Faculty of Health Sciences professor Angela Kaida (shown here with SFU president Joy Johnson) will begin her new role as scientific director of the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Gender and Health in January 2023

FHS professor Angela Kaida to lead national health research institute

December 15, 2022

Reprinted from SFU News

Simon Fraser University distinguished professor Angela Kaida, a leader in global health epidemiology, will take on a new role in January as scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Gender and Health. During her four-year term she will oversee the development and advancement of research and training initiatives that address gender and health research priorities in Canada.

Kaida’s extensive involvement with community-based research and knowledge translation strategies has led her to confront health inequities and transform health research practice and services for women and youth affected by HIV in Canada and HIV endemic countries.

“We are in an exciting time for gender, sex, and health science, and I am deeply honoured to help shape the Canadian health research vision and response,” says Kaida, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Perspectives on HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health in SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

“In my experience with community-engaged research, embracing a sex and gender-based analysis+ (SGBA+) approach, inclusive of racial identity and experience, gender diversity, sexual orientation, and other intersecting identities offers tremendous potential for sophisticated and necessary learnings about how to improve health for all.”

Kaida leads a global research program focusing on factors and environments that increase vulnerability and protection of sexual and reproductive health, in the context of HIV. Through her close work with community leaders and decision makers she has overseen the integration of research evidence into health policy and programming, with special attention to social and gender equity.

Earlier this year she was elected as a Member of the Royal Society College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

“Dr. Kaida’s work at SFU has made an incredible impact on our students and community, and I am excited for her to continue advancing gender and health research in this new role,” says SFU President Joy Johnson. “As former scientific director for the Institute of Gender and Health, I have every confidence that her leadership will lead to better health outcomes across the country.”

In her Canadian and global health research program, Kaida’s findings have shown how, in the context of access to treatment, HIV and the clinical features of the virus often play a smaller role in influencing sexual and reproductive health compared with other social determinants of health, including the impacts of socio-structural environments and political decision making.

“Dr. Kaida’s experience and commitment to research excellence will be invaluable in taking the Institute of Gender and Health forward in shaping research priorities in gender, sex, and health research in Canada,” says CIHR President Dr. Michael J. Strong.” I look forward to working with her as we pursue our vision of the best health for all through our CIHR Strategic Plan.”

Kaida credits her work in the HIV field to strong partnerships and research mentors in South Africa, Uganda, the U.S., and across Canada. She also credits the expertise and contributions of Peer Research Associates (who are women living with HIV with research training), Elders, and trainees. 

“Together as researchers, clinicians, policy-makers, funders, people with lived and living experience, trainees, and other health research stakeholders, we are contributing to global learnings about the need for and value of sex and gender science” says Kaida. “CIHR and Canadian researchers are known as world leaders in this space. Further investment in sex and gender science is our path to better, more equitable health for everyone.”

The institute is one of 13 CIHR institutes and will be based at SFU during her term.