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MAP 2022 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.

Applications for the 2022 program are now closed. If you are selected for an interview you will hear from us in early May 2022.

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 6-August 12, 2022).

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 a Black, Indigenous or other racialized person
  • Currently enrolled in a university/college undergraduate program in Ontario, Canada, in the Fall 2022 following the Summer Program. Students enrolled in medical school or who will be starting in medical school in the Fall are not eligible for this program.
  • Legally able to work in Canada
  • Available to participate full-time (37.5 hours/week) for the full 10-week program (June 6- August 12, 2022)
  • Able to work in or around the MAP offices in downtown Toronto, as needed
  • Please note that if you are selected to participate in this program, you will be required to submit proof of three COVID-19 vaccinations as per Unity Health Policy.

How to apply

The application deadline is 5:00 pm EST on March 14, 2022.

Google forms allows you to save your progress for up to 30 days if you are logged into your free google account. If you do not have a google account, please review the Letter of Intent prompt and the fields for contact information for those recommending you, formulate your responses, and be ready to copy and paste it into the form when submitting the application.

You will be required to upload your unofficial transcripts at the end of this application form, so please ensure you have them by the time you intend to submit the application.

We hope to make this application process as simple as possible. Should you prefer to complete this as a downloadable form that can be filled in offline, please send an email to Suzanne.Zerger@unityhealth.to

  1. Review the list of MAP projects below, and read the descriptions provided by the scientists who 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 below, which includes your three project choices, a 300-500 word Letter of Intent, and the names and contact information for two people willing to complete a reference form for you. (Note we only want their names and contact information for the application – if we require a reference for you, we will request them later).
  4. The deadline to submit your completed application is 5:00pm EST on March 14, 2022

If you are selected for an interview, you’ll hear from us by early May 2022.

The program starts June 6, 2022.

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. Ahmed Bayoumi

Research Project Description

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way society works. These changes have been especially important for people who experience marginalization. The MARCO study collected data on how programs and policies have affected people experiencing marginalization during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the MARCO evaluations looked specifically at the COVID-19 Isolation and Recovery sites that were established for people experiencing homelessness. In particular, this evaluation looked at the models of care for delivering services to clients of the sites. Working together as a team of academic researchers and community partners, we conducted an evaluation to answer questions: How did the CIRS model develop? What are the defining characteristics of the CIRS in terms of structures, services and decision making? Who was involved and what were their roles? How did the model influence staff and client experiences? We did this research by interviewing 43 people from a range of backgrounds. One aspect of that care was how the sites responded to critical incidents – times when clients had emergency situations, some of which resulted in death. The summer student will qualitatively analyze data that has already been collected about how the sites managed the responses to critical incidents, including decisions about leadership, communication, support for clients, and responsibilities. The student will work closely with people with lived experience of marginalization and community members to develop themes, write plain text reports, and participate in knowledge translation activities.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
 Data collection  
 
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews) x
 
 Literature Review x
 
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)   
  Community engagement x
 
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports) x 
  Other (please specify)  
 

Mentorship Environment and Approach

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.

Publications/Projects

This report summarizes findings from the CIRS report:

Firestone M, Bayoumi AM, Steer L, and Khoee K (Co-lead authors), Akaehomhen A, Lee Soh B, Holness L, Nisenbaum R, Schlosser L, Beder M, Boozary A, Hwang S, Kolla G, Mohamed A, O’Campo P, Pariseau T. MARCO COVID-19 Isolation and Recovery Sites Evaluation Brief Report. Toronto, Ontario: MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital. December, 2021. Available from https://maphealth.ca/wp- content/uploads/CIRS_MARCO-JAN-2022.pdf 

This report summarizes findings from a relalted MARCO project:

Kolla, G, Long, C, Rucchetto, A, Worku, F, Fagundes, R, Hayman, K, Laurence, G, Caudarella, A, Norris, K, Hannan, E, Nisenbaum, R, Klaiman, M, Kikot, R, Ko, J, Firestone, M, Bayoumi, AM. Evaluation of the Substance Use Services at a COVID-19 Isolation and Recovery Site in Toronto: A MARCO Report. MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto. Toronto, ON. December 14, 2021. Available from: https://maphealth.ca/wp-content/uploads/SUS_MARCO-JAN-2022.pdf


SCIENTIST LEADS: Dr. Gillian Booth

Research Project Description

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 improved mental health and reductions in chronic disease incidence and premature deaths. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and work from home policies surged, mobility patterns drastically shifted; many people were no longer commuting, and 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 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 diverse ways.  In consideration, we would like a summer student to help us with a scoping review that explores the use of public parks and outdoor spaces during the pandemic. We will also explore how the use of public space during the pandemic may have impacted physical and mental health. This project will directly build on a larger body of evidence linking 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.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection
  X
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)
 
 X
 Literature Review 
 X
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
 
 X
Community engagement 
  
Research writing and dissemination (e.g.
abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
 
  
Other (please specify) Presentation
 
 X

Mentorship Environment and Approach

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 Research Manager and Coordinator, 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.

Publications/Projects

The publications below demonstrate the link between the built environment, walkability, and the incidence of diabetes and other chronic diseases.  Given how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted population mobility patterns, it is vital to understand how the use of parks and green space may have changed, and how it impacted population health and wellbeing during a time of crisis.

  1. Kornas K, Rosella LC, Fazli GS, Booth GL. (2021). Forecasting Diabetes Cases Prevented and Cost Savings Associated with Population Increases of Walking in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Canada. Int J Environ Res Public Health: 18(15):8127. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18158127.
  • Howell NA, Tu JV, Moineddin R, Chu A, Booth GL. (2019). Association Between Neighborhood Walkability and Predicted 10-Year Cardiovascular Disease Risk: The CANHEART (Cardiovascular Health in Ambulatory Care Research Team) Cohort. J Am Heart Assoc: 5;8(21):e013146. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.013146. Epub 2019 Oct 31.
  • Fazli GS, Moineddin R, Chu A, Bierman AS, Booth GL. (2020). Neighborhood walkability and pre-diabetes incidence in a multiethnic population. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care: 8(1):e000908. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2019-000908.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Justine Cohen-Silver

Research Project Description

COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated social and health inequities among children and families while revealing many gaps in our health and social care system.   Practitioners struggle to integrate social care into their clinical practice due to the disparate health and social care systems at the macro level. Families with social adversity are inundated with advice during crisis and challenge, so it is difficult for them to follow through with referrals.

Since March 2020, Drs. Cohen-Silver and Pinto are leading an Early Years Intervention Network for the  MAP Network Solutions for Health Cities initiative. Our team includes paediatricians, family physician, lawyers, and policy experts from Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Massachusetts.  We have had 2 successful planning meetings, submitted a commentary for publication and are completing a systematic review of neighbourhood-level interventions that address the social determinants of health for children and families.

We have determined that there are three models aiming to support social needs exist, yet each have challenges:

1. Screening and intervening by patient navigator to connect families to services. 

2. Co-localization of health services such as school-based health clinics help remove barriers to accessing healthcare.

3. Community-based partnerships within different sectors such as a tax clinic at the doctor’s office. We wish to explore these models and existing community infrastructure together with providers and families. Our innovation is a co-design with families after exploring their community to determine what is realistic for service access, what is missing and from the client-perspective, what will work best. 

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

The student will have the opportunity to be involved in a literature review using a scoping review methodology, including data analysis and dissemination.   These student will utilize endnote and covidence programs.  They will also have the opportunity to be involved in the coordination of this project and attend research meetings and rounds.  Additionally they will be involved with grant writing and submission as well as the development of abstracts and possible manuscripts

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection
yes  
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)
yes  
Literature Review
yes  
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
yes  
Community engagement
Likely  
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
Likely  
Other (please specify)
Using end note and covidence  

Mentorship Environment and Approach

The student will join weekly research group meetings, as well as a weekly 1:1 meeting with the research coordinator.  A bi-monthly meeting as well for mentorship and teaching by Dr. Cohen-Silver.  There will be regular emails with the research team to help support task completion.  There will be weekly academic rounds that are not mandatory within the paediatric academic department. The mentorship approach will therefore involve an opportunity to join the team as a hands-on team member and join rounds to learn about the research process and pediatric academic topics of interest. There will be opportunity to focus on the specific topic of interest and community based participatory research and scoping reviews.

Publications/Projects

Scoping review of school clinics-submitted for publication- to understand the scope of research and clinical infrastructure for this unique clinical model that removes barriers for families facing social challenges and children facing educational difficulties.

Angel’s Den participant to help gain support for research in school health (see 12 minute mark to help give context to Dr. Cohen-Silver’s philosophies and clinical and research work) https://angelsden.ca/

Commentary on intersectoral collaborations-submitted for publication to CMAJ, can provide working copy to help give context to this specific project aimed at understanding intersectoral programs and research goals

More publications:

  1. Nicholas. D.B, Muskat B,  Zwaigenbaum L, Greenblatt A, Ratnapalan S, Kilmer C, Craig W,  Roberts W, Cohen-Silver J, Newton A, Sharon. R. Patient- and Family-Centered Care in the Emergency Department for Children With Autism. Pediatrics, 2020, 145. (Supplement) S93-S98.
  • Cohen-Silver J, Adams S, Agarwal R, Birken C, Cohen E, Dougherty G, Houtrow A, Jegathesan T, Kandasamy S, Muskat B, Pai N, Maguire JL.  Development of the pediatric social risk instrument using a structured panel approach. Clinical Pediatrics, 2018; 57 (12): 1414-1422.
  • Wong P.D, Wong J.P , van den Heuvel M, Feller A.E, Cohen-Silver J, Ford-Jones L.  The pediatrician and middle childhood parenting.  Pediatrics and Child Health, 2017; 1(22): 26-29. CO-I.
  • Cohen-Silver J.  Laher N, Freeman S, Mistry N, Sgro M.  Family fIRST: A waiting-room based social risk screening survey in a school-based pediatric clinics, a feasibility and pilot study.  Paediatrics and Child Health. 2016 May;21(4):178-80.  PI.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Flora Matheson

Research Project Description

Most people released from custody have bail, probation, or parole conditions that they must follow for a specific period of time, such as orders to abstain from substance use, attend treatment, and find employment. Release conditions are often difficult to meet in the context of re-entry challenges and other complex needs, like Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Research shows that about 80% of people incarcerated have experienced a head injury which negatively affects brain function, causing problems with memory, learning, abstract thinking, emotional regulation and social interactions. Violating conditions can result in a return to custody or bail revocation. The primary objectives of this project are to examine (1) how individuals with a history of TBI experience and manage supervision conditions; (2) how control agents in the criminal justice system apply, monitor, and enforce conditions in practice; and, (3) how interactions between control agents and persons subject to conditions shape violation trajectories. The summer student will work closely with all members of the team and have an opportunity to learn about the criminal justice system. They will be trained to perform literature searches, assist with participant recruitment, and conduct data collection. The project’s community-based focus will also allow our diverse team of trainees to build community engagement skills.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection Qualitative interviews  
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews) Analysis of qualitative interviews 
Literature Review Updating literature review on conditions of release 
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning) Amendments to research ethics application, scheduling of interviews and community partner meetings 
Community engagement Community-based focus: Regular meetings and consultations with community partners 
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
   
Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

Two research coordinators, a research administrative person, undergraduate and graduate students support the Justice and Equity Lab. Everyone on the team is part of mentorship, while Dr. Flora Matheson and Dr. Arthur McLuhan provide leadership and higher level mentorship. The team meets weekly on various projects and keeps in close contact via email and zoom. Mentorship is meant to provide skill development and to maximize learning.

Publications/Projects

The proposed research is a natural progression from the innovative work of this team in prisoner re-entry.

  • The Relationship between Traumatic Brain Injury, Incarceration and Prison Misconduct: Identifying Opportunities to Break the Cycle: Using longitudinal Ontario administrative health data linked to offender management data from Correctional Service of Canada, the team explored correctional outcomes among people incarcerated for their first federal sentence across a 13-year period.
  • Association between Traumatic Brain Injury and Prison Charges: a population-based cohort study: We examined serious in-prison disciplinary charges for adults aged 18+ among persons who experienced their first federal incarceration and had a history of TBI.
  • Assessing Mental Health and Substance Use Needs and Service Disruptions for People Released from Custody during COVID-19: Findings from a recent project on mental health and substance use needs upon release from custody during COVID-19 revealed the complex challenges of complying with supervision conditions.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Katerina Maximova

Research Project Description

The Health Promoting Schools (HPS) approach is being increasingly recognized as critically important to alleviating the burden of both chronic diseases and mental health that have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Research suggests that the HPS approach is by far the most effective and cost-effective approach to improve students’ health and academic outcomes. However, there has been little guidance in terms of how decision-makers and school administrators should plan, implement, sustain and evaluate an HPS program in the Canadian setting. This project will consist of a literature review of available scientific and grey literature on planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of HPS, with extraction of statements related to standards and indicators for HPS. Findings will be used to inform the development of standards and indicators of HPS for use in the Canadian context.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection
   
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)
   
Literature Review Literature review: student will screen peer-reviewed articles and grey literature, retrieve full texts, contribute to data extraction and verification, complete consensus with other team members to ensure validity of decisions, and contribute to preparation of reports 
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
   
Community engagement
   
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
   
Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

My mentorship philosophy is to provide guidance and support while encouraging students to think critically and thoughtfully. I 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.

Publications/Projects

1. Ekwaru JP, Ohinmaa A, Dabravolskaj J*, Maximova K, Veugelers PJ. “Cost-effectiveness and return on investment of school-based health promotion programs for chronic disease prevention.” European Journal of Public Health 2021 Dec; 31(6): 1183-1189. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckab130.

– We studied the implementation of HPS interventions and looked at healthcare savings in terms of treatment and management of chronic diseases if we were to implement HPS interventions across Canada.

2. Lima do Vale MR*, Farmer A, Gokiert R, Ball GDC, Maximova K. “Gaps in Nutrition Policy Implementation in Childcare Centres in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region: A Cross-Sectional Survey.” Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 2021 Sept; 1-8. doi:10.3148/cjdpr-2021-021.

– We studied the implementation of health promotion interventions in the daycare settings and identified gaps that require improvement.

3. Dabravolskaj J*, Khan MKA, Veugelers PJ, Maximova K. “Mental health and wellbeing of 9-12-year-old school children in Northern Canada before the COVID-19 pandemic and after the first lockdown: a repeat cross-sectional study.” International Journal of Public Health 2021 Sept; 66: 1604219. doi:10.3389/ijph.2021.1604219.

We studied whether the implementation of HPS approaches during COVID-19 had an impact on children’s mental health and wellness.

SCIENTIST LEADS: Dr. Sharmistha Mishra

Research Project Description

Infectious disease transmission and infection risk can vary across different segments of society with a major source of this variation linked to social and structural determinants of health (e.g., income inequality, employment in essential services). One of the main objectives of our research lab is to quantify this relationship between social and structural determinants of health and differences in infection risk in the context of COVID-19 acquisition in Ontario, Canada. To achieve this goal, we use a variety of statistical and mathematical models.

We are seeking a summer student to create statistical models to determine which social and structural determinants of health are most important for quantifying different COVID-19 outcomes (e.g., testing rates, diagnoses, hospitalizations, or deaths). This project may also be expanded to include comparisons between recorded COVID-19 outcomes and patterns of infection emerging from waste-water surveillance data.  The student who will join this project must have experience with a programming language (preferably R but we are open to those who have experience with programming and are willing to work in R) and are comfortable performing statistical analyses such as linear and generalized linear regression. During this project, the student will gain experience with applied statistical modeling, data visualization, and scientific writing, with the opportunity to contribute to a manuscript.  Previous experiences with mixed models, Bayesian statistics, and mathematical modelling are assets.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collectionStudent will gain experience using different data sources, evaluating the utility of these sources and exploring how different biases influence data.N/AN/A
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)Student will gain experience data cleaning and conducting variable selection, bias assessments, and statistical analyses including but not limited to linear and generalized linear regression and multivariate analyses such as PCA. Opportunities for using more advanced methods such as mixed models and generalized additive models are also available.N/AN/A
Literature ReviewStudent will gain experience conducting rapid scoping reviews on various subjects related to COVID-19 risk heterogeneity by social and structural determinants of health.N/AN/A
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)Student will gain experience collaborating and leading meetings with researchers from various backgrounds (epidemiologists, program scientists, mathematical modelers).N/AN/A
Community engagement
N/AN/AN/A
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)Student will have the opportunity to contribute to a scientific conference abstract and/or manuscript related to their work throughout the summer.N/AN/A
Other (please specify)
 N/AN/A

Mentorship Environment and Approach

Our multidisciplinary team is composed of 5 full-time staff members, 2 part-time staff members, 3 graduate students, and 2 undergraduate students. The student working on this project will be mentored by Sharmistha Mishra and 2 staff members (epidemiologist and research associate). The student will be involved weekly with team check-ins and have smaller group meetings with their mentors.

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.

Publications/Projects

This summer project will build upon the work of the following publications/projects which examined associations between social and structural determinants of health and COVID-19 outcomes:

Mishra S, Ma H, Moloney G, Yiu K.C.Y, Darvin D, Landsman D, et al. Increasing concentration of COVID-19 by socioeconomic determinants and geography in Toronto, Canada: an observational study. Ann Epidemiol. 2021;65:84-92. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2021.07.007.

In this publication, we assessed how heterogeneity in risks has evolved in large urban centers over time by quantifying the magnitude of risk heterogeneity in Toronto, Ontario from January to November 2020 through a retrospective population-based observational study. We generated epidemic curves by social and structural determinants of health and crude Lorenz curves by neighbourhoods to visualize inequities in the distribution of COVID-19 and estimated Gini coefficients. We examined the correlation between social and structural determinants of health using Pearson-correlation coefficients.

Mishra S, Stall NM, Ma H, Odutayo A, Kwong JC, Allen U, et al. on behalf of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. A vaccination strategy for Ontario COVID-19 hotspots and essential workers. 23 April 2021.


This report examined the direct and indirect impact of vaccination strategies (per-capita regional allocation of vaccines with subsequent distribution – in order of relative priority – by age, chronic health conditions and high-risk congregate care settings, COVID-19 hotspots, and essential workers in non-healthcare settings). Specifically, it looked at how COVID-19 vaccination coverage varied between neighbourhoods with different COVID-19 risks and how per-capita rates of cases differed between neighbourhoods with high and low proportions of non-healthcare essential workers.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Sharmistha Mishra

Research Project Description

Nearly two thirds (25 million) of all people living with HIV live in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In SSA and elsewhere, HIV disproportionately affects female sex workers (FSW) due to intersecting biological and structural risk factors. HIV treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) can prevent onward transmission. As such, recent efforts to scale-up ART coverage aim to not only improve the lives of people living with HIV, but reduce new infections. These efforts target key steps along the “treatment cascade”, including HIV diagnosis, ART initiation, and achieving viral suppression. Population-specific cascades are therefore often reported as: % diagnosed among HIV+, % on ART among diagnosed, and % virally suppressed among those on ART – including the UNAIDS 95-95-95 goals for 2025. However, it’s not clear whether recent ART scale-up has been inclusive of FSW, who face unique barriers to progressing through the cascade. Such barriers include high HIV incidence requiring frequent testing, stigma when accessing care, and food/housing/economic instability.

This project seeks to update a 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of treatment cascade among FSW in SSA, including integration of recent estimates from both peer reviewed sources and grey literature. Specifically, we aim to: 1) perform regional meta-analysis of cascade achievement among FSW; 2) characterize time trends in cascade improvements among FSW; 3) systematically compare cascades among FSW to cascades among women overall; 4) use statistical models to identify determinants of FSW cascade; and 5) explore methods to infer unobserved cascades.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative Research Qualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collectionThe student will gain experience extracting data from academic and grey literature, including FSW cascade achievement (e.g. proportion diagnosed among FSW living with HIV), related data (e.g. proportion who tested in the past 12 months), and study context information (e.g. local HIV prevalence among FSW). The student will be encouraged to think critically about potential cascade determinants and sources of bias, and propose changes to the data extraction form to systematically document these factors for downstream analysis.N/AN/A
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)Foremost, the student will gain experience using R to clean and plot extracted cascade data, and perform stratified meta-analysis (objective 1). The student main also gain experience coding, running, and interpreting the results of statistical models related to objectives 2–5.N/AN/A
Literature ReviewThe student will gain experience screening abstracts and/or full texts for inclusiong using Covidence (a validated search strategy has already been implemented), including identification of edge cases and discussing with a senior team member to resolve these cases.N/AN/A
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)The student will gain experience collaborating and leading meetings with researchers from various backgrounds (epidemiologists, biostatisticians, mathematical modellers), including presenting and discussing results.N/AN/A
Community engagementN/AN/AN/A
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)The student will have the opportunity to contribute to a scientific conference abstract and/or manuscript related to their work throughout the summer.N/AN/A
Other (please specify)N/AN/AN/A

Mentorship Environment and Approach

Our multidisciplinary team is composed of 5 full-time staff members, 2 part-time staff members, 3 graduate students, and 2 undergraduate students. The student working on this project will be mentored by Sharmistha Mishra and 2 staff members (epidemiologist and research associate). The student will be involved weekly with team check-ins and have smaller group meetings with their mentors.

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.

Publications/Projects

1. Elisa Mountain et al. “Antiretroviral therapy uptake, attrition, adherence and outcomes among HIV-infected female sex workers: A systematic review and meta-analysis”. In: PLoS ONE 9.9 (2014). pp. e105645. URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105645

  • This 2014 systematic review synthesized the latter two steps of the ART cascade among FSW globally. However, cascades in many contexts and populations have dramatically improved since 2014, and no grey literature were included. The paper demonstrates stratified meta-analysis of key cascade data, and illustrates the challenges of synthesizing heterogeneously reported data.

2. Katherine B. Rucinski et al. “High HIV Prevalence and Low HIV-Service Engagement Among Young Women Who Sell Sex: A Pooled Analysis Across 9 Sub-Saharan African Countries”. In: JAIDS 85.2 (2020), pp. 148–155. URL: https://doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002432

  • This study provides a non-systematic synthesis of FSW cascade data from selected countries, and illustrates sub-group analysis (by age) that can help identify determinants of cascade achievement.

3. Jennifer L. Glick et al. “ART uptake and adherence among female sex workers (FSW) globally: A scoping review”. In: Global Public Health (2020), pp. 1–31. URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2020.1858137

  • This scoping review provides a similar analysis to Mountain et al., but did not perform meta-analysis, or include grey literature. Determinants of cascade engagement were explored through a social ecological framework, but were not synthesized quantitatively.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Rosane Nisenbaum

Research Project Description

The COVENANT study is a longitudinal study of 700 individuals experiencing homelessness in Toronto (https://maphealth.ca/covenant/) that aims to estimate the prevalence and incidence trajectories of SARS-CoV-2 infection over a 12-months period. COVID-19 self-reported infection and vaccination data, in addition to demographic and housing characteristics, have already been collected for the baseline and 3-months follow-up. In addition, at each time point, participants’ samples are collected to detect total IgG antibodies against three SARS-CoV-2 antigens: Nucleocapsid (NP), “Spike protein” (SMT1), Receptor-binding domain (RBD)

The objective of this project is to use serology and self-reported data to evaluate changes in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and risk factors associated with seroconversion from baseline to 3-months follow-up, during the period of June 2021 to January 2022 between the third and fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
  Data collection   
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)data processing, descriptive statistics, graphs, regression modeling,  programming in R  
Literature Reviewyes, to get familiar with statistical methods and R programming needed for the project  
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
   
Community engagement
   
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
manuscript draft  
  Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

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. Therefore, weekly meetings with the student will be scheduled to exchange ideas and resolve any situation that may arise during the learning, development or action phases.

The student will also attend a 1-hour weekly meeting with the COVENANT study Team, so they can listen and interact with other Team members and learn about other study components that are in progress.

Finally, having the experience of working with real-life data will be very valuable, especially if the student chooses to apply for a research position or a post-graduate degree program.

Publications/Projects

Both of the references below are important to learn about the terminology and methods that will be used to analyze the data.

1: Luong L, Beder M, Nisenbaum R, Orkin A, Wong J, Damba C, Emond R, Lena S,

Wright V, Loutfy M, Bruce-Barrett C, Cheung W, Cheung YK, Williams V, Vanmeurs

M, Boozary A, Manning H, Hester J, Hwang SW. Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection

among people experiencing homelessness in Toronto during the first wave of the

COVID-19 pandemic. Can J Public Health. 2021 Dec 17:1–9

2: Wang A, Pridham KF, Nisenbaum R, Pedersen C, Brown R, Hwang SW. Factors

Associated with Readmission Among General Internal Medicine Patients Experiencing Homelessness. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Jul;36(7):1944-1950

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Patricia O’Campo

Research Project Description

We had heard from past students working on our team, that working on multiple projects enriches their own their own learning and allows for greater exposure to multiple areas of research. Work offered as part the summer student program with our research team include:

  1. The Safe at Home model advocates that women and her children fleeing violence should have the right to safely stay in their own homes and that the perpetrating partner should be the one to leave. Safe at Home is an inter-sectoral initiative accomplished by pulling together resources across local and provincial government and non-government agencies. The MAP research team is working with stakeholders in the City of Hamilton to tailor the program’s pillars to urban Canadian settings, create a blueprint for the program’s cross-sector collaborations and commitments and to co-create and implement a Safe at Home pilot program in the city.
  1. Inequities between precarious workers and standard workers have widened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Canadian government moved quickly with policy measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, many precarious workers’ needs continued to be overlooked. The COVID-19 and Precarious Employment (COPE) project is a longitudinal mixed-methods research study to understand the impact of the multiple waves of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of Ontario’s precarious workers, and to understand how policies have shaped those impacts.
  1. WITHWomen is a suite of screening and safety planning web-based applications for women experiencing intimate partner violence. Web-based applications provide a promising medium through to increase access to service information. To date, we have designed a screening app with nine validated questions to determine the level of safety in a woman’s intimate relationship and two safety planning apps, one designed specifically for public health emergencies. We are now working with community partners to culturally and linguistically tailor these apps to both French and Spanish speaking populations.    

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection
   
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)Design of survey instrument for precarious employment and COVID-19 projectCoding interviews using NVIVO 12 for one project related to precarious employment and COVID-19   Analysis of user research for intimate partner violence (IPV) app adaptation project 
Literature Reviews
   
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
 REB Amendment for IPV app adaptation project 
 Community engagement Participating in working group meetings for Safe at Home project, liaising with workgroup members and other stakeholders 
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports) Creation of communication material (info sheets, briefs, research summaries) for Safe at Home meetings  
Other (please specify) Putting together and refining app content for IPV app adaptation project 

Mentorship Environment and Approach

Our team is made up of researchers with both clinical and community practice experience and students. Through this program, the successful student will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with investigators and staff on our team to discuss both their education and career goals.  We will create opportunities in other areas based on the student’s specific skills and interests. Two Research Coordinators are on hand on a day-to-day basis to support them on project tasks and will personalized learning plan at the start of this placement.

Perhaps said best by a past student working with our team:

MAP has been and will forever be a pivotal point in my career.  In  all  honestly,  I  was previously unsure about where I wanted to move  forward,  however,  MAP  has  enabled me  to  hone  in  on  my  career  aspirations within public health and the wonderful team I  worked  with  gave  me  the  confidence  to pivot  from  biomedical  sciences  to  a  field  I was  much  more  excited  about  and  aligned more  strongly  with.

Publications/Projects

Please list up to 3 of your publications or projects, and briefly indicate how they will be relevant for the Research Project that you are proposing.

  1. Design and Development of a Suite of Intimate Partner Violence Screening and Safety Planning Web Apps: User-Centered Approach – https://www.jmir.org/2021/12/e24114

Description: Paper describes the user research which went into developing our suite of intimate partner violence screening and safety planning apps. We will be using a similar process for culturally and linguistically translating our apps to French and Spanish speaking populations. Also included here are the links to our screening and two safety planning apps – Pathways and PROMiSE

  1. Project web-page for Safe at Home project: https://maphealth.ca/cope/
  1. Project web-page for COPE project: https://maphealth.ca/safe-at-home/

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Nav Persaud

Research Project Description  

The CLEAN Meds trial was a 24-month trial that measured the effects of free essential medicine distribution to primary care patients who had trouble affording medicines. While the trial was being conducted, additional funding was obtained to continue the intervention of free essential medicine distribution for an additional 12 months for a total 36 months for participants in the intervention group

While the 36 month follow up was being completed, additional funding was obtained to continue the intervention of free essential distribution for only the small subset (n=24) participants who were prescribed treatments for hypertension. So there is 48-month follow up for only this small (n = 24) subset of intervention group participants. This current analysis will be a post-hoc cohort study of participants allocated to receive free essential medicine distribution as part of the CLEAN Meds trial. This analysis will use the prespecified outcomes of the CLEAN Meds trial.

The student will also work with our team to complete current projects related to global essential medicines list and conduct analyses using our database. There will be opportunities to be engaged in other projects as well.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection
X  
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)
X  
Literature Review
X  
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
X  
Community engagement
   
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
X  
Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

We will have weekly check ins to ensure appropriate supervision. Team coordinators Hannah, Aine and Areesha will provide mentorship and guidance throughout the program and check-in often. Student will be encouraged to reach out to team members at any time to help with their project.

Publications/Projects

Please list up to 3 of your publications or projects, and briefly indicate how they will be relevant for the Research Project that you are proposing.

This is the year 2 article describing the CLEAN Meds trial:

Persaud N, Bedard M, Boozary A, Glazier RH, Gomes T, Hwang SW, Juni P, Law MR, Mamdani M, Manns B, Martin D, Morgan SG, Oh P, Pinto AD, Shah BR, Sullivan F, Umali N, Thorpe KE, Tu K, Laupacis A; Carefully seLected and Easily Accessible at No Charge Medications (CLEAN Meds) study team. Adherence at 2 years with distribution of essential medicines at no charge: The CLEAN Meds randomized clinical trial. PLoS Med. 2021 May 21;18(5):e1003590. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003590. PMID: 34019540; PMCID: PMC8139488.

This is an example of a project using our database of essential medicines:

Adekoya I, Maraj D, Steiner L, Yaphe H, Moja L, Magrini N, Cooke G, Loeb M, Persaud N. Comparison of antibiotics included in national essential medicines lists of 138 countries using the WHO Access, Watch, Reserve (AWaRe) classification: a cross-sectional study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2021 Oct;21(10):1429-1440. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30854-9. Epub 2021 Jul 29. PMID: 34332706.

This is an example of our work on equity in academia:

Persaud N, Ally M, Woods H, Workentin A, Baxter NN, Boozary A, Grundy Q, Lofters A, McKenzie K, Pinto A, Schünemann HJ, Straus S. Racialised people in clinical guideline panels. Lancet. 2022 Jan 8;399(10320):139-140. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02759-8. PMID: 34998499.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Andrew Pinto

Research Project Description

Our team of experts in artificial intelligence, population health, and public health is conducting scoping reviews focused on the application of machine learning (ML) models in population and public health. Our reviews will comprehensively identify the extent to which model developers have considered biases, and strategies used to mitigate them. They will be published in peer-reviewed journals and will also inform guidelines to provide model developers and knowledge users with novel, evidence-informed strategies for identifying and mitigating bias. This position will offer the opportunity to take part in the data extraction component of this scoping review and potentially to assist in preparation of manuscripts for publication

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection
   
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)
   
Literature Review
  X
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
   
Community engagement
   
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
  X
Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

The Upstream Lab was founded in 2016 by Dr. Andrew Pinto, a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist and family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital. He is also a scientist at MAP, Centre for Urban Health Solutions, Associate Director for Clinical Research at UTOPIAN, and lead for AI at EXITE. He is the CIHR Applied Public Health Chair for Upstream Prevention in primary care.

The Upstream Lab emerged as a leader in integrating health and social care, population health management, and using data for proactive care.  We strive to not only examine health inequity through a social justice lens, but also to develop innovative solutions to optimize population health.

We are a dynamic team of ~20, with a wide range of knowledge and experiences. The MAP summer student will be provided mentorship and training by the PI and project coordinator, and attend biweekly meetings with the entire team. 

Publications/Projects

  1. Pinto AD, Bloch G. Framework for building primary care capacity to address the social determinants of health. Can Fam Physician. 2017 Nov;63(11):e476-e482. PMID: 29138172; PMCID: PMC5685463.

This framework provides an orientation to Dr. Pinto’s work on the social determinants of health, which underpins the work of the Upstream Lab. Social determinants of health relate to inequities and marginalization, which are highly relevant to the biases that our project will identify and seek to mitigate.

  1. Morgenstern JD, Buajitti E, O’Neill M, Piggott T, Goel V, Fridman D, Kornas K, Rosella LC. Predicting population health with machine learning: a scoping review. BMJ Open. 2020 Oct 27;10(10):e037860. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037860. PMID: 33109649; PMCID: PMC7592293.

This scoping review provides an overview of machine learning applications in population health, which is the key content area of our project. The senior author, Dr. Laura Rosella, is a member of our study team.

  1. The Future is Now: Artificial Intelligence in Family Medicine. Upstream Lab AI Webinar Series. 2020-2021. Available at: https://upstreamlab.org/resources/

In collaboration with The College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Upstream Lab hosted a six-part monthly webinar series from December 2020 – June 2021 featuring family medicine leaders in Canada who shared their expertise in machine learning, natural language processing (teaching computers to understand human language), ethics, and AI research. The content is highly relevant to the technical aspects of this project.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Sean Rourke

Research Project Description

Unlike other G7 countries, Canada is not seeing a reduction in the number of new people being diagnosed with HIV. REACH Nexus is a partnership with front-line, community agencies, people with lived experience, governments, industry and the academic community working to apply implement solutions to end the transmission of HIV in Canada. Since 2019, REACH Nexus has taken national leadership to implement the federal government’s action strategy and priority to reach the undiagnosed with HIV in Canada. REACH Nexus can accelerate this priority in the next 5 years through the I’m Ready to Know Program.

I’m Ready is a first-of-its-kind national research program deploying free HIV self-test kits and offering participants the choice to connect to care either with trained peer navigation support or on their own using the program’s online resources. I’m Ready collects anonymized data from participants through surveys delivered by the program’s mobile app, which participants also use to order their self-test kit(s). The I’m Ready program has launched and is in the implementation and evaluation phase. Students will support the evaluation analysis as well as program improvement initiatives that help increase awareness and engagement. The project work includes data collection, analysis and interpretation on the utilization of the I’m Ready program and its impact on reaching the undiagnosed HIV AIDS population. This work will be used to inform the REACH’s strategy on how we can work to reach the undiagnosed HIV priority populations to end HIV in Canada.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collectionXX 
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)X Data and statistical analysis (qualitative and quantitative) Excel, Tableau  X 
Literature Review
X PubMedX 
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
XX 
Community engagement
XX 
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)X Research report writing, abstract submission, communication to funders/key stakeholdersX 
Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

The REACH Nexus team is comprised of a team of ten individuals with expertise in research (medical science), program evaluation, implementation, and health administration. Students will be able to pair up with  our senior leadership to observe and participate in meetings related to the REACH nexus research. There are many opportunity to not only have debrief discussions about the project and work, but also time for mentorship and learning with the mentor.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Andrea Simpson & Dr. Doug Campbell

A central goal of obstetrical care is to provide children with the best possible start in life through optimization of maternal health in pregnancy and reduction of identifiable risks. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many threats to the health and well-being of pregnant people and their babies, with marginalized populations being disproportionately affected. Further investigation is warranted to determine strategies and interventions aimed to meet the needs of communities most impacted by COVID-19 disease burden. Consulting community members for their perspectives and recommendations is essential to developing thoughtful community-informed decision-making.

The objective of this research is to understand the impact of the pandemic on families who have had children born during the COVID-19 pandemic and to devise strategies aimed to mitigate these impacts, particularly for marginalized communities and equity-deserving groups. To generate actionable recommendations, we will engage 2 groups: (1) healthcare providers (including early childhood educators, pediatricians, primary care providers (nurse practitioners and family physicians), speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists); and (2) parents of children born during the pandemic (including those born prematurely) from a variety of backgrounds (low socioeconomic status, recent immigrants, race- and gender-diverse). The first group will be interviewed through focus groups to discuss the impact of the pandemic on children two years and under (born during the pandemic) to generate a list of recommendations/interventions that may benefit families. The second group will then participate in focus groups to discuss how their child/family has been disadvantaged by the pandemic and determine if the list of recommendations are meaningful and feasible for them. By engaging families, we hope to refine the list of recommendations to inform interventions that may be helpful to these families.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

The student will attend virtual focus groups led by a professional facilitator with families who had children born during the COVID-19 pandemic. The student will clean and audit the transcripts from the focus groups and learn qualitative data analysis (coding, thematic analysis), and participate in a literature review and writing/presenting abstracts on our findings.

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection
 X 
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)
 X 
Literature Review
 X 
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
   
Community engagement
   
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
 X 
Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

Dr. Simpson is an early career investigator at MAP and Obstetrician-Gynecologist. Dr. Doug Campbell is a pediatrician at St Michael’s Hospital. The student will work primarily with both PIs, who will provide research and writing mentorship. The student will learn qualitative methodology and will observe focus groups led by a professional facilitator and assist with data analysis. One of the goals of this studentship would include presentation of the abstract (oral or poster) at scientific conferences. Meetings with the research team will occur approximately biweekly with additional ad hoc meetings.

Publications/Projects

  1. Simpson AN, Snelgrove JW, Sutradhar R, Everett K, Liu N, Baxter NN. Perinatal Outcomes During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ontario, Canada. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(5):e2110104. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.10104.


This study evaluated rates of preterm birth in Ontario during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other countries reported significant reductions in preterm birth, which they believed were related to strict lockdown restrictions. While we did not observe a significant difference in preterm birth compared to the prior 5 years (only a small but significant decrease in very preterm birth <32 weeks’ gestation), our findings did raise some interesting hypotheses around whether lockdown measures (including working from home) may confer a lower risk of very preterm birth. This clearly has implications for people who are unable to work from home (e.g. front line and essential workers)

  1. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on obstetrical care and maternal, perinatal and early childhood outcomes in Ontario.

This is a CIHR-funded study including the above-mentioned qualitative study. The goal is to generate actionable recommendations on how we can reduce inequities for families with children born during the pandemic, particularly considering the disproportionate impact on equity-deserving groups.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Shazeen Suleman

Research Project Description

This project will involve principles of youth-participatory action research (YPAR), qualitative methodologies and human-centred design. With a youth advisory council, we will explore barriers to care for refugee claimant youth in the city of Toronto, and develop a tool to improve their understanding and access to care. Students involved in this project may participate in interviews, data collection, community council meetings, design prototypes and preparing abstracts and manuscripts for submission. They will work with a research coordinator as well as other students and trainees in the Suleman lab on other projects. In addition, they will work closely with our community partner – the Centre for Refugee Children.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection  X – interviews, chart review
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)  X – Dedoose or NVivo; Excel, SPSS
Literature Review  May be involved
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
  May be involved in preparing REB submission.
Community engagement  Yes – will have a strong role in community engagement with our community partners.
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
  May be involved.
Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

The student will be directly supported by myself (Shazeen Suleman) as well as the 2 part-time research coordinators and 3 other research trainees, and our departmental research manager and research coordinator. My team meets at least weekly for projects, and we also meet as a group to facilitate relationships between trainees. My trainees will tell you that my approach is one of supported exploration; students are encouraged to do independent work with an open-door policy for guidance and support, and we develop work-plans and goals collaboratively. I also invite students to engage in active reflection throughout their work with me. Students will be given frequent training and oversight. I am happy to connect any interested students with my trainees to learn more about what it is like working with me!

Publications/Projects

Caroline Leps, BA MSc MD, Jessica Monteiro, MD MSc, Tony Barozzino, MD FRCP, Ashna Bowry, MBChB CCFP MSc DTMH MD, Meb Rashid, MD CCFP, Michael Sgro, MD FRCP, Shazeen Suleman, MSc MD MPH (FRCPC), Interim Federal Health Program: Survey of access and utilization by paediatric health care providers, Paediatrics & Child Health, 2021;, pxab045, https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/pxab045

This paper was the first to show that there are few pediatricians in Canada that understand how to utilize IFHP – the federal health insurance program that refugee claimants are covered by. This helped set the stage for the development of this tool.

The Compass Clinic: https://unityhealth.to/2021/12/compass-clinic/

This is the clinic that I run, which provides low-barrier, culturally-safe and trauma-informed care to children and youth who are new to Canada. This clinic and my own lived experiences informs much of my research work.

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Darrell Tan

Research Project Description

New HIV infections continue to occur in Canada despite the existence of safe and efficacious prevention strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).  Our team developed evidence-based Canadian guidelines on PrEP and PEP in 2017 that were endorsed by multiple professional societies and were important to informing policy nationwide.  However, advancements in the field mean that an update to the guidelines is now needed.   The summer studentship will involve systematic reviews on the four key questions to be addressed in the guideline, particularly regarding HIV risk stratification tools for identifying optimal PrEP candidates, and novel drug regimens for both PEP (eg. elvitegravir- and bictegravir-based regimens) and PrEP (eg. oral tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine, injectable cabotegravir).   The student will learn systematic review methodology and the fundamentals of HIV prevention science, and will collaborate with other trainees/team members on synthesizing the available evidence and drafting a manuscript for publication.  The student will also assist in planning other aspects of the guideline development process (eg. assembling the panel of experts, community engagement activities, ensuring compliance with GRADE methodology).  Finally, the student will also be exposed to other research activities within our lab (www.optionslab.ca), including clinical trials, cohort studies and implementation science projects in the field of HIV, STI and COVID-19 treatment and prevention.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collection
   
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)
X  
Literature Review
X  
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)
X  
Community engagement
X  
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
X  
Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

Students in the Options Lab are encouraged to take ownership over their project and participate in multiple structured learning opportunities.  First, the PI meets regularly with trainees during the summer to review progress, ‘workshop’ scientific writing, and provide integrated education on infectious diseases and methodologic topics.  Second, we organize a weekly seminar series with clinical, academic and community-based research partners on topics of interest.  Third, trainees take turns presenting at a weekly journal club.  Fourth, each trainee is paired with a research coordinator so they can be exposed other research activities (eg. shadowing clinical trial study visits).  Our team currently includes one Manager, one Administrative Assistant, four Research Coordinators, one Research Assistant, one Post-doctoral Fellow, and four Master’s students.  Minimum expectations are for each student to first-author one abstract for a national/international conference, co-author at least one manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal, and present at least one journal club session and summative research presentation to the team.

Publications/Projects

  1. Tan DHS, Hull MW, Yoong D, Tremblay C, O’Byrne P, Thomas R, Kille J, Baril JG, Cox J, Giguere P, Harris M, Hughes C, MacPherson P, O’Donnell S, Reimer J, Singh A, Barrett L, Bogoch I, Jollimore J, Lambert G, Lebouche B, Metz G, Rogers T, Shafran S, Biomedical HIV Prevention Working Group of the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network. Canadian guideline on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and nonoccupational postexposure prophylaxis. CMAJ. 2017 Nov 27;189(47):E1448-E1458.

This is the original Canadian guideline on HIV PrEP and PEP whose development was led by the PI.  This summer studentship will involve conducting updated systematic reviews for the guideline panel to use in developing an update to the guidelines in 2022/2023.

  • Co-Principal Investigator. The Future of PrEP is Now. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Operating Grant: HIV/AIDS and STBBI Community-Based Research. PI: Tan, Darrell. Collaborator(s): Kwag M, Arkell C, Bayoumi A, Draenos C, George C, Grace D, Hull M, Jollimore J, Lachowsky N, Montess M, Pico Espinosa O, Pruden H, dela Cruz A. 300,000 CAD. [Grants]

This is a newly funded, community-based research project on understanding the potential role of novel, long-acting antiretroviral drugs as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in Canada. The study exemplifies our team’s commitment to community engagement in the rollout of new biomedical prevention tools.

  • Principal Investigator. Optimizing the Delivery of HIV Postexposure Prophylaxis: A randomized controlled trial of text messaging support and physician/nurse role optimization. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Partnerships for Health System Improvement (PHSI). 400,000 CAD. [Grants]

This is an ongoing clinical trial of two implementation strategies for optimizing how PEP is delivered to people with sexual exposures to HIV (text messaging support, nurse-led care).  The trial will also generate important data on the use of a newer PEP regimen (bictegravir with tenofovir alafenamide and emtricitabine).

SCIENTIST LEAD: Dr. Ann Burchell

Research Project Description

The successful applicant will work with Dr. Burchell and the ESTIMATE Lab on projects within her STI research program, including HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HPV-related cancers. Tasks will include knowledge synthesis, data review and documentation, and presenting findings verbally and through written summaries.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collectionData extraction and knowledge synthesis  
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)
   
Literature Review  Critically assessing peer-reviewed and grey literature
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning)General project administration including ethics applications, meeting planning, note taking  
Community engagementDissemination of findings through an oral presentation to academic and general audiences; assessing and developing knowledge transfer and exchange products  
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports)
Report and protocol writing  
  Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

The successful candidate will gain practical experience conducting research in the field of HIV/HPV/STIs, 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 (http://stmichaelshospitalresearch.ca/labs/estimatelab/), 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.

Publications/Projects


Grewal R, Grennan T, Gillis JL, Ogilvie G, Gaspar M, Grace D, Raboud JM, MacPherson PA, Rosenes R, Salit IE, Burchell AN. Low human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake among men living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): Cross-sectional findings from a clinical cohort. Preventive Medicine. 2021 Feb 1;143:106329.

Burchell AN, Kendall CE, Cheng SY, Lofters A, Cotterchio M, Bayoumi AM, Glazier RH, Antoniou T, Raboud J, Yudin MH, Loutfy M. Cervical cancer screening uptake among HIV-positive women in Ontario, Canada: A population-based retrospective cohort study. Prev Med. 2018;107:14-20.

Gillis et al. … Burchell AN. Low HPV-related knowledge associated with low perceived risk for HPV and cervical cancer among women living with HIV attending HIV care in Ontario, Canada. Short Oral Presentation at the International Human Papillomavirus Conference – Virtual. 2021 Nov 15-19

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI worldwide and can cause cancers such as cervical cancer in women; women living with HIV have higher rates than the general female population and are at higher risk for other HPV-related cancers. The Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study (OCS) is a longitudinal study among people living with HIV in Ontario; current analyses on women include looking at HPV vaccine uptake, knowledge and beliefs around cervical cancer screening. Next steps include reviewing knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) in the literature and developing KTE products such as infographics and presentations.

SCIENTIST LEADS: Dr. Stephen Hwang

Research Project Description

Dr. Stephen Hwang’s team develops interventions and conducts research and evaluations focused on homelessness, housing, and health. During this program, the student will have a core focus on the preparation of a community report for a qualitative research study on COVID-19 Vaccines and people experiencing homelessness, led by post-doctoral fellow Dr. Jesse Jenkinson. The student will use recently collected and analyzed data and, working with community collaborators, Dr. Jenkinson, and the research team, translate it into an accessible document for use in the community. In addition, the student will have an opportunity to learn project management and coordination skills with two intervention projects that support the health of people experiencing homelessness in the hospital and the community.

Research Skills and Development Opportunities

TaskQuantitative ResearchQualitative ResearchMixed Methods
Data collectionObserve data collectionObserve data collection 
Data analysis (e.g. statistics, coding interviews)Participate in group analysis meetingsParticipate in group analysis meetings 
Literature Review Summarize literature for COVENANT study Community Report 
Project administration/coordination (e.g. research ethic applications, meeting planning) Evaluations of one-two intervention projects will be underway and will be supported by the student 
Community engagement The student will have the opportunity to engage with community partners for two intervention projects, and knowledge translation of a research project. 
Research writing and dissemination (e.g. abstracts, manuscripts, reports) A main focus of the student’s work will be drafting a Community Report from qualitative data from the COVENANT study. 
  Other (please specify)
   

Mentorship Environment and Approach

The student will receive ongoing supervision and direction from post-doctoral fellow Dr. Jesse Jenkinson, who is leading the COVENANT Qualitative study, and the Navigator Program process evaluation. They will also be supported by research managers and coordinators working on the intervention and evaluation projects. In addition, the student will have biweekly, one-on-one meetings with Dr. Stephen Hwang. 

The student would be part of a large team working on a variety of projects at various stages. The team takes a collaborative and supportive approach to our work – the student will participate in weekly team meetings to learn about projects and meet post-doctoral fellows, masters-level students, and research staff, with diverse educational and project expertise. Team members are very open to virtual and in-person “coffee dates” to share their knowledge, answer questions, and discuss career trajectories.  

Publications/Projects

The focus of the student’s work will be the Community Report for the COVENANT qualitative study on vaccine uptake and hesitancy. Information on the study is here: https://maphealth.ca/vaccine-uptake-homelessness/

The study is led by post-doctoral fellow Dr. Jesse Jenkinson. Dr. Jenkinson’s paper, Nowhere to go: exploring the social and economic influences on discharging people experiencing homelessness to appropriate destinations in Toronto, Canada, is good background reading Dr. Jenkinson’s approach. It is also directly related to the Navigator Program Intervention and Evaluation (https://maphealth.ca/navigator/)

 Lastly, the student will also have the opportunity to be involved in the Beyond Housing project – there is more information on that project here: https://maphealth.ca/beyond-housing/

Review & Selection Process

  • Eligibility Screen: All applications submitted on or before the deadline will be screened for eligibility requirements (e.g., applications are complete when submitted, transcripts confirm enrollment at Ontario undergraduate program).
  • Review of Letters of Intent: Two reviewers who are experienced researchers currently employed at MAP will be assigned to rate Letters of Intent for each eligible applicant, and their ratings will be averaged to determine the applicant’s final rating. Letters of Intent with highest average ratings overall will be provided to Scientists associated with the projects of interest listed in the application. (Note: transcripts are used solely to confirm eligibility and are not shared with Scientists)
  • Scientists Interview and Select Finalists: Scientists will decide which students they want to invite for an interview and make their final hiring decision based on the Letter of Intent, Interview(s), and References.

Sample Email Template When Requesting a Reference

You need to submit contact information for two people who would be willing to complete a reference form for you if you are selected as a finalist and a Scientist requests them. It would be best to ask your letter writers if they would be willing to compete a reference for you before you submit their contact information to us.

Below is an example of an e-mail that you can use if you’re not sure how to approach your recommender.

***********************

Dear [person’s name],

You have been an important [mentor/supervisor/leader/person/influence] in my life, and that is why I am hoping that you would write me a letter of recommendation. I am applying to a 10-week research opportunity at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions (located at St. Michael’s Hospital) called the MAP Summer Student Program (https://maphealth.ca/summer-students).

To apply, I need to submit the email address and name of two people who could recommend me. You would only be contacted if I am a finalist for the Program, which I will know sometime in May 2022. If you would be willing to complete a reference form for me, then you would receive an email request and a form for you to complete at that time. Would you be willing to let me list you as a potential reference?

Thank you so much for considering this request.

Contact info

Suzanne Zerger, Research Program Manager
Suzanne.Zerger@unityhealth.to

Application deadline

5:00pm EST on March 14, 2022

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