About the BC Gay Men’s Health Summit

Since 2005, the Summit project has provided a forum for identifying and addressing issues in HIV prevention and gay men’s health in BC. It gives the region an opportunity to strengthen the network of those working and volunteering in gay men’s health through capacity building, training and education initiatives. Not only is the Summit a forum for highlighting local research, we have presented experts from across Canada and internationally to discuss the latest trends in gay men’s health, sexual health, population health and the determinants of health.

Each year CBRC invites presentations, workshops or multi-media projects from those working and volunteering with gay men on themes that evolve with community health needs, gaps and successes. The BC Centre for Disease Control has been a partner in this project since the beginning. Over the years we have partnered with other organizations, such as HIM and AIDS Vancouver. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has been the main funder of this initiative, along with the Province of British Columbia. Other funding over the years has come from the BC Ministry of Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as well as community and corporate donations.

The audience for the Summit has grown from about 60 people in 2005 to more than 220 in 2015. They include community leaders and volunteers, front-line community health personnel, public health providers, researchers, students and government policy and funding officers. Each year the Summit has a particular focus. More detail is provided below.

Consult specific Summit programs for speakers and topics, and audio-visual presentations for particular speakers. As of 2015, individual Summit sessions are posted on the CBRC YouTube channel.


SUMMIT 2005 – Setting the Agenda

The CBRC organized the first BC Gay Men’s Health Summit in 2005, bringing together those who work and volunteer in gay men’s health. The first day gave us a snapshot of the trends, responses and policy realities on the state of gay men’s health, especially HIV, in BC.

On day two, sixty participants from across BC who work and volunteer in gay men’s health considered five areas for setting out a plan of action to better develop the field:

  1. Social Marketing and Health Communications
  2. Sexual Health Leader Training
  3. Sexual Health Promotion Planning
  4. Research, Monitoring and Evaluation
  5. Gay Men’s Health Foundation

An evening performance featured MC Cookie La Whore, Bob Loblaw Queer Comedy Troupe, Assaulted Fish, and writer Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco.

2005 Summit Report Cover

Several key recommendations were put forward in the Proceedings for Summit 1: create a dedicated gay men’s health organization; organize a research agenda that focuses on the determinants of health; strengthen the network of those working and volunteering in gay men’s health; and hold an annual capacity building and knowledge exchange meeting.




SUMMIT 2006 – Two Days for Gay Health

The second Summit featured Will Nutland, a health promotion practitioner at the Terrence Higgins Trust in London, UK. He spoke about the movement from HIV prevention to gay health and the implications for AIDS organizations in shifting their practices and programs. Dr. Michael Rekart did a review of HIV and STI in gay men in BC, while Dr. Barry Adam, from the University of Windsor reviewed the current research on gay men and HIV. Presentations included a forum on crystal meth.

Cultural events included Bob Loblaw, Queer Comedy Troupe and a play, Men Like Trees, by local playwright Craig Barron. Tim Stevenson, Vancouver City Councilor and community leader closed Summit 2.

Michael KwagSummit 2006 - Paul Blaney and Terry Trussler

SUMMIT 2007 – What will it take?

Summit 3 focused on what it would take to improve the programs and policies for gay men with a focus on creating  new community structures and practices.

Keynote speaker Bill Ryan, a social worker from McGill University told us the story of how the gay men’s HIV prevention organization in Montreal evolved into REZO, the gay men’s health organization.

Days after this Summit, the Health Initiative for Men Society (HIM) in Vancouver was incorporated as a dedicated gay men’s health organization.

This Summit also featured a forum on PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) in BC with Rob Gair from the BC Persons With AIDS Society (now Living Positive BC), Dr. Alastair McLeod from the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and Will Nutland from the Terrence Higgins Trust.

SUMMIT 2008 – How will we get there?

Summit 4 asked the question, How will we get there? With all the barriers and gaps in gay men’s health and HIV prevention, how will be get to a place where we have effective community and public health programs? 

Historically, momentum to incorporate the Health Initiative for Men Society (HIM) had come out of the last Summit.

At this Summit, we introduced HIM to the community, and we heard from Fred Swanson, Director of Gay City, Seattle’s gay men’s health organization.

Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, closed the Summit with a keynote address on the state of gay men’s health in BC, challenges and opportunities.

2008 Summit - Fred Swanson and Daryle Roberts


SUMMIT 2009 – Exposing the Determinants of Health

Gaining more knowledge of the determinants affecting gay and bisexual men’s HIV vulnerabilities has been a continuing theme since the Summits began.

In Summit 5, we turned our attention directly on the determinants of health for gay men.

Keynote speaker Dr. Verlé Harrop, from the National Collaborating Centre on the Determinants of Health asked the question, where are the determinants data for gay men’s health? With no population surveys like the census asking about sexual orientation, gay people are invisible in the system. As well, the Summit looked at the health and wellness issues of gay teenagers.

It also provided a forum on HPV in gay men with Dr. Joel Palefsky from UCSF School of Medicine, Dr. Natasha Press from St. Paul’s Hospital, and Dr. Mark Gilbert from BC Centre for Disease Control.

A reception was held for the 2009 10th anniversary of the CBRC.

2009 Summit - Joel Palefsky, Mark Gilbert and  Natasha Press2009 Summit - Dr Verle Harrop2009 Summit - Saewyc panel

SUMMIT 2010 – Impact, Resistance & Resilience

Reshaping gay men’s thinking about mental wellness: Summit 6 focused on mental health issues.

Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc from the UBC School of Nursing and the McCreary Centre Society examined protective factors, resilience and mental health among gay and bisexual teenagers in BC.

Dr. Terry Trussler from the CBRC presented research from a national survey on the issues of marginalization and depression in gay, bisexual and MSM.

Intersectionality was introduced into the Summit by Dr. Olena Hankivsky from SFU We also heard about several innovative programs from Toronto, Ontario.

2010 also featured Dr. Mark Gilbert presenting the final report from ManCount, Vancouver’s HIV surveillance research project.

2010 Summit Report Cover

SUMMIT 2011 – Health and Sexual Rights

Will sexual rights ultimately determine gay men’s health?

Dr. Ilan Meyer from the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, presented the opening keynote address on minority stress and the health of sexual minorities. In Troubling Treatment as Prevention, Dr. Barry Adam from the University of Windsor and Dr. Cindy Patton from Simon Fraser University provided a critique of this approach to HIV prevention in gay men.

Waawaate Fobister performed his one person show, Agokwe, the coming out story of a two spirit aboriginal man.

SUMMIT 2012 – Reconsidering the Determinants

Summit 8 focused our attention again on the determinants of health for gay men.

Dr. David Brennan from the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work opened the summit as the keynote speaker and spoke about body image issues among gay men.

The Investigaytors gave their first Summit presentation of their individual research studies; based on the Sex Now Survey, topics ranged from gender non-conformity to relationship status and social supports.

Dr. Terry Trussler from the CBRC presented on gay health in the workplace and the Summit closed with Len Tooley from CATIE discussing social and structural drivers of HIV among MSM in Canada.

SUMMIT 2013 – Life Course and Gay Men's Health

Described by many as "the best Summit yet", the 2013 Summit looked at the life course perspective of gay men and it's effect on gay men's health. Keynote speaker Phillip Hammack from the University of California, Santa Cruz delivered an unforgettable presentation on "Life Course and Gay Men's Health." Other Summit highlights include presentations from the University of Nottingham's Nathaniel Lewis, SFU's Chris Atchison and a panel from the Canadian Blood Services. 

The theme of life course was carried throughout the conference, with 3 youth programs across Canada and BC presenting on empowerment and capacity building for young gay men: Totally Outright, Mpowerment YVR, and the Investigaytors. 

Current trends in gay men's health were also presented, including a panel on PEP and PReP hosted by gay health leaders across Canada and a presentation on renewing HIV prevention from Mark Gilbert, BCCDC.

SUMMIT 2014 – The New Literacy of Gay Men's Health

"Night of the Living Researcher" was an opening event for the 10th Summit, where the Investigayors launched their new publication, Gays of Our Lives: Stories uncovered by the Investigaytors. The keynote address was delivered by Paul Flowers of Glasgow Caledonian University: reflections on HIV testing amongst gay men.

Continuing its committment to arts-based methods, the 2014 program included a presentation of the play, Eyes Wide Open, by Craig Barron, and directed by David C. Jones.

SUMMIT 2015 – Undoing Stigma

The 2015 Summit opened with the Stigma Bash, hosted by the Investigaytors at Vancouver's Gallery Gachet.

In the keynote session Mark Hatzenbuehler spoke of structural stigma and the health of gay communities. Other sessions explored the complexities of stigma as well as highlighting community campaigns that impact and fight stigma, in particular those addressing youth.

To read the 2015 Summit Proceedings (also available in French):


The summit reception featured a launch of three publications: Annals of Gay Sexuality, edited by Robert Birch and Marcus Greatheart; Stories and Stigma, edited by Craig Barron; and At the Interface: Exploring theory in the practice of gay men's health, by Sarah Chown.


SUMMIT 2016 – Resisting Stigma

250 people attended this year’s Summit to learn and share how we can Resist Stigma. Last year we examined stigma’s impact on health. This year we explored how to rethink stigma, push back, build resilience, and develop supportive social environments. With presentations from our Resist Stigma campaign team.

The CBRC launched five new publications: Gay Generations: Life Course and Gay Men's Health; Preventing Suicide Among Gay and Bisexual Men; Speaking Up: for the health of Queer People of Colour; #Resist stigma. How Do We Get There?; and The Researchers' Own Stories.