The 2021 Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) Graduate Plenary was hosted on May 19th and 20th as a virtual celebration of outstanding research and academic excellence. Throughout the two-day event, graduate students from across the FHS shared diverse and interdisciplinary research that tackles this generation’s most pressing issues. Five MSc Global Health students were amongst this year’s presenters: Damsadie Hannedige, Michal Leckie, Sakshi Mehta, Maya Kshatriya and Georgia Dominguez.
Out of forty-five Master’s and PhD students, Global Health’s very own Georgia Dominguez was the winner of this year’s oral presentations. Her winning presentation was titled The Children Left Behind: A Scoping Review Concerning the Health Outcomes of Parental Labour Migration in the Philippines.
Migration is inevitably connected to global health. The mechanisms of globalization that have allowed the borderless exchange of people and the transfer of wealth has ultimately impacted the good health and well-being of populations worldwide. Labour migration, in particular, is often praised as an effective method to ameliorate poverty in many low- and middle-income countries. However, as the field of global health continues to grow, Georgia’s research highlights important questions for the future: What happens to those left behind and how do we ensure their protection?
Georgia recounts her deeply personal experience, honours the story of her family and continuously reflects: “I would not have the privileges I have today if it were not for the sacrifices that my grandmother made for 19 years. From halfway across the world, she raised and financed the education of her three children from Saudi Arabia. However, parental migration especially fragments the family unit during the most formative years of physical and psychological development. That was and still is the reality for my mother, her siblings, and for many other transnational families worldwide.”
Likewise, Maya Kshatriya, was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award and the Graduate Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award for her work leading the development of a new website: COVID-19 and Childhood Diabetes. Under the supervision of pediatric endocrinologist Dr. M. Constantine Samaan, and in collaboration with McMaster University, McMaster Children’s Hospital and the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, the website was developed to support families affected by childhood diabetes to navigate unique challenges during the pandemic. As it can be difficult for families and caregivers of children with chronic conditions to find relevant, timely and trusted information, resources such as this can alleviate the burden of navigating multiple data sources.
The website has become an internationally recognized resource, with organizations such as the International Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) including it as a recommended resource. To date, the website has been accessed by thousands of users in more than 50 countries, with positive feedback from the global and local community, including from the Diabetes Program at the McMaster Children’s Hospital. Kshatriya also presented the website as a poster at the Children’s Healthcare Canada 2020 Conference among other leading Canadian COVID-19 initiatives.
The GH Program is pleased to recognize six other exemplary graduate students for their phenomenal contributions throughout this unconventional academic year. The winners of the 2020-2021 Outstanding Achievement Award are Handreen Duhoki, Lulwama Mulalu, Maya Kshatriya, Shania Bhopa, Taigan Radomske and Zoha Salam.
All awardees have expressed gratitude for the GH Program’s collaborative curriculum that allows them to connect with peers and professionals from around the world. “Being a student in the MSc Program offered me the opportunity to accomplish one of my dreams and start the Global Health Collective Podcast (GHC),” says Shania. She pioneered Canada’s first Global Health podcast led by students, in hopes to inspire and share the stories from the world’s most renowned Gh professionals and changemakers.
Taigan Rodamske participated in the Program’s mobility exchanges, which due to the pandemic was virtual. Throughout the semester, she worked alongside Colombian students from Universidad del Rosario and designed a project to improve the well-being of a community in one of Bogotá’s urban slums. “Despite this year being far different than expected, I am very grateful for the connections and friendships I have managed to form in an online environment,” says Taigan.
The Global Health Program is pleased to recognize the phenomenal achievements of this year’s awardees:
Graduate Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award
Outstanding Achievement Award