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McMaster Community Poverty Initiative (MCPI) was formed in 2007 by concerned faculty, staff, and students who were interested in expanding McMaster’s role in addressing local and systematic conditions of poverty.

MCPI holds membership from faculties across campus and works cooperatively with other campus groups to enhance relationships between the University and Hamilton communities.

Support for the McMaster Community Poverty Initiative is provided by the Office of Community Engagement.

The MCPI was awarded the 2013 McMaster Synergy Award recognizing excellence in building cross-faculty partnerships.

What We Do

The three elements of our work and priorities will be developed with the guidance of community collaborators.


      • Will be undertaken in collaboration between the university and communities, building upon existing strengths, skills and resources:
          • the knowledge, priorities, strategies of communities and individuals.
          • the formal substantive and methodological knowledge of faculty and students drawn from a wide array of disciplines.


      • Students will be involved in educationally-driven service learning, student research projects and volunteer work.
      • Activities will build on existing strengths, skills and resources in the university and the community.


      • Knowledge will be produced for ‘use’ in pursuit of social change.
      • Activities will draw on existing skills in action/community-based participatory research, in knowledge transfer/exchange, and in social justice work and activism.
      • On campus, the contributions and interest of all constituencies (students, staff and faculty) will be explored and engaged.


Stephanie Baker Collins, School of Social Work

Stephanie is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at McMaster University. She teaches in the areas of social policy, poverty and homelessness, critical evaluation and research methods. Her practice background includes more than a decade of experience in social policy research, analysis, and advocacy at both the community and the national level. Her research focuses on the impact of public policy on the lives of marginalized groups, with a particular focus on the systems that are in place to address poverty and homelessness. Her current projects include an exploration of Ontario Works from the perspective of case managers and SSHRC Partnership Development Grant exploring the intersection of disability and homelessness among youth.

Fran Scott

Fran Scott is a public health physician specialist with more than 30 years of experience in local public health practice and academic leadership. She was the Director of McMaster University’s new MPH program until the end of June 2018 and is now the Associate Director for the McMaster Institute for Healthier Environments. 

Fran Scott

Fran Scott

Associate Director


photo of Sashaina Singh

Sashaina Singh

Coordinator | MCPI | Office of Community Engagement

Past Co-Chairs

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

  • Cecilia Irazuzta, OPIRG McMaster,
  • Dave Heidebrecht, Office of Community Engagement
  • Fran Scott, Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact
  • Jade Goodman, Masters Candidate, Public Health Program
  • Janet Hélène Zanin, Nursing Student 
  • Jennie Vengris, School of Social Work
  • Katie Cheung, Masters Candidate, Public Health Program
  • Kim Finlay, Student Loans and Awards Officer, Student Financial Aid & Scholarships
  • Nusrat Mir, Undergraduate Student
  • Olive Wahoush, School of Nursing
  • Richard Harris, School of Geography & Earth Sciences
  • Sashaina Singh, Office of Community Engagement
  • Sean Beaudette, Manager Student Leadership and Learning, Residence Life Office
  • Sheila Sammon, School of Social Work, Director of Community Engagement
  • Stephanie Baker-Collins, School of Social Work
  • Tina Moffat, Department of Anthropology

Student Advisory Committee

Student Advisory Committee

Coming soon...