Relevant Degree Programs
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Requirements" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
Global digital health for patient engagement in care. Work in Canada, Africa and globally. Quantitative and qualitative studies, implementation research, and digital health policy and ethics. Especially among scaling interventions to benefit vulnerable populations.
Great Supervisor Week Mentions
Thank you, Dr. Lester, for your friendly supervision and your dedication during the last years!
In our research group, Dr. Lester sparks innovative conversations between students from a wide range of backgrounds. From computer science students contributing to the development of a mobile health technology to public health researchers studying the implementation of this tech globally, he has a knack for translating information that serves a spectrum of interests. It really helps to bring together students who might otherwise work in silos. I've really appreciated his can-do attitude and the positive perspective he has when tackling complex problems in low-resource settings. He always makes his students feel capable and confident in their abilities and reminds us of the importance our research has in a broader context. As a student from a remote and isolated community, I value that Dr. Lester, his family, and the research group offer a sense of community I need to thrive. Thank you, Dr. Lester, for making anyone and everyone feel welcome in your lab. And I am so grateful for the accommodation of my dog as well; this helped me acclimatize to the city and make transitioning back into post-secondary an easier choice. Thank you!
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Introduction: The World Health Organization has ambitious goals to eliminate AIDS and TB globally. However, the plan is expensive and financial commitment to achieve this goal is uncertain. Mobile phone-based short message service (SMS) interventions have demonstrated the ability to improve HIV drug therapy adherence. My objective was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of SMS-based adherence interventions in three settings, which have unique epidemics and health systems, yet struggle with similar adherence barriers. In this thesis, I also consider the value of conducting a cost-effectiveness evaluation before, during and after a randomized trial.Method: This thesis has three parts. First, I evaluated the cost-effectiveness of SMS-based HIV drug adherence interventions in Kenya, where the interventions were first developed. Second, I evaluated the burden of non-adherence and cost sensitivity of SMS-based adherence interventions for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) drug therapy in British Columbia, where a trial of an SMS-based adherence intervention is underway. Finally, I evaluated 5,836 combinations of 15 HIV interventions, to understand the role of SMS interventions as part of a combination HIV intervention in India where a trial was being planned. Value was expressed in terms of incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs), which were a function of incremental costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs).Results: In Kenya, the SMS interventions were highly cost-effective in the base case (ICER=$1,389/QALY), and remained cost-effective across most sensitivity analyses. In British Columbia, hypothetical interventions that brought the population to full adherence to LTBI drug therapy could cost up to $450 per person per year and remain cost-effective. SMS interventions were least sensitive to cost and would likely be cost-effective if their efficacy were confirmed. Finally, in India, the SMS interventions were cost saving and were part of 4 of the 5 most efficient combination interventions out of 5,836 possible combinations.Conclusion: The SMS interventions are cost-effective or cost saving when compared to the standard of care in multiple settings. Findings support the implementation of SMS interventions as part of HIV and TB care and suggest they could play an essential role in global containment of these diseases.