CHATR lab trainees Caislin Firth (left) and Kate Hosford (right) received CIHR - IPPH Travel Awards to present their work at the virtual CPHA Public Health 2020 conference.

CHATR lab researchers receive CIHR awards to present at virtual conference

October 02, 2020

By Geron Malbas

In recognition of their work as trainees with the Cities, Health & Active Transportation Research (CHATR) lab, post-doctoral fellow Caislin Firth and Faculty of Health Sciences PhD student Kate Hosford have received CIHR - IPPH Travel Awards to present their work at the CPHA Public Health 2020 Conference in Winnipeg. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will be held virtually from October 14 to 16, and the funds from the awards will support their attendance at other conferences.

Firth has arranged a symposium around gentrification, health and equity impacts. Some goals of her symposium include proposing a conceptual framework that illustrates how and for whom gentrification impacts health and well-being, exploring equitable policy solutions that enable neighbourhood revitalization without displacement, and showcasing a map-based gentrification tool.

“By developing a map-based gentrification tool to be used in tandem with census data, users will be able to identify which areas in their cities have recently experienced or are at risk of gentrification, as well as who is most vulnerable to experiencing gentrification,” she explains. “We envision this tool will be embedded in healthy cities research agendas and used by stakeholders and city planners when designing and considering the equitable impacts of urban renewal and built environment interventions.”

Hosford will be presenting a longitudinal analysis on the equity of spacial access to bicycle infrastructure Vancouver over a 20-year period. The aim of her study is to evaluate whether the expansion of Vancouver’s cycling network over a 20-year period has reduced or reinforced inequities in access for specific segments of the population including children, seniors, and people with lower incomes.

“Between 1996 and 2016, the City of Vancouver made substantial investments to their bikeway network, adding over 200 km of bikeways for a total network of 291 km,” she explains. “Despite the City of Vancouver’s high investment in cycling infrastructure and a growing bicycle mode, no work to date has examined whether access to Vancouver’s bikeway network has become more or less equitable.”

The CIHR - IPPH Travel Award will allow both Hosford and Firth to learn more about the landscape of healthy cities research, as well as have more opportunities to share and create dialogue around their research with international researchers.

In collaboration with FHS professor Meghan Winters, their work at CHATR encompasses topics such as mobility justice, gender and cycling, micromobility and the urban built environment. Both Hosford and Firth find Winters’ mentorship indispensable to their epidemiological research and understanding health inequities.

“She is an outstanding, supportive mentor. The CHATR lab’s research is very applied and often done in close collaboration with city or community partners,” says Hosford. “I enjoy this part of the research and am grateful to be learning how to do research that is applied and relevant to stakeholder needs.”

“The CHATR team is a great community of like-minded trainees and researchers changing the way we design and move through cities in pursuit of health and well-being for all,” says Firth. “Because we work ‘on the ground’ alongside city planners and community partners, we get to see how our work impacts our communities and neighbourhoods. It is rare to work in a research environment that is able to influence policy through strong reciprocal city and community relationships.”