Recent student accolades:
Abigail Ralph awarded McCall MacBain Scholarship
Department of Health and Society student Abigail Ralph is one of 30 students from 10 countries to be awarded the prestigious McCall MacBain Scholarship.
The 4th year Neuroscience and Health Policy student was the only applicant from University of Toronto’s three campuses to be accepted to the program. Applicants were chosen based on academic strength and community engagement, among other factors.
The McCall MacBain Scholarship covers all tuition and fees for a master’s or professional degree at McGill, a living stipend of $2,000 per month during academic terms, mentorship, coaching, and a leadership development program. The 30 students will form the first global cohort of McCall MacBain Scholars at McGill University, arriving in September 2023.
DHS student, Bisma Ali, recipient of the 2021 UofT Student Engagement Award and winner of the Brilliant Catalyst: Digital Challenge for Rural Canada
Over this summer, Bisma was the recipient for the 2021 UofT Student Engagement Award, and received a $3000 grant to pursue an original project proposal she had submitted. The project would be investigating the COVID-19 vaccination administration experience in Ontario long-term care homes.
Also, she recently became a winner for the first ever Brilliant Catalyst: Digital Challenge for Rural Canada, where her partners and herself were 1 of 5 winning teams (out of 30+ participating teams). This competition was a National Showcase for teams to pitch their ideas to address challenges in rural communities in Ontario. This competition was organized by Ontario Tech University and the Brilliant Catalyst Incubator, partnered by the Government of Canada, as well as the University of Calgary Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking. The idea that was pitched by Bisma and her group was to create a digital website for women in rural communities to access healthcare services, as well as to create a women's health and wellness centre.
DHS student Sapolnach Prompiengchai wins the University of Toronto Libraries' Patricia and Peter Shannon Wilson Undergraduate Research Prize
Sapolnach Prompiengchai is pursuing a specialist in neuroscience (co-op) and a minor in applied statistics at the University of Toronto Scarborough and is expecting to graduate in 2024. Sapolnach noted that his electives, Foundations in Health I & II (HLTA02/03), made him realize that healthcare professionals and researchers have to integrate the socio-cultural aspects of health into their practices in order to truly solve the current health issues. “I am from Thailand, and I have always wished to combine my passion for neuroscience with other disciplines to improve Thai and global healthcare. Knowing that there has not been an effective cure yet for Alzheimer’s disease, I saw the need to search for long-term solutions,” he said. Sapolnach’s paper integrated the idea of cognitive reserve, where less educational attainment and stress decrease lifelong-accumulated cognitive network (cognitive reserve), which can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s pathology and argued for reforming educational policies and transforming ideas into real actions would provide long-term solutions to the incurable aspect of Alzheimer’s disease. “Winning this prize fueled my aspiration to become an interdisciplinary physician-scientist who would tackle health issues at the micro-, meso-, and macro-level.”
DHS student selected to present at the Unite for Sight Global Health & Innovation Conference. Department of Health and Society student Mansi Purwaha was invited to give an oral presentation at the 18th annual Unite For Sight Global Health & Innovation Conference. The Global Health & Innovation Conference is the world's largest and leading global health conference and social entrepreneurship conference. Mansi's presentation, HPV Vaccine Implementation in Rwanda: A Remarkable Journey and a Motivation for the Developing World, is one of four student/youth presentations included in the conference.
DHS Student Selina Quibrantar is the Recipient of the 2020 Education at Work Ontario (EWO) University Work-Integrated Learning Student of the Year Award
The Award recognizes the achievement of one University student and one College student engaged in Work-Integrated Learning. The winner of this year's University award is Department of Health and Socitety student Selina Quibrantar.
Selina is a fourth-year Human Biology and Population Health student at the University of Toronto Scarborough who is driven to foster change at the local and global level through investigating ways toaddress food insecurity. Selina participated in a Work-Integrated Learning experience through the Global Health and Human Biology course (HLTC26H3), where she took part in an applied research project with Black Creek Community Farm. In this project, she investigated the inequities that induce barriers to food security within Toronto. She also participated in a Global Classroom course (Food Security, Food Sovereignty and Health Course – HLTD27H3), where she worked with teammates and in partnership with a representative of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation.
“I am truly honored to be the recipient of the 2020 EWO University WIL Student of the Year award,” said Selina, who continues to work with Black Creek Community Farm to support their Emergency Food Box Program that serves neighborhoods in Northwest Toronto. “This award is a testament to the endless possibilities that can arise from work-integrated learning and global classroom experiences. With this recognition, I hope to inspire other students to immerse themselves in opportunities where they can apply what they learned in the classroom context, to make a positive impact in their own community and beyond”.
Prof. Ezezika is the instructor for both courses and the Vice President International Advisor on Global Classrooms-UTSC. He said he was impressed by Selina’s “resourcefulness, enthusiasm, commitment to the partners,” which went a long way in creating impressive project accomplishments. “She truly deserves this award,” Ezezika said. “Selina is committed to the community partners related to our Global Classroom and Work-Integrated Learning courses, and I was very pleased to nominate her for this award and grateful to our partners that make such learning experiences possible.”
Health Studies student Mihojana Jhumi publishes essay in Health Perspectives
After Health Studies student Mihojana Jhumi immigrated to Canada as a child, she felt fortunate to experience some of the things the country is known for: diversity, inclusion, and access to free health care and education, among others. As she got older, though, she was horrified to learn about unjust and discriminatory practices in Canada and the resulting disparity in living conditions, particularly for Indigenous people. While taking HLTA03 with Professor Fazli, Ms. Jhumi had the opportunity to explore the roots of this inequality.
A paper she wrote for that class has now been published in the journal Health Perspectives, published by the Health Studies Student Union at the U of T St. George Campus. The article, titled "The Role of Colonization and Discrimination in Shaping the Inequitable Health Experiences of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples of Canada” explains how the disproportionate rates of chronic diseases, mental illnesses, crimes and pervasiveness of poverty among the Indigenous populations can be traced back to the systematic and intrusive policies of European imperialism/genocide that continue to generate inequitable living conditions even today.
Ms. Jhumi wants more people to know about the roots of health inequality: “With encouragement from Professor Fazli, I decided to submit my paper […] in hopes that more people would get to understand the impact and importance of social determinants in shaping the health experiences of all Canadian citizens.” Her article is available here.
Check out the podcasts created by ICHS student in the course HLTC02: Women and Health. Each podcast explores an issue related to the gendered construction of disease and the politics of women's health. Click here to listen to the podcasts.
Former DHS student Mehdia Hassan has published an article in Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies. The article, co-authored by DHS Professor Laura Bisaillon, is titled ‘Being from a bad neighbourhood: Confronting bad decision discourses in the impoverished inner city.' Mehdia received her MA at Lakehead University and will begin her doctoral studies at OISE in the fall.
Congratulations to DHS students Danica Bui, Fatema Motiwala, Fatima Haque, Nawrose Khan and Sarah Syed for the publication of their work in "Becoming Migration Researchers: Disquieting Borders with Auto-Ethnography," a fall 2019 special issue of the journal ALiGN with an introduction by DHS Assistant Professor Laura Bisaillon! Check out their writing here.
Diane Hill wins Queen Elizabeth II (QESII) Diamond Jubilee Scholarship – Congratulations!!
Diane Hill came up with the idea to apply for the QESII after seeing the advertisement in the First Nations House listserv. The QES opportunity is open to Indigenous students at the university, she thought that it would be a great way for her to explore opportunities for her to learn more about advancing Indigenous relations globally and locally in Canada.
Diane’s internship will be at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and it is New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence, at the University of Auckland. This is part of the UofT "Trinity Program: Establishing Right Relations for Indigenous and Settler Populations in the Commonwealth”. At the University of Auckland, her role and partnership will be created with someone at the Maori Research Centre.According to Diane, she hopes to gain an understanding of how Indigenous research is conducted in New Zealand particularly because the country is a champion for advancing Indigenous resurgence and cultures, She also wants to learn how Indigeneity is conceptualized, and more specifically how Indigenous health and wellbeing is valued, studied, pursued and utilized amongst the Maori.
Diane has always been interested in Indigeneity and the advancement of Indigenous rights and New Zealand is a champion in exhibiting various aspects of progression when it comes to Indigenous-settler relations. She believes that there is a lot that she can learn as an Indigenous person in Canada. She had the support from First Nations House in terms of information on the award and application process. As well, information from her peer Jaime Kearns specifically on the interview process and application component. As an alum of the program Jaime was able to provide helpful insight into the interview. In addition, Professor Sicchia was extremely helpful in her application process as she provided her letter to the awards committee and was able to speak to both her academic and leadership accomplishments within the university space.
Upon return to Canada, it is also required for all QES scholars to present their findings to the department and we look forward to hearing all about her experience when she is back in Canada in the fall.
DHS wishes her the very best in her research expedition!
DHS student Anna-Marie Baradi featured on "Uncommon Combinations: Playing bass and planning health policies" (March 2018)
Award-winning ICHS alumnus Mehdia Hassan interviewed on Asian Vibes television for her research at the intersection of visual arts and health. Click here to watch - congratulations Mehdia! (Winter 2018)
DHS student Diane Hill awarded the Marilyn Van Normal Aboriginal Student Leadership Award (Winter 2018). Congratulations Diane!
Diane is a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, First Nations. Her service to the UTSC and UofT community more broadly has been tremendous. Briefly, she served as the President of the Indigenous Student's Association during which time she worked alongside President Gertler, Principal Kidd, Dean Gough and our Elders circle and senior faculty on the Tri-Campus and UTSC-specific Truth & Reconciliation Committees. As if this weren't enough, Diane also worked with Student Life as an Indigenous Program Developer.
Roshion, Nikita, Amina, Lamia and Nivetha wanted to construct a plan that would not only be technologically innovative but also incorporate elements that would make Toronto stand out as a Green City. They looked to Germany, a leader in green-tech solutions, and adopted the idea of a “moss wall” that is capable of filtering a wide variety of pollutants. Their plan is based on modifications to the existing technology that would suit the Toronto context better. For example, they are looking to install these on certain areas along the 401, and have proposed a ventilation system that would direct pollutants towards the walls more efficiently as these walls were initially designed to filter standing/still air and not fast-moving air. After hours of brainstorming within the team, they decided that the “live wall” combined innovation, environmental responsibility, and had revenue-generating potential that connected towards their longer-term solution: investment in urban farming. Working on the idea project has been very rewarding for the team. “I truly feel that this competition reaffirmed my belief that I am taking away so many interdisciplinary and life long skills that I gained from my health studies courses” said Lamia.
According to Nivetha, “One of the best parts of Toronto Thinks 2018 was how we had the opportunity to create an innovative idea to deal with a real-life situation in Toronto and many cities across the globe. From the day the case was released to the morning our presentation was due, we had been on our toes thinking of creative and sustainable methods to not only reduce air pollution but also invest in sustainable long-term goals”.The team was supported by Dr.Suzanne Sicchia from the Interdisciplinary Center for Health & Society at UTSC and Dr.Kiruba Krishnaswamy, thier case advisor.
The team’s training through the Interdisciplinary Cnetre for Health and Society has been instrumental in laying an effective platform on approaching their project. According, to Amina, “Our Health Studies majors have trained us to analyze any health issue from multiple perspectives and different levels of causation. This competition was an opportunity to apply these skills and develop a solution that was inclusive of business, public health, engineering, and other sectors” Similar sentiments were reiterated by Nikita who found it interesting to see how the team was able to draw upon the foundations from their health studies courses to find an interdisciplinary solution and seeing everything come together in their presentation.
The next steps for the team is to refine their budget using a more robust cost-benefit analysis. Furthermore, they would expand on the ‘live wall’ idea and integrate it not only along highways, but in spaces downtown where it could serve as a direct way to reduce the high rates of ambient air pollution. On the urban farming front, they would look to mediate partnerships between key stakeholders like Toronto Public Health, Toronto Parks and Recreation and the communities affected by Traffic-Related Air Pollution (which are often low socioeconomic neighborhoods). Their social enterprise to address Traffic-Related Air Pollution is potentially applicable to any metropolis in the world because the technology is portable and the concept of urban farming lends itself well to most cities in the world. According to Roshion, TO Thinks Case Competition was definitely one of the highlights of her final year at UTSC and she is looking forward to representing UofT at the Emory Global Health Case Competition in March.
Past student accolades:
Samir Parmar: How to have a "phenomenal" Co-op experience
Muhanad Ali: #UofTGrad 17: Muhanad Ali
Manhoor Leghari: #UofTGrad 17: Mahnoor Leghari shares a vision of UTSC