People experiencing marginalization and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic response (MARCO)

In Progress

Access to Health Care


Homelessness and Housing

Substance Use, Harm Reduction and Addictions

This study is part of the MAP/St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation COVID-19 Catalyst Fund, launched to advance our most urgent priority projects. Learn more

What’s New

Building a better health and social system for marginalized populations, during COVID-19 and beyond.

Efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic affect everyone, but they place a particularly heavy burden on people who are marginalized — including those experiencing homelessness, poverty, incarceration, and addiction.

Thousands will require new kinds of programs and services to protect their health and maintain essential support systems. It’s crucial that these programs are based on sound, community-based research.

This collaborative, mixed-methods, community-engaged study will examine the myriad negative effects of physical distancing policies on marginalized populations in Toronto, and will develop immediate, effective, on-the-ground solutions. This effort builds upon MAP’s extensive, established community partnerships across Toronto.

Study Objectives

  1. To describe how the current and evolving public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic changes health risks for people who are marginalized, including unintended increase in risks.
  2. To characterize barriers to accessing health and social care during the COVID-19 public health crisis that are specific to sub-populations experiencing marginalization.
  3. To develop and implement solutions to mitigate risks and enhance access to health and social services for people who are marginalized.
  4. To rapidly evaluate emerging approaches for revision, adaptation, and scale-up.

The Outcome

Our evidence and solutions will help the health and social service system respond quickly to better protect and support marginalized populations, and to prioritize investments by highest need and highest potential to make change.

Access to Health Care


Homelessness and Housing

Substance Use, Harm Reduction and Addictions

Dr. Ahmed M. Bayoumi

A general internist and HIV physician, Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi is dedicated to improving health care and quality of life for people who use drugs and people living with HIV.


  • Dr. Michaela Beder (St. Michael's Hospital)
  • Dr. Thomas Brothers (Dalhousie University)
  • Dr. Alexander Caudarella (University of Toronto)
  • Dr. Evelyn Dell (St. Michael's Hospital)
  • Zoë Dodd (South Riverdale Community Health Centre)
  • Dr. Janice Du Mont (Women’s College Hospital)
  • Dr. Claire Kendall (University of Ottawa)
  • Dr. Kathleen Kenny (University of Manitoba)
  • Dr. Michelle Klaiman (St. Michael’s Hospital)
  • Dr. Gillian Kolla (University of Toronto)
  • Dr. Cathy Long (University of Toronto)
  • Dr. Yona Lunsky (Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities)
  • Dr. Robin Mason (Women's College Hospital)
  • Richard Raybourne (The Neighbourhood Group)
  • Lisa Schlosser (The Neighbourhood Group)
  • Dr. Carol Strike (University of Toronto)
  • Dr. Samantha Young (University of Toronto)


  • Kimia Khoee (Research Coordinator)
  • Kathlyn Babaran-Henfrey (Research Coordinator)


  • University of Toronto COVID-19 Action Initiative


  • Chris Brillinger (Family Service Toronto)
  • Susan Davis (Gerstein Crisis Centre)
  • Kira Heineck (Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness)
  • Terri Hewitt (Surrey Place)
  • Sureya Ibrahim (TD Centre of Learning)
  • Jonathan John (St. Stephen’s Community House)
  • Priyanka Sheth (Sistering – A Woman’s Place)
  • Lorie Steer (St. Stephen’s Community House)
  • Caryn Thompson (Toronto Public Health)
  • Ben Vozzolo (Fontbonne Ministries)
  • Ken Younie (Metropolitan United Church)

Contact Info

Kimia Khoee

Research Coordinator