FHS assistant professor Chris Buse and PIPPS university research associate Kaylee Byers will be able to pursue projects involving planetary health (Buse) and One Health (Byers) thanks to funding support from Michael Smith Health Resarch BC

Two SFU health researchers granted Michael Smith Scholar awards

September 14, 2023

by Sharon Mah 

Michael Smith Health Research BC announced on September 13 that two SFU health scientists are receiving the organization's prestigious Scholar Award in 2023. Congratulations to Faculty of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Chris Buse and PIPPS (Pacific Institute of Pathogens, Pandemics and Society) University Research Associate Kaylee Byers!

The MSHRBC Scholars Program supports early career health researchers, helping them form their own research teams, train the next generation of scientists and develop world-leding research programs.  

Chris Buse

BC REACH (BC Research on Equitable Adaptation to Climate and Health)

The flood, fire and heat events of 2021 brought the health impacts of climate change into focus for British Columbians. New public health interventions are required to support effective adaptation, but especially for the most impacted population groups. The BC-REACH (BC Research for Equitable Adaptation to Climate and Health) project is a mixed-methods research platform to build evidence on effective and equitable public health adaptation to climate change. The project's goal is to equip public health practitioners and residents of British Columbia (and beyond) with new evidence and interventions to enhance their preparedness to a variety of climate change-related health risks. Working in partnership with applied health system partners, this research will ultimately lead to the co-development and evaluation of novel programs and policies that have multiple co-benefits for populations that may be more exposed or physiologically sensitive, or lack the capacity to adapt to a changing climate. By centring equity in this analysis, this research will build knowledge and capacity to reduce population-level health inequities by "climate proofing" the future of the health system's responses to a wide variety of climate and health risks.

Kaylee Byers

Bridging the gaps: a one health communications framework for mobilizing knowledge at the nexus of huma, animal, and environmental health

Health is connected and collective. Connections across species and geographies promote the spread of infectious diseases. Collectively, humans, animals, and environments face shared health threats like climate change. This concept of "One Health" is a valuable lens through which to identify actions that support a healthy world. Yet, One Health's major strength is also its largest challenge as it relies on bridging disciplinary silos -- veterinarians and doctors, policy makers and public health practitioners, scientists and the public. My community-engaged research explores a framework for mobilizing information at this nexus of health.

Working with policy makers, health practitioners, and communities, I will identify communication structures that can be deployed at regional scales and across sectors. By understanding community knowledge and perceptions of three One Health issues (chronic wasting disease, avian influenza virus, and rat-associated diseases), I will resolve how health messages can be strengthened to promote public participation in disease surveillance programs. Engaging with knowledge users at all levels will help to improve data collection, monitoring, and inform government decision making and timely action.