Megan Thomas

Addressing equity considerations in research and care of patients with inflammatory arthritis
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

When I was given the chance to learn about health inequity, I realized I would never be satisfied treating patients without also being able to address and treat the root social determinants of their condition(s). I decided to pursue a graduate degree, with the goal of exploring why some people are more likely to have worse outcomes, and to one day be able to improve these disparities in health. With this degree I have opportunities to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders, including industry partners, patient networks, and international leaders in research. I especially appreciate being able to work with patient partners because hearing from them and including their perspectives reminds me why I am conducting research to begin with.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC is one of Canada’s leading research universities, consistently ranking in the top 40 universities in the world. In addition to it's stellar reputation, it also has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. The ocean and mountain views are unmatched!

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

UBC's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences is internationally renowned and recognized for its innovation and interdisciplinary approaches to research. The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences is consistently ranked as one of the top pharmaceutical science faculties in North America, based on consistent tri-council funding, and is regarded as a leader in pharmaceutical sciences research in Canada. Within the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ground-breaking research is conducted in a spectrum of pharmaceutical sciences with focused efforts on diseases like asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and HIV/AIDS. Beyond the innovative research, I was also excited to be part of a close-knit faculty, where students are well-supported by the faculty.

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

I was surprised at how friendly and welcoming everyone is! I've made so many connections in my first few months and love how diverse and open-minded people are here.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

Having had the opportunity to work with patient partners throughout my MSc has shifted my perspective on epidemiological and health outcomes research, particularly when considering chronic diseases such as inflammatory arthritis. Collaborating with people who have lived experience is essential for genuine partnership and improving quality of life outcomes. It also highlights the value in considering multiple perspectives in research to have lasting and more impactful change.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Get involved! It can be easy to isolate ourselves when we start research, but being involved in different clubs and groups has allowed me to meet some amazing people and learn new skills.


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