Perinatal mental health should be a priority!
We must talk about perinatal mental health!
It could save lives!

Previous Degrees: BSc (Hons.) degree in Global Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Epidemiology

PhD Population Studies in Health Thesis Research: With a BSc (Hons.) degree in Global Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Epidemiology, I found my niche in pursuing a PhD in Population Studies in Health, at the University of Lethbridge. My undergraduate years in Global Health heralded my first real incursion into the realms of population studies in health. It was there and during the course of my MPH degree that I got a better grasp of population health initiatives and developed a strong passion for the field. Coupled with learning experiences inside and outside the classroom, I was better able to understand the multidisciplinary nature of healthcare and the role Public Health practitioners had to play. These further culminated in finding my passion in perinatal mental health among immigrants.

My current research interest lies in population health - specifically relating to influences on perinatal mental health amongst immigrant women and the effect it has on their children over the life course. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one in five women will experience perinatal mental health issues. In Canada, 52% of immigrants are women. The risk of postpartum depression is twice as high in recent immigrant women than their Canadian counterparts, creating specific challenges for the navigation of perinatal and postpartum mental healthcare services. By examining the intersection between the context in which immigrant women and their families experience mental health and wellbeing during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, the ultimate goal of my research is for immigrant women in Alberta to have the most optimal mental health outcomes in the pre- and post-partum periods. A “healthy” mother will have a positive pregnancy experience, which could equate to a healthy infant, toddler, youth, and future adult.

I choose the University of Lethbridge because of the interdisciplinary nature of the PhD in Population Health Studies program, the small classroom sizes, the flexibility of the program, and the specialized research centres and institutes which provide numerous opportunities to work alongside worldwide renowned faculty on varying research initiatives aligned towards my own research interests. It has also provided me with the necessary skills for career development and advancement through teaching and research endeavours at the Faculty of Health Sciences, under the supervision of Dr. Brenda Leung. Being an immigrant myself, I am passionate about the work being done and the work that lies ahead.

Career Goals: I currently work in the health sector in the area of Research and Analytics. With my PhD research, I look to further broaden expertise skill sets in research and analytics as it relates to perinatal mental health, immigrant and child health over the life course. I currently chair the MSc/PhD Health Sciences Journal Club, and I am also actively involved in the Campus Alberta Student Conference on Health (CASCH) initiative, amongst other things. Working in the health sector, while also actively engaging in research, teaching, and volunteering endeavours, have helped shape my career goals and interests as an epidemiologist.

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated. Please remember that your difficulties do not define you. They simply strengthen your ability to overcome” – Maya Angelou