The McMaster Health Forum is pleased to announce its first recipients of Queen Elizabeth Scholarships in Strengthening Health Systems.

Outgoing Scholar and Interns: Australia

Ben Li
As part of this scholarship, Li will complete an internship with the New South Wales Ministry of Health in Sydney, Australia where he will learn more about, and contribute to, health policy decision-making and implementation. His work with the Forum will allow him to better understand how to analyze the impact of health policies on populations and find ways to optimize their ability to improve health outcomes. Li is currently an undergraduate student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at McMaster University.

Christopher Galano and Alexandra Kilian
Both Galano and Kilian will be travelling to Sydney, Australia this May to begin their internships at the Sax Institute – an Australian leader in promoting the use of research evidence in health policy.
“We are excited to continue our collaboration with the McMaster Health Forum and to be part of this effort to build a network of young leaders committed to driving the use of research in policies, programs and services,” said Sax Institute CEO Professor Sally Redman. “We look forward to welcoming Christopher and Alexandra.”

Outgoing Scholar: Ghana

Rhonda Boateng
This scholarship will support a trip to Ghana to collect data for her thesis, which investigates the mental health, quality of life and experiences of Ghanaian women living with breast cancer. During her work with the Forum, she hopes to build her knowledge in health systems strengthening in an effort to apply the knowledge learned from her thesis to improving the health systems in Canada and Sub-Saharan African countries. Boateng is currently an MSc student in the Global Health program at McMaster University.  

Outgoing Scholar: India

Nicola Gailits
Gailits will travel to Mussoorie, a hill station in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India, to collect data for her thesis, which investigates community mental health of women with depression and anxiety. Her research, supported by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship, will focus on models of community mental health in resource-scarce settings. She expects her work with the Forum will provide her with the community engagement skills and expertise required to strengthen community-level health systems in both India and Canada. Gailits is currently an MSc student in the Global Health program at McMaster University.

Outgoing Interns: Trinidad and Tobago

Inna Berditchevskaia and Aditya Nidumolu
Both Berditchevskaia and Nidumolu will be travelling to Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago this May to begin their internships at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) – the single regional public health agency for the Caribbean. Their primary responsibility will be to assist in preparing an evidence brief and planning a stakeholder dialogue on healthy food environments prior to the 61
st Annual CARPHA Health Research Conference in June.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to work with these Queen Elizabeth Scholars in our Policy Unit,” said CARPHA’s Senior Health Policy Analyst Dr. Andrea Yearwood. “We are sure that it will be a rewarding experience for them as well as for us.”

Outgoing Intern: United Kingdom

Ahmad Firas Khalid
As part of this scholarship, he will complete an internship with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in their London, UK office, where he will learn how health systems react to crisis situations in low- and middle-income countries. His work with the Forum will allow him to better understand how to improve health and societal outcomes of vulnerable populations through health policy and system change. Khalid is currently a PhD student in the Health Policy program at McMaster University.

Incoming Scholars:

Joycelyne Ewusie
This scholarship will support Ewusie’s project, which looks at the trend of iron deficiency anemia in children under 5 years in Ghana. During her work with the Forum, she hopes to build her knowledge in health systems strengthening and knowledge translation strategies in an effort to better understanding the complexities of making changes and integrating knowledge at the system level. Ewusie comes from Ghana and is currently a PhD student in the Health Research Methodology program, specializing in Biostatistics, at McMaster University.
“I am honoured to be the Forum’s first incoming Queen Elizabeth Scholar,” said Ewusie. “This is an exciting opportunity to not only learn new skills that I can apply to my work in Ghana, but also to build relationships and networks with QEScholars locally and worldwide.”

Boniface Mutatina
This scholarship will support the finalization of Mutatina’s project, which evaluates the Uganda Clearinghouse for Health Policy and Systems Research – a strategy for facilitating easy and quick access to optimally packaged evidence for policy. Mutatina comes from Uganda and is currently an exchange student in the Health Policy program at McMaster University under the supervision of John N. Lavis (McMaster University). He is completing his PhD at Makerere University under the supervision of John N. Lavis and Nelson Sewankambo (Makerere University).

Through the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship program, McMaster University will participate in activating a dynamic community of young global leaders across the Commonwealth to create lasting impacts on health systems both at home and abroad through cross-cultural exchanges encompassing international education, discovery and inquiry, and professional experiences.

The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QES) is managed through a unique partnership of Universities Canada, the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF), Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and Canadian universities. This program is made possible with financial support from the Government of Canada, provincial governments and the private sector.

To stay connected with our QEScholars, follow @MacHealthForum on Twitter and visit the #QEScholars tagboard page.

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