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IPHRC Undergraduate student Hannah St. Denis-Katz’s research is featured in SEDE’s 2012-2013 “Rethinking Community” Calendar Project. Created by McGill’s Social Equity and Diversity Education Office, the calendar’s goal is to “feature research by faculty and students at McGill, paired with community-building efforts of groups and organizations at McGill and beyond.” We asked Hannah to tell us more about her research and being selected for the calendar.
How were you selected to be in the calendar?
There is a significant connection between my research (funded by my IPHRC Undergraduate research award) the calendar’s theme "Rethinking Community." My project involved collecting normative data on the Northern Cultural Assessment of Memory (N-CAM) at Westside Community Clinic in Saskatoon. The N-CAM is a tool that will be used to assess the memory of older Aboriginal adults who are part of the community, but may not live in urban areas nor be appropriate candidates for the present tools used to assess memory in older adults. Having a tool that is appropriate for assessing the memory of older Aboriginal adults is important for identifying memory difficulties, and furthermore, providing support and care for the patient and their family members.
What was your experience like working on this project as an undergraduate student?
My experience working under the supervision of Margaret Crossley and the team at the Rural and Remote memory clinic in Saskatoon was extraordinary because it was a great learning and a personal growth experience. Over 90% of the participants I saw were of Aboriginal background, and many of them provided me with inspiration through the positive feedback they gave me about the work I was doing to improve Aboriginal peoples' access to appropriate health care tools.
In addition, the findings and data collected from the research project have been presented at several meetings with community organizations, including Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, as conferences such as the 4th Summit of the Knowledge Network in Rural and Remote Dementia Care. I also got the privilege of attending a poster session that featured the research at the 40th Annual International Neuropyschology Society meeting in Montreal. It was pretty amazing to see the research that I had contributed to presented at an international conference.
What does it mean to be featured?
This research project is one which is hard to describe in words, and one I'm sure I will never forget. The skills and lessons I learned were important and some even unexpected. I will admit working with an Aboriginal population was not easy due to the high percent of participants that suffered from addiction. At the same time it could not have been more rewarding to see the happiness I brought many participants as an Aboriginal youth trying to make a difference in the Aboriginal community.
What career do you hope to pursue after graduation?
I've dreamt of being a doctor since I was 10-years-old and continue to be dedicated to pursuing this dream. I was recently accepted into the College of Medicine at the U of S, after completing two years of my science undergraduate at McGill University. I will be starting my first year of my medical undergraduate education in August and am extremely excited! Through the research I did this past summer I have gained a new interest in Aboriginal health. Seeing and learning about the health inequities faced by Aboriginal people has made me very interested in doing more research and community work to address and diminish these health disparities. Having received the IPHRC summer undergraduate award again this summer I'm working on research project on HIV in inner-city Saskatoon with a physician at Westside community clinic, Dr. Ryan Meili.
Congratulations, Hannah! The SEDE 2012-2013 calendar is now available. To get a copy of the calendar, or for more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about this story, please contact:
Cassandra J. Opikokew
Knowledge Translation & Communications
Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre (IPHRC)
CK 115 University of Regina
3737 Wascana Parkway
Regina, SK S4S 0A2
Ph: (306) 337-2510
Cell: (306) 537-2043
Fax: (306) 585-5694