because working together is better

In our ‘collaboratory,’ we’re discovering how to get what matters on the agenda to improve mental health for everyone.

Our Participatory Process

 There is no health without mental health.  

Our vision is to transform our research as co-discovery with communities to demonstrate how empowering and effective collective action can be for the mental health for individuals, communities and society as a whole.

  • Research as co-discovery: We are rigorously committed to working authentically in collaboration with communities
  • Downstream results oriented: Interventions upstream lead to longer-lasting change
  • Data beyond stats: Stories of empowerment and transformation bring our research to life
  • Multifaceted knowledge mobilization: creative and engaging strategies to support real world impact

Beyond the individualistic crisis-intervention approach, we believe working together on meaningful and relevant systems-level policy change will have deep and lasting outcomes at all levels.

Our Team

Dr. Emily Jenkins

Dr. Emily Jenkins, a registered nurse, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia. She brings extensive clinical and research expertise from acute and community mental health and substance use settings.

Her clinical training and experience informs her program of research, which aims to enhance mental health outcomes and reduce substance use harms for Canadians through mental health promotion strategies; health services and policy redesign; and knowledge translation approaches. Dr. Jenkins’ current research is characterized by an “upstream” focus and includes studies exploring strategies to facilitate citizen engagement in mental health and substance use policy and intervention design, and youth-engaged research to promote mental health and reduce harms of substance use.

She is recognized as a leader in the youth mental health and substance use field and was an invited expert witness, providing testimony to the Senate of Canada during the study of Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act). She is regularly a featured expert in media interviews on mental health and substance use topics.


Liza McGuinness

Liza McGuinness

Liza is Research Manager at the Agenda Collaborative. She completed an MA in anthropology from the University of Victoria. Her interests include health equity and community-based participatory research, chronic illness, Indigenous health, youth engagement and mental health promotion. She has managed numerous qualitative and community-based research projects with a focus on chronic illnesses including hepatitis C, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, and patient/provider education. She is also mom to teenage twins.


Tyesa Kruz

Tyesa Kruz

To introduce myself, allow me to share a story. It is the story of a name. My name is a snapshot of my identity. It captures equal parts of my mixed cultural heritage and it allows me to share stories of my positioning when I am in different groups. I intentionally use story as a tool to share knowledge when I work in community and with diverse peoples. Story is a means to making information more accessible and engaging. This approach reminds me to enact decolonizing approaches and to highlight stories and knowledge that are often left out of mainstream spaces.

I like to work in a team setting, embracing creative thinking, and collaborative learning when striving to create clear and balanced content that attends to issues of equity for diverse audiences.



Listen to the Blue & Gold podcast

Professor Emily Jenkins tells the story of how she became involved in working in youth mental health, and discusses collaborative research approaches with young people

  • Book: Goldner, E., Jenkins, E., & Bilsker, D. (2016). A Concise Overview of Mental Health and Illness in Canada (2nd Ed). Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • Jenkins, E. McGuiness, L., Haines-Saah, R., Andres, C., Ziemann, M.J., Morris, J., Waddell, C. (2019). Equipping youth for meaningful policy engagement: An environmental scan. International Journal of Health Promotion, 1-14.
  • Slemon, A., Jenkins, E., Haines-Saah, R., Daly, Z., Jiao, S. (2019). “You can’t chain a dog to a porch”: A multisite qualitative analysis of youth narratives of parental approaches to substance use. Harm Reduction, 16:26. 
  • Gerlach, A., Jenkins, E., & Hodgson K. (2019). Disrupting assumptions of risky play in the context of structural marginalization: A community engagement project in a Canadian inner-city neighbourhood. Health and Place, 55, 80-86.
  • Haines-Saah, R., Mitchell, S., Slemon, A & Jenkins, E. (2019). ‘Parents are the best prevention’? Troubling assumptions in cannabis policy discourses in the context of legalization in Canada. International Journal of Drug Policy, 16, 132-138.
  • Jenkins, E., Bungay, V., Patterson, A., Saewyc, E., & Johnson, J. (2018). Assessing the impacts and outcomes of youth driven mental health promotion: A mixed-methods assessment of the social networking action for resilience study. Journal of Adolescence. 67, 1-11.
  • Haines-Saah, R. & Jenkins, E. (2017). Setting the legal age for access to cannabis in Canada: Bridging neuroscience, policy and prevention. Neuropsychopharmacology Reviews. 43, 213-231. PMID: 29192661
  • Jenkins, E. Slemon, A., & Haines-Saah, R. (2017). Developing Harm Reduction in the context of youth substance use: Insights from a multi-site qualitative analysis of young people’s harm minimization strategies. Harm Reduction, 14:53. DOI 10.1186/s12954-017-0180-z
  • Ng, C., Haines, Saah, R. J., Hilario, C., Jenkins, E., & Johnson, J. L. (2016). Unpacking young people’s narratives about their aspirations: A Bourdieusian perspective. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 7(3/4), 423-455.
  • Jenkins, E., Kothari, A., Bungay, V., Johnson, J.L., & Oliffe, J. (2016). Strengthening Population Health Interventions: Developing the CollaboraKTion Framework for Community-Based Knowledge Translation. Health Research Policy and Systems, 14:65. DOI 10.1186/s12961-016-0138-8
  • Haines-Saah, R., Hilario, C., Jenkins, E., Ng, C., & Johnson, J.L. (2016). Understanding adolescent narratives about “bullying” through an intersectional lens: Implications for youth mental health intervention. Youth and Society, 1-23. DOI: 10.1177/0044118X15621465
  • Jenkins, E., Johnson, J. L., Bungay, V., Kothari, A., & Saewyc, E.M. (2015). Divided and disconnected—An examination of youths’ experiences with emotional distress within the context of their everyday lives. Health & Place, 35, 105-112.
  • Jenkins, E.  (2014). The politics of knowledge: Implications for understanding and addressing mental health and illness. Nursing Inquiry, 21(1), 3-10.
  • Goldner, E.M., Jenkins, E., & Fischer, B. (2014). A narrative review of recent developments in knowledge translation and implications for mental health care providers. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 59(3).
  • Haines-Saah, R., Moffat, B., Jenkins, E., & Johnson, J. (2014). The influences of health beliefs and identity on adolescent marijuana and tobacco co-use. Qualitative Health Research. DOI:10.1177/1049732314539854.
  • Moffat, B., Jenkins, E., & Johnson, J. (2013). Weeding out the information: An ethnographic approach to exploring how young people make sense of the evidence on cannabis. Harm Reduction, 2013, 10:34.

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