Kalysha Closson

Exploring gender, relationship power equity and youth-engagement among young men and women growing up within HIV hyper-endemic settings in South Africa
Gina Ogilvie
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

After working for a number of years in the front lines of mental health and addiction services in Vancouver, I decided to return to University to understand larger public health policies that influence the health of those marginalized by socio-structural inequities. In my undergrad and masters program at Simon Fraser University this interest developed into a global scale. Through my work at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and with Dr. Angela Kaida at Simon Fraser University, I have been exploring a number of barriers to HIV prevention among young women and men growing up in HIV hyper-endemic settings in South Africa within her youth-engaged HIV prevention cohort study entitled "AYAZAZI." I decided to continue my graduate studies to the PhD level so that I could lead research that engages with young people in order to have profound global impacts on health policies and programming.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC is a precious university located in the city I have called home for the last 9 years. I chose to pursue my PhD research at UBC, as I feel that the training offered through the School of Population and Public Health will give me the skills to be able to lead my own research projects. As a current researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and within Dr. Angela Kaida's Global HIV Interdisciplinary Research Lab at SFU I will be able to maintain those strong connections, while at the same time working with Dr. Gina Ogilvie. This will allow me to expand my research networks. At UBC I am excited for the opportunity to work within the Women's Health Research Initiative.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

I have worked alongside many brilliant researchers that have been trained within the School of Population and Public Health, and am eager to learn and develop my skills in epidemiology and research design through this prestigious program.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

I love Vancouver inside and out. I have lived here for 9 years and am so excited to be up on Point Grey. The trails, the beaches, the mountains.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

A relaxing weekend to me involves long trail runs, hikes, camping and spending time with friends. I look forward to many after school runs through Pacific Spirit Park during my PhD program.