In 2017, BC transferred health services in provincial correctional facilities from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to the Ministry of Health. Working with the Provincial Health Services Authority, Kate’s research is evaluating the transfer and its impact on the health of people experiencing time in correctional facilities.

 
Dr. Ruth Elwood Martin & Dr. Jane Buxton
Cavan
Canada
UBC Public Scholars Award
 

Research Description

In collaboration with the MOH Provincial Health Services Authority and other stakeholders, my PhD project is to design and conduct a multi-method evaluation with two major components. The first is to explore the context, expectations and perceived facilitators and barriers of the transfer in BC through key informant interviews. The second, will be to use health and criminal justice data to assess the impact of the transfer in key domains such as health outcomes, quality of health care delivery and timely access to services.

What does being a Public Scholar mean to you?

I think being a public scholar means looking at research as a way to serve and support communities and populations. It means working in partnership with those who experience or are affected by the issue and being responsible to those partners to ensure that research processes and outcomes are meaningful to them. I think it also means ensuring that research is accessible to those who could put it to action; that it will support people and organizations to follow leading examples and to lead new change.

In what ways do you think the PhD experience can be re-imagined with the Public Scholars Initiative?

I think that by celebrating the idea of public scholarship and providing support and mentorship, the PSI is creating space for students to think differently about the value and experience of their PhD. Students are supported to be more daring and creative in closing the gap between knowledge generation and application. They are encouraged to move away from the idea of an isolated study, and towards how research can change how people live their lives or view the world.

How do you envision connecting your PhD work with broader career possibilities?

I hope to apply the experiences of my PhD to lead and contribute to research that supports organizations and governments to implement innovative health policies which cross and break down administrative boundaries. I also hope to support others to explore their interests through teaching or facilitation.

How does your research engage with the larger community and social partners?

The evaluation is being conducted in collaboration with the Provincial Health Services Authority and other stakeholders in BC. We are also engaging people experiencing the transition, including people served by the health care system while in a correctional facility, people delivering care and those working at a policy level to realize the change.

How do you hope your work can make a contribution to the “public good”?

I hope that evaluating the transfer in BC will provide evidence and support for policy decisions that create better health outcomes for people experiencing time in correctional facilities, their families and communities.

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I became involved in advocacy around prison health through a policy paper titled Fractured Care. There is a lack of research evidence in prison health, particularly around governance, which makes it difficult to identify best practices and to advocate for change. Pursuing my PhD was an opportunity to contribute valuable research in this area, as well as to develop skills that will allow me to help address other research gaps moving forward in my career.

Why did you choose to come to British Columbia and study at UBC?

The UBC School of Population and Public Health does a great deal of applied research in health and health care including at the Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education so UBC was a natural fit for this type of research. Primarily though, UBC offered the opportunity to work with my supervisors, Dr. Ruth Elwood Martin and Dr. Jane Buxton who are both leaders in this field.

 

I think being a public scholar means looking at research as a way to serve and support communities and populations. It means working in partnership with those who experience or are affected by the issue and being responsible to those partners to ensure that research processes and outcomes are meaningful to them.