Amy Hall, Graduate Student Representative
The School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) is among the most research-intensive units at The University of British Columbia. Formed in 2008, SPPH’s collaborative research environment is dedicated to improving public health at home and abroad, by acting on the socioeconomic, cultural, biological, developmental, environmental, and genetic determinants of health and their interactions.
Our School is currently training over 350 graduate students to engage with a range of complex health challenges and become the next generation of researchers and practitioners in the field. We students are distributed among a Public Health & Preventive Medicine Residency Program plus six graduate-level programs, including the Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Health Sciences (MHSc), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science – Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (MSc-OEH), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
SPPH graduate students’ ability to engage with a range of complex health challenges is strengthened by our personal, academic, and professional diversity. In addition to working with and learning from one another, we have access to renowned research and teaching faculty from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Our School’s diverse program of research spans seven broad themes:
- Epidemiology & Biostatistics
- Global & Indigenous Health
- Health Care Services & Systems
- Maternal-Child Health
- Occupational & Environmental Health
- Clinical Public Health Practice
- Social & Life Course Determinants of Health
Johanna Sam is a proud member of Tsilhqot’in Nation. She grew up in a rural community located in North Central BC. Realizing the importance of accessible health care in rural communities, Johanna has involved herself in creating innovative approaches for the delivery of mental health services. She obtained a BSc in Psychology minor First Nation Studies from the University of Northern BC, where her research focused on projects related to the influence of adverse childhood experiences on lifecourse trajectories. Johanna’s current graduate research explores the intersections of attachment and resilience theories to examine gender differences in the link between adverse childhood experiences and whether attachment style is related to ways in which youth access mental health services – especially services that are being delivered or facilitated by new technology. Johanna has received several awards and scholarships, including CIHR’s Intersections for Mental Health and Addictions Research Training. She volunteers as MSc student representative for SPPH’s Full Faculty Committee and for the Aboriginal Health Sciences Student Admission Committee. Johanna has a passion for making a difference in the lives of young people, especially in Indigenous communities.
Alden Blair is a third year PhD Candidate at SPPH, working with Dr. Patricia Spittal and Dr. Martin Schechter. Originally from the USA, Alden obtained his Masters Degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His pre-UBC career ranged from working for government in Washington D.C., to designing health surveillance systems for NGOs in Burundi and Cameroon. Alden’s research examines conflict and post-conflict associated health vulnerabilities in Northern Uganda, focusing on the impact of substance use. Alden recently relocated to Northern Uganda to conduct his research full-time, in partnership with Uganda’s University of Makerere College of Health Sciences as well as local and international NGOs. Using mixed methodological techniques within a prospective cohort of 2500 participants, Alden aims to achieve a more holistic understanding of the conflict-associated vulnerabilities present in this population. Despite the distance and 10-hour time difference, Alden remains active within SPPH, assisting with the design of core courses for its MSc and PhD programs, and strengthening the School’s substantial international ties. He recently adopted a stray cat that he plans to bring back home.
Cheryl Peters is a PhD candidate in her fourth year, working under the supervision of Dr. Mieke Koehoorn. Cheryl’s research incorporates three main themes: exposure assessment methods for solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation in occupational settings; the impact of sex and gender on carcinogen exposures among workers; and cancer outcomes associated with solar UV radiation exposure (namely skin and prostate cancers). Cheryl is a new Fellow under Dr. Koehoorn’s CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health, and was supported in the past by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the CIHR Skin Research Training Centre. Most of Cheryl’s latest work has focused on her field study, which was designed to measure levels of solar UV exposure in industrial construction workers. In addition, Cheryl has held the position of Occupational Exposures Advisor for CAREX Canada, a national exposure surveillance project for occupational carcinogens, since 2007. In her leisure time, Cheryl enjoys traveling, staying active, and geology, and is an avid music fan.
Logan Trenaman is a second year MSc student working with Dr. Nick Bansback to evaluate the economic impact of new initiatives seeking to implement patient-centered care. Specifically, Logan has focused on tools that help patients navigate health care decisions by 1) providing information about competing treatment options, and 2) eliciting the patient’s preferences and values. In response to a number of high-profile publications highlighting that patient decision aids might reduce health care costs, Logan conducted a systematic review suggesting this conclusion may be premature, and that decisions may instead depend on specific contexts. This work was recently presented at the Society for Medical Decision Making conference in Baltimore, where it won the Lee Lusted award in applied health economics. Building off this research, Logan constructed the first economic model of a patient decision aid, using Obstructive Sleep Apnea as a case study. He plans to pursue further research into how much patients value decision aids as a means of prioritizing their implementation. Logan also works on the SCIRE project, which synthesizes research evidence related to rehabilitation in spinal cord injury, and volunteers with the BC Wheelchair Sports Association. Logan completed his BSc in Biology (with distinction) from the University of Victoria.
Sam J. “Tackling Youth Mental Health Inequities: Opportunities and Challenges of eHealth”. Health Science Inquiry 2013;3(1):62-3.
Peters CE, Nicol AM, Demers PA. “Prevalence of exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on the job in Canada”. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2012;103(3):223-26.
Blair AH, Shneeberg A. Changes in the ‘Healthy Migrant Effect’ in Canada: Are Recent Immigrants Healthier than They Were a Decade Ago? Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 2013 Mar 13. [Epub ahead of print]