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MAP 2021 Summer Student Program

MAP is recruiting Black, Indigenous, and other students of colour to join our team as summer students.

Summer students work with MAP scientists and staff on health equity research projects.

About the program

The MAP Summer Student Program is an opportunity to:

  • Gain research skills, experience, and mentorship, to help prepare for graduate school or other career goals
  • Access professional development resources available through MAP and St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Participate in skill-building workshops related to professional development
  • Connect with other undergraduate students who are interested in health equity research

Students are paid $16/hour, 37.5 hours per week. The program is 10 weeks long (June 1-August 6, 2021).

All work will be done remotely.

Who should apply

Applicants must be:

  • Interested in building research skills and exploring a career in research that aims to reduce health inequities
  • Self-identified as Black, Indigenous or a person of colour
  • Currently enrolled in a university/college undergraduate program, including those who are currently in their final semester of undergrad.
  • Legally able to work in Canada
  • Available to participate full-time (37.5 hours/week) for the full 10-week program (June 1-August 6, 2021)

How to apply

The application deadline is 5pm EST on April 16, 2021.

  1. Review the list of MAP projects below, and read the bios of the scientists that are leading them. Choose three projects that you’d love to work on. If you’re selected for the program, we’ll do our best to assign you to one of these projects.
  2. Obtain an unofficial copy of your most recent university transcript.
  3. Fill out the application form, including: your top-three project choices, a research statement, and a personal statement.
  4. In the application form, you’ll need to provide names and contact information for two people willing to write you letters of reference. You don’t need to include the letters in your application (we’ll request them later).
  5. Email your completed application form to The deadline to apply is April 16, 2021.

If you are selected for an interview, you’ll hear from us by May 14, 2021.

The program starts June 1, 2021.

Summer Student Project List

If you’re selected for the MAP Summer Student Program, you’ll be assigned to one of the below projects. Read through the descriptions below, paying attention to each project’s topic, methods, and the scientist leading them. In your application form, you’ll be asked which three projects interest you the most.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Stephen Hwang

The summer student will focus on qualitative research and knowledge translation in the topic area of homelessness and health. In summer 2021, we will have a number of qualitative projects at various research stages. The student working with my team will have the opportunity to learn about these projects and determine where they would like to focus. 

Potential projects include:

  • Vaccine acceptance and hesitancy among people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. This is a qualitative study currently at the research proposal stage, aiming to begin in summer 2021.
  • Qualitative evaluations of new interventions: the Navigator Program and Beyond Housing. We have been working with community and hospital partners to develop two interventions for people experiencing homelessness. The Navigator program supports patients with health care in and out of the hospital, and Beyond Housing will focus on transitions out of homelessness.  In summer 2021, we will be developing the qualitative components of the evaluations for these programs.


  • Data collection: Literature reviews for project proposals and manuscript preparation
  • Data analysis: Thematic coding of interviews, developing a qualitative coding framework
  • Research writing: Report writing, manuscript writing, developing knowledge translation materials for community partners
  • Project administration/coordination: Research ethics board applications


My team has a collaborative approach to research and has many related projects. The student would attend weekly full team meetings, as well as project meetings and one-on-one check-ins. Additional support will be provided by post-docs and research managers leading the specific projects.

At the start of the summer student program, I would like the student to have an opportunity to become familiar with the full research program on homelessness and health and determine which project(s) are in a stage that would best match their interest and advance their skills. We will then determine outputs and expectations with the student and lay out a workplan to build their capacity and skill development, while contributing meaningfully to the team.

SCIENTIST LEADS: Dr. Anna Durbin, Dr. Samuel Law

Assertive community treatment (ACT) is a highly defined, costly community-based mental health program for clients with severe mental illness that provides multidisciplinary support. These clients typically have among the highest use of hospital services, and high needs. There is strong international evidence for the benefits of ACT compared to other community mental health programs, for example, in reducing clients’ use of hospital care and improving engagement with services.

Flexible assertive community treatment (FACT) is a newer model of community-based mental health care, although there is less evidence of its effectiveness. Like ACT, FACT also serves clients with severe mental illness using a multidisciplinary team. The main difference is that FACT contains an intensive ACT service and a less intensive case management service and clients are flexibly assigned to the appropriate service based on their current needs. This flexibility allows FACT team to take care of more patients than ACT team using similar resources. FACT team also aims to serve more complex patients that were traditionally not served by ACT teams. FACT models have been implemented internationally, although FACT models have only recently become implemented in Ontario in limited ways. The FACT team at St Michael’s Hospital is the first in North America. Assessing the FACT model efficacy is potentially very impactful to improve community psychiatric care.

The proposed study will use Ontario’s administrative health care data stored at the province’s central repository (ICES) to:

  • Compare the clients in FACT programs to clients in ACT programs at time of program admission and during the program in terms of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, primary care engagement, length of time in program, emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and length of stay in hospital
  • Examine the post-discharge hospital service use of clients discharged from FACT compare to clients discharged from ACT


  • Data collection: Extracting data from patient’s charts and/or assisting with a short survey of FACT providers in Ontario may be part of this work
  • Project administration/coordination: Meeting planning, taking meeting minutes, ethics board applications
  • Learn about Ontario’s administrative health care sources as the project is designed


Profs. Durbin and Law collectively have expertise in research and clinical practice. We would have availability for regular weekly meetings (1hr) via phone or zoom. All work can be done remotely. As long as the work gets done, there is not specific time that the student has to be available.

We will also incorporate how the student would like to engage and what their goals are for this program. In this discussion we will suggest the following approach, although there is flexibility based on the student’s schedule, access to technology and other considerations:

  • Frequent email exchanges
  • Connecting via phone or zoom at least once per week
  • Provide guidance regarding the student’s desired next steps (E.g. Deciding if they should pursue graduate school), and connecting the student with others who can help them make these decisions
  • Discussions of the challenges and realities of training and early career (speaking from my experience as a non-clinician, White settler with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (she/her))

We would also like to learn more about the perspectives of students who are Black, Indigenous, or other students of colour.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi

Deaths from opioid-related overdose and the COVID-19 pandemic are 2 major public health crises in Canada. People who use drugs are at particular risk for harms during the pandemic due to changes in the drug supply, economic instability, and increased isolation. Supervised injection services have a strong evidence base as an effective health intervention. Currently, there are 19 supervised injection sites in Ontario but only 9% of opioid-related overdose deaths in Ontario occurred in regions with supervised injection services. The overall project will assess service models, describe the impact of the pandemic on the availability of services, model the optimal configuration of sites in Ontario, and estimate the potential impact of scale-up and scale-down of supervised consumption services. The student research project will focus on evaluating the optimal service models and sustainability of supervised consumption sites across Ontario, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, including the potential for innovations in service delivery, and evaluating facilitators and barriers to accessing and using sites for specific groups of people, with a focus on racialized and Indigenous communities, women, and people who use stimulants. This analysis will use program evaluation methods based on qualitative data collection and analysis and implementation science methods. The student will be instrumental in developing logic models and work closely with communities of people who use opioids, health care providers, and policy-level decision makers. The scope of the project is Ontario-wide, including communities in Northern Ontario and Indigenous communities.


  • Data collection
  • Project administration/coordination: Working with community advisory committees
  • Logic model development


My mentorship is focused on helping learners to develop skills to find information and develop solutions to questions. I spend considerable time with students to help the student to define the research questions in terms that are understandable to them and feasible to address – this often involves identifying a framework for thinking about the topic that is relevant to the student’s background and prior training. As such, my focus is on elaboration, reflection, discussion, and support which is highly compatible with the goals of the program. I provide considerable feedback based on the belief that adults learn best from having their work assessed and by reflecting on the comments of others. I meet with summer students on a weekly basis, when feasible. My lab (undergraduate and graduate students, research coordinators, fellows, and residents doing electives) meets monthly and incorporates both social and educational aspects into our meetings.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Aisha Lofters

Patient engagement (PE) is an active collaboration with patients to establish governance structures, identify research priorities, and co-create knowledge in order to influence organizational structures and policy making. PE can improve health outcomes by promoting the use of quality-of-life metrics which match patient-identified needs, increasing access to the health care system and improving overall cost-effectiveness. Current research demonstrates that the spectrum of PE ranges from tokenistic consultation to active participation in the design and conduct of research with few initiatives involving patients partner as co-leads and decision-makers in organization processes and policy making. Little is currently known however, about the patient experience of being a patient partner whether positive or negative. Knowing these experiences can inform more inclusive and acceptable practices in patient engagement. In this study therefore, we propose to use the social network site, Twitter which contains a vast amount of freely available, user generated, textual data containing personal reflections and opinions on health matters. In particular, we propose to do a content analysis of highly active conversation among patient partners and those interested and involved in patient engagement on Twitter that began in February 2018. The conversation was triggered by a Tweet by Isobel Jordon linking to a blog she wrote: “Patient Engagement – You’re doing it wrong”. Initially the conversation had the hashtag #HowNotToDoPatientEngagement. Patient partners offered examples of their experiences where patient engagement did not work well. As the Tweets flew around, a companion hashtag #HowToDoPatientEngagement gained steam as well with examples of where patient engagement was successful from a patient partner perspective.


  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Research writing
  • Project administration/coordination


As one of very few Black scientists or physicians in any professional space in which I have entered throughout my career, I feel passionately that representation matters. I approach mentorship (all of my mentees have been people of colour) with a priority on both professional success but also navigating one’s identity in professional environments that can be unsafe and unwelcoming, even if unintentionally so. I aim to create a safe environment that allows for honesty and free exchange, and am willing to speak frankly about my own experiences, continued challenges and strategies for success.

I also believe that a mentor is there to enable their mentee to grow and excel. I provide my mentees with as much independence and opportunity for intellectual contribution to research as is feasible, and aim for mentees to lead research outputs such as presentations and publications whenever possible.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Rosane Nisenbaum

The At Home/Chez Soi (AH/CS) study was a pragmatic randomized trial conducted in Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The objective was to evaluate the effect of a Housing First intervention (which combines housing and other social supports) for homeless individuals with mental illness on their long-term housing, social, and functioning outcomes. The current project will focus on longitudinal data collected at the Toronto site. There were two phases for the AH/CS study in Toronto: Phase 1 (October 2009 to April 2013) and Phase 2 (January 2014 to March 2017).

In consultation with the Summer Student and according to their personal interest, variables will be chosen to explore the database, formulate research questions and generate hypotheses. Analysis will follow the Statistical Plan of Analysis jointly developed with the supervisor. The Summer Student will have the opportunity to calculate simple descriptive statistics, build exploratory graphs, and apply statistical techniques to analyze cross-sectional and longitudinal data. The format of the analysis database will be customized to the Summer Student’s choice of statistical software.


  • Data analysis: Descriptive statistics, graphs, regression analyses
  • Research writing
  • Experience with R software or other statistical package


“Mentorship is the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor” (Mentorship – Wikipedia)

However, I believe that the relationship between mentor and mentee is a collaborative process where both share their knowledge and inspire each other to continue to learn.

I am interested in supporting a student through this initiative because the At Home/Chez Soi study database includes a number of variables that had not yet been studied. It would be fantastic to offer this opportunity to someone who has never even heard of the project and could, therefore, look with fresh eyes, and ask questions that were never previously considered! In addition, having the experience of working with real-life data will be very valuable, especially if the student chooses to apply for a post-graduate degree program.

SCIENTIST LEADS: Dr. Sloane Freeman, Dr. Katerina Maximova

Full day kindergarten (FDK) was launched in Ontario in 2010. The potential benefits of FDK include higher academic achievement, improved social skills and self-esteem, access to child care, more learning opportunities for low-income children, and greater academic equity. Research suggests that FDK benefits children both academically and socially in the short term, with more benefit for children with socioeconomic barriers and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. An initial evaluation was undertaken in Ontario to identify early indicators of effective practices related to the impact of FDK. Findings suggest that FDK had a positive impact on children’s early development and readiness to learn at school entry. For Ontario’s most vulnerable students, improved development is pronounced with transitioning from non-FDK in JK to FDK in SK. The relationship of FDK to longer term educational and health outcomes is not known, however. This project will consist of an environmental scan, including grey literature search, to better understand the impact of FDK on educational and health outcomes of children, and vulnerable children in particular. We will explore the relationship of socioeconomic risk factors such as low income, newcomer status and parental educational attainment on educational and health outcomes for students who underwent FDK. This review will inform a study evaluating the impact of FDK on longer term educational achievement and health outcomes for children in Ontario, with a particular emphasis on reduction in health inequalities.


  • Project administration/coordination: Ethics board application
  • Prepare an environment scan, including a grey literature search for Canadian information and materials on the benefits of FDK
  • Consult with experts and practitioners


Our mentorship philosophy is to provide guidance and support while encouraging students to think critically and thoughtfully. We aim to provide a collegial and collaborative working environment where students can gain a variety of research skills. We encourage students to work both independently as well part of a research team. We look forward to the opportunity to contribute to increased diversity, and an anti-racist initiative.


National essential medicines lists that determine which medicines are accessible to several billion people list some medicines that are ineffective or harmful. We have developed a database of 138 national essential medicines list that we now maintain with the World Health Organization. We have used this database to identify medicines that have been withdrawn or banned in some countries but prioritized for access by others. In the proposed project, a summer student will use our database to identify medicines that should be removed from both the World Health Organization’s model essential medicines list and from national essential medicines. The outputs of this project should include a peer-reviewed publications and suggested changes to essential medicines lists.

Examples of related studies that have involved summer students:


  • Data collection (e.g. literature reviews)
  • Data analysis (e.g. descriptive statistics )
  • Research writing (e.g. report writing, abstracts, manuscripts)


I will meet regularly with the summer student, especially in the early stages of the project. The summer student will lead this project and should be the first author of the resulting manuscript. The student could also be involved in submitting suggested changes to essential medicines lists.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Michelle Firestone

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way society works. These changes have been especially important for people who experience marginalization. The MARCO study is interested in looking at how programs and policies have affected people experiencing marginalization during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project’s objectives are to rapidly evaluate public health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to better understand health risks and barriers to accessing health and social care during the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop solutions to mitigate harms and address systemic barriers experienced by people who are marginalized.

The MARCO project team is made up of academic researchers, community-based researchers, community partners, people with lived experience, students and trainees. We recognize that there are many forms of marginalization that work together in complex ways and are committed to ensuring that diverse ways of knowing and multiple types of expertise inform this work. Currently, there are five MARCO community-based evaluations underway using a mix of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. We are actively planning for knowledge translation and exchange activities across different audiences and stakeholders to ensure timely uptake and implementation of program and policy recommendations that will address the needs and improve the wellbeing of people experiencing marginalization.


  • Data analysis
  • Research writing
  • Knowledge translation activities (e.g. non-academic writing, graphic design, video) and support with organizing and planning dissemination events


My research, teaching and supervision is grounded in the meaningful, reciprocal relationships that I have established and nurtured first as a student and trainee and then as an independent researcher and mentor.  As a person of white European settler ancestry, I am committed to the ongoing process of reconciliation, critical reflection and learning required to address anti-black and ant-Indigenous racism and inequities.  Some of the ways I walk this talk are by creating a safe space for authentic dialogue, supporting autonomy and self-determination and honouring diverse ways of knowing across an interdisciplinary team of staff and students on my team.  I am interested in supporting this initiative as it provides students with unique learning opportunities in public health research and will bring new voices and experiences to the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Andrew Pinto

Law enforcement activities can result in physical and psychological violence that disproportionately impacts certain communities: Black, Indigenous and other people of colour (BIPOC), individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning and 2-Spirit (LGBTQ2S), individuals with mental illness, people who use substances, those without legal status, and sex workers. Law enforcement violence is a longstanding important public health issue. Community organizations, notably, Black Lives Matter, have been calling for change in how law enforcement is organized, funded and governed for many years. More recently, the murder by police of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 has triggered a broad movement calling for police services to be defunded. In this project, we will conduct a scoping review and critical discourse analysis of the English literature, focused on arguments made from the health community to change policing. We will also conclude an analysis of publicly available data on municipal spending in Canadian urban centres on police services compared to other key services identified through a social determinants of health lens (housing, income supports, social services). Of note, there are numerous projects happening in the Upstream Lab that students may be involved in, time permitting.


  • Data collection
  • Data analysis


My approach to mentorship is inspired by the critical pedagogy of Paulo Freire, which seeks to invert the usual hierarchy between student and teacher, and sees education as liberatory. The Upstream Lab hosts a large number of students, including undergraduates, medical students, Masters, PhD and post-doctoral fellows. Everyone supports one another in their learning journey, and students are often drawn into different projects. I am interested in being involved in this program because I think our research institutes need to create more opportunities and pathways for BIPOC individuals and communities.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Ann Burchell

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that certain groups may be at higher risk for severe disease, including people living with HIV. HIV affects the immune system’s ability to respond to infections and shares some of the same risk factors as COVID19, such as older age, comorbidities, and lower income. Currently, people living with HIV who take medications to control their HIV infection seem to get infected with COVID-19 and become hospitalized at similar rates to the general population, but evidence in this area is mixed and more research is needed. Because of limited testing and surveillance gaps, we do not yet know how many people living with HIV have been infected with COVID-19, whether they will have more severe illness than people who do not have HIV, how pandemic restrictions have impacted HIV care engagement, or whether COVID-19 vaccines will be less effective for this population. We will address these knowledge gaps using an existing study of about 4,000 people who attend HIV care in Ontario, linkages to laboratory and health administrative data, and one-time self-collection of dried blood spots. These findings will inform clinical and immunization guidelines for people living with HIV. The successful applicant will work with Dr. Burchell to develop a search strategy and literature review on COVID-19 in this population. This may include knowledge synthesis, protocol writing, REB applications, analysis planning, data review and documentation, and presenting findings verbally and through written summaries.


  • Data collection: Literature reviews
  • Data extraction and knowledge synthesis
  • Report and protocol writing
  • General project administration including ethics applications, meeting planning, note taking
  • Dissemination of findings through an oral presentation to academic and general audiences


The successful candidate will gain practical experience conducting research in the field of HIV and COVID-19, as part of my research program involving collaboration with local, provincial, and national teams with a strong emphasis on community engagement. In addition to accessing the many research and educational resources available at St. Michael’s, the candidate will be supported by a growing research team, consisting of PhD, Masters and medical students, experienced staff and an embedded community investigator. Although this position is remote, the candidate will have regular meetings with supervisors and attend team meetings. I look for candidates who have a passion for the topic, a strong sense of initiative and who will take an active role in their literature review process. I will support the development of their research skills, including critical literature review, analysis planning and communicating findings in written reports and oral presentations to a variety of audiences.


Some commonly used clinical tools such as risk calculators are based on the individual’s “race”. The practice of factoring in a patient’s “race” when making clinical decisions may be based on assumed biological differences between people of different “races” even though “race” is a social rather than biological construct. In the proposed project, we will identify clinical tools that incorporate “race” and examine the basis for including “race” by conducting systematic reviews of the relevant literature.


  • Literature searching
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Research writing


I will meet regularly with the summer student, especially in the early stages of the project. The summer student will lead this project and should be the first author of the resulting manuscript.


The student working with our team will be offered a chance to work on two separate research projects.

The first project is Safe at Home Hamilton. This project is based on the Safe at Home model from Australia, in which the model requires the perpetrator of domestic violence to leave the family home, giving survivors of violence the option to remain in place and recover with supports from integrated health, social, police, and legal services. Some programs provide services and counselling to the perpetrators as well. We are currently looking for ways to tailor the program’s pillars to Hamilton, ON; create a blueprint for the program’s cross-sector collaborations and commitments; and use evaluation to guide successful implementation, paving the way to successful scale-up across Canada. Work offered as part of this study includes conducting literature reviews, working with community stakeholders, as well as an opportunity to conduct some interviews.

The second study looks at precarious employment in Ontario and its effects on workers and their families’ health and well-being, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of this study builds on a recently initiated cross-sectional mixed-methods study in Ontario on precarious employment and COVID-19. The study expands into a longitudinal study. This focus is on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the well-being of precarious workers and crucial employment and income related policy gaps affecting them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Work offered as part of this study includes coding interviews.


  • Data collection: Undertaking literature reviews
  • Data analysis: Coding qualitative interviews
  • Project administration/coordination: Preparing REB amendments and meeting agendas; work with community stakeholders.
  • We are open to creating project tasks around the student’s specific research skills and developmental interests


We are excited to provide an opportunity to have an undergraduate student work with us on our program of research. We are providing an opportunity to build capacity and skill in the areas of conducting literature reviews, coding qualitative interviews, creating knowledge translation tools (plain language reports, infographics, toolkits and visual presentations) and working to develop and support relationships with community stakeholders. We are open to creating opportunities in other areas based on the student’s specific research skills and interests. This student will have access to two Research Coordinators on a day-to-day basis to guide and support them on project tasks and support their learning and development goals by developing a personalized learning plan at the start of this placement. The student will have regular opportunities to check-in with the study staff and the Principal Investigator, all of whom will provide ongoing feedback.  

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Sharmistha Mishra

Our research lab in Mathematical Modeling for Program Science is seeking a summer student to support projects on examining the association between income inequality and rates of SARS-CoV-2 testing and of COVID-19 diagnoses in Ontario, Canada.

COVID-19 is demonstrating considerable heterogeneity in risks of acquisition and transmission. This project will focus on examining income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, to help identify patterns of risk as well as access to and uptake of services such as SARS-CoV-2 testing in Ontario, Canada. The project involves conducting data cleaning, variable creation, data analyses, adapting and using correlation analyses and regression methods to model the relationship between income inequality and rates of SARS-CoV-2 testing and of COVID-19 diagnoses. This work will contribute to the existing literature on income inequality and COVID-19 outcomes. The summer student will also prepare figures, contribute to reports and manuscripts, and there will be an opportunity to lead manuscript writing.


  • Data analysis: R (software)
  • Research writing


Our mentorship approach is informed by my and our lab members’ experiences as learners in health-academic and technical-research settings, self-directed learning, and through self-reflection. Our goal is to widen access to research opportunities and skills-development, particularly around data analytics and coding and analytics-related problem-solving. Our approach is centered on regular coaching and focused technical skills development with trainees taking on graduated ownership and leadership over project tasks and activities; with trainee goals and objectives detailed at the start of the studentship. We encourage collaboration, with a focus on learner-centered decision-making around project activities. Through this initiative, we aim to work with students from the Research Application Support Initiative via the Community of Support program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Gillian Booth

The active use of public space, such as cycling to work, taking the train, and using a neighbourhood park, has been directly linked with better health, including reductions in chronic disease incidence and premature deaths. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario and work from home policies surged, mobility patterns drastically shifted; many people were no longer commuting, and shopping malls, ‘high-streets’, and other centres of urban economic activity were shut down. Public parks, trails, and walkable neighbourhoods became the primary places to safely get outside and stay active. However, lockdown orders expressed as ‘stay-at-home’ mandates, as well as community risk perception, and neighbourhood designs, often impeded or enhanced people’s opportunities to actively use public space – and get healthy – during the pandemic.

Globally, multiple different stories have emerged, as public health policies, COVID-19 case burdens, and the public’s risk perception has vastly differed between countries – each influencing the use of public parks and outdoor spaces in different ways. In consideration, we have an opportunity for a summer student to conduct an environmental scan that explores the link between a country’s public health policies and the use of public parks and outdoor spaces during the pandemic. This work will be aided by publicly available mobility data that outlines changes in population movement during the pandemic relative to the period prior. This environmental scan will directly build on a larger body of evidence that links the built environment to health outcomes, and will help propose culturally appropriate solutions to rethink how public space should be equitably designed and used in a post-pandemic world.


  • Data collection: Environmental scan
  • Data analysis: Descriptive statistics
  • Report writing
  • Project management


As an integral part of Gillian Booth’s research team, the summer student will be given guidance, support and training by seasoned, passionate researchers, as well as access to MAP Centre resources. Weekly meetings will be scheduled with a post-doctoral researcher and epidemiologist, accompanied by an “open-door” policy that encourages the student to ask questions at any time. Our mentorship approach consists of providing consistent support, while also giving the student space to build on their knowledge base to effectively lead their own projects, showcase their work, and contribute to project ideas and decisions. At the end of the work period, there will be an opportunity for the student to present their work to an audience. We believe that the contribution and perspective of new researchers is invaluable to the work that we do, and it is our responsibility to use our position to help others realize and achieve their goals.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Carolyn Snider

My research program currently has several components that a MAP summer student can participate in to learn the breadth and depth of contemporary action research praxis. We currently undergoing an AFP funded stakeholder engagement to develop a St. Michael’s Hospital Violence Intervention Program. We have a very involved community and academic collaborative leading this program in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Community Wellbeing and Safety Team. Our stakeholder work has identified the large gap that many hospital based violence interventions have in not addressing the needs of family members – parents, siblings, cousins and close friends.

The MAP summer student will co-lead an updated systematic review of hospital based violence interventions along with a systematic review of interventions for families of victims of violence. Systematic reviews are essential for guiding the formulation of research questions. Learning to conduct systematic reviews is an important foundational skill for emerging researchers to develop expertise in. Understanding how systematic reviews are integrated into a larger research program, and how these are integrated into community-based participatory research studies focused community consultation and stakeholder engagement is important knowledge. This is especially true for action researchers seeking to address and solve the underlying healthcare inequities that exist in our communities.

My work is focused on addressing violence and repeat violent injury in the context of emergency medicine, but it will be nested within a larger community of advocates seeking to solve the public health crisis of violence in our city.


  • The student will be welcome to be part of analyzing the findings of our stakeholder events that occur during their time with us.
  • The student will be involved in writing up the findings of the systematic review to be published in peer reviewed journals and/or presented at conferences and workshops.
  • This is a unique opportunity to learn about action research, how it functions in the context of community-based participatory research praxis, and how to engage community groups. Further, there will be opportunities to learn about emergency medicine, the needs of communities experiencing disadvantage(s) with un(der)met needs, and trauma-informed care. This work will involve exposure to new connections with Toronto-based community partners, researchers, and healthcare practitioners working to address the epidemic of violence in the City of Toronto – and beyond.


I am an emergency physician who is passionate about changing how we provide emergency department care for those experiencing disadvantage. I believe strongly that I am only able to bring the area of expertise of a privileged emergency physician and researcher; indeed, I have learned that program development, implementation and evaluation must include the expertise of those with lived experience for it to be relevant and sustainable. I believe that the best way to learn about research is by being part of a team, listening and contributing. I truly look forward to having a student who is excited to be part of this work.


REACH Nexus is committed to using scientific evidence, pragmatic/structural interventions and innovative knowledge mobilization efforts with peer leaders to end HIV stigma in Canada.

To identify sources of HIV stigma in a Canadian context, the team at REACH Nexus is leading the national implementation of the Canadian HIV Stigma Index. The Stigma Index is both a process (of building partnerships, engagement and community capacity) and an action-based and evidence-informed strategy to shine a light on the factors that shape and sustain HIV stigma, and to inform the development and implementation of interventions to reduce stigma and improve the overall well-being of people living with HIV.

Over the last year we have launched and delivered three major national knowledge translation and exchange initiatives—The Positive Effect, the pozcast podcast and the HIV Stigma Community of Practice—to mobilize our data, results, and lived experiences with the actions to address HIV stigma in communities across Canada.

The student will have the opportunity to work with these initiatives, and with researchers, community agencies, people with lived experiences and key “end user” stakeholders, to help plan, develop, implement and evaluate effective knowledge translation and communication products that will facilitate the dissemination and uptake of research findings across diverse audiences/stakeholders (“end-users”). This will involve writing and designing communications and social marketing products for diverse audiences in print and electronic formats.

The student will also help conduct literature/content searches across multiple media channels, synthesize research knowledge and develop plain language research summaries for specific research projects.


  • Data collection: Literature reviews
  • Data analysis: Reviewing descriptive statistics, with the possible utilization of Qualtrics and other online survey tools
  • Research writing (e.g. report writing, abstracts, manuscripts)
  • Project administration/coordination
  • Helping to develop KTE and communication products (e.g. social media content, blog posts, and literature/content searches for KTE project development)


Since 2009, REACH Nexus has been a highly effective national catalyst for research, practice and policy collaborations and for the meaningful engagement of people living with HIV and other lived/living experience(s) in all aspects of the research and program planning enterprise.

Dr. Sean Rourke is responsible for the leadership of REACH Nexus, and will provide support and mentorship to the student interested in our national stigma project work. Dr. Rourke’ mentorship approach is grounded in inclusivity and collaboration, and places emphasis on building capacity among students, community stakeholders and people with lived experiences to ensure strong regional and community representation and engagement in all of REACH Nexus’s efforts.

These approaches guide the centre in developing community-relevant and “real life” impact research that uses innovative and pragmatic ways to move research evidence into action, and to have a measurable impact on reducing the impacts of HIV stigma in Canada.

SCIENTIST LEADS: Dr. Rick Glazier, Dr. Kelly O’Brien

Systematic reviews provide researchers with information and evidence to understand a problem which can result in policy change to make life better for people. One area of study where evidence has made huge positive impact, is HIV-related research. People with HIV are living longer with the health-related consequences of HIV. This review will build on previous evidence that shows that performing aerobic exercise or a combination of aerobic and resistive exercise at least three times per week for at least five weeks is safe and can lead to improvements in specific outcomes.

But how does exercise help people living with HIV and what types of exercise works best? To answer this question, we require the assistance of a student to help us with the following tasks:

  • Review the latest research and identify studies;
  • Extract data from studies and organize into tables;
  • Analyze results and compare outcomes;
  • Assess study “bias” and the quality of evidence overall using the GRADE framework (GRADE provides a systematic approach for making clinical practice recommendations);
  • Write-up and contribute to the final manuscript.


  • Data collection: Literature review using DistillerSR software
  • Data analysis: Organizing data tables in Excel, using GRADE and other online risk of bias tools to assess studies
  • Research writing: Write up of methods and results and creation of data tables for final manuscript
  • Project administration/coordination: Regular research team meetings with lead author and other project staff
  • The student will: learn how a good systematic review is conducted, how to establish if a study might have “bias” and types of study designs that can lead to bias, how to use software to conduct systematic reviews, discussions around which studies are included or not and why, consensus building, data analysis, gain an understanding of the gold standards around study methods, contribution to manuscript


We have hired and worked with many students over the years. Our research team, under the direction of primary care physician and research scientist, Dr. Rick Glazier, is strongly committed to mentoring and training the next generation of researchers, clinicians and post-graduate students. For the purposes of this position, a student will also be in contact with the lead author, Dr. Kelly O’Brien, a professor in the department of Physiotherapy at the University of Toronto.

Many students who previously worked with us are now working in the field of research and/or went to medical school some of whom are now working at St. Michael’s Hospital in research or clinical roles – including Professor O’Brien!

Our approach is collaborative in nature. We include students fully in the research process, introduce them to other experts in the field and strongly encourage cross-disciplinary enquiry and networking. Our students are considered integral members of the team during their time working with us.  We often rely on the student – once initial training is complete – to lead the reviews and report back to us at intervals throughout the project. Perhaps our mentorship can best be summed up by another previous student: “I had the opportunity to be a summer student at MAP as first year undergraduate student in psychology. During this time, I was able to make connections with researchers and scientists which led me to a Research Assistant position, working on systematic literature reviews as well as projects working with homeless individuals.  These experiences allowed me to gain variety of research skills, and sparked an interest to pursue a career in in community health. As a result of the mentorship and support I received, I was able to complete a Master’s degree at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.  Currently I am completing a Ph.D. in Community Psychology at the University of Ottawa. Over the years, I have continued to contribute to research activities at MAP.  My time at MAP opened up endless opportunities for me, including winning the Joseph-Armand Bombardier doctoral scholarship.”

Contact info

Suzanne Zerger, Research Program Manager

Application deadline

5pm EST April 16, 2021

About MAP

Based at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto), MAP is a world-leading research centre dedicated to creating a healthier future for all. Learn more