Public Scholars Initiative

UBC Health recognizes the growing need for research collaborations to address the increasingly complex and interconnected health problems facing society and is committed to the advancement of interdisciplinary health research and knowledge translation. 

As part of this commitment, UBC Health has partnered with the Public Scholars Initiative (PSI) to facilitate the development of a community of PhD students working to address the complex questions and challenges of our world through collaborations, with a particular focus on those conducting research that impacts health equity. 

PSI supports UBC doctoral students whose research extends beyond the academy and traditional disciplinary approaches to impact the public good through collaborative, action-oriented, and creative forms of scholarship in their dissertation work. Moving beyond skills training and extracurricular experience, PSI reimagines PhD pathways that legitimize and integrate broader conceptions of scholarship and scholarly products within the core of doctoral education and dissertation research. 

Health Equity Stream

In partnership with UBC Health, PSI is accepting applications for a new health equity stream. The Health Equity Stream is a dedicated funding source to further increase the number of PSI scholars working to impact health equity within local, national, and global health systems. 

In addition to the PSI programming, scholars in the Health Equity Stream will have the opportunity to engage in learning and networking focused on building interdisciplinary connections and a community of doctoral students working to improve health equity. Activities include:

  • participating in professional development workshops specifically aimed at health research; 
  • networking with each other and with health researchers, academics, professionals, and notable guests;
  • being involved in collaborations and mentorships; and 
  • showcasing their work during a public event.     

Health-oriented and equity-focused research exists in surprising and unexpected places across every faculty, school, and department at UBC. Doctoral students from across UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan undertaking innovative health equity-oriented research are invited to apply for the Health Equity Stream of the Public Scholars Initiative. 

Call for Applications

The call for applications for the 2023/24 cohort of the Public Scholars Initiative is closed. Scholars will be announced in Fall 2023.

More Information

Frequently Asked Questions

How many scholars will be accepted into the Health Equity Stream?
The program will accept six to eight scholars into the Health Equity Stream.

Should I apply to the Health Equity Stream or the general stream?
If your proposed project will have an impact on health equity on a local, national, or international scale, we encourage you to apply to the Health Equity Stream. This funding stream focuses on health equity in the broadest sense and is not limited to health care equity. If you are unsure about the fit of your topic, please refer to the Definition of Health page or the Public Scholars Initiative website.

If I apply to the Health Equity Stream and am not accepted, will I be considered for the general stream?
Yes. If you apply to but are not accepted into the Health Equity Stream, your application will still be considered for the general stream. You do not need to reapply.

How do the Public Scholars Initiative application and adjudication processes for the Health Equity Stream differ from the general stream?
The application and adjudication processes for the Health Equity Stream are similar to the general stream. In the application, individuals must indicate their intent to apply for the Health Equity Stream. Before adjudication, UBC Health will evaluate Health Equity Stream applications for eligibility. All applications will be adjudicated by a single committee regardless of application stream. Application procedures are outlined on the Graduate School website.

Can I apply for the Health Equity Stream if I already hold research funding?
Yes. Applicants who already hold funding from other agencies or funders are eligible to apply for and receive funding from the Health Equity Stream.

Where can I get more information?
For more information on the Public Scholars Initiative, Health Equity Stream, programming, eligibility criteria, and application process, the following resources are available:

For questions about the application process, contact Serbulent Turan, Program Manager, Public Scholars Initiative at For questions about the Health Equity Stream, contact Shelly Keidar, Project Coordinator, UBC Health at