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2019 Friedman Award for Scholars in Health

Jul 11, 2019 |

Federico Andrade Rivas


This year’s recipients of the Friedman Award for Scholars in Health have contributed a significant amount of research to the area of public health. Among the winners is Federico Andrade Rivas, a PhD student at the School of Population and Public Health. His research on global health and chemical pollution calls attention to the contamination of regional and local food systems within marginalized communities.

Through the funding of six or more months of study this opportunity provides, Federico will continue to survey the various drivers of chemical pollution and participate in the research that will aid its reduction.

The PhD program at the School of Population and Public Health stretches far beyond British Columbia and western Canada, as students from across the world collaborate on projects that inform national and international public health policy. Federico is one of the many students working to combat the negative social determinants of health in BC and beyond.

The SPPH is designed to help students translate the knowledge they gain in their chosen fields to the communities their research serves. Mohammad Karamouzian achieves this in his own PhD. His thesis on reducing the risk of preventable death among opioid users is part of the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, and looks at how injection drug use is influenced by different individual and structural factors.

The PhD program engages students in advanced health research over the course of four years of full-time study. Candidates choose from a variety of focus areas for their theses, which they must successfully defend in addition to completing a comprehensive exam at the end of their studies. Marie Paul Nisingizwe is another PhD candidate whose work is focused on the accessibility and effectiveness of Rwandan health services, particularly the country’s treatment program for hepatitis C. After the completion of her PhD, Marie aims to make meaningful contributions to the betterment of her home country.

Class discussions are peer-led, though students work closely with a faculty supervisor to better understand the global and local health disparities that exist between different populations. The Association of Population and Public Health Students (TAPPHS) offers various opportunities to connect with other scholars and leading researchers.

With just ten years since the school’s creation, the SPPH has quickly become a source of impactful change when it comes to building healthier communities. There are now 11 affiliated research units to support student engagement with external organizations, and 13 incoming PhD students this fall.