Students and Trainees 2

2Kate Bishop-Williams
(Ph.D) Supervisor: Dr. Sherilee Harper, University of Guelph

Kate is a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph in the Department of Population Medicine. She completed an Honours Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Guelph in 2012 in Bio-Medical Science, and a Masters of Science in 2014 in Epidemiology. Kate’s undergraduate research focused primarily on gastrointestinal illnesses with a project on each of E. coli, Salmonella and the link between Johne’s disease in dairy cattle to Crohn’s disease in humans. Kate’s MSc introduced her to EcoHealth. Her thesis was titled: The Impact of Heat Waves in Rural Southern Ontario on Dairy Cow Mortality and Human Emergency Room Visits. Using statistical and epidemiological skills learned in her Masters, Kate is working on a project in Bwindi, Uganda, identifying seasonal and temporal patterns in acute respiratory infections and access to healthcare. Kate is particularly interested in the ability of clinical data to represent vulnerable populations.


Laura Jane Weber
(Ph.D) Supervisor: Dr. Sherilee Harper, University of Guelph

Laura Jane is currently pursuing a collaborative PhD in Population Medicine and International Development Studies at the University of Guelph. She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science in 2015. During her undergraduate degree, she worked on a mixed methods project that analyzed health-seeking behaviour in response to acute gastrointestinal illness among the Indigenous Batwa peoples in Uganda, a population that was recently forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands. It was over the course of this project that she became interested in the importance of place to Indigenous peoples and the influence of displacement on health and well-being. As such, Laura Jane’s doctoral research will involve understanding the centrality of place and connection to the land in Inuit conceptions of well-being in the Canadian Arctic. She will also be using geospatial epidemiological tools to analyze healthcare access and health-seeking behaviour, and how these are influenced by displacement, in northern health systems.

Kate_website_picKaitlin Patterson
(Ph.D) Supervisor: Dr. Sherilee Harper, University of Guelph

Kate is a PhD student in the joint program in Population Medicine and International Development at the University of Guelph. Her Masters in Health Geography from McGill University (Supervisor: Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford) focused on food security among the Indigenous Batwa of Kanungu District, Uganda. The food insecurity reported by the Batwa is among the highest in the published literature. Kate values a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach and incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methods into her research. For her PhD Kate is shifting her focus to maternal and infant health among the Batwa, a key priority identified at the local and national levels in Uganda for her PhD. From preliminary scoping trips nutrition and food security were identified as top concerns for expecting mothers. Community partners have met with Kate to identify key next steps for the new project and she will be heading to Uganda in January 2017 to begin data collection.


Paola Alejandra Torres Slimming

Paola is a PhD student in the Life Science program at UPCH in Lima, Peru. Her research interests focus on reducing health threats to vulnerable populations by trying to understand how diseases interact with social determinants of health, poverty, inequity. Paola is interested in finding novel ways of conducting effective studies that can bring primary health care level solutions by incorporating patient and community engagement through evidence based research.





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Stephanie Masina
(M.Sc.) Supervisor: Dr. Sherilee Harper, University of Guelph

Stephanie is a first-year MSc student in Epidemiology at the University of Guelph. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph where she is exploring the burden of chronic gastrointestinal illness in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut. Stephanie’s interest in climate change effects on water resources developed from her undergraduate co-op positions monitoring water quality and being introduced to waterborne disease mitigation and public health. Her thesis project aims to determine the prevalence and sources of waterborne pathogens in Iqaluit, Nunavut to explore why the rates of acute gastrointestinal illness appear to be high in this community. This project is part of a broader, collaborative project aiming to develop a participatory, community-based environmental surveillance system to better understand and monitor pathogens in Iqaluit.


Sarah MacVicar
(M.Sc) Supervisor: Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford, McGill University

Project: Potential effects of climate change on maternal and child health among Indigenous communities in Kanungu District, Uganda
Sarah comes to the lab from Harvard University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences (minor in Global Health) in 2013. Her senior thesis research focused on empirical and theoretical modelling of cholera prevalence in Mozambique in relation to geographic trends. She has also been involved in qualitative research with urban Aboriginal youth in Edmonton. Sarah spent this summer doing an informal internship at the University of Auckland, reviewing literature on Indigenous health and climate and learning about Māori healthcare. Sarah is starting her MSc in Health Geography with the lab in the fall of 2014; she will be joining the Uganda IHACC team to investigate potential impacts of climate change on maternal and child health.


Vivienne Steele
(M.Sc.) Supervisor: Dr. Sherilee Harper, University of Guelph

Vivienne is completing a MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Guelph. After graduating from McGill University with a BSc in Environmental Sciences, Vivienne was a research assistant for the IHACC Ugandan team. Inspired by an environmental health-focused exchange in a rural community in West Africa during her undergraduate studies, and her work experience in environmental consulting, Vivienne will continue to expand her understanding of environmental health research. Vivienne’s thesis will focus on access to maternal health care services in rural Uganda using data she collected in visits to Bwindi Community Hospital in 2015.




Fortunate Twebaze
(M.Sc) Supervisor: Dr. Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University

Fortunate Twebaze is a graduate student at Makerere University. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning at the same University. She now enrolled in a Masters degree and is currently working with the IHACC on the topic of the acquired practice of agriculture and water quality among ten Batwa settlements in Kanungu District in South-western Uganda. Working with IHACC has helped her to develop her research skills, coordination of fieldwork and working with new environments. She is very interested in the overall research goals of the IHACC study, and particularly enthusiastic about studying water quality and climate change among the Batwa settlements for her MSc.



martinMartin Kigozi
(M.Sc) Supervisor: Dr. Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University

Martin Kigozi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Makerere University and a certificate in Guidance and Counseling from the Uganda Red cross. Besides being a Physical Planner by profession, he has expertise and interest in environment, natural resources and climate change. He worked on a community climate change and adaptation project in Eastern Uganda and has participated on two study abroad programmes in South Africa and USA under a network of collaborating Universities in Eastern and southern Africa and University of Virginia. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Environment and Natural Resource funded by Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate (IHACC) Change team Uganda. His research focus is “Assessing the influence of Land cover Change on water quality and its Implication for health among the Batwa in Kanungu South Western Uganda”. He plans on publishing two publications out of his work.


ChristineChristine Nantongo
(M.Sc) Supervisor: Dr. Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University

Christine Nantongo is a graduate student at Makerere University where she is pursuing MSc degree in Environment and Natural Resources. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Physical and Urban Planning at Makerere University. She is particularly interested in climate change vulnerability and adaptation. She is currently working on her research under IHACC and focusing on the relationship between climate variability and the prevalence of malaria amongst the Batwa (aboriginal) people of Kanungu district. The objective is to determine how climate (precipitation and temperature) has varied over the last decade as well as malaria prevalence rates and find a correlation or a relationship between the level of variability and prevalence rates within this given period. This will better inform the stakeholders in the health sector on how best to handle issues of climate variability and also better the adaptation mechanisms available to the Batwa people.



Margot Charette
(M.A.) Supervisor: Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford, McGill University

Project: Climate and health among Indigenous populations in Peru
Margot just finished her last year of Undergraduate studies (BA Honours) in Environment (ecological determinants of health) with a minor in Ecological agriculture, and will be pursuing a Masters degree in Health Geography this coming fall. Margot joined Dr. Berrang Ford’s lab in the fall semester of 2013 to work on a IHACC project evaluating the prevalence and determinants of food security among a sample of Bakiga communities in Uganda. Additionally, she is conducting preliminary research about the methodology behind the WHO’s Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), investigating the feasibility of developing a metric that would integrate human and animal disease burden. Her Masters research will involve looking at climate sensitive health impacts among Indigenous populations in Peru.


DSC06848Michelle Maillet
(M.A.) Supervisor: Dr. James Ford, McGill University

Michelle is a departmental academic advisor in Geography at McGill University, and currently acting project manager for IHACC. She obtained her M.A. in Geography from McGill in 2014, her thesis focusing on climate change adaptation policy discourses in the UNFCCC and implications for indigenous peoples’ meaningful participation and access to adaptation funding. She joined the CCARG team in 2010 as a Research Assistant after finishing her B.A. at McGill. She contributed as an editorial assistant to the development of the book “Climate Change Adaptation in Developed Nations: From Theory to Practice”, edited by Dr. Ford and Dr. Berrang-Ford (2011), and provided support in the IHACC project, among other things. Michelle was acting IHACC project manager from January to September 2013, and has now returned to the position since January 2015. She is passionate about issues relative to international relations and diplomacy, climate change impacts and adaptation, social justice, indigenous peoples, and science communication.


Jamen Kasumba

Research Assistant, Makerere University

Jamen Kasumba’s background is in Secondary Education and he has also obtained a Certificate in Guidance and Counselling from Makerere University. After the completion of his undergraduate degree, he has worked as a research assistant in the Department of Geography GeoInformatics and Climatic Science at Makerere University. He is currently the Project Assistant of the IHACC Uganda Regional Operations Team and is responsible for the planning and organization of various field work activities and research. He is enthusiastic about acquiring knowledge and learning from IHACC project partners and supporting the progress of the research in the upcoming years.


IMG_2924Lisa Xuan
Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Guelph

Lisa has completed three years in the Biomedical Science Program at the University of Guelph. This summer she is working with the Harper Lab to create information dissemination strategies and handouts, as well as working on a independent project. Lisa is particularly interested in information dissemination and infectious diseases in the Canadian Arctic. She will be joining Ottawa’s faculty of medicine in the fall.





emilyEmily Nunez
Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Guelph

Emily is entering her fourth year of her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph. She is also completing certificates in Aboriginal Affairs and Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship. For summer 2016, Emily is working as a Research Assistant for Dr. Sherilee Harper focusing on plain language research dissemination and an independent project. She is particularly interested in the social determinants of Indigenous health and climate-sensitive infectious diseases.





Nia King copyNia King
Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Guelph

Nia is entering the fourth year of her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph. Stemming from a love for global health, in 2014, Nia had the opportunity to conduct research in a small rural Kenyan village investigating community nutrition and the determinants of primary school absenteeism and dropout. For her 2015/2016 undergraduate research thesis, Nia worked with Rachael Vriezen and Dr. Sherilee Harper. She travelled to Rigolet and where she investigated the indirect economic costs of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) in order to inform a comprehensive cost-of-illness model. For summer 2016, Nia is working as a Research Assistant for Dr. Harper and is working primarily on Knowledge, Translation, and Exchange strategies, as well as researching the Climate Change Adaptation Landscape in Nunatsiavut, Labrador.


Julia 1.4Julia Bryson
Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Guelph

Julia is entering the second year of her undergraduate degree in Bio-Medical Sciences at the University of Guelph. She is passionate about global health, science, and social justice, which draws her to the interdisciplinary nature of epidemiology. Julia is currently conducting a review which investigates the impacts of climate change on Neglected Tropical Diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa with Dr. Sherilee Harper and Kate Bishop-Williams. She looks forward to continuing her work as the focus of an independent study course in International Development in the fall.