Dan Werb

Archived Content

This student profile has been archived and is no longer being updated.

Injection career trajectories among illicit drug users in Vancouver, Canada
Dr. Evan Wood / Dr. Jane Buxton
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

It was never my intention to go back to school after I got my BA in English Literature and Philosophy many years ago. But after working in a few different fields, I worked at an organization in Paris that advocated public health approaches to reducing the spread of HIV among injection drug users. The more I learned about the subject, the more complex and important the work became. I couldn't help but continue my education.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I have had the opportunity to work with incredible supervisors and mentors during my time at UBC. I have had access to some of the best applied epidemiologic training in the world in my area of study and have been provided with an environment in which I was able to excel. I credit my supervisors, committee members, and network of mentors for all of these benefits.

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

The best surprise was the willingness of faculty members at the School of Population and Public Health and at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS to mentor me, train me, and – when necessary – drag me kicking and screaming towards the finish line. I can't credit them enough.

What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

We know that youth who live on the street and use drugs are at incredibly high risk for being introduced to intravenous drug use. I'm hoping my research might help to lay the groundwork for effective interventions to stop intravenous drug use from happening in these youths. I also want to bring attention to the many intersecting factors that cause young people to become entrenched in street life.

What has winning a major award meant to you?

Winning the Trudeau Award has allowed me to greatly expand my professional network and has exposed me to new ways of thinking about the relevance of my project in society at large. It has also provided me with support to present my findings at conferences and to connect with experts in my field from across the world. And winning the award has the added benefit in reinforcing the fact that my research is worthwhile.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Make a decision early about what issues you want to explore in your thesis project. That decision will make the search for a supportive supervisory team much easier. If you are already doing that, make sure you get out there and let the world know how important your work is. Pitch newspapers, cold-call experts you want to work with, apply for every award, and do not forget to have fun.


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