Health After 2020 enables researchers to engage in interdisciplinary and cross-institutional projects that support, challenge, and improve health producing systems. These collaborations are intended to respond to the broad effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and further our understanding of the determinants and experience of health and wellbeing.
UBC Health SCholars
Seven interdisciplinary, cross-institutional teams have been accepted into the Health After 2020 program for 2022/23.
Are early years still the greatest equalizer? Examining equity in early childhood emerging from the COVID era
This project will bring together a small, multidisciplinary group of scholars and trainees to host conversations aimed at investigating the shift in the impact of social determinants of health on development of all children associated with the COVID pandemic. Discussions will include using data to identify specific populations at risk, identifying protective factors that strengthened families during the pandemic, and illuminating where and how we can intervene for greatest impact. This partnership will envision a comprehensive program of research and will result in multiple applications for further funding.
- Martin Guhn, Associate Professor, Human Early Learning Partnership, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Mariana Brussoni, Director, Human Early Learning Partnership and Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics and School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Matthew Carwana, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Magdalena Janus, Professor, Offord Centre for Child Studies, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
Hearing Indigenous voices during the COVID-19 pandemic
This project is a hybrid dialogue session that highlights the experiences and triumphs of Indigenous peoples around the world. The session will be an opportunity for researchers based in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand to discuss lessons learned about conducting research and Indigenous resilience during the pandemic.
Invited speakers include Indigenous researchers and researcher-allies from British Columbia, New Mexico, and Auckland who have worked with, and for, Indigenous communities during COVID-19. The dialogue session is an opportunity for these researchers to present their findings and to interact with the results from the Hearing Indigenous Voices survey, which is from the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network’s Indigenous Engagement, Development and Research Pillar 7. The goal of this survey is to understand the experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the US during COVID-19, identify their pandemic-related needs, and amplify exemplary responses witnessed within Indigenous communities.
- Kimberly Huyser, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, UBC
- Katie Collins, Assistant Professor, Psychology and Health Sciences, University of Saskatchewan
- Michelle Johnson-Jennings, Professor, School of Social Work, University of Washington
- Maureen Dobbins, Advisory Council Member, Indigenous Engagement, Development and Research Pillar, Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network
- Sheila Blackstock, Advisory Council Member, Indigenous Engagement, Development and Research Pillar, Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network
- Renée Masching, Advisory Council Member, Indigenous Engagement, Development and Research Pillar, Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network
- Felix Lockhart, Advisory Council Member, Indigenous Engagement, Development and Research Pillar, Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network
- Lorenda Belone, Associate Professor, Department of Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of New Mexico College of Education
- Shannon Sanchez-Youngman, Assistant Professor, Health and Social Policy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of New Mexico College of Population Health
Hungry for stories: Building collaboration among dietitians, health scholars, policymakers, and artists to spark public action on food insecurity
This project will catalyze needed interdisciplinary collaboration and dialogue about what is at stake when health policymakers, practitioners, and educators are engaging with and teaching about nutrition and food insecurity without the necessary knowledge, tools, and evidence about this well studied public health crisis.
The research team will explore how scholars and practitioners can engage more directly on the ground with communities, health policy decisionmakers, and educators using visual arts and accessible teaching materials to ensure that current discourse about food insecurity and thus health policy shifts towards equitable and effective, evidence-based approaches.
The team includes three dietitian-scholars in collaboration with a dietitian-PhD student and two artist-scholar trainees with support from Provincial Health Services Authority, who are working together to spark the creation of new and creative approaches for shifting public discourse, scholarly approaches, and out-of-the box strategies for improving the state of food insecurity in Canada.
- Jennifer Black, Associate Professor, Food, Nutrition and Health, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC
- Lindsay Goodridge, PhD student, Human Nutrition, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC
- Jennifer Brady, Director, Nutrition and Dietetics, Acadia University
- Elaine Power, Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University
- Dian Day, Doctoral Candidate, Cultural Studies, Queen’s University
- Amanda White, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Visual Arts, Western University
- Seri Niimi-Burch, Coordinator, Food Security, BC Centre for Disease Control, Provincial Health Services Authority
PROmoting Early Childhood Outside (PRO-ECO) in BC early learning and child care centres
Spending time outside and at play is fundamental for children’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development. PROmoting Early Childhood Outside (PRO-ECO) is a three-year project that aims to increase outdoor play opportunities in early learning and child care (ELCC) centres in British Columbia.
This collaborative project is partnering with the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UBC, Vancouver Island University, Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia, Métis Nation British Columbia, and the Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia to co-create inclusive, distinctions-based, locally guided, sustainable, and culturally appropriate outdoor play opportunities at ELCC centres across BC through Indigenous engagement and reconciliation.
To ensure this project is reflective and co-created, the project team is forging relationships with partners, ELCC centres, and communities. This component of the project will focus on relationship building, developing partnership agreements with participating ELCC centres, co-designing the PRO-ECO project and research study, and establishing data management and stewardship protocols, adhering to OCAP principles of data governance.
- Mariana Brussoni, Director, Human Early Learning Partnership and Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics and School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Susan Herrington, Professor, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Applied Science, UBC
- Sheila Grieve, Professor, Early Childhood Education, Vancouver Island University
- Emily Gawlick, Director, Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia
- Laranna Scott, Early Learning and Child Care Engagement Manager, Métis Nation British Columbia
- Trudy Hill, National Coordinator, Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC
- Enid Elliot, Professor, Early Learning and Care Faculty, Camosun College
- Jean Lloyd, Elder, Métis Nation British Columbia
- Stella Erasmus Johnson, Elder-In-Residence, Vancouver Island University
Reframing dialogue through embodied approaches: surpassing barriers to health in a verbal world
Some form of dialogue is often the first point of entry in health assessments and clinician-patient interactions. Dialogue is generally presumed to require verbal reciprocity. This project will explore dialogue.
Dr. Hanne De Jaegher has developed a process of embodied communication (PRISMA) that enables participants to learn about ways of communicating that do not require spoken words. This process could be extended to assist clinicians and those working with equity deserving populations when verbal language proves to be a barrier to care.
The dialogue would provide an opportunity for participants to learn about ways the body knows, experience processes of embodied communication, and gain skills in beginning conversations with patients who may struggle with spoken language. This will enable health interactions to meet individuals where they are and increase access for clinicians to engage in novel ways of interacting.
- Anamaria Richardson, Clinical Assistant Professor and Community Based Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Erika Ono, PhD candidate, School of Social Work, Faculty of Arts, UBC
- Tom Scholte, Professor, Acting and Directing, Department of Theatre and Film, Faculty of Arts, UBC
- Sergio Cocchia, Board Chair and President, Pacific Autism Family Network
- Jonathan Drury, CEO, Dialogica UK; Founder, Autism Dialogue
- Hanne De Jaegher, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of the Basque Country (Spain)
Substance exchange: Drug-checking services pilot exchange program
In 2016, British Columbia declared the number of people dying from the illicit toxic drug supply (TDS) to be a public health emergency. Worsening during the COVID pandemic, TDS deaths increased 126% from 2019 to 2021. Harm reduction practices can address TDS; harm reduction exists on a spectrum, ranging from sobriety to lower-risk substance use.
At UBC Okanagan, the Harm Reduction Team enacts harm reduction by delivering a drug-checking service (DCS). DCSs prevent TDS deaths by analyzing and providing information about the content of clients’ drugs, which improves wellbeing, decreases stigmatization, and reduces the risks associated with drug use. In Victoria, the Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project provides DCSs using a different service delivery model and technologies. Although efforts to standardize testing were made, there are variations. For example, music festivals in BC use DCS technologies in significantly different environments.
The goals of this project are to:
- provide harm reduction experts with an opportunity to collaborate across diverse DCS sites to identify the best, equitable interventions to address the TDS;
- work towards a provincial strategy to address the TDS; and
- share the outcomes of this collaboration with the public.
- Lukas Bichler, Professor, School of Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science, UBC Okanagan
- Lauren Airth, Campus Health Specialist, Harm Reduction Team (HaRT), Campus Wellness and Education, UBC Okanagan; Doctoral student, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Development UBC Okanagan
- Bruce Wallace, Professor, School of Social Work and Scientist, Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, University of Victoria; Co-lead, Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project
- Dennis Hore, Professor, Chemistry and Computer Science, University of Victoria; Co-lead of Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project
- Piotr Burek, Masters student, Social Dimensions of Health, University of Victoria
The impact of social adversity on cardiovascular health and aging
With a growing, and aging, population such as that in British Columbia, the health and economic burden of cardiovascular (CV) disease is increasing. In humans, exploring the independent effect of social adversity on CV health is challenging, since we are long-lived and often exposed to many other confounders (e.g. poor diet, pollution, physical inactivity, and smoking). In contrast, free-living monkeys with a shorter lifespan, but similar biology to humans, present an excellent model as they live in highly structured communities with fewer confounders and, dependent upon hierarchical status, experience a wide range of social adversity.
The research team is planning a longitudinal study combining its collective expertise in CV physiology, social ecology, genomics, and immunology to examine the biological mechanisms that may explain the link between social adversity and accelerated CV disease.
- Robert Shave, Professor, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Development, UBC Okanagan
- Tony Dawkins, Post-doctoral fellow, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Development, UBC Okanagan
- Noah Snyder-Mackler, Assistant Professor, Centre for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University
- Lauren Brent, Associate Professor, Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, Exeter University (UK)
- James Higham, Professor, Department of Anthropology, New York University
Eight interdisciplinary, cross-institutional teams were accepted into the Health After 2020 program for 2021/22.
Post-COVID-19 pandemic long-term care delivery system
- Amir Ardestani-Jaafari, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Management, UBC Okanagan
- Babak Mohamadpour Tosarkani, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science, UBC Okanagan
- Melba D'Souza, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Thompson Rivers University
The COVID-19 pandemic posed various problems for residents in long-term care (LTC) facilities. According to Public Health Act, LTC staff in BC should work in only one facility instead of multiple locations to mitigate the risk of cross-communication known as the main source of infection. This reduces the availability of staffs in LTCs. Once COVID-19 is detected in staff or residents, self-isolation of contacts means staffing shortages are exacerbated. In many facilities, there is no reserve of care staff, and no contingency if a significant proportion of staff are not working due to illness, isolation, or other factors. Furthermore, several COVID-19 outbreaks, e.g., in LTC facilities have negatively affected the waitlist of LTC. In this regard, with the COVID-19 outbreak, staff assignment and waitlist management have been faced with several challenges.
In order to address these challenges, the objective of this research is to design analytical frameworks for the purpose of staff assignment, waitlist management and evaluation of health care policy in LTC facilities. Specifically, the following research questions will be addressed:
- What strategies are required to assign qualified staff considering post-pandemic staff shortages?
- What is the impact of health care policies on the waitlist and the performance of LTC facilities?
Home-based virtual reality therapeutics for mental health care: Opportunities and challenges
- Trisha Chakrabarty, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Miguel Jose, PhD student, Graduate Program in Neuroscience, UBC
- Elena Hernandez, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Nushi Choudhury, Research Officer, Canada Medical Devices Research Centre, National Research Council Canada
- Mark Hewko, Research Engineer, Canada Medical Devices Research Centre, National Research Council Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic has simultaneously increased the prevalence of mental health disorders and decreased access to in-person therapeutic services. As such, the reliance on digital and e-mental health tools for remote clinical assessment and treatment has increased. One rapidly expanding therapeutic digital modality is virtual reality (VR). There is robust evidence that VR, which allows for practice of skills in an immersive, naturalistic setting, can provide symptomatic relief and promote functional rehabilitation in psychiatric disorders, as well as improve the ecological validity of functional assessments. Most extant VR assessment and therapeutic programs require users to travel to a specialized clinical site and use a multicomponent computer/sensor/headset interface. As the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated home-based assessment and therapeutic tools, developing feasible and effective home-based mental health VR applications has become a pressing need.
The UBC Department of Psychiatry has been collaborating with the National Research Council Canada (NRC) Medical Devices Research Centre to develop a novel VR platform for assessing and improving cognition and psychosocial functioning in depression. Depression is a leading cause of disability in Canada, and cognitive deficits (e.g. difficulties with attention, memory and executive functioning) are a significant contributor to psychosocial impairment in depression, both in acutely symptomatic and remitted states. Effective treatments for cognitive deficits in depression are lacking, as are effective means of assessing cognitive and functional deficits in real world settings. While VR cognitive rehabilitation and assessment programs have shown efficacy and validity in schizophrenia and substance use disorders, to date there is no comprehensive and validated VR cognitive rehabilitation/assessment program for depression. Merging the clinical expertise and technical proficiency of the respective parties of this collaboration, we have developed an immersive and multisensorial VR cognitive care platform (bWell-D), which can be used to assess and rehabilitate cognitive deficits commonly seen in depression. A proof-of-concept clinical trial is currently in progress, with pilot data for bWell-D indicating good acceptability, tolerability and face validity.
To address the evolving necessities of mental health care in the post-COVID era, an emerging goal of this collaboration is to further the effective home-based administration of bWell-D and other VR mental health therapeutics. A necessary first step to this is to understand the existing experience with home based VR. Our aim for the Health After 2020 program is therefore to create a white paper discussing potential applications of home-based mental health VR interventions and best practice recommendations for their use. Based on a critical review of the literature, this white paper will outline: 1) indications for which home-based VR interventions have been used in health care to date, 2) feasibility and acceptability of these programs, 3) technological requirements and participant training protocols ensuring program success, and 4) methods by which home-based VR programs have been integrated into clinical care and existing telemedicine infrastructure. We will synthesize the existing literature and our respective technical and clinical experience to generate best practice recommendations and future directions for the field. Our collaboration will use this as a starting point to implementing home-based bWell-D; the resulting open access white paper will also be a valuable starting point for other investigators looking to develop home based VR therapy and assessment tools for a range of indications.
Women’s health is more than the sum of sex and gender differences
- Liisa Galea, Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, UBC
- Romina Garcia de Leon, MSc student, Neuroscience Program, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Bonnie Lee, PhD student, Neuroscience Program, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Gillian Einstein, Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto
- M. Natasha Rajah, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University
The project will leverage the diverse perspectives of our cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary collaborators to critique the wide-held belief that women’s health is adequately addressed through the integration of sex and gender-based analyses into general health research. This subject will be thoroughly dissected through two scholarly outputs—a book chapter in Principles of Gender Medicine fourth Edition and a commentary piece in a high impact factor journal. The research team will target Nature Neuroscience for the latter, who has already expressed interest. These pieces aim to advance how we define and value women’s health by demonstrating that it is a distinct field of research.
Towards equity-oriented opioid sparing pain management in primary care after 2020
- Rita McCracken, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Jan Klimas, Researcher, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Michee-Ana Hamilton, Research Analyst, Innovation Support Unit, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Ian Cooper, Research Analyst, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Shawna Narayan, Research Analyst, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Malcolm Maclure, Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Anita Hubley, Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education, Faculty of Education, UBC
- Sabrina Wong, Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Science, UBC
- Colleen Varcoe, Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Science, UBC
- Fred Cameron, Acting Operations Director and Harm Reduction Manager, SOLID Outreach Society
- Rashmi Chadha, Consulting Physician, Complex Pain and Addiction Service, Vancouver Coastal Health
- Carl Jensen, Acting Lead, Behavioural Insights Group, Government of BC
- Patrick Evans, East Kootenay Network of People Who Use Drugs
- Leslie McBain, Co-Founder, Moms Stop the Harm
- Len Pierre, Managing Consultant, Len Pierre Consulting
- Christy Sutherland, Medical Director, PHS Community Services Society
- Stefania Rizzardo, School of Occupational and Public Health, Ryerson University
- Jenna Van Draanen, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of Washington
The ongoing opioid crisis continues to inflict serious harms on thousands of British Columbians. Some harms are due to inappropriate initiation of opioid analgesics in primary care which contributes to the development of prescription opioid addiction and opioid use disorder (OUD) in up to a quarter of all individuals started on opioid analgesics. An evidence-based opioid-sparing approach to pain management can minimize this risk. The resurging COVID19 pandemic further exposes the existing inequities in the system of care for people with or at risk of developing prescription OUD. British Columbia (BC) saw the highest number of drug-related fatalities in the first five months of 2021 (851) since the declaration of public health emergency.
Recent strategies to address inappropriate initiation (e.g., clinical guidelines, prescription monitoring programs) had little impact, potentially because they did not address equity in care. Furthermore, there have been unintended consequences of the strategies employed, and some populations benefited from the overdose prevention strategies less than others. For example, some members of vulnerable and marginalized groups have been denied opioid-sparing pain relief therapies due to prescriber reactions to local monitoring programs and persistent limited access to these therapies in primary care.
Access to opioid-sparing pain management in primary care should be freely accessible to all patients suffering from pain, regardless of their gender, race, or socio-economic status, the inequities that hinder their access to these therapies have not been fully understood. Therefore, we propose to hold an open dialogue session focused on equity-oriented opioid-sparing pain management in primary care.
Exploring substance use patterns among international students from Punjab
- Nitasha Puri, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Harleen Dhami, Graduate student, Faculty of Science, UBC
- Gurkirat Singh Nijjar, Students Overcoming Opioid Use Disorder & Addictions Society of Canada
- One Voice Canada
- South Asian Mental Health Alliance
This project aims to understand the substance use patterns of international students from Punjab. The collaboration between UBC Faculty, learners, and external organizations hopes to root research in the community and capture data that would otherwise remain hidden amidst the lived experience of this vulnerable international student population. The team will administer an online survey through community organization channels to international students as a group at large and engage in qualitative interviews with students using opioids in particular to explore substance use patterns, initiators, and sequelae. Once data is collected and analyzed, the collaborators will translate knowledge to users such as international students themselves, community organizations that deliver culturally relevant and accessible service provision, policymakers and health authorities who engage in health care and harm reduction around substance use, and academic faculty/learners who can continue to conduct future research and advocacy work.
Building international collaborations to understand the impact of illicit drug overdose on persons with criminal justice system involvement using linked administrative data
- Amanda Slaunwhite, Adjunct Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UBC; Senior Scientist, Provincial Overdose Cohort, BC Centre for Disease Control
- Lindsey Richardson, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, UBC; Scientist, BC Centre on Substance Use
- Amy Salmon, Associate Clinical Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UBC; Associate Director, Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences
- Heather Palis, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Carolyn Davison, Director, Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, Government of BC
- Kenneth Tupper, Director, Ministry of Health, Government of BC
- Craig Hutton, Data Scientist, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Government of BC
- Stuart Kinner, Professor and Head, Justice Health Unit, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
- Rohan Borschmann, Associate Professor and Psychologist, Justice Health Unit, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
In 2021, British Columbia entered the fifth year of the provincial public health overdose emergency. Since 2016 7,760 persons have died in BC from illicit drug toxicity (illicit drug overdose) due to the contaminated illicit drug supply, with many of these persons having previously experienced incarceration in federal and provincial correctional centres. Research conducted by the applicants has found that persons who have been incarcerated in provincial correctional facilities in BC are 4.04 times more likely to die of illicit drug overdose compared to persons without criminal justice system involvement, and that risk of overdose is greatest in the first four weeks post-release.
Since 2019 a critical component of overdose-response research in BC has been the use of linked administrative data available through the BC Provincial Overdose Cohort. These data are unique in Canada with no other province has such a rich, multi-sectoral, population-based data linkage resource, with comprehensive ascertainment of overdose. As a result, international collaborations such as the 12-nation Mortality After Release from Incarceration Consortium that is led by Dr. Borschmann, and on which Dr. Kinner and Dr. Slaunwhite are partners, have become critical to developing and applying research methods that leverage these unique data sources in BC.
The purpose of this collaboration is to strengthen partnerships between researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and University of Melbourne (UoM) to facilitate international collaborative research that uses linked administrative data to understand and prevent overdose among people who experience incarceration.
There are two objectives:
- Build interdisciplinary collaborations across multiple countries focused on understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people who experience incarceration, and in particular on the epidemiology of illicit drug overdose in this population;
- Facilitate knowledge exchange between interdisciplinary researchers at UBC and UoM on best practices for using linked, multi-sectoral administrative data to examine overdose and the health of people who experience incarceration. We will achieve these objectives by meeting monthly to develop a Dialogue Session and presentation, which will be delivered jointly by researchers from BCCDC, UBC, and UoM at the BCCDC Grand Rounds. We will also hold stakeholder meetings with co-Applicants and others from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, and Ministry of Health. We will also develop a peer-reviewed publication and a grant for submission to the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) focused on major themes and opportunities to reduce health inequities and illicit drug overdose among persons with criminal justice system involvement in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Examining upstream determinants of state-based public health system responses to COVID-19 in India
- Veena Sriram, Assistant Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Faculty of Arts, UBC
- Peter Berman, Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- VR Muraleedharan, Indian Institute of Technology
- Girija Vaidyanathan, Indian Institute of Technology
- Sarthak Gaurav, Indian Institute of Technology
- Satish Agnihotri, Indian Institute of Technology
- Rakhal Gaitonde, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology
- Arima Mishra, Azim Premji University
- Suraj John, Azim Premji University
In this project, we seek to systematically examine and compare ‘upstream’ determinants of state-based public health responses to COVID-19 in India. An interdisciplinary consortium of faculty, students and staff at UBC, the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, Azim Premji University, and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology will conduct a series of qualitative case studies on governance processes within state-based public health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic in India, and explore the institutional, organizational and political factors that influenced governance in these states.
Adapting the Institutions, Politics, Organizations and Governance (IPOG) Framework, developed by the UBC Working Group on Health Systems Response to COVID-191 to examine upstream factors in health crises, consortium members will conduct qualitative case studies in the Indian states of Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Karnataka. Data sources for the case studies will include an extensive document review, media analysis, epidemiological reports, and in-depth interviews with decision-makers.
Our objectives are to 1) provide an in-depth understanding of the governance processes behind the public health system response to COVID-19 at the state-level in select Indian states; and 2) generate comparative learnings regarding upstream determinants of effective, equity-oriented public health responses to health emergencies at the sub-national level. The UBC research team will collaborate with partners in India to coordinate the project and will support research in the state of Tamil Nadu specifically. This project will facilitate the work of this unique research consortium, and will strengthen linkages between UBC and research institutions in India. Learnings from this project will lead to fresh insights on the ‘upstream’ drivers of health inequity in India, inform discussions regarding urgently needed reforms to public health systems and facilitate important knowledge exchange with UBC researchers exploring similar questions in Canada, ultimately contributing to urgently needed knowledge on how to strengthen public health systems’ response to health emergencies.
Development of an equity-focused patient engagement strategy for pregnant and postpartum individuals
- Marianne Vidler, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Janny Xue Chen Ke, Clinical Instructor, Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Elizabeth Keys, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Development, , UBC Okanagan
- Anton Chau, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
- Allison Kouroupis, MSN student, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Development, , UBC Okanagan
- Cindy-Lee Dennis, Professor, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
- Justine Dol, Postdoctoral Fellow, Mothering Transitions Research Program, St Michael’s Hospital
- Christine Ou, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of Victoria
This project will create a robust patient engagement strategy for pregnant individuals across BC. Researchers and clinicians from a variety of faculties, UBC campuses, and institutions will work together to develop this strategy. The engagement strategy will include patient recruitment and patient participation in research—both as research subjects, and as patient partners—to ensure that patient participants are not lost to follow-up. The proposed approach will promote equity, diversity and inclusion through tactics designed to achieve patient representation from rural and remote regions and from a range of racial, educational and income backgrounds.
The project team will develop a corresponding social media toolkit that can easily be adapted and adopted by physicians, clinics, research and patient advocacy organizations to promote equity in patient-oriented research in pregnancy. This toolkit will include sample messages and graphics optimized for a variety of channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn), suggested communication channels (social media, email newsletters, websites), partners (patient advocacy groups, research organizations, health authorities), and hashtags. The team will consult with communications and knowledge translation experts at the Women’s Health Research Institute for guidance and support on structuring the social media toolkit.
This multidisciplinary collaborative will consult with the BC Support Unit on appropriateness and feasibility of the proposed strategies to promote equitable patient recruitment in pregnancy. The BC Support Unit will also provide support for dissemination of this strategy and related materials.