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Jeffrey Dixon successfully defends his MSc thesis

Jeffrey Dixon successfully defends his MSc thesis

On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, MSc candidate Jeffrey Dixon successfully defended his MSc thesis to the Department of Public Health Sciences. Jeff's thesis title was Impacts of the Patient-Centred Medical Home on Healthcare Access and Utilization Indicators for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Ontario. He was supervised by Drs. Helene Ouellette-Kuntz (PHS) and Mike Green (PHS), and his examiners were Drs. Catherine Donnelly (School of Rehabilitation Therapy), Will Pickett (PHS), Dana Edge (PHS), and Richard Birtwhistle (PHS). Jeff will continue in his role as Salesforce Business Analyst in The Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business, Queen’s University. Jeff has also started a PhD in Management Information Systems at Smith School of Business. Congratulations Jeff. 


Public Health Science Day

Public Health Science Day

by Brenda Melles

November 20, 2015 - Over a hundred students, staff and faculty gathered at the Tett Centre for the Department’s annual Public Health Science Day. Plenary speakers - all groundbreaking researchers in their fields - as well as students from the Department’s various degree programs showcased the broad scope of public health experience and expertise in the Department.

Emergency response and surveillance was a theme of the morning plenary speakers. Dr. Susan Bartels, Clinician Scientist from the Department of Emergency Medicine, described her research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the setting for the world’s most devastating complex humanitarian emergency in terms of its impact on morbidity and mortality.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Assistant Medical Officer of Health and KFL&A Public Health and Adjunct Faculty in the Department assigned participants into various emergency scenarios. Small groups buzzed with discussion on surveillance needs and public health responses to events such as large scale outbreaks, mass casualty events, or prolonged heat waves.

In the afternoon, Dr. Ian Janssen, Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Obesity and Professor in the Department, described his current research using accelerometers and GPS watches to track actual, versus self-reported physical activity among children. Results are fascinating but discouraging with the vast majority (9 out of 10) not meeting physical activity guidelines. 

The day also included a variety of student presentations from students in the PhD and Master of Science programs in Epidemiology as well as Biostatistics. From research on military family health, to sleep and injury in Saskatchewan farmers, to molecular epidemiology and breast cancer, to new biostatistical approaches to missing data, student’s work showcased a compelling range of important topics. Eight Master of Public Health students also profiled their summer practicum placements in a variety of settings, including health units, northern communities, and provincial and government organizations.

The day ended with student performances of original health-related poetry. Whether haiku, rhyming couplets or free verse, performers closed out the day to the sounds of laughter and applause.


Convocation 2015

Fall Convocation 2015

On November 18, 2015 the Department of Public Health Sciences held a Convocation Reception for recent MSc (Epidemiology) and MSc (Specialization in Biostatistics) graduates. Graduate Coordinator, Kristan Aronson, noted: "We celebrated our students' achievements today at convocation, and we were happy to host a Departmental reception for our amazing students and their supportive families. Several former students are enjoying the challenges of new jobs in their field". 

Our MSc (Epidemiology) graduates were: Randal Boyes, Tasha Hanuschak, Farzana Haq, Eleanor Hung, Jonathan Kwong, Michael Leung, Katherine McKenzie, Olivia Meggetto, Joy Shi
Our MSc (Specialization in Biostatistics) graduates were: Andrew Dabbikeh and Laura Holder 


CanPrevent Conference

CanPrevent Conference

On Saturday, November 14th, students from the Department of Public Health Sciences hosted the CanPrevent 2015 Conference. This inaugural event sought out to explore developments in primary,secondary,and tertiary cancer prevention. This full-day endeavor was held in Chernoff Hall, and was attended by 80 delegates. The morning session included an opening keynote speaker, followed by virtual/Skype presentations, and concurrent breakout sessions. After a fantastic catered lunch, the afternoon session involved a poster session, an expert panel discussion, an interactive challenge, a closing keynote speaker, and a post-conference social at the Grad Club.

From the accomplished speakers to the engaged delegates, CanPrevent was a huge success, and the conference mandate of promoting knowledge exchange and inter professional collaboration was certainly achieved!!!


Providing a voice to vulnerable groups

Providing a voice to vulnerable groups

by Tim Rosillo 

Alyson Mahar has always been interested in equitable health care for all Canadians. After completing her MSc in epidemiology in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology (now Public Health Sciences), Alyson knew that she wanted to continue her training in advanced epidemiologic and health services research methods and apply her new training to ensuring vulnerable Canadians received an equal opportunity for appropriate healthcare. The PhD in epidemiology has given Alyson the opportunity to work with leaders in cancer care evaluation and health services research to develop her ideas into a doctoral thesis.

For Alyson, a huge draw to the PhD in epidemiology program at Queen’s was the relationship that exists between the Department and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Health Services Research Facility at Queen’s. This gave her access to restricted provincial administrative healthcare data and the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with large databases. ICES - Queen’s is a strong part of the Queen’s health services and policy research community.  Working in a small department and being part of a supportive community of faculty, staff and students were other key considerations in her decision.

Alyson is supported by a Fredrick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her thesis research focuses on the impact of a severe psychiatric illness on a patient’s cancer diagnosis, and their subsequent staging, treatment and survival.  She is supervised by Patti Groome (Department of Public Health Sciences) and Paul Kurdyak (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, Toronto).  Previous studies have shown that people with a severe psychiatric illness have worse cardiovascular and diabetes health outcomes. She and her supervisors hypothesized that patients with a severe psychiatric illness may also be at risk for worse cancer outcomes. There may be a number of reasons for this, including interfering symptoms of the mental illness, and high rates of complex physical health issues, difficulties for the patient in accessing healthcare, and stigma from healthcare providers. The intention of Alyson’s research is to try and identify where interventions to improve the intersection of psychiatric and cancer care could be targeted.

Away from her formal coursework and training, Alyson has made the most of the incredible opportunities available to PhD students in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s.   She works with Dr. Alice Aiken, Director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) on an ICES project to study a cohort of Canadian Veterans and military families in Ontario using provincial administrative data. Alyson feels that this opportunity has been a huge asset to her training and development as an epidemiologist. 

Alyson’s ambition after graduation is to gain a faculty position, as a Scientist leading her own research program. Ultimately, she wants to be in a position where she can use her epidemiologic methods training to help inform Canadian health policy and act as an advocate in healthcare for people whose voices are not heard. 


Laura Holder successfully presents her Biostatistics Practicum Report

Laura Holder successfully presents her Biostatistics Practicum Report 

On Monday, September 28, 2015, MSc in Biostatistics candidate Laura Holder successfully defended her Biostatistics Practicum Report to the Department of Public Health Sciences. Laura's practicum report title was multiple imputation in complex survey settings: a comparison of methods through application in the health behaviour in school-aged children survey. She was supervised by Drs. Michael Isaac (PHS) and Will Pickett (PHS), and her examiners were Drs. Will King (PHSand Paul Peng (PHS)Congratulations Laura.


Leah Hamilton successfully defends her MSc thesis ​

Leah Hamilton successfully defends her MSc thesis ​

On Thursday, September 24, 2015, MSc candidate Leah Hamilton successfully defended her MSc thesis to the Department of Public Health Sciences. Leah's thesis title was The Diagnostic Interval of Colorectal Cancer Patients in Ontario by Degree of Rurality. She was supervised by Dr. Patti Groome (PHS), and her examiners were Drs. Kathleen Norman (School of Rehabilitation Therapy), Will Pickett (PHS), Mike Green (PHS), and Harriet Richardson (PHS)Congratulations Leah.


Tasha Hanuschak successfully defends her MSc thesis

Tasha Hanuschak successfully defends her MSc thesis ​

On Thursday, September 24, 2015, MSc candidate Tasha Hanuschak successfully defended her MSc thesis to the Department of Public Health Sciences. Tasha's thesis title was Coronary Angiography and Neurological Intact Survival in Out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest Patient. She was supervised by Drs. Steven Brooks (MED) and Paul Peng (PHS), and her examiners were Drs. Joan Almost (School of Nursing), Harriet Richardson (PHS), Ana Johnson (PHS), and Patti Groome (PHS)Congratulations Tasha.