Public Scholars Initiative - Health Equity Stream

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) on a Health Equity Stream 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. 

Call for Applications

application process

The next call for applications opens on March 11th, 2024, and the application deadline is May 12th, 2024. Please visit the PSI website for more details.

PSI Website

information sessions

The general information session for potential applications will be held on April 16th, 2024 at 12 PM on Zoom.

Register Here

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. 

Meet the 1st Cohort of Health Equity Scholars

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. 

Health equity* is achieved when everyone has the same access and opportunity to achieve optimal health, regardless of social, economic, environmental, and socially constructed barriers. It seeks to eliminate unfair and avoidable differences in health determinants and outcomes by removing obstacles and reducing inequities.

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 but are not accepted into the Health Equity Stream, your application will automatically be considered for the general stream. You do not need to submit a separate application. 

How do the Public Scholars Initiative application and adjudication processes for the Health Equity Stream differ from the general stream?
The application process for the Health Equity Stream and the General Stream is the same. You will have the opportunity to elaborate on how your work is related to health equity and the goals of the stream in the Outline of Proposed Scholarly Work and Relationship of Proposal to PSI Goals sections of the application form.  

When you go to submit the application form via Qualtrics, there will be a question prompting you to confirm whether you want to be considered for the Health Equity Stream.  

All applications undergo a single adjudication committee review. Health Equity Stream applications are initially assessed for general PSI eligibility, followed by an evaluation based on factors including the overall application quality, alignment with the Health Equity Stream goals, potential cohesion of the cohort, and potential benefits of the program for the applicant. Six to eight scholars will be selected to join the stream. 

What does the Health Equity Stream have to offer?
In addition to the PSI core programming, the Health Equity Stream offers a tailored health policy workshop series, equity-focused socials, and opportunities to engage in other UBC Health activities and opportunities. All activities are informed and enriched by past and present Scholars’ preferences and experiences. While programming is provided for the selected cohort, there may be limited opportunities for other health scholars in the general stream or past cohorts to participate. 

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 Brenda Gonzalez Cordova, Project Coordinator UBC Health at

*Health equity has numerous definitions with consistent core concepts. Some helpful resources include: 

  • National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. Let’s Talk: Health equity [Internet]. [cited 2024 Mar 27]. Available from: 
  • Braveman P, Arkin E, Orleans T, Proctor D, Acker J, Plough A. What is Health Equity? Behavioral Science & Policy. 2018 Apr 1;4(1):1–14. 
  • Braveman P. Defining Health Equity. Journal of the National Medical Association. 2022 Dec 1;114(6):593–600.