Dr. Bill MacEwan

Dr. Bill MacEwan

Dr. Bill MacEwan

Drug Addiction, Psychoses, Mental Health

Areas of Expertise and Strengths

  • extensive knowledge about drug addiction and mental illnesses (especially psychoses), particularly in the DTES of Vancouver
  • often walks the DTES in order to connect with his patients, so he is very dialed into the street scene
  • excellent presenter and researcher


Dr. MacEwan is a Board member of Odd Squad and has assisted on technical advice on a number of film and education projects including the 2018 documentary, Understanding Fentanyl.

Currently, Dr. MacEwan runs the Urban Psychiatry Program at St. Paul’s Hospital. He is the medical lead for the Downtown Community Court psychiatric teams. Dr. MacEwan is the former Head of Psychiatry at St. Paul’s Hospital and he is the clinical lead in the Hotel Study, a cohort examination of the health, addiction, and mental health of 500 residents of the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.

Dr. MacEwan graduated from UBC in medicine and completed his specialty training in psychiatry at UBC in 1987. His clinical and research interest has always focused on psychosis. Academically, Dr. MacEwan is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UBC and an Associate Department Head, Clinical Affairs, UBC, Department of Psychiatry. His research interests have been in the study of novel anti-psychotics in the treatment of schizophrenia; he has also been studying the clinical correlates of schizophrenia, early psychosis and addiction. 

Bill has worked in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver for the last 19 years. Initially this work was psychiatric outreach to the single room occupancy hotels in the DTES. His present work now also involves working at the Downtown Community Court (DCC) in the DTES. The mental health teams in DCC allow the opportunity to use the court as a health point of contact for individuals with extreme mental health issues. The DCC Mental Health programs help patients with their illness and prevent them from entering into further problems with criminal behavior.