Alexa Norton

 
Policy responses to the overdose crisis
 
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

For the past seven years, I've worked in health research and in the BC health system. I've witnessed the gap that exists between research and policy-making, especially when it comes to drug policy and substance use health services. I decided to pursue a graduate degree because I saw an opportunity to leverage my professional experience and networks and ask relevant, community-informed research questions about overdose response. I hope that my research findings will hold positive benefits for people who use substances, their families, and our collective communities that have suffered so needlessly throughout this prolonged crisis.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I did my undergraduate degree at UBC and am happy to be back as a doctoral student. I've lived and worked in Vancouver for over a decade, and studying at UBC enables me to stay connected and accountable to my community. There are brilliant minds studying and working in my field at UBC and its affiliated research institutions, and I'm grateful to be in close proximity.

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

The Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program is the perfect home for me. My research is located between population and public health and health policy and integrates lenses from critical Indigenous, feminist, and sociological traditions. ISGP encourages its students to be interdisciplinary, and I love that realistic approach to a changing research world.

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

The best surprise about returning to UBC has been the number and diversity of opportunities that are available for graduate students. I feel incredibly privileged to study here.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program is the perfect home for me. My research is located between population and public health and health policy and integrates lenses from critical Indigenous, feminist, and sociological traditions. ISGP encourages its students to be interdisciplinary, and I love that realistic approach to a changing research world. There are brilliant minds studying and working in my field at UBC and its affiliated research institutions, and I'm grateful to be in close proximity.
 
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

My experience working in the health system has been the best preparation for going back to graduate school. I'm excited about the new opportunities that exist for researchers to participate in systems and governance as embedded scholars, and for the exchange that occurs when different pieces of knowledge and life experiences converge.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Ask meaningful research questions; be connected to and grounded in the communities you conduct research in, and always be a humble learner.

 
 
 

Sign up for an information session to connect with students, advisors and faculty from across UBC and gain application advice and insight.