MPH Practicum Awardees

Yaning Yang

Yaning Yang

Award type: Most likely to have an impact on public health

Practicum Title/Organization: Community Health Centre COVID-19 Response and Communication – Umbrella Multicultural Health Cooperative

Yaning Yang is currently in her second year of the MPH program. She completed her undergraduate education in nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a registered nurse at Sanford Medical Center. Now she is completing her studies while working part-time at Umbrella Multicultural Health Cooperative, where she did her practicum.

For her practicum at Umbrella Multicultural Health Cooperative, she worked as the communication officer leading the COVID-19 response. In collaboration with the Cross-Cultural Health Brokers, she identified areas where communities need to be informed on public health communication announcements, and coordinates the distribution of information materials among community members, stakeholders and partner organizations.  She also developed a communication framework that provides a foundational understanding on how health-related communication happens within each ethnocultural group, which can be utilized in program evaluation, quality improvement, and mandatory reporting.

Her practicum has allowed her to work with a team of public health professionals from diverse backgrounds which has enabled her to gain insight on various health equity issues. She learned about the barriers many minority populations face in accessing health information and navigating the social system. She also had the opportunity to make valuable connections with other public health workers and established good working relationships with colleagues in the field.

Outside of medicine, Yaning enjoys reading, watching soccer, painting and writing character studies. She is passionate about knowledge translation and health equity and believes this practicum has provided her the necessary tools to pursue a career in health.

 

Rohit Vijh

Rohit Vijh

Award type: Most likely to have an impact on public health

Practicum Title/Organization: Evaluation of outbreak control measures to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in long term care facilities. Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer/Public Health Surveillance Unit, Vancouver Coastal Health

Rohit Vijh is currently a second year MPH student and Public Health and Preventative Medicine Resident at UBC. He completed his B.Sc in Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University in 2015 and MD degree at the University of Toronto in 2019.

For his practicum, he worked in the Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer/Public Health Surveillance Unit at Vancouver Coastal Health as a Public Health Resident. His worked on the evaluation of outbreak control measures to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in long term care facilities and assisting in communicable disease control for COVID-19. His practicum consisted of using quantitative statistical methods to evaluate a multi-sectoral outbreak control measures implemented at several facilities to understand if they were efficacious in altering the rate/trajectory of COVID-19 among staff and residents in these facilities.

His experiences in both his MPH and his residency program based out of SPPH will contribute to his development as a public health physician. His practicum was an important milestone in making him more comfortable in being autonomous in carrying out epidemiological research, and has allowed him to study his academic interests more closely including primary care/health care system research, infectious disease and addressing health inequities for vulnerable populations.

Outside of medicine, Rohit has a passion for South Asian dance and has danced competitively and professionally. He also is an avid hiker, rock climber and proud dog owner to a little Dachshund, named Indy.

 

Amy Wu

Amy Wu

Award type: Best Presentation

Practicum project/organization: Development of a Youth Curriculum for the Food Skills for Families Provincial Program. Provincial Healthy Eating Program, Population and Public Health Team, BC Centre for Disease Control

Amy Wu is in her final year of the MPH program. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutritional Science from the University of Manitoba. She also completed her dietetic internship with the Manitoba Partnership Dietetic Education Program. Over the past few years she has been working as a Registered Dietitian in a variety of areas – primary care, long term care, and foodservice management.

Her practicum involved applying public health concepts, methods, and theory in the planning and implementation of provincial healthy eating programs in a variety of public health settings in BC (school, community, long term care, hospital food services). As well as communicating health information to non-medical and/or professional audiences in various formats. She had the chance to participate first-hand in program evaluations; including mixed-methods analysis of survey and interview results, and communicating and collaborating with a variety of stakeholders in a range of formats as well as developing her leadership skills.

Amy is interested in program planning and management of community health promotion, with an epidemiological area of focus. The experience and knowledge that she is gaining while obtaining her MPH degree will complement her dietetics background to expand the range of areas impacting health in which she can apply her skills to improve the lives of others, both within the health care system and beyond.

Outside of her studies, Amy also enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and snowshoeing as well as photography and cooking.

 

Ashley Lessard

Ashley Lessard

Award type: Best Presentation

Practicum project/organization: Children’s Oral Health Initiative. First Nations Health Authority

Ashley Lessard, of the Klahoose First Nation, is the Assistant Children’s Oral Health Initiative (COHI) Specialist with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). Prior to pursuing a career in public health, Ashley worked as a Dental Hygiene Practitioner (DHP) in a private dental office for six years. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Science (BDSc.) and a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH), both from UBC.

Ashley grew up in the Tla’amin Nation (formerly known as the Sliammon First Nation), located along the Sunshine Coast. Her background and childhood experiences have made her a passionate advocate for Indigenous oral health. This is reflected in her areas of research: reducing oral health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, methods of improving oral health in Indigenous communities in British Columbia, and community water fluoridation.

In her practicum, Ashley developed an evaluation plan for the Children’s Oral Health Initiative (COHI) program with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). In addition to producing the evaluation plan, she has been extracting data related to the evaluation and graphing community oral health measure trends and performing descriptive statistics to track oral health measures for each community that the COHI program serves. This hands-on experience with a broad range of stakeholders provided her with extremely valuable experience applying the skills she gained through the MPH courses to an important public health setting.

Outside of work and academics, Ashley enjoys hiking, writing, escape rooms, and searching for four-leaf clovers. As a lifelong learner, Ashley loves pursuing new knowledge and activities. Recent undertakings include running, resin casting, and listening to history podcasts.