Dr. Ruth Elwood Martin is a family physician who worked in British Columbia’s provincial correctional centres starting in 1994. In 2000 she initiated a cervical cancer screening pilot inside prison, and later assisted with the HPV primary screening study in BC, “HPV-FOCAL”.  In 2005 she became the Inaugural Director of the UBC Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education (CCPHE), a network of academic, community and prison persons interested in improving the health of individuals in custody, their families and communities. She introduced the unique concept of engaging women in prison, prison staff and academics in participatory health research (PHR) to address concerns raised by the women themselves. Over 200 women became members of the PHR team over three years, and their work included conducting 16 peer health surveys, hosting 10 health research forums, developing and presenting 46 health educational PowerPoints, writing health advocacy letters and presenting to the local high school. In 2013, she was co-principal investigator for the “Bonding Through Bars” project, which examined the topic of children born to incarcerated parents, and was an expert witness in the BC Supreme Court case, which ruled that the decision to cancel a provincial correctional facility mother-child unit infringed the constitutional rights of mothers and babies.  In March 2014, Dr. Martin and CCPHE developed best practice evidence-based Guidelines for the Implementation of Mother-Child Units in Canadian Correctional Facilities.


Teaching and Research Affiliations


Site Lead, FLEX and Foundations of Scholarship, MD Undergraduate Program, Vancouver Fraser Medical Program

2015 – present

Chair, Prison Health Program Committee, Community of Practice in Family Medicine, College of Family Physicians of Canada

2011 – present

Co-Director BC-CPCSSN (Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network)

2012 – present

 Affiliated Investigator, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA)

2014 – present

Course Director, Doctor, Patient & Society 410, MD Undergraduate Program, Vancouver Fraser Medical Program

2011 – 2015

Affiliated Investigator, Women’s Health Research Institute, BC Women’s Hospital

2007 – present

Inaugural Chair, Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education

2006 – present

Lead Research Faculty, Postgraduate Education, Department of Family Practice

2002 – 2015

phone: 6048222496
Rm 157, 2206 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3

Selected Publications





Martin RE, Korchinski M, Fels L, Leggo C, eds. Arresting Hope. Inanna Publications and Education Inc. Toronto. October, 2014. 




Martin RE. Participatory Health Research in Prison. Case Study, Canada. Companion Website for ‘Health Promotion – Planning and Strategies 3e’. Jackie Green, Keith Tones, Ruth Cross and James Woodall. Sage Publications Ltd. London. Feb 2015. 3rd edition.


Plugge E, Martin RE, Hayton P. ‘Non Communicable Diseases and Prisoners’ (Chapter 10). Prisons and Health. Edited by Stefan Enggist, Lars Møller, Gauden Galea and Caroline Udesen. Copenhagen. 2014. ISBN: 978 92 890 5059 3. Available at


Martin RE, Lau J, Salmon A. Incarcerating Mothers: the Effect on the Health and Social Well-Being of Infants and their Mothers. Incarcerated mothers: Oppression and Resistance. Edited by Rebecca Bromwich & Gordana Eljupovic. Toronto. March 2013, 230 pages.  ISBN 978-1-927335-03-1


Professional Reports

Guidelines for the Implementation of Mother-Child Units in Canadian Correctional Centres. Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education, UBC, Vancouver. 2015. Martin RE Chair, Planning Committee.(in press)

Conference Proceedings. Health Beyond Bars: Towards Healthy Prisons. Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education. Sty-Wet-Tan, UBC, Vancouver. February 20 and 21, 2014. Martin RE Principal Investigator. (in press)

How to Manual. Participatory Approaches to Preventive Health with Individuals with Incarceration Experience. Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education, UBC, Vancouver. 2015. Martin RE Principal Investigator. (in press)

Workshop Proceedings. Building Prison Health Connections with Public Health and Communities to address Gaps and Inequities. Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education. Sty-Wet-Tan, UBC, Vancouver. June 10, 2010. Martin RE Chair, Planning Committee

Health impacts of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10): Responding to Mandatory Minimum Sentencing: Policy Brief: Martin, RE. Joshua Lau. Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education, April 30, 2012. Available at:


Journal Publications


Harris J, Martin RE, et al. Familial Support Impacts Incarcerated Women’s Housing Stability. Housing, Care and Support. (in press, July 2015)

Coldman AJ, Phillips N, Van Niekerk D, Smith L, Krajden M, Cook D, Quinlan DJ, Ehlen T, Miller D, Stuart GCE, Peacock S, Martin RE, Franco EL, Ogilvie G. Projected Impact of HPV and LBC Primary Testing on Referral to Colposcopy in a Canadian Cervical Cancer Screening Program. JOGC. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2015;37(5):412–420

Frank C, Martin RE. Humanities and Geriatric Education: A Strategy for Recruitment? Can Geriatr J. 2015 Mar 31:18(1):37-41


Ramsden V, Martin RE, McMillan J, Granger-Brown A, Tole B. Participatory health research within a prison setting: a qualitative analysis of ‘paragraphs of passion’. Glob Health Promot. 2014 Oct 13. pii


Martin RE, Adamson S, Korchinski M, Granger-Brown A, Ramsden VR, Buxton JA, Espinoza-Magana N, Pollock S, Smith M, Macaulay AC, Condello LL, Hislop TG.  Incarcerated women develop a nutrition and fitness program: participatory research. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 2013; 9:3:142-150


Filek H, Harris J, Koehn J, Oliffe J, Buxton J, *Martin RE. Students’ experiences of Prison Health education during medical school. Medical Teacher, Aug 2013


Puyat JH, Marhin W, Etches D, Wilson R, Martin RE, Sajjan K, Wong ST. Estimating the prevalence of depression from Electronic Medical Records. Canadian Family Physician, 2013; 59:4: 445


Martin RE, Buxton JA, Smith MF & Hislop TG. Guest editorial,The health of incarcerated women in BC. BC Medical Journal.2012; 54:10: 501- 502


Martin RE, Buxton JA, Smith MF & Hislop TG. Guest editorial, The scope of the problem: The health of incarcerated women in BC. BC Medical Journal. 2012; 54:10: 503- 508


Granger-Brown A, Buxton JA, Condello LL, Feder D, Hislop TG, Martin RE, Salmon A, Smith MF, Thompson J. Collaborative community prison programs for incarcerated women in BC. BC Medical Journal. 2012; 54:10: 509- 513


Ogilvie GS, Krajden M, van Niekerk DJ, Martin RE, Ehlen TG, Ceballos K, Smith LW, Kan L, Cook DA, Peacock S, Stuart GC, Franco EL, Coldman AJ. Primary cervical cancer screening with HPV testing compared to liquid based cytology: results of round 1 of a randomized controlled trial – the HPV FOCAL Study. Br J Cancer. 2012; 107:12:1917-24


O’Gorman CM, Martin MS, Oliffe JL, Leggo C, Korchinski M, Martin RE. Community Voices in Program Development: The Wisdom of Individuals With Incarceration Experience. Can J Public Health. 2012; Sep/Oct: 379 – 383


Martin RE, Hanson D, Hemingway C, Ramsden VR, Buxton J, Granger-Brown A, Condello LL, Macaulay AC, Janssen P, Hislop TG. Homelessness as viewed by incarcerated women: participatory research. International Journal of Prisoner Health. 2012; 8: 3/4:108-117


Black AT, Anne McCulloch A, Martin RE, Kan L. Young Women and Cervical Cancer Screening: What barriers persist in a universal health care system? Canadian Journal of Nursing Research. 2011;43.1:8-21


Buchanan M, Murphy K, Martin RE, et al. Understanding Incarcerated Women’s Perspectives on Substance Use: Catalysts, Reasons for Use, Consequences, and Desire for Change. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. 2011;50.2: 81 – 100


Ogilivie GS, van Niekerk D, Krajden M, Martin RE, et al. A randomized controlled trial of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) testing for cervical cancer screening. trial design and preliminary results (HPV FOCAL trial). Available at: Cancer 2010, 10:11doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-111


Martin RE, Murphy K, Chan R, Ramsden VR, Granger-Brown A, Macaulay AC, Kahlon R, Ogilvie G, Hislop TG. Primary Health Care: Applying the Principles within a Community-Based Participation Health Research Project Primary health care: applying the principles within a community-based participatory health research project that began in a Canadian women’s prison.  Global Health Promotion. 2009; 16: 4: 43-53


Martin RE, Smith MJ. Coming Together to Share, Listen and Learn – A Conference with a Vision. Int J of Prisoner Health. 2009; 5.4


Martin RE, Murphy K, Hanson D, et al. The development of participatory health research among incarcerated women in a Canadian prison. Int J of Prisoner Health. 2009; 5.2: 95 –107


Martin RE, Hislop GT, Grams GD, Moravan V, Calam B. Three-year follow-up following a prison-based cervical cancer screening intervention pilot program. Can J Public Health. 2008; 99.4: 263-266


Malcolm CE, Wong KK, Martin RE. Patients’ perceptions and experiences of family medicine residents in the office. Can Fam Phys. 2008; 54: 570 – 571


Martin RE, Torikka L, Chan R, Granger-Brown A, Ramsden V. Healing Facilitated by Research. Can Fam Phys. 2008; 54: 244 – 245


Martin RE.  Book review, Humanity in healthcare: the heart and soul of medicine by Peter Barritt. Oxford: Radcliffe. Can Fam Phys. 2007; 53: 1523–1524


Ogilvie, Gina, Krajden M, Martin RE, et al. Feasibility of self-collection of specimens for human papillomavirus testing in hard-to-reach women. Can Med Assn J. 2007; 177.5: 480-483


Martin RE, Hislop GT, Grams GD, Moravan V and Calam B. Beware of multiple names in database linkage research: prevalence of aliases in female prison population. BMJ. 2005; 331.7512: 335 – 336


Martin RE, Gold F, Murphy W, Remple V, Berkowitz J, Money D. Drug use and risk of bloodborne infections: a survey of female prisoners in British Columbia. Can J Public Health. 2005; 96.2: 97 – 101


Grzybowski SC, Bates J, Calam B, Alred J, Martin RE, Andrew R, Rieb L, Harris S, Wiebe C, Knell E, Berger S. A physician peer support writing group. Fam Med. 2003; 35.3: 195-201


Martin RE, Hislop GT, Grams GD, Calam B, Jones E, Moravan V. Evaluation of a cervical cancer screening intervention for prison inmates. Can J Public Health. 2003; 95.4: 285 – 289


Martin RE. Is it feasible for women to perform their own Pap smears? A research question in progress. CMAJ. 2000; 162.5: 666 – 667]


Martin RE. Would female inmates accept Papanicolaou smear screening if it was offered to them during their incarceration? CMAJ. 2000; 162.5: 657 – 658


Martin RE. A review of a prison cervical cancer screening program in British Columbia. Can J Public Health. 1998; 89.6: 382 – 386

Prison Health Education

o   Prison Health electives for postgraduate medical residents

o   Service learning opportunities for pre-clinical health discipline students in prison health

o   Summer students and MPH practicum students in prison health

o   We have developed Prison Health curriculum

o   We are also developing a Prison Health course, to be offered as a 4th year undergraduate course at UBC starting 2016


Teaching Research Methods

o   We are developing a Distributed Health Research Methods Course, Prison Health, which is an overview introduction to health research methods, and will be offered as a 4th year undergraduate course at UBC starting 2016.

o   I was lead faculty for research for the family medicine residency program for 13 years, until April, 2015. The UBC Department of Family Practice does not run a thesis based graduate level program (PhD or Masters), so I put my effort into teaching research skills to undergraduate and postgraduate family medicine trainees.


Undergraduate Students Supervised Since 2010


Joanna Taylor

Lynsey Haynes

Thomas Yeung

Sophia Peng

Michael Jew

John-Jose Nunez

Sandra Hosseini

Heather Filek

James Harris

Daan van der Stap

Erika Mehl


Manthan Sheth

Claire O’Gorman

Alida Fernhoudt

Joshua Lau

Kira Tozer

Graduate Students (MPH practicum) in Prison Health Since 2011



Research Interests

Participatory Research

Cervical Cancer and HPV-Testing in Primary Screening

BC-Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network