PHIRN: Population Health Improvement Research Network

Recipients of PHIRN 2012 Doctoral Research Awards

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The Population Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 Doctoral Research awards. The purpose of these awards is to provide financial assistance to doctoral students in their final years of study to complete their research on population health equity or population health interventions in Ontario

Paola Calvasina

paola-calvasinaIs there an oral healthy immigrant effect? Examining the determinants of oral health among Latin American immigrants in Canada. Determinants of oral health among recent immigrants in Canada: a mixed method approach Oral diseases are a major public health problem worldwide, and are strongly influenced by socioeconomic status. In Canada, recent immigrants are at greater risk of developing oral diseases given that many of them struggle to settle in their new country. Although the general health status of recent immigrants in Canada has been widely studied, there is little= information on their oral health. To fill this knowledge gap, this program of research investigates the determinants of oral health of recent immigrants in Canada, and examines differences in oral health status, access to dental care, and dental utilization between landed immigrants at six months and four years. This Research will be conducted in two phases. It will also contribute to a broader understanding of the effects of social environmental factors on the oral health of immigrants.

Stephanie Montesanti

stephanie-montesantiHer doctoral research examines community participation initiatives involving marginalized communities in local health system planning. There are three interrelated phases of her doctoral thesis. The first phase, involves a review synthesis to determine what is known about the design of participation initiatives with marginalized communities. The second phase, explores in-depth participation strategies with marginalized communities through a multiple case study analysis of Community Health Centre’s (CHCs) in Ontario. Key informant interviews were conducted with CHC staff to understand the design features and approach of community participation used within the CHC sector. Lastly, the third phase is an integrated knowledge translation study that involves the use focus groups with CHC staff from participating CHCs in the case study, to determine the applicability of a conceptual framework on the design features and components of a participation strategy with marginalized communities within CHCs in Ontario.

Sarah Wiebe

sarah-wiebeSome spaces seem to be forgotten places. In pursuit of enhancing population health equity, my research investigates one such place: the Aamjiwnaang First Nation reserve, through community-based qualitative research and political ethnography. Using an interpretive policy lens, this dissertation examines how Canada’s constitutional division of powers impacts this First Nations community ‘on the ground’. Pollution in close proximity to Aboriginal reserves creates a distinct set of vulnerabilities for communities caught within a jurisdictional limbo where ‘health’ and ‘environmental’ policy coalesce. In practice, environmental health issues appear through a discretionary patchwork of policy decisions, rather than through formal‐legal responsibilities. For most Canadians, provincial and regional authorities share responsibility for environment and health issues. In contrast, Aboriginal health for on‐reserve Status Indians is a direct responsibility of the federal government; yet, efforts to address the twin issues of health and environment policy for those living on‐reserve have been limited.

Robyn Plunkett

robyn-plunkettA purpose of this doctoral work is to explore how the church influences or could influence health promotion for rural women in Ontario. The need to conceptualize rural women’s health promotion in the church is of utmost importance because the church, which plays a central role in the lives of many rural women, may also be one of the few, if not the only, community centres remaining in many rural communities and may provide access to social determinants of health. This study is guided by interpretive phenomenology and the innovative research method of photovoice, which offers a unique opportunity to actively engage rural women in health research. This study will provide insight into rural women’s health needs and resources, but will also more broadly inform how intersections of community institutions, social situations, and geographical place shape and reduce population health inequities.

Joanne Crawford

joanne-crawfordColorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada. Population-based screening using the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) has been proven effective in reducing CRC mortality in the average risk population. Average risk includes those individuals with no personal or family history of CRC, no inflammatory bowel disease, and no symptoms. In Canada, CRC screening has been low in the average risk population despite the availability of screening. Specifically, FOBT uptake rates were 29.7% for the eligible population in Ontario (2007-2008), with lower rates in sub-groups of the population. For example, South Asian immigrants, a rapidly growing ethno-cultural population in Ontario, have lower CRC incidence rates but with time spent in Canada, the risk of CRC increases approaching similar rates to the Canadian born population. More importantly, CRC screening rates are lower among South Asian immigrants in Ontario.

Michelle Firestone

michelle-firestoneMental health and substance misuse have been identified as top health priorities currently facing Aboriginal peoples in Canada, however accessible and culturally relevant population health data for this group is almost non-existent. There is also a lack of culturally appropriate tools and methods for identifying and measuring health and social characteristics from an Indigenous perspective. This includes the need for strength-based interpretations of research findings. Using urban First Nations adult population data from the Our Health Counts study we aimed to address these knowledge gaps. These findings support the hypothesis regarding resiliencies and the importance of culture-based coping mechanisms and health services for Aboriginal people. This research will also inform community services, programming, and evaluation and will contribute to the overall deficiency in available public health information on Aboriginal people in Canada.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 November 2012 15:30 )