I am a critical health geographer. My research is driven by an overarching concern for how everyday social and material contexts matter for health and health equity. I am particularly interested in how taken-for-granted—and often unquestioned—features of our day-to-day environments become implicated in the production of health outcomes, behaviours, and inequities. I also have an interest in qualitative methods as a substantive research area, particularly in relation to questions of rigour and exploring ways to empirically evaluate potentially innovative techniques. Cross-cutting these interests is my commitment to making research more useful and applicable in the real-world so that it can be used as an instrument for positive change. In the Canadian health sciences context, we call this “knowledge translation” or KT—the science and practice of moving research evidence into action. My doctoral research explored men’s and women’s experiences in gym environments with an aim to glean what insights everyday exercise places might yield into gender disparities in physical activity. In my current work, I am exploring how environmental factors matter for gender inequities in physical activity participation among youth.
I am passionate about gender equity. For the past eight years I have been deeply invested in multidisciplinary collaborative initiatives to understand how sex and gender shape the very production of health research knowledge and to develop tools to better integrate sex and gender considerations into health research practices. Most recently, I contribute as a member of the Cochrane-affiliated Sex/Gender Methods Group (http://equity.cochrane.org/sex-and-gender-analysis).
I am also personally committed to mental health advocacy, both within and outside of academia. I am currently contributing to a creative arts project exploring the lived realities of OCD (www.thesecretillness.com) and collaborate with Chronically Academic (https://chronicallyacademic.org/index.php/en/).
I am interested in the experience of health and illness, particularly living with chronic conditions. I am deeply committed to feminist, gender-transformative health promotion and researching interventions that can simultaneously address harmful gender norms while improving health. Finally, I am interested in the policy process as a mechanism for social change. These interests have led to various projects over the years related to health and gender, health equity, and change—individual, organizational, and structural.
I am currently involved in the Sex and Gender Methods Group (https://methods.cochrane.org/equity/sex-and-gender-analysis); we are completing a study on researchers’ engagement with sex and gender considerations as they study cardiovascular disease. Other current activities include supporting health care providers to engage in trauma- and violence-informed practice; improving health care providers’ responses to gender-based violence; and improving newcomer/immigrant women’s health.
My clinical research takes place at the Oak Tree Clinic, where a multidisciplinary team provides care to HIV+ women, their partners, and their children, both uninfected and HIV infected.
We coordinate a Canadian surveillance program of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
In uninfected children born to seropositive mothers, we investigate the potential effects of perinatal exposure to HIV and antiretrovirals, as well as social determinants of health on their long term development.
HIV infected children followed at the clinic participate in national multi-centre studies on viral reservoirs, immune function and inflammation. They also participate in multicentre studies evaluating the response to the HPV vaccine in HIV+ girls and women. Youth are included in interventional mHealth studies assessing the benefits of texting to enhance medication adherence.
Dr. Rajcan-Separovic is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a Clinical Cytogeneticist in the Division of Laboratory Genomics, Department of Pathology at BC Children’s Hospital. She is also an Investigator at the Children’s and Women’s Hospital Research Institute.
She did her clinical and postdoctoral research training at the University of Ottawa and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. After coming to Vancouver in 1997, she continued her clinical practice and established a research program in genomic causes of developmental disorders including childhood developmental delay and early pregnancy loss. Her current interest includes diagnosis of genetic changes by microarray and next generation sequencing and finding the functional consequences of identified changes in patient cells and in animal models in order to better understand the connection between the health issues in patients and the defects in their genes. She was supported by CIHR and MSFHR salary awards for 10 years and has been the recipient as a principal investigator or co-investigator of a large number of CIHR and CFI operational and infrastructure awards.
Dr. Olivia Tseng is a practicing family doctor and a quantitative researcher proficient with administrative data analysis, systematic review and randomized controlled trials. Olivia is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UBC Department of Family Practice, an associate research member of the Centre for Clinical Evaluation and Epidemiology(c2e2.ca), an affiliated research member of the Women Health Research Institute(WHRI), and a board member of the Clinician Scholar Program. She supervises Family Practice residents and medical students at the UBC Health Clinic. She has been awarded multiple research scholarships including a national Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation fellowship. She served on the GPAC working group, helping to create the BC provincial guidelines for genital tract cancers in females. She completed her residency training at St. Paul’s Hospital, doctoral degree and Clinician Scholar Training at UBC, and Master of Science degree at SFU.
Dr. Ron Abrahams is a Family Physician in Vancouver.
He is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Practice at UBC and Medical Director of Perinatal Addictions at BC Women’s Hospital as well as Consultant Physician at the Sheway Program.
Dr. Abrahams is the founding Medical Director of the FIR (Families In Recovery) Rooming in program at BCWH. The unit has been named a “leading practice” by the Canadian Council of Health Accreditation, cited in the 2007 Kroeger Award for maintaining a high quality of care with demonstrated peer reviewed improved outcomes.
He has been recognized as an invited speaker nationally and internationally for his role in developing evidenced based Harm Reduction guidelines and protocols for women with problematic substance use in pregnancy.
He received the Meritorious Service Cross 2017, the Kaiser National award for Excellence in Harm Reduction Leadership 2008, Primus Inter Parus Award 2016, and the C&W Medical Staff Recognition Award for Indigenous Health and Outreach Advocate 2018.
Cindy Barha is a postdoctoral research fellow supervised by Drs. Teresa Liu-Ambrose and Robin Hsiung. Cindy’s primary research interests focus on the interactions between the stress and reproductive axes in determining developmental trajectories across the lifespan, with a concentration on how these interactions influence normal age-associated cognitive decline as well as risk for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, she is interested in understanding how sex differences in the cognitive-enhancing ability of exercise training are related to hormones and genotype. Cindy received a PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. She is currently supported by a fellowship from the Alzheimer’s Association (USA).
Dr. Katherine Plewes completed her Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Diseases fellowship at the University of British Columbia (UBC), followed by a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the University of Liverpool, the Clinician Investigator Program at UBC, and a DPhil in Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford. In 2002, she started working in Southeast Asia with the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) and for the last 11 years has contributed to research focused on the pathophysiology and treatment of severe malaria at clinical field sites in Bangladesh. Her DPhil research included conducting a randomized controlled trial of acetaminophen to assess its potential renoprotective role in Bangladeshi patients with severe malaria. She continues her work with MORU as a Clinician Investigator, involved in clinical studies conducted in Bangladesh focused on malaria pathophysiology and treatment. In Vancouver, she is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the UBC Division of Infectious Diseases; Co-director of the UBC Tropical and Geographic Medicine Intensive Short Course; Vice-chair and Education Lead of the Tropical Medicine Group of BC; British Columbia designate physician to the Public Health Agency of Canada Canadian Malaria Network; and Site Director for the Vancouver GeoSentinel Global Surveillance Network site.