Ashleigh Rich

 
Multimorbidity for transgender people living with HIV in North America
Dr. Jean Shoveller (UBC) and Dr. Robert Hogg (SFU)
United States
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I am originally from the Unites States, where I worked in community organizations and clinics serving marginalized communities, particularly sexual and gender minorities and racialized populations. While pursuing my master’s degree at UBC, I began working in HIV research, in the Epidemiology and Population Health program at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC CfE). I found that population health research was a good fit for my interest in health equity and background working with key population communities. After a few years at the BC CfE, pursuing a PhD was the natural next step in achieving my professional and academic goals as a social epidemiologist.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I was attracted to pursue my PhD at UBC for a number of reasons. For one, UBC is a world-class research institution with a reputation for strong population and public health expertise. At UBC, I am co-supervised by two senior researchers in my field: Dr. Jean Shoveller (Professor, School or Population & Public Health, UBC), an expert in sex/gender and social epidemiology and Dr. Robert Hogg (Associate Member, Division of AIDS, UBC; Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU), an expert in HIV epidemiology and key populations. At UBC, I also remain connected to the BC CfE, providing me with access to the data, excellent training environment, and connection to world-renowned HIV researchers and clinicians that I was looking for.

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

At UBC, I am a student in the School of Population & Public Health (SPPH). I was attracted to SPPH based on the reputation for a strong training program in epidemiological and biostatistical methods, the opportunity to work with my co-supervisors, and the community of highly accomplished trainees and faculty in the school.

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

The rain grows on you!

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Grad school can often be all-consuming and sometimes overwhelming. Take time to focus on keeping up with friends and family, spending time with partners, etc.- you will need them. At the same time, grad school is an important time to grow and cultivate your professional networks. Build relationships with other students and post-docs, and take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with faculty and colleagues outside of your dissertation research. These connections will be increasingly important as you progress through your degree program and will help support you after graduation over the course of your career.