Chris Van Veen, MSW, PhD (c)

I am pleased to bring a strong collaborative ethic to serve PHABC as a Director-at-Large. My career in public health started in front line mental health and addictions service provision in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and in more recent years shifted to leadership positions with local government and Vancouver Coastal Health.

In 2016 I became the City of Vancouver’s first Urban Health Planner, where I collaborated with stakeholders to implement dozens of high-profile initiatives funded through a contingency budget created to mitigate the effects of the overdose crisis. Throughout this time my team administered over 20 large grants to community non-profits, shepherded a $1M City capital investment in the new St. Paul’s Hospital Mental Health HUB, collaborated closely with local health officials, and successfully advocated for policy change with senior levels of government.

In late 2017, I joined the Senior Leadership Team at the Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer at Vancouver Coastal Health as the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Public Health Planning, where my work is largely focused on addressing the overdose emergency that is impacting communities across the region. In addition to work on the overdose crisis, I support a range of public health planning and knowledge translation projects in the Office of the Chief MHO.

I hold an MSW from York University in Toronto and am a PhD Candidate in Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University where my research focuses on the history of community-based mental health and addictions policy in British Columbia.

In my free time, I can be found drinking unhealthy amounts of coffee in cafés across Vancouver, and training for my next marathon on the seawall with my best friend Hogan (an ageing but energetic Great Dane).