Sheona Mitchell-Foster

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Cancer of the Reproductive System
Drugs and Pregnancy / Breast Feeding
Global Health and Emerging Diseases
AIDS / HIV
Urban and Rural Planning Policies
cervical cancer screening
culturally safe care
HPV
Indigenous women's health
perinatal substance-use
reproductive health of women living with HIV
reproductive screening in LMIC
rural and remote reproductive care

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters

 
 

Recruitment

Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).

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Great Supervisor Week Mentions

Each year graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website as part of #GreatSupervisorWeek. Below are students who mentioned this supervisor since the initiative was started in 2017.

 

I'm so thankful for Dr. Mitchell-Foster, and all she does to support my research. She is approachable, very knowledgable and patient in helping me learn the ins and outs of academia. The way she manages her students, being a baby-saving obgyn and her adorable family is inspirational. I'm so grateful to have such a strong female role model in my life! Thanks for all you do!

Marina Giovannoni (2019)

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2020)
All my relations : patient oriented research for reconciliation and empowerment of Indigenous women’s experiences with cervical screening (2020)

Cervical cancer is caused by high risk strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), but is preventable through vaccination and screening. In British Columbia (BC), cervical cancer occurs predominantly in under screened women, and First Nations women have a 92% higher rate of invasive cervical cancer than non-First Nations women. The current standard of care in the province screening is via the Pap test; Indigenous women experience complex barriers to accessing Pap testing, which has contributed to the higher rates of cervical cancer. CervixCheck North (CCN) is a project in partnership with Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) that offers under screened First Nations women in 11 Northern BC First Nations communities the option to self-collect a sample to be tested for the presence of cancer-causing HPV. This thesis explores the ability of patient oriented research, in combination with Indigenous methodologies to conduct ethical research in First Nations communities, and offers a qualitative review and suggested improvements to CCN. Data was collected from 6 communities using focus groups and a survey, and analyzed using thematic analysis and network analysis. Eleven themes were selected from the transcript data at four levels of impacts to cervical screening, individual, community, health system, and research level, and vetted by community members in an iterative process. Theme convergence was found to occur at the community level, surrounding knowledge acquisition as a source of empowerment. In order to maximize the positive impacts of HPV self-collected projects, holistic health approaches must be taken that involve health education community events. Recruitment of the most vulnerable women is facilitated by offering various options for women to screen, and by hiring champions for the project who are trusted members of the community. For researchers, using both patient oriented methodologies and Indigenous methodologies functions to bridge the divide between Western and Indigenous ways of knowing within academia. At a policy level, the most impactful changes to the health care system that can function to improve Indigenous peoples’ health must be informed by Indigenous voice, and meaningfully incorporated into existing health structures to truly achieve self-determination and reconciliation.

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