York University Sociology Professor Eric Mykhalovskiy has been awarded the 2017 Canadian Association for HIV Research-Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CAHR-CANFAR) Excellence in Research Award in the Social Sciences. The CAHR-CANFAR Excellence in Research Awards are intended to highlight and celebrate the contributions of Canadian researchers in HIV/AIDS research in Canada and internationally. The award recognizes his HIV scholarship and a steadfast commitment to social justice and progressive social transformation.
Mykhalovskiy is internationally recognized for his work in HIV scholarship and commitment to social justice and progressive social transformation. His early research explored how people living with HIV manage their health in the context of newly available antiretroviral therapy. His recent work focuses on HIV criminalization in Ontario.
“I was incredibly honoured to receive this award. It was especially meaningful to me that CAHR and CANFAR chose to recognize someone doing critical social science research on HIV criminalization,” says Mykhalovskiy. “Unjust and overly broad HIV criminalization has been a critical issue for people living with HIV in Canada for many years.”
Nominated by York Faculty of Environmental Studies Professor Sarah Flicker, the award was presented to Mykhalovskiy at the CAHR Conference last month.
“It was incredibly important that, at the conference, the CAHR Board of Directors endorsed a call by Canada’s top HIV research scientists for action on the part of federal, provincial and territorial governments to limit the overly broad use of the criminal law,” says Mykhalovskiy. “Research has played an important part in building the momentum for ending unjust HIV criminalization and I’m committed to continuing the work until that goal is met.”
A sociologist with primary training in Institutional Ethnography (IE), Mykhalovskiy applied IE approaches to examine the social organization of the biomedical, institutional and broader response to the HIV epidemic in Canada. He developed the concept of “healthwork” as an alternative to the social psychological notion of “chronic illness as work” and he has led numerous externally-funded individual, collaborative and community-engaged studies with an emphasis on the healthwork of people living with HIV and the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure. Mykhalovskiy has been a leader in mobilizing more just public policy responses to HIV and his work has been published in numerous journals including AIDS Care, Social Theory and Health, the International Journal of Public Health, Medical Anthropology, and Critical Public Health.
Mykhalovskiy‘s recent work focuses on HIV criminalization. Once again, drawing on IE, Mykhalovskiy has emphasized how HIV criminalization is produced through the intersection of the activities of a range of social and institutional actors and the forms of discourse they produce. He was the lead author on the first research-based policy options report examining HIV criminalization in Ontario. His work on the public health implications of HIV criminalization has been published in Social Science & Medicine and The Canadian Journal of Law and Society. Recently, he convened an international meeting on the topic which resulted in a special issue of Critical Public Health which he edited.
He has influenced the design of related research in the United Kingdom and the United States. He was invited to become a fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at the Yale School of Public Health based on his contributions to the field of HIV research. His recent collaborative work on racialization and the media representation of HIV criminalization received widespread media coverage in Canada and the US. It has been widely used by advocates, including the Canadian HIV AIDS Legal Network, to challenge unjust criminalization in Canada.