Fall 2019 Projects

Projects supervised by Dr. Frank Elgar

Instigating food insecurity, poverty, and adolescent mental and physical health in high- and low-income countries

Food insecurity affects 1.8 billion people worldwide and is the single largest risk factor for the global burden of disease. Yet, it remains an understudied topic in children and adolescents. In this project, longitudinal analysis of early-life food insecurity and adolescent mental health and malnutrition explores healthy developmental trajectories for at-risk youth. The aim here is to aim to identify sensitive periods of food insecurity in terms of mental and physical health later on. Global analysis of food insecurity in 150+ high income (HIC) and low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) explores the social and economic determinants of food insecurity and its health consequences for youth. Here, we focus on economic development and inequality. The project emphasizes knowledge mobilisation and social policy and critic examination of Canada’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda towards the SDG 2 (Zero hunger) and Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Projects supervised by Prof. Jonas-Sebastian Beaudry

Disability studies & disability law 

The intern will participate in one of the two following research projects:

Project 1: Research on the nature and the role of negative emotions towards disabilities and illnesses in the context of legal discourses. The project will involve analyzing specific case law, historical and contemporary statutes and policies, and secondary literature.

Project 2: Research on the concept and practice of “universal design”, the ideals underlying it and its limitations, both in theory and practice.

Projects supervised by Prof. Chris Barrington-Leigh

  1. Life satisfaction in Canada

One project will be related to understanding, analyzing, and communicating information about life satisfaction across Canada. Past interns working on the "economics of happiness" have researched subjective wellbeing and health, happiness and urban form, and cross-national comparisons of life satisfaction, and other topics. This year, we are in need of students to work on GIS web programming or data (econometric) analysis of survey, census, and other data.

  1. Urban development policy, worldwide

Urban sprawl, particularly in fast-growing cities in the developing world, will fundamentally affect future pathways of vehicle travel, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. We have recently developed the first global time series of street-network sprawl — that is, sprawl as measured through the connectivity of the urban street network — calculated across countries, cities, and smaller geographies, and over time since 1975. The successful intern will use this new survey to develop summaries and policy briefs customized to cities/countries around the world.

  1. Python programmer for fieldwork in Beijing:

China has recently committed to rapidly eliminate household coal burning across the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region within the span of 5 years. The coal ban requires approximately 1.5 million people in over 3,700 villages to transition from highly-polluting coal heating stoves to government-subsidized electric-powered heat pumps. Even with a subsidy for the upfront costs of the technology, the cost is high and the market price for electricity is greater than coal on a per-unit-energy basis. The programme has large implications for outdoor air quality and health in the greater Beijing region and climate-related emissions, but also for the households directly affected by the new rules. After a successful pilot study, we are conducting a two-year panel study of a sample of households to assess the household-level effects of the policy, including heating behaviour, job market shifts, life satisfaction, and objective indoor air quality.

We need help computer coding to make our survey tablets and servers work well together for field operations and analysis. Candidate interns should have experience with GNU/Linux, shell scripting, and Python. Other possibly-helpful skills could include reading Chinese, literature review,government source searches, map and data gathering, and modification of tablet-based questionnaires in an SQL-based language.

  1. WWW interface to geographic research data:

Urban sprawl, particularly in fast-growing cities in the developing world, will fundamentally affect future pathways of vehicle travel, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. We have recently developed the first global time series of street-network sprawl — that is, sprawl as measured through the connectivity of the urban street network — calculated across countries, cities, and smaller geographies, and over time since 1975. The successful intern, with skills in programming, (including GNU/Linux, Python, and some web development, and possibly an interest in database-driven GIS) will help to build a public-facing interface for some of the large datasets we have generated. This will help to make our policy-relevant findings accessible to decision-making stakeholders, as well as to other research teams. Details of project subject to change.

  1. Building a global database of urban form

We are using deep learning methods to interpret street-level imagery of global cities. An intern will help support the supervision of machine learning algorithms and will provide some "ground-truthing" by analyzing/classifying items in images. General computer skills, an interest in the research, and some interest in learning some (Python) scripting are useful for this position.

Projects supervised by Prof. Amélie Quesnel-Vallée

Two interns are required to work on the newly launched Observatory on Health and Social Services Reforms (OHSSR) which is led by Dr. Amélie Quesnel-Vallée in collaboration with faculty members from both the IHSP and the Department of Family Medicine. The OHSSR aims to:

1. Monitor key health systems reforms and develop indicators of their potential impact

2. Facilitate comparison of health systems performance indicators across provinces and other jurisdictions

3. Provide trainees with experiential learning opportunities and enriched skills sets allowing them to better meet the demands of constantly evolving health policies and systems.

4. Accelerate knowledge exchange between health services researchers and key stakeholders: health practitioners, decision-makers, patients and the public.

The interns will be required within this broader project to work on literature reviews, research briefs and managing and updating social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and the project website. Bilingualism (French/English) and experience with literature reviews is an asset

Projects supervised by Bertrand Stoffel and Arijit Nandi

Measuring the effect of anti-doping policy

Anti-doping policy is one of the most important international sport policies. It aims at eliminating the use of substances and methods that are either deemed to be detrimental to the athletes’ health, or that may have performance-enhancing effects. More than 660 sport organizations have accepted and implemented the World Anti-Doping Code, including all international sport federations, all national Olympic committees, as well as national anti-doping agencies in more than 140 countries. Yet very few attempts have been made to evaluate the outcomes, the quality and the efficiency of anti-doping policy. Using a unique global dataset and a natural experiment design, this study evaluates the impact of the World Anti-Doping Code. The successful intern must have some experience with quantitative methodology. Experience with R or STATA is important, as well as an interest in epidemiology, health, and sports.

Projects supervised by Eric Lewis

LUC (Laboratory of Urban Culture) Internship

The LUC, run out of IHSP in partnership with SALA, offers a range of free art programs to the youth of the south-west regions of Montreal. The focus is on community heath via collective art practices. At present we run programs in music, digital music and arts, creative writing, photography and theatre. We are in the process of expanding our physical site (presently located in the Salon 1861 in Little Burgundy) to other sites in the southwest. The intern will assist with all aspects of our activities including:

  • Forward looking planning
  • On-site coordination and assistance in project activities
  • Dissemination and promotion of programming
  • Building our community partner network
  • Assisting in research on best practices for university-community arts programming
  • Grant writing

The ideal candidate would be bilingual, self motivated, and interested in (if not also experienced in) working with diverse youth. A background and/or interest in the arts would also be helpful.

Projects supervised by Dr. Matthew Hunt

Development of an ethics analysis toolkit to guide the process of developing, implementing, scaling up and evaluating innovations within humanitarian aid organizations.

 

Past Projects - Winter 2019

Projects supervised by Prof. Chris Barrington-Leigh

  1. Beijing:

China has recently committed to rapidly eliminate household coal burning across the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region within the span of 5 years. The coal ban requires approximately 1.5 million people in over 3,700 villages to transition from highly-polluting coal heating stoves to government-subsidized electric-powered heat pumps. Even with a subsidy for the upfront costs of the technology, the cost is high and the market price for electricity is greater than coal on a per-unit-energy basis. The program has large implications for outdoor air quality and health in the greater Beijing region and climate-related emissions, but also for the households directly affected by the new rules.After a successful pilot study, we are conducting a two-year panel study of a sample of households to assess the household-level effects of the policy, including heating behaviour, job market shifts, life satisfaction, and objective indoor air quality. Candidate interns should be able to read Chinese and will support preparations for the upcoming field season. Tasks may involve literature review, government source searches, map and data gathering, and modification of software used for tablet-based questionnaires. Some SQL database experience would be useful for the latter, but is not required.

Details of project subject to change.

  1. WWW interface to geographic research data:

Urban sprawl, particularly in fast-growing cities in the developing world, will fundamentally affect future pathways of vehicle travel, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. We have recently developed the first global time series of street-network sprawl — that is, sprawl as measured through the connectivity of the urban street network — calculated across countries, cities, and smaller geographies, and over time since 1975. The successful intern, with skills in programming, (including GNU/Linux, Python, and some web development, and possibly an interest in database-driven GIS) will help to build a public-facing interface for some of the large datasets we have generated. This will help to make our policy-relevant findings accessible to decision-making stakeholders, as well as to other research teams. Details of project subject to change.

  1. Canadian urban sprawl:

One project will focus on the growth of new urban developments in North America. The form of these developments has major and long-term impacts on health, energy use, environment, equity, future lifestyles, and life quality.Because of the pace of urbanization, worldwide, these investments may be one of the largest policy levers with respect to climate and health policies. A new global dataset housed at McGill quantifies the road network connectivity which underlies all urban form. The successful intern will help to characterize the kinds of developments occurring in Canada (and possibly in other countries) according to complementary micro- or high-resolution data from Statistics Canada. The project may also involve detailed analysis of consumption, equity, and well-being outcomes in those Canadian data in order to inform policy and practice in zoning and legislation governing new neighbourhoods. The intern should be experienced with or keen about Geographic Information Systems, some econometric software, and the analysis of survey data. For the micro-data, the intern will need to be eligible for security clearance from Statistics Canada (not usually difficult; citizenship not required). 

Details of project subject to change.

  1. Subjective well-being:

One additional project to be determined, likely related to our groups work on the economics of happiness. Past interns have researched subjective wellbeing and health, happiness and urban form, and cross-national comparisons of life satisfaction, and other top

  1. Health, health equity, and inequality in six global cities:

As part of an international collaboration involving six global cities (in Bangladesh, Canada, China, Ghana, Iran, and the UK), the successful intern will help to gather and bring together geographically-linked data on socioeconomic status, health, and associated variables from our partners. GIS experience is needed, along with an interest in health, economics, development, and/or epidemiology.

Projects supervised by Prof. Jill Baumgartner

China has recently committed to rapidly eliminate household coal burning across the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region within the span of 5 years. The coal ban requires over 1.5 million people in 3,700 villages to transition from highly-polluting coal heating stoves to government-subsidized electric-powered heat pumps. The program has large implications for outdoor air quality and population health in the greater Beijing region and climate-related emissions, but also for the households directly affected by the new rules. After a successful pilot study, we are conducting a two-year study to assess the household-level effects of the policy on ambient air pollution and personal exposures, indoor temperature, and health outcomes including respiratory and cardiovascular markers in adults. Candidate interns should be able to read Chinese and will provide back-stopping support during and after field data collection. Tasks may involve data cleaning and analysis, including summary statistics for different indicators. Some experience in data analysis is required. Chinese language skills are helpful but not required.

Details of project subject to change.

Project supervised by Prof. Jonas-Sebastian Beaudry

BILL C-81 (An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada), CRPD and Beyond

The Internship Project will consist of examining new and emerging disability legislation in Canada and in foreign jurisdictions, as well as in conducing a literature review of scholarship that has criticized the strengths and limitations of such legal frameworks, and the repercussions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on those laws. This exploratory project will draw insights from comparative analyses, as well as criticisms emerging from both the academic community and disability organizations, and from existing alternatives in order jurisdictions in order to begin reflecting on how existing and future disability legislation in Canada may respond to those challenges.

Project supervised by Dr. Mary Bartram (on behalf of Harm-Reduction Project of Professors Daniel Weinstock and Alana Klein)

Harm reduction as a bridge between mental health and addiction recovery. Recovery in both sectors has its roots in the advocacy of people with lived experience and their families, and includes a focus on hope in the face of stigma, self-determination, transformation, and meaningful lives in community. Nevertheless, cure is generally not thought to be necessary for mental health recovery, but abstinence is widely regarded as necessary for recovery from addiction. This study will explore the potential for harm reduction to act as a bridge between the mental health and addiction sectors, with a particular focus on the concept of recovery as a driver of system transformation.

Depending interests and skills, the IHSP intern could potentially contribute to the reviewing of policy and academic literature in Canada and internationally, and the analysis of qualitative data from interviews or focus groups.

Prof. Amélie Quesnel-Vallée (Dept of Sociology / Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health; IHSP Associate Member): Observatory on Health and Social Services Reforms

Two interns are required to work on the newly launched Observatory on Health and Social Services Reforms (OHSSR) which is led by Dr. Amélie Quesnel-Vallée in collaboration with faculty members from both the IHSP and the Department of Family Medicine. The OHSSR aims to:

1. Monitor key health systems reforms and develop indicators of their potential impact
2. Facilitate comparison of health systems performance indicators across provinces and other jurisdictions
3. Provide trainees with experiential learning opportunities and enriched skills sets allowing them to better meet the demands of constantly evolving health policies and systems.
4. Accelerate knowledge exchange between health services researchers and key stakeholders: health practitioners, decision-makers, patients and the public.

The interns will be required within this broader project to work on literature reviews, research briefs and managing and updating social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and the project website. Bilingualism (French/English) and experience with literature reviews is an asset.

Project supervised by Bertrand Stoffel and Arijit Nandi

Measuring the effect of anti-doping policy

Anti-doping policy is one of the most important international sport policies. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, more than 660 sport organizations have accepted and implemented the World Anti-Doping Code, including all international sport federations, all national Olympic committees, as well as national anti-doping agencies in more than 140 countries. Yet very few attempts have been made to evaluate the outcomes, the quality and the efficiency of anti-doping policy. Using a unique global dataset and a natural experiment design, this study evaluates the impact of the 2015 revision of the Anti-Doping Code. The successful intern should have some experience with quantitative methodology. Experience with STATA an asset, as well as an interest in epidemiology, health, and sports.

Project supervised by Bertrand Stoffel and Daniel Weinstock

Talking doping

This study explore a central question: How do members of the athlete’s support team discuss doping with the athlete? This work is motivated by anti-doping violation procedures in which athletes regularly report that they were advised by team physicians to take a prohibited substance or that they received such substances from a member of their team. As a result, over the past years, several coaches have been subjected to a period of ineligibility for anti-doping rule violations. While members of the athlete’s support team may act as a protective shield against doping, anecdotal evidence suggests they may also directly encourage doping, facilitate it by providing the necessary advice and access, or simply maintain a climate generally favorable to doping. Using qualitative research methods, i.e. matching emerging patterns from the analysis of various sources and perspectives including interviews, arbitral awards, and narrative accounts, we inquire into the process of communication between the athlete and her primary contact groups, such as teammates, parents, coaches, and physicians. The successful intern will help with the research design, data collection, and data analysis. She or he should have experience in qualitative research methodologies, along with a keen interest in sports.