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Two SPPH students awarded Bill Meekison Memorial Scholarship in Public Health

Jul 08, 2024 |

We are excited to announce that Aygun Ibrahimova, an MPH student, and Jean Damascene Makuza, a PhD candidate, have been awarded the Bill Meekison Memorial Scholarship in Public Health. Congratulations to both of them!

Aygun Ibrahimova is an incoming second-year Master of Public Health student at UBC, holding the highest GPA in her cohort from the first year.

Aygun’s academic journey has been marked by a strong interest and involvement in public health, particularly in the areas of children’s health, improving access to healthcare for marginalized communities, and injury prevention. The Bill Meekison Memorial Scholarship not only recognizes her academic achievements, but also empowers her to further explore her research interests. Looking ahead, Aygun is enthusiastic about applying the skills she learns through her studies in the MPH program, particularly in epidemiology and biostatistics, towards addressing pressing public health challenges.

Jean Damascene Makuza is a medical doctor with a master’s degree in Epidemiology and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. He has fourteen years of experience leading programs related to infectious diseases such as HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis, and cervical cancer prevention and control. This includes providing consultancy on the development and review of policies related to HIV, STIs, and viral hepatitis. His focus is on researching the prevention and control of infectious diseases through early screening, vaccination, and treatment, using participatory and community-based research methods. His goal is to generate findings that can inform and design health interventions and policies, with an emphasis on health equity. Jean Damascene has forty-three peer-reviewed scientific publications (12 first author and 31 co-authored papers) with a total of 585 citations in the last 5 years (h-index =10). Additionally, he has presented over 30 research conference abstracts, delivered over 6 invited guest presentations, and has had 2 media interviews and blog posts published. As a Ph.D. student and trainee at the BC Centre for Disease Control and UBC, under the supervision of Dr. Naveed Janjua, Jean Damascene’s research is focused on assessing HBV care cascade and treatment outcomes for patients diagnosed with HBV in Rwanda.


About the Bill Meekison Memorial Scholarship in Public Health

Scholarships totalling $5,700 have been made available through an endowment established by friends and family in memory of Bill Meekison (1934-2019) for outstanding M.P.H. and Ph.D. students in the School of Population and Public Health who are researching public health. Bill (B.A. 1957, M.D. 1962, M.P.H.) obtained his Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto after graduating from UBC, and began his career as a public health officer in Williams Lake, British Columbia. He later served as Director of the Boundary Health Unit in the Lower Mainland, during which he prohibited a bar from serving drinks with a frost-bitten toe in them, an incident chronicled by one newspaper under the headline “Dr. Bill Says Toe Must Go”. Bill was an advocate for preventative medicine and public health, advising on vaccine clinical trails for the chicken pox vaccine and serving as a Director for the New Westminster-based Affordable Housing Societies. The scholarships are made on the recommendation of the School of Population and Public Health, in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.