Meaghan Thumath

Research Topic

Exploring effective strategies to mitigate structural inequities and improve access to primary health care for Indigenous women in Canada and internationally

Research Description

This implementation science project aims to explore the impact of effective strategies, including outreach services delivered in the context of primary health care, on Indigenous women’s right to health, access to HIV services, and overall quality of life. Using a participatory mixed methods study design, interview and survey data will be collected from an existing prospective cohort in Canada with a policy arm to explore scalability for Indigenous women internationally.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

The collegiality and support from the School of Nursing and the incredible privilege to have time to think critically and dialogue with such bright and passionate people. 

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

All of the new buildings and resources available since I did my undergrad so many years ago.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

After completing my master's degree in public health in London, England, I felt it was important to come home and use the skills I've learned working internationally to serve my home community. I was born in British Columbia and UBC has such a great intersection of health care practitioners, policy makers, and social scientists working together to understand how to improve health equity for vulnerable populations.

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

The opportunity to work with world class researchers at the School of Nursing and the School of Population and Public Health who are connected to policy and practice environments like the BC Centre for Disease Control.

 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I wanted to understand why some of my patients were not achieving good health outcomes and why, despite our best efforts as individual providers, their needs were not being met by the health care system. I felt like a graduate degree would help prepare me to be a better advocate for the communities I serve and to help build solutions to improve health equity. 

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

How to combine all of my interests and passions from direct patient care to policymaking, health systems reform and research. 

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

I am a registered nurse by training, with over 10 years of HIV experience in direct clinical care, teaching and research. I completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a Masters of Science in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

I also maintain an active clinical practice as an outreach nurse certified in advanced reproductive health and continue to provide HIV technical assistance to international organizations such as UNAIDS, the World Bank and UNDP.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Spend time with my two boys and husband, we love enjoying Vancouver’s beaches and weekend getaways to Whistler or the Gulf Islands.  My favorite thing to do when I have a break from academia is to read terrible novels on a beach!

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Make everything count! Turn course papers into journal submissions, take notes in class and file them for your comprehensive exams, keep focused on your end goal. This is advice I need to follow myself but I’m trying!

 
 

UBC has such a great intersection of health care practitioners, policy makers, and social scientists working together to understand how to improve health equity for vulnerable populations.