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(Top row from left to right) Taryn Rampling, Sarah Lesperance, Donica Janzen, Sarah Filiatreault and Uma Yakandawala. (Bottom row from left to right) Jocelyn Elias, Brenda Tittlemier, Tara Horrill and Carlo Sgarbanti.

Nine grad students receive Rady Faculty Dean’s Prize

February 12, 2021 — 

The Dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Student Achievement Prize was awarded to nine exceptional graduate students in 2020.

The award recognizes outstanding academic achievement, notable personal service and strong leadership skills of graduate students in the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of DentistryMax Rady College of MedicineCollege of NursingCollege of Rehabilitation Sciences and College of Pharmacy.

“Congratulations to the exemplary students who received this year’s honour,” said Dr. Brian Postl, dean, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and vice-provost (Health Sciences). “This hardworking group of learners are leaders who are making a difference in their areas of study. Their varied academic interests show the diversity of research that’s ongoing in the Rady Faculty.” 

Each college could nominate one master’s student and one doctoral student. Colleges without a doctoral program could nominate two master’s students.

“On behalf of the RFHS, I would like to congratulate the prize winners,” said Dr. Hope Anderson, vice-dean, graduate studies, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. “This award recognizes outstanding academic achievement, leadership skills, and notable personal service, so the winners should celebrate the fact that they have achieved in all three areas during their tenure as RFHS graduate students.”

Prize winners

Jocelyn Elias, a master’s student in the College of Nursing, is conducting a qualitative exploratory study of the leadership behaviours of front-line managers in long-term care settings in rural Manitoba. Elias said the prize will help her with her career by acting as a building block toward success.

“Awards and opportunities such as this one enable students like myself to receive recognition for their contributions and potential, setting them up for future awards and opportunities, thereby helping to breed further success,” she said.

Sarah Filiatreault, a doctoral student in the department of community health sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine, is focused on the development, validation, and evaluation of evidence-based measures of quality care in the emergency department. Filiatreault said that winning the prize has let her concentrate on her studies full-time and has eased the financial burden of education costs.

“Receiving this prestigious award has inspired my efforts and reaffirmed I am on the right academic trajectory to achieve my goals,” she said.

Tara Horrill, a doctoral student in the College of Nursing, is critically examining cancer disparities and access to cancer care for Indigenous populations in Canada. Horrill said that as a registered nurse she is passionate about health equity and social justice, and her academic work revolves around understanding the impacts of inequities on health.

“As best I can, I carry this into my personal life as well, and I try to educate those around me on how inequities are woven into the fabric of our society, and how we can challenge these inequities from wherever we are positioned,” she said.

Donica Janzen, a doctoral student in the College of Pharmacy, is focused on understanding the role of long-acting injectable antipsychotics in reducing hospitalization, mortality and crime in Manitoba. Janzen said she attributes her academic accomplishments to the mentors and volunteers who have invested in her.

“Now I’m committed to continuing this cycle of affirming and encouraging young women who might now see me as a leader or mentor,” she said.

Sarah Lesperance, who received her master’s from the department of community health sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine, focused on emerging approaches to addressing patients’ financial insecurity through community medicine action, exploring the interplay between primary care and public health in care delivery systems that interlink health equity and income security. Lesperance said she is indebted to the talented set of community health science professors, mentors and thesis committee members who pressed her to pursue the limits of her curiosity and her hunger for social justice in health care.

“The refinement of these ideas will shape the work I continue to pursue in Manitoba, in community medicine advocacy, population health engagement, public health research, and preventative medicine practice, while keeping me grounded in the voices of community members who honoured my learning through their stories and shared lived experiences,” she said.

Taryn Rampling, who received her master of occupational therapy from the College of Rehabilitation Sciences, focused on identifying programs that are available to help improve the financial well-being of individuals living with a disability, and to examine the readability and overall accessibility of these programs. Rampling said she is grateful and honoured to have won the award.

“This prize has helped me to stop and appreciate all of the hard work it has taken to get where I am today,” she said.

Carlo Sgarbanti, a master’s student in periodontology, Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, is investigating the differences in oral hygiene practices around dental implants with a particular attention to water flosser devises. Sgarbanti said that his instructors have contributed to his success because they believe in him and are helping him each day in becoming a periodontist.

“I would also like to thank my co-residents and the perio support staff for their amazing work,” he said.

Brenda Tittlemier, a doctoral student in Applied Health Sciences, a joint program of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, aims to enhance the uptake of rehabilitation research into clinical practice to potentially improve clinical practice, health outcomes, and the efficiency of the healthcare system. Tittlemier said her scholastic strengths, aptitude for research, volunteer contributions in her community and letters of recommendation helped her win the prize.

“I am humbled to win this prize, grateful for the recognition and thankful for the financial support it provides,” she said.

Uma Yakandawala, a master’s student in the College of Pharmacy, is researching how to best study medications in breast milk. Yakandawala said her supervisors have contributed to her success by encouraging her and helping guide her throughout her graduate studies.

“They have provided opportunities for me to get exposure to various different aspects of research such as attending workshops, taking part in breastfeeding events, being part of committees and other volunteer opportunities,” she said.

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