2021 Graduation Convocation Award recipients, top left, clockwise: Michael Budu; Chae_Rim Lee, Angel Kennedy, Joseph Ssendikaddiwa, Hasham Kamran; Daksha Jadhav.

2021 Graduate Convocation Awards

June 29, 2021
Michael Owusu Budu,

Michael Owusu Budu, recipient of a Janes Corbett Community Health Practice Award, became involved in rural community health projects focused on disease prevention and health education. When he saw how impactful these projects were, he was inspired to pursue a Master of Public Health degree.

For their group capstone project, Budu and his team used an equity-centered approach to reduce gender-specific barriers that women who use drugs face when accessing supervised consumption services and overdose prevention sites. Budu found it fulfilling to connect with multiple high profiles stakeholders, and have them eventually take the group’s proposed solution back to their organizations.

During the pandemic, Budu worked with Scott Lear’s CoHeaRT lab to assess the psychological impact of COVID-19 on people with pre-existing chronic illness in BC. He hopes to continue engaging in work that promotes health equity and social justice.

During his free time, Budu enjoys watching and playing soccer as well as watching history documentaries.

Angel Kennedy

Angel Kennedy received both the Dr. Nancy Hall Award and a Janes Corbett Community Health Practice Award. During her Master of Public Health studies, Kennedy participated in a practicum with MindMap BC, and online resource promoting affirming mental health resources and equity for 2S/LGBTQ+ individuals. She participated in a group capstone project that looked at community-centered approaches to promoting mental health equity among individuals in the carceral system.

During her studies, Kennedy worked, and continues to work as a research coordinator on projects at the interface of mental health equity, community-based research, and ecological and social determinants of health. “Whatever the future holds, it is important to me that the roles I take on are community-centered,” she notes.

In her spare time, Kennedy enjoys hiking and camping, and being outdoors.

Chae-Rim Lee

Chae-Rim Lee, recipient of a Janes Corbett Community Health Practice Award, chose to pursue a Master of Public Health degree to help promote mental health at a population level. “I really enjoyed the social equity lens of the program and how it allowed us to deeply explore the current and on-going issues involving racism, colonialism, and the COVID-19 pandemic,” she observes. Lee also considered her practicum to be a great learning experience as she was asked to provide mental health supports for healthcare workers during the pandemic.

Lee and her group capstone project team – all IBPOC students – designed a prototype for an Anti-Racism Office at SFU that has garnered interest from various groups at the university. They are currently discussing future plans for implementation.

Lee aspires to engage in knowledge translation, program and policy development, and advocacy for achieving health equity. While she plans her next steps, she will be enjoying spending her summer at Vancouver’s beaches, parks, and patios.

Daksha Jadhav

Janes Corbett Community Health Practice Award recipient, Daksha Jadhav, recognized early in their studies that underserved communities required holistic interventions that consider their unique needs and circumstances. They gravitated towards FHS’ Master of Public Health program for the excellent opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in community-based research and social epidemiology principles, skills that would allow them to continue their work with these communities.

During their MPH program, Jadhav completed a practicum at the BC Observatory for Population and Public Health where they supported the development of COVID-19 surveillance. They found the experience invaluable in furthering their understanding of the complexities and nuances of pandemic planning and public health responses. Their team’s group capstone project – which envisioned a framework for the expansion of the One Health paradigm to address the critical challenge of antimicrobial resistance – brought the into contact with several advocates and scholars, an experience  they greatly enjoyed.

Jadhav intends to continue working with underserved communities in settings that integrate community-based research, health promotion, and social epidemiology.

Hasham Kamran

Hasham Kamran, recipient of a Judy Graves Graduate Award, credits his experience working at Canada’s largest homeless shelter for inspiring him to pursue his MPH studies. “I was passionate about public service and also wanted to strengthen my research skills,” he says. 

For Kamran, the best part of his MPH program were the opportunities to network and engage with experts, both during his studies and also during his practicum. He and his group capstone project team worked with a downtown Vancouver organization to improve the living conditions of Single Room Occupancy hotels, an experience that provided the rewarding opportunity to collaborate with peer tenants and community leaders.

Kamran is back at the homeless shelter coordinating the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines amongst shelter populations.  In his spare time, he enjoys biking, hiking and cheering on his favorite sports teams, Arsenal and the Calgary Flames. 

Joseph Ssendikaddiwa

Joseph Mweisgwa Ssendikaddiwa, recipient of a 2020 CERi Graduate Fellowship, felt early on in his undergraduate studies that there was still so much to learn. His work with FHS professor Dr. Ruth Lavergne sparked an excitement and interest in research that drew him to pursue a Master of Science degree.

For his thesis, Ssendikaddiwa examined patterns of access to primary care among immigrants across Canada and how sex/gender and immigration shaped these patterns. He found it rewarding “to connect the stories of several immigrants through data collected and their experience of navigating health care in Canada.”

Ssendikaddiwa will be publishing manuscripts from his thesis while continuing to work on other projects,, including an implicit bias module for Fraser Health and documenting the experiences of service providers who support racialized immigrants in BC. He hopes to be engaged in health services research and policy work and is considering enrolling in law school.

In his free time, Joseph can be found reading a book, hiking, running or camping.