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Recognizing the 2023/24 Student Community Builders in the Master of Public Health Program

May 28, 2024 |

Each spring, the UBC Master of Public Health (MPH) Program Team looks forward to welcoming a new team of student facilitators. These student facilitators play an invaluable role in fostering a vibrant, inclusive, and diverse community within the MPH cohort. They work diligently to promote connections among students and instill a sense of belonging within SPPH.

As we welcome our new team, we also bid farewell to our outgoing student facilitators. This year, we extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Negar Balouchestani-Asli, Jessica Groat, and Isha Gill, who have done an exceptional job in encouraging student engagement and building community. Under their leadership, the team successfully organized over 20 events for the MPH students and the broader SPPH community. These included two weeks of orientation activities, REDI (Respectful Environment, Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) sessions, Indigenous culture workshops, coffee chats with professors and peers, as well as a variety of social events.

A notable achievement of this year was the revitalization of the Mentorship Program, which thrived under their leadership. Additionally, they organized the Practicum Showcase, an event that numerous MPH students continue to reference in their practicum discussions. The team also coordinated a LinkedIn headshot and advising session, open to all SPPH students, which was greatly appreciated.

We are deeply grateful for their immense contribution to the SPPH community and for brightening the academic year for many students. We celebrate their accomplishments and wish them the best on their future adventures!

Student Facilitators:

Negar Balouchestani-Asli is a first-generation immigrant from Iran who moved to Canada when she was about 10 years old. She made the move across the country from Ontario. She completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in Chemical Biology. She finished her second year of the MPH program and graduated in May this year. On her days off she loves hanging out by the beach, discovering coffee shops or thrifting!




Isha Gill grew up in Calgary, Alberta and completed her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Isha grew up playing basketball and currently spends a lot of time coaching high school girls basketball teams. During her time at UBC she served as the VPUAA for the GSS. She has completed her final year in the MPH program and graduated in May.



Jessica Groat (she/her), a mixed settler of Red River Métis, Cree, and European heritage, is paternally affiliated with the Mountain Métis of Jasper House in Treaty 6/8 territory, Alberta. Currently residing as an uninvited guest on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories in colonially named Vancouver, she navigates this space as a second-year MPH student. Growing up surrounded by mountains has fostered a deep connection to the land and a strong passion for environmental stewardship, so outside of her academic pursuits, Jessica loves to immerse herself in beach walks, hiking, backpacking, climbing, and camping. Jessica’s particular interests lie in health equity, environmental health, and community wellness and resilience within underserved Indigenous communities. Her areas of focus extend to food security, food sovereignty, traditional food systems, land protection and restoration, and environmental justice.