubincam, C., Jenney, A. (2010). Dilemmas and tensions facing a faith-based organization promoting HIV prevention among young people in South Africa. African Journal of AIDS Research. 9(2): 135–145

Guta, A, Wilson, MG, Flicker, S, Travers, R, Mason, C, Wenyeve, G & O’Campo, P. (2010) Are We Asking the Right Questions? A Review of Canadian REB Practices in Relation to Community-Based Participatory Research. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 5:2, 35-46

Flicker S., Guta, A., Larkin, J., Flynn, S., Fridkin, A., Pole, J., Travers, R., Layne, C., & Chan., K. (2010) Survey Design from the Ground-Up: The Toronto Teen Survey CBPR Approach. Health Promotion Practice. 11(1), 112-122.

Savan, B., Flicker, S., Kolenda, B., & Mildenberger, M. (2009). How to Facilitate (or Discourage) Community Based Research: Recommendations Based on a Canadian Survey. Local Environments: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. 14(8): 783 – 796.

Ricci, C., Flicker, S., Jalon, O., Jackson, R., Smillie-Adjarkwa, C. (2009). HIV Prevention with Aboriginal Youth: A Global Scoping Review. Canadian Journal of Aboriginal Community-Based HIV/AIDS Research. 2(1): 25-38.

Flicker, S. (2009). Commentary on Abstinence-plus programs for HIV infection prevention review. Evidence-Based Child Health: A Cochrane Review Journal. 4(2): 821–825.

Flicker, S., Wilson, M., Travers, R., Berekey, T., McKay, C., van der Meulen, A., Guta, A., Cleverly, S & Rourke, B. (2009). Community-Based Research in AIDS Service Organizations: What Helps and What Doesn’t? AIDS Care. 21(1): 94-102.

Flicker, S., Guta, A., & Travers, R. (2009) Where are Toronto youth getting sexual health information? Special issue: Sex Ed and Youth: Colonization, sexuality and communities of colour. Our Schools/Our Selves: 18(2): 113-118

Travers, R., Wilson, M., Flicker, S., Guta, A., Bereket, T., Rourke, S. B., McKay, C., van der Meulen, A., Cleverly, S., Dickie, M., Globerman, J. (2008). The involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS in Community Based Research: Reflections from Ontario’s HIV/AIDS Sector. AIDS Care. 20(6): 615-24.

Flicker S., Maley O., Ridgley A., Biscope S., Skinner H. (2008) e-PAR: Using Technology and Participatory Action Research to Engage Youth in Health Promotion. Journal of Action Research. 6(3): 285-303.

Flicker S. (2008) Who Benefits from Community Based Participatory Research? Health Education & Behavior. 35(1): 70-86.

Flicker S., Guta A. (2008) Ethical Approaches to Protecting Adolescent Participants in Sexual Health Research: Alternatives to Parental Consent. Journal of Adolescent Health. 42(1): 3-10.

Flicker, S., Larkin, J., Smillie-Adjarkwa, C., Restoule, JP., Barlow, K., Dagnino, M., Ricci, C., Koleszar-Green, R., & Mitchell, C., (2008). “It’s Hard to Change Something When You Don’t Know Where to Start”: Unpacking HIV Vulnerability with Aboriginal Youth in Canada. Special Issue of PIMATISIWIN: A Journal of Indigenous and Aboriginal Community Health. 5(2): 175–200.

Flicker, S., Savan, B., McGrath, M., Kolenda, B., & Mildenberger, M. (2008). If you could change one thing…What Community-Based Researchers wish they could have done differently. Journal of Community Development. 43(2): 239-253.

Flicker, S., Savan, B., Mildenberger B., & Kolenda, K. (2008). A snapshot of community-based research in Canada. Health Education Research. 23(1): 106-114.

Larkin, J., Flicker, S., Mintz, S., Dagnino, M., Koleszar-Green, R., & Mitchell, C., (2007). Widening the Circle of HIV Prevention with Aboriginal Youth. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 98(3): 113-117.

Flicker, S., Travers, R., Guta, A., Macdonald, S., & Meagher, A. (2007). Ethical Dilemmas in Community-Based Participatory Research: Recommendations for Institutional Review Boards. Journal of Urban Health. 84(4): 478-493.

In press

Khosbi, N. & Flicker, S. (in press). Reflections on adopting a CBPR approach for your dissertation: Opportunities and Challenges. Progress in Community Health Partnerships.

Casale, M., Nixon, S., Flicker, S., Rubincam, C., Jenney, A. (in press). Condoms, Abstinence, Right and Wrong: Critical Reflection on an FBO’s HIV Prevention Programme in South Africa. African Journal of AIDS Research.

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