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Flicker, Sarah


Flicker, Sarah

Associate Professor

BA Hons (Medical Anthropology) , Brown
MPH (Maternal & Child Health and Epidemiology) , Berkeley
PhD (Social Science and Health) , Toronto

Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Community based participatory research HIV/AIDS 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.



Improving Access to Appropriate Ethical Review for Community Based Research project
Drawing on the field of public health ethics, the team puts forth a platform that advocates for a dual focus on community and individual rights and respects multiple ethical norms and traditions. A paradigm shift is called for that brings together standard principles used by REBs and CBR principles into one unified ethics review paradigm for CBR. A review of current REB practices in Canada will be conducted to explore common HIV/AIDS related CBR ethical dilemmas to develop and pilot test an assessment tool for CBR ethics review.

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.




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

Selected Publications


Ciann Wilson, Sarah Flicker, Jessica Danforth, Erin Konsmo, Vanessa Oliver, Randy Jackson, Tracey Prentice, June Larkin, Jean Paul Restoule and Claudia Mitchell (in press). “Culture” as HIV Prevention: Indigenous Youth Speak Up! Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement

Sarah Flicker & Stephanie Nixon (in press) The Participatory Paper Primer:  Collaborative Approach to WRITING ManuscriptsHealth Promotion International


Ciann Wilson, Sarah Flicker, Jean-Paul Restoule. (under review) Exceptional Narratives of Resistance: (Re) telling the history of the HIV/AIDS movement. Critical Public Health.


Sarah Flicker, Ciann Wilson, Renee Monchalin, Jessica Danforth, Vanessa Oliver, Erin Konsmo, Randy Jackson, Tracey Prentice, June Larkin, Jean Paul and Claudia Mitchell. (in progress) “Stay Strong, Stay Sexy, Stay Native”: Storying Indigenous Youth HIV Prevention Possibilities. Journal of Action Research.


Renée Monchalin, Sarah Flicker, Ciann Wilson, Tracey Prentice, Vanessa Oliver, Randy Jackson, June Larkin, Claudia Mitchell, Jean-Paul Restoule, Native Youth Sexual Health Network. (2016) “When you follow your heart, you provide that path for others”: Indigenous Models of Youth Leadership in HIV Prevention. International Journal of Indigenous Health, 11(1): 135-158  DOI: 10.18357/ijih111201616012

Renée Monchalin, Alexa Lesperance, Sarah Flicker, Carmen Logie, Native Youth Sexual Health Network. (2016) Sexy Health Carnival on the Powwow Trail: HIV Prevention by and for Indigenous Youth . International Journal of Indigenous Health, 11(1): 159-176   DOI: 10.18357/ijih111201616011

Adrian Guta, Carol Strike, Stuart Murray, Sarah Flicker, Ross Upshur and Ted Myers. (2016) Governing well in research: Lessons from Canada’s HIV research sector about caring for oneself and others in the practice of community-based research. Public Health Ethics. doi: 10.1093/phe/phw024  (e-pub ahead of print)

Wilson, C. L., Flicker, S., & Restoule, J. P. (2015). Beyond the colonial divide: African diasporic and Indigenous youth alliance building for HIV prevention. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society4(2). 76-102.

Flicker, S., O’Campo, P., Monchalin, R., Thistle, J., Worthington, C., Masching, R, et al. (2015). Research Done in “A Good Way”: The Importance of Indigenous Elder Involvement in HIV Community-Based Research. American journal of public health105(6), 1149-1154.

Oliver, V., Flicker, S., Danforth, J., Konsmo, E., Wilson, C., Jackson, R., ... & Mitchell, C. (2015). ‘Women are supposed to be the leaders’: intersections of gender, race and colonisation in HIV prevention with Indigenous young people. Culture, health & sexuality, 17(7): 906-919

Guta, A., Strike, C., Flicker, S., Murray, S. J., Upshur, R., & Myers, T. (2014). Governing through community-based research: Lessons from the Canadian HIV research sector. Social Science & Medicine123, 250-261

Wilson, C., Flicker, S., Marshall, Z., Vo, T., Nixon, S., Devon, McClelland, A. and Hart, T. (2014) Condoms and Contradictions: Assessing Sexual Health Knowledge in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Youth Labelled with Intellectual Disabilities. Critical Disability Discourse. 6: 107-139 http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/cdd/article/viewFile/39667/35927

Sarah Flicker, Jessica Yee Danforth, Ciann Wilson, Vanessa Oliver, June Larkin, Jean-Paul Restoule, Claudia Mitchell, Erin Konsmo, Randy Jackson, Tracey Prentice. (2014) “Because we have really unique art”: Decolonizing Research with Indigenous Youth Using the Arts. International Journal of Indigenous Health, 10(1), 16-34

Salehi, R., Hynie, M., & Flicker, S. (2014). Factors associated with access to sexual health services among teens in toronto: does immigration matter?.Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health16(4), 638-645.

Flicker, S. and Nixon, S. (2014) The DEPICT model for participatory qualitative health promotion research analysis piloted in Canada, Zambia and South Africa. Health Promotion International, doi: 10.1093/heapro/dat093.

Jaworsky, D., Larkin, J., Sriranganathan, G., Clout, J., Janssen, J., Campbell, L., Flicker, S., Stadnicki, D., Erlich, L. & Flynn, S. (2013).  Evaluating youth sexual health peer education programs: Challenges and successes for effective evaluation practices. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 1(1), 227-234.

Flicker, S., Danforth, J., Konsmo, E., Wilson, C., Oliver, V., Jackson, R., Prentice, T., Larkin, J., Paul, J. and Mitchell, C. (2013) Because we are Natives and we stand strong to our pride: “Decolonizing HIV Prevention with Aboriginal Youth in Canada Using the Arts. Canadian Journal of Aboriginal Community-Based HIV/AIDS Research, 5, 4-23.

Smillie, C., Larkin, J., Flicker, S., Restoule, J.P., Koleszar-Green, R., Barlow, K & Mitchell, C. (2013). HIV/AIDS, Colonialism and Aboriginal Youth in Canada: Implications for HIV Prevention Work.  Canadian Journal of Aboriginal Community-Based HIV/AIDS Research, 5, 95-112

Gubrium, A. C., Hill, A. L., & Flicker, S. (2013). A Situated Practice of Ethics for Participatory Visual and Digital Methods in Public Health Research and Practice: A Focus on Digital Storytelling. American journal of public health, (0), e1-e9.

Heath, B., Flicker, S. & Nepveux, D.  (2013). A Content Analysis of Youth Sexual Health Websites: Exploring their Relevance and Accessibility for Youth with Disabilities.  Health Tomorrow: Interdisciplinarity and Internationality. 1(1): 1-25 http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/ht/article/viewFile/37271/33843.

Nixon SA, Casale M, Flicker S, Rogan M. (2013) Applying the Principles of Knowledge Translation and Exchange to Inform Dissemination of HIV Survey Results to Adolescent Participants in South Africa. Health Promotion International 28(2):233-243.

Oliver, V, van der Meulen, E, Larkin, J, Flicker, S (2013). If You Teach Them, They Will Come: Providers Reactions to Incorporating Pleasure into Youth Sexual Education Canadian Journal of Public Health. 104(2): e142-147.

Guta, A., Flicker, S., & Roche, B. (2013). Governing through community allegiance: a qualitative examination of peer research in community-based participatory research. Critical public health23(4), 432-451.

Marshall, Z,  Nixon, S,  Nepveux , D.,  Vo, T,  Wilson, C,  Flicker, S, McClelland, A, & Proudfoot, D (2012) Ethical challenges in a sexual health community-based participatory research project with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer young people labeled with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics. 7(4):20-33.

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

Marshall, Zack, Stephanie Nixon, Denise Nepveux, Tess Vo, Ciann Wilson, Sarah Flicker, Alex McClelland, and Devon Proudfoot (2012) "Navigating risks and professional roles: Research with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer young people with intellectual disabilities." Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 7(4): 20-33.

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

Sriranganathana, G., Jaworsky, D., Larkin, J.,  Flicker, S., Campbell, L., Flynn, S. & Jansenf, J.  (2012) Peer sexual health education: Interventions for effective programme evaluation. Health Education Journal. 70 (1): 62-71.

Casale, M., Flicker, S., & Nixon, S. (2011). Fieldwork challenges: Lessons learned from a North-South public health research partnership. Health Promotion Practice. 12(5): 734-743.

Flicker, S., Travers, R., Flynn, S., Larkin, J., Guta, A., Salehi, R., Pole, J., & Layne, C. (2010). Sexual health research for and with urban youth: The Toronto Teen Survey Story. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.19(4): 133-144.

Pole, JD., & Flicker, S. & The Toronto Teen Survey Team  (2010). Sexual Risk Profile of a Diverse Group of Urban Youth: An analysis of the Toronto Teen Survey. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality19(4): 145-156.

Salehi, R.,  Flicker, S. & The Toronto Teen Survey Team. (2010).  Newcomer teens are missing the sex ed boat: An analysis of predictors of sex education. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 19(4): 157-168.

Causarano, N., Pole JD., &  Flicker, S., & the Toronto Teen Survey Team. (2010). Exposure to and desire for sexual health education among urban youth: the effects of religion and other factors. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 19(4): 169-184.

van der Meulen, E., Oliver, V., Flicker, S., Travers, R., & The Toronto Teen Survey Team. (2010). Finding the Funding for Youth Sexual Health Services and Promotion: Perspectives from Ontario Service Providers. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 19(4): 185-190.

Travers, R.,  Guta, A., Flicker, S., Larkin, J, Lo, C., McArdell, S., van der Meulen, E and the Toronto Teen Survey Team. (2010) Service issues and needs for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth: Has anything changed for the current generation? Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 19(4): 191-198.

Nixon, S., Flicker, S., Rubincam, C,  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.

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.

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.

Veinot, T., Flicker, S., Skinner, H., McClelland, A., Saulnier, P., Read, S., & Goldberg, E. (2006). “Supposed to make you better but it doesn’t really”: HIV-Positive Youths’ Perceptions of HIV Treatment. Journal of Adolescent Health. 38(3): 261-267.

Flicker, S., Skinner, H., Veinot, T., McClelland, A., Saulnier, P., Read, S. R., & Goldberg, E. (2005). Falling through the cracks of the big cities: Who is meeting the needs of young people with HIV? Canadian Journal of Public Health. 96(4): 308-312.

Flicker, S. (2004). “Ask me no secrets, I’ll tell you no lies”: What happens when a respondent’s story makes no sense. The Qualitative Report. 9(3): 528-537.

Flicker, S., Goldberg, E., Read, S., Veinot, T., McClelland, A., Saulnier, P., & Skinner, H. (2004). HIV-Positive Youth's Perspectives on the Internet and e-Health. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 6(3): e32.

Flicker, S., Haans, D., & Skinner, H. (2003). Ethical dilemmas in research on Internet communities. Qualitative Health Research. 14(1): 124-134.


Flicker, S. (2014) Collaborative data analysis. In Coghlan, D. and Brydon-Miller, M. (eds), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, SAGE, London, UK. pp. 121-124.

Flicker, S. and Hill, A. (2014) Digital Storytelling. In Coghlan, D. and Brydon-Miller, M. (eds), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, SAGE, London, UK. pp. 266-270.

Wilson, C. and Flicker, S. (2014) Arts-based action research. In Coghlan, D. and Brydon-Miller, M. (eds), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, SAGE, London, UK. pp. 58-62.

Flicker, S. (2014) Stakeholder Analysis. In Coghlan, D. and Brydon-Miller, M. (eds), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, SAGE, London, UK. pp. 727-728.

Flicker, S. (2014) Disseminating Action Research. In Coghlan, D. and Brydon-Miller, M. (eds), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, SAGE, London, UK. pp. 276-280.

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 pp205-215.

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.

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.