Sara Komarnisky

Research Chair, Health and Community
North Slave Research Center (Yellowknife)

Education: PhD (Anthropology), University of British Columbia

Research Statement: 

As Research Chair, Sara is leading the development of an applied health research program for the NWT - working in partnership with communities, researchers, students, and policymakers to do research, share knowledge, and drive action on important issues in the territory.

Sara is a settler scholar who has over 15 years of experience with multidisciplinary and multimethod research projects grounded in community. Much of this work has been focused squarely on addressing health issues from a community level perspective to produce insightful knowledge and create policy change – from ethnography of transnational life, to material culture and archival research on hospital art and craft, to surveys about youth smoking and drinking, to community-based research to inform tuberculosis policy. Most recently, Sara was Research Manager at Hotıì ts’eeda, where she led a renewal of the GNWT Healthy Family Program to create a new program grounded in community strengths, northern context, and family needs. Sara grew up in Holden, Alberta and has lived in Yellowknife since 2018 with her partner and two children.

Scientific Contributions

1.  Komarnisky, Sara. (2021) “From the Sanatorium to the Museum and Beyond: The circulation of art and craft made by Indigenous patients at TB hospitals,” in Object Lives and Global Histories of Northern North America, B. Lemire, L. Peers, and A. Whitelaw, eds. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

2. Komarnisky, Sara. (2018) Mexicans in Alaska: An Ethnography of Mobility, Place, and Transnational Life. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

3. Komarnisky, Sara and Crystal Fraser. (2017) “150 Acts of Reconciliation for the Last 150 Days of Canada’s 150,” available at:

4. Komarnisky, Sara, Hackett, Paul, Abonyi, Sylvia, Heffernan, Courtney, and Long, Richard. (2015) “Years Ago”: Reconciliation and First Nations Narratives of Tuberculosis in the Canadian Prairie Provinces, Critical Public Health 26(4): 1-13.

5. Komarnisky, Sara, and Lindsay Bell, eds. (2015) “North, Interrupted,” Northern Public Affairs 3(3), available at: