Cecilia Benoit, PhD, is a Scientist at the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria, and former co-leader of the Women’s Health Research Network, one of eight population health networks funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
Apart from ongoing research focused on the occupation of midwifery and the organization of maternity care in Canada and internationally, Benoit is involved in a variety of projects that employ mixed methodologies to investigate the health of different vulnerable populations, including Aboriginal girls and women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, female adolescents confronting health stigmas associated with obesity and asthma, homeless female and male youth, frontline service workers in female-dominated low-prestige and stigmatized occupations, women and men involved in the sex industry, and pregnant women using addictive substances.
Cecilia completed her doctoral training in Sociology at the University of Toronto in 1989 and has been a visiting professor in Sweden, Finland and Japan. Cecilia is the recipient of the 2005 Excellence in Research Award, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Victoria, the 2006 Award in Gender Studies, the Royal Society of Canada, the 2008 UVic Craigdarroch Award for Research Communications, the 2009 Faculty of Social Sciences Outstanding Community Outreach Award, Faculty of Social Sciences, the UVic 2010 Craigdarroch Award for Societal Contribution, and the 2010 BC Community Achievement Award.
Cecilia lives in Victoria with her husband, Mikael, and daughter, Annika. Apart from travelling to other regions of Canada and abroad, they enjoy the lakes and forests on Vancouver Island, spending their leisure time fly-fishing in the spring, swimming in the summer, gathering wild mushrooms in the fall (these being the only three seasons in Victoria), and running and biking year-around.
May, 2010: Over the past 20 years, Cecilia Benoit’s community-based research with vulnerable populations has helped improve the lives of those who live outside the mainstream. Working closely with those on the front line of service delivery, she considers what material and emotional resources are needed to address social inequities and develops client-centred models of care for street-involved youth, sex workers, substance-using pregnant women and other stigmatized groups in BC and other regions of Canada.
March, 2010: University of Victoria’s Cecilia Benoit is a recipient of a 2010 BC Community Achievement Award and the only Victorian to receive the award this year.
“This award recognizes people who go the extra mile in the course or their job or by volunteering,” says Nora Newlands, executive director of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation. “In Cecilia’s case, she is being recognized for her contribution to programs for people in her community who are outside the mainstream.”
A scientist at UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research and a professor of sociology, Benoit studies the link between social determinants, risk behaviours, health status and access to health care services. Over the past 20 years, her community-based research with vulnerable populations has helped to improve the lives of those who are outside the mainstream because of the statuses in which they are born, where they live, what they do for a living, or what they require to become healthy and productive.
“I am very humbled to be chosen as one the recipients, and thank the awards committee for giving recognition to scholarship aimed at improving the health and well-being of the province’s most vulnerable populations,” says Benoit.
Benoit and the other 44 award recipients will be recognized in a formal presentation at Government House in Victoria on April 28, 2010. Each individual will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by B.C. artist Robert Davidson.