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SPPH students and fellows win CIHR doctoral, postdoctoral awards

Jul 24, 2017 |

Written by Alex Walls and Haoyuan Li

School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) students and fellows have won Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral awards and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) fellowship.


CIHR award winner Stephanie Lake

Doctoral students Anita Minh, Huiru Dong, Maeve Wickham, Stephanie Lake, Kirsten Marchand and Ashleigh Rich won Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral awards, while post-doctoral fellow Esther Maas received a CIHR fellowship.

The Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral awards provides special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree in a health-related field in Canada, according to CIHR.

Ms Marchand’s research project is titled ‘Patient perceptions of the effectiveness of oral hydromorphone for long-term opioid dependence.’ She said in the midst of an opioid crisis, the health care system required evidence for diversified treatment options to meet the needs of this population. Her research placed emphasis on the treatment experiences and perceptions of people with opioid dependence, she said. Her supervisor is Associate Professor Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes.

“My hope is that this research will lead to the integration of patient-centered treatment options, which will ultimately improve the health of this population.”
CIHR award winner Kirsten Marchand


CIHR award winner Kirsten Marchand

Ms Rich’s research project is called ‘HIV/STI risk among Canadian transgender men who have sex with men (MSM)’ and will use data from Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal to address identified gaps in knowledge on the sexual health of transgender men who have sex with men, she said. “The study will examine HIV/STI outcomes and risk factors, ultimately identifying sexual healthcare needs for this key population.” Her supervisors are Department of Medicine Associate Professor David Moore and SPPH Professor Jean Shoveller.

Ms Minh’s research project is titled ‘Childhood mental health and future employment in the welfare state’ and uses data from Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Denmark and the Netherlands. She will look at how public policies affect the mental health of children and youth, and later, employment opportunities in their adulthood. Ms Minh hopes that this research will remind everyone of the importance of investing in children and families. Her supervisors are SPPH Associate Professor Chris McLeod and Dr. Ute Bultmann from the University of Groningen, and she is in the first year of her PhD.

Miss Dong’s research project is called ‘Prescription opioid misuse among people who use illicit drugs’ and will help people understand more about this substance use issue. The research could provide opportunities to collaborate with different stakeholders and implement knowledge into policy making to help this population, she said. Miss Dong is in the first year of her PhD, and her supervisors are Faculty of Medicine Associate Professor Thomas Kerr and SPPH Professor Joel Singer.


CIHR award winner Huiru Dong

“This is what I like about public health: identify need from society, and utilize your knowledge and evidence to understand the issue.”
CIHR award winner Huiru Dong

Ms Wickham’s research project is called ‘Investigating Health Outcomes and Risk Factors for Preventable Adverse Drug Events to Improve Patient Safety and Identify Strategies for Health System Improvements’ and will investigate factors for preventable adverse drug events as well as healthcare utilization patterns and health outcomes for patients who experience these events. She is in the first year of her PhD with supervisors Department of Emergency Medicine Associate Professor Corinne Hohl and SPPH Associate Professor Kimberlyn McGrail.

Miss Lake’s research is titled ‘Exploring the health and social impacts of cannabis use during an ongoing opioid crisis among people who use illicit drugs in Vancouver, Canada’ and would look into how cannabis legalization might affect people with long-term experience using illicit opioids in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, she said, stemming from American research which found associations between cannabis use and lower rates of opioid dependence and overdose among people suffering from chronic non-cancer pain. Miss Lake was also awarded a 2017 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship. Her supervisors are SPPH Professor Jane Buxton and Department of Medicine Assistant Professor M-J Milloy.

The CIHR fellowship is valued at $90,000 over two years and aims to provide support for top-tier postdoctoral fellows in all areas of health research, according to CIHR.


CIHR award winner Ashleigh Rich

Dr. Maas’ research is titled ‘Cost-effectiveness of modified-return-to-work after a musculoskeletal injury’ and will be one of the first times researchers have used administrative data in B.C. and Canada to conduct cost-effectiveness analysis, she said. A postdoctoral fellow at the Partnership for Work, Health, and Safety, supervised by Professor Mieke Koehoorn and Associate Professor Chris McLeod, Dr. Maas said data from Ministry of Health and Worksafe BC would be requested through Population Data B.C. and linked in order to investigate if modified return to work is effective, and cost-beneficial to increase successful and sustainable return to work. Modified return to work gave workers the opportunity to gradually increase working hours and work load, and to limit or modify work task while recovering from an injury, she said.

“This is a great opportunity that I have to take.”
CIHR award winner Dr. Esther Maas

Pictured from left are Esther Maas, Anita Minh and Maeve Wickham

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