Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I am an HIV/AIDS epidemiologist who is passionate about global equity in health and social justice. My interest in HIV/AIDS research initially developed in 2011 when I first volunteered at an NGO food bank that served homeless people who used drugs in Kerman, Iran – a setting with a large drug use problem. Concerned for those who are hindered by limited access to social and healthcare resources, I decided to give up a successful career in veterinary medicine and pursue a career in public health to help the disadvantaged populations.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
My thesis research with the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), provides me with a unique opportunity to conduct research with one of the world’s largest and longest-running cohort studies of PWID. Also, BCCSU is one of the major research facilities in Canada, with a proven track record of obtaining peer-reviewed funding from large funding institutes. I was keen to be trained by world-renowned harm reduction academics such as Profs. Thomas Kerr and Jane Buxton.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
In SPPH and BCCSU I have learned that asking the right question is the most important part of any research project.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I started hiking here (was never a hiker) and have so far been to most of the hikes around the city. I didn't know it is going to be this much fun!
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
The impact of the research down the road. I cannot wait to see that my research is informing positive change in the current harm reduction policies.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Working with the community and various research teams.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Sports! Soccer, volleyball, swimming, tennis, and hiking.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Follow your passion! If you don't like your research, lab, program, etc., do yourself a favor and change it! Also, engage when people reach out to you for collaboration or help with a project. It will all pay off one day.