People Profiles

Surita Parashar, PhD, Health Sciences

October 27, 2015

Vancouver has an international reputation as one of the healthiest cities in the worldfor those who can afford it. Dr. Surita Parashar is helping prevent those who can't from falling through the cracks. 

Parashar is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BCCfE), a world leader in HIV/AIDS research, treatment, and education. She completed a PhD in Health Science at SFU in 2014, receiving the Dean’s Convocation Medal for her exceptional academic performance.

Parashar is part of a research team that is evaluating the impact of a supportive housing model on the health of HIV-positive residents at risk of homelessness. At Home At Howe (AHAH) is being led in collaboration with the McLaren Housing Society of BC.   

“The knowledge generated through AHAH will help policy makers and service providers understand how we can better support the housing needs of people living with HIV and may have implications beyond this community,” says Parashar. 

One of Parashar's goal with the project is to ensure that community members are meaningfully engaged in every stage of the research.

“At the conclusion of a study, the capacity of the affected community should be enhanced in some way. We are doing that by engaging community members as active agents in the process so that they can build research skills,” she says.

Parashar explains that her collaborative approach to research is firmly rooted in her graduate experience at SFU.

During her doctoral program, she led a study that explored the impact of unstable housing on people living with HIV in Vancouver. Similar to her current project, The way I see it was also designed to help build local capacity.

“I worked with a team of community researchers, people living with HIV who had experienced homelessness. Their hard work, incredible insight, and willingness to share their stories for others to learn from is truly what drove that project from start to finish,” she says.

She notes the guidance she received from faculty members in the Faculty of Health Sciences as another reason for the project’s success.

“Above all else, I felt completely supported my SFU supervisors. They inspired me, which in turn, allowed me to support the community researchers in sharing their narratives,” she says. 

Author: Jackie Amsden

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