Graduate Award Program

Quick Facts | Program Description | Current Students

Recruitment for GAP 2018-2019 is now closed.


What is the focus of the program?

2014-2015 GAP Seminar

Providing graduate students with the skills needed to bridge the gap between research and practice, and experience in communicating research findings across disciplines.

Who is it for?

  • Outstanding graduate students whose current or proposed dissertation topics are interdisciplinary and connected to understanding how social conditions impact population health and welfare

What do students do?

  • Attend GAP seminars at the IHSP twice per month focused on training in how to move research into practice and interdisciplinary sharing
  • Present research with a focus on policy to the IHSP community
  • Meet with IHSP interns at least twice
  • Awardees are encouraged to use the student work space at the IHSP

Where and when does it take place?

  • At the IHSP (Charles Meredith House) for the full academic year (Sept-April)

How much is the award?

  • $4000

How many awards are available?

  • 7-10 fellowships per year

Program Description

The Graduate Award Program at the Institute for Health and Social Policy (IHSP) provides graduate students with the skills needed to bridge the gap between research and practice. It is open to outstanding graduate students whose current or proposed dissertation topics are interdisciplinary and connected to understanding how social conditions impact population health and welfare. 

Through seminars and workshops held approximately every two weeks, students will enhance their knowledge of research in health and social policy across disciplines and develop communication skills to share research findings to a wide audience.  Each student will present their work to an interdisciplinary cohort and gain expert advice and feedback from a diverse group of researchers. Students are encouraged to use office space available at the IHSP.

2017-2018 Cohort

Farzaneh Barak is a second-year Ph.D. student in Human Nutrition. Farzaneh has obtained a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran. Her research project was a nutritional epidemiology study among 600 Iranian female nurses aimed to investigate the relationship between the Adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction. The results were published in four papers and a poster. Farzaneh has also worked as a therapeutic dietitian and community nutritionist for five years and has experience in coordinating, implementing, and monitoring several community nutrition programs in Iran.

For her doctoral research, she is a part of two research projects in collaboration with CARE Canada and sponsored by Global Affairs Canada, which are taking place in four African countries with the aim of improving the nutritional status of women in reproductive age and children under five years. My current research involves an impact evaluation of Nutrition-Sensitive Agricultural Interventions (NSAI). More specifically, I am interested in developing a detailed understanding of household decision-making processes and its effect on the success of NSAI to tackle food insecurity.

Dörte Bemme is a PhD candidate at the Departments of Social Studies of Medicine and Anthropology. Her doctoral research ethnographically investigates the emergence of Global Mental Health (GMH) as a field with a particular focus on the specific “global knowledge infrastructures” emerging from GMH's effort to develop evidence-based, cost-effective and scalable interventions. She has conducted a multi-sited ethnography across numerous GMH programs and institutions in Europe, North America and South Africa, where she explored the novel discourses, infrastructures, and therapeutic practices that render mental health knowledge mobile, global, and adaptable across different scales. Dörte's work is funded by a doctoral award from the Social Science and Humanities Council Canada (SSHRC) and a fieldwork grant from International Development Research Center (IDRC).

Madeleine Henderson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and holds a BA (honours) in Psychology from the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Her current research interests focus on the social determinants of sexual behaviours in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a mixed-methods approach, Madeleine unpacks the ways that parents, peers, religious ideologies and emotional factors shape the decision to have sex or to abstain amongst rural Ghanaian adolescents. Using longitudinal data recently collected from the Manya Krobo region by social epidemiologist Dr. Jeffrey Bingenheimer, Madeleine seeks to elucidate the pathways through which religiosity is related to delayed sexual debut. Here, she focuses on the ways that religious participation embeds adolescents within social sanctioning networks comprised of parents and peers who, in turn, structure the conservative attitudes and beliefs of the religious adolescent. During the summer of 2017, Madeleine traveled to the Manya Krobo region to conduct over 60 semi-structured interviews with adolescents and key local stakeholders such as religious leaders, chiefs, queen mothers, opinion leaders, and ministry workers. From these in-depth interviews, her research aims to shed critical insight into the ways that micro-level emotional factors and desires influence sexual-decision making. From this qualitative work, she also explores how expectations of female sexuality has been caught in the crosshairs of competing Christian and Traditional African religious ideologies, making premarital sex a very ambiguous terrain for young Krobo girls as they transition to womanhood. 

Rebekah McCallum is currently pursuing her PhD in the department of History. Her current research explores new methods for understanding the historical roots of bonded labor in the modern Indian Ocean World, particularly in South Asia, as part of an interdisciplinary grant held at the Indian Ocean World Centre (McGill).  Her research intends to provide understanding of contemporary bondage networks and structures across the IOW by exploring the historical contexts that gave rise to their development and maintenance. This is in response to strategic partnerships among international bodies attempting to address adverse social conditions of labourers within long-standing industries in South Asia (such as the tea industry). Her research takes into account human-environment interaction in the Indian Ocean World, South Asian labor history, and regional discourses of human rights and humanitarianism. Rebekah received her bachelor's degree in Anthropology, with a certificate in South Asian Studies, from Princeton University in 2010. She then studied for a certificate in theology from the University of Oxford, before completing her master’s degree in the department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Virginia.  

Nickoo Merati is a second year Master’s student in the Department of Family Medicine and holds an Internal Studentship Award from the McGill Faculty of Medicine Research and Graduate Studies. Nickoo graduated with a BSc (Hon) in Anatomy and Cell Biology from McGill University. For her Master’s, Nickoo is using a participatory research approach to understand Cree youth’s perspectives on their own health and health priorities in the James Bay Cree region. Her specific interest involves understanding strategies to best engage Cree youth in their own health planning in the James Bay region. In addition to her thesis work, she is a research lead on a mixed methods study evaluating the impacts of Share the Warmth’s El Sistema music program on underprivileged children in the Pointe St Charles area of Montreal. She is also a research lead on a McGill Faculty of Medicine mixed methods study analyzing the effects of a near-peer teaching lab on inter-professional stereotypes between medical and nursing students. Nickoo is also actively involved in promoting student government and engagement on campus, as the President of the McGill Family Medicine Graduate Student Society and a Zumba instructor for the McGill Post Graduate Student Society.

Daniel Ruiz-Serna is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. He holds a BA in Anthropology from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a MA in Development and Environment from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He has worked on many social development projects in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Quebec. He volunteers in the Agape for Colombia Foundation, a program that works with former child soldiers and that has as a goal to sensitize Canadian society to their plight. His current research –When Forests Run Amok. Political Violence, Spirits, and Ravaged Landscapes in Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Territories– aims to make a meaningful contribution to world policies and programs aimed at indigenous and peasant peoples living in environments that have been deeply affected by war.

Rebecca Stieva is a second-year PhD candidate in History specializing in the history of medicine under Professor David Wright. Her research focuses on the intersection between epidemic diseases, public health intervention, and urban environments. Specifically, her thesis maps cholera mortality across three epidemics in London, England (1848, 1854, and 1866) and analyzes the influence of public health initiatives in relation to the progression of the epidemic. Though her research is historic in nature, the conclusions it draws offer the possibility of informing current public health practices surrounding epidemic cholera in urban centres. Rebecca’s research aims to contribute to building a stronger network between the history of medicine and its place in modern-day public health policy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Brunswick (2014) and a Master of Science in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from the University of Oxford (2016).

Megan Wylie is a Master of Arts student in the Department of Geography where she works with Prof. Mylene Riva and Prof. Sebastien Breau. Her research interests center around environmental and health justice, and the consequences of increasing income inequality. Megan's Master's project seeks to investigate if growing income inequality in Canada is harming Canadian's health in urban areas. Megan completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo in 2016, where she studied Environment and Business, and developed her interest for social and environmental sustainability.